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Lagos ex-governor Tinubu closes in on Nigeria presidential election victory

Provisional results from Nigeria’s disputed presidential election showed that Bola Tinubu from the ruling party is closing in on victory, according to the latest Reuters tally of votes in 31 of the country’s 36 states and from nation’s capital.

With only 5 states left to declare as of 1300 GMT on Tuesday, Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress party (APC) was ahead with about 35 percent or 7.5 million of valid votes counted, making it highly likely he would be declared winner on Tuesday following Saturday’s election to replace outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari, also APC.

Atiku Abubakar of the main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was trailing with 29 percent or nearly 6.2 million valid votes.

Peter Obi of the smaller Labour Party got 25 percent or about 5.2 million votes. More results were expected to show the winner later on Tuesday.

Known as the “Godfather of Lagos” for his influence, Tinubu served as governor of the country’s most populous state from 1999 to 2007.

Tinubu, however, lost narrowly to Obi in Lagos, garnering 572,000 votes against the latter’s 582,000 votes.

As of 1230 GMT, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had posted results from 83,906 polling units out of 176,846.

Opposition parties have rejected the results as the product of a flawed process, which suffered multiple technical difficulties owing to the introduction of new technology by INEC.

The preliminary results announced in the states will again be presented at INEC’s central office in the capital, Abuja.

But INEC officers in Rivers State, the capital of Africa’s biggest oil industry, said they had suspended the announcement of results after state collation officer Charles Adias had received death threats via text message.

Nigerian electoral law says a candidate can win just by getting more votes than their rivals, provided they get 25 percent of the vote in at least two-thirds of the 36 states.

Saturday’s election was mostly peaceful, but many polling stations opened late, angering voters, and delays or technical failures slowed uploading of results to an official INEC website meant to promote transparency.

PDP and other party officials stormed out of the counting centre on Monday night claiming tallies were manipulated.

Whoever replaces Buhari must quickly get to grips with Africa’s largest economy and top oil producer, which is beset by problems including a grinding violence in the northeast and double-digit inflation.

Buhari, a former army general first elected in 2015, will step down after two terms in office. His critics say he failed in his key promises to make Nigeria safer.

Nigeria tallies votes after tight election hit by long delays

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