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Outsider Obi wins key state Lagos in Nigeria vote, but Tinubu ahead overall

Nigeria’s outsider candidate Peter Obi won the key state of Lagos on Monday as early results emerged from the tight race for the presidency of Africa’s most populous nation, but ruling party candidate Bola Tinubu remains ahead in the overall vote count, according to a Reuters tally of provisional results in 15 of 36 states.

The Lagos win by Labour Party’s Obi underscored his surprise challenge to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which have governed Nigeria since the end of military rule in 1999.

With more than seven million registered voters, Lagos is a key state. It is also the bastion of APC’s Tinubu, who governed Lagos from 1999 to 2007.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said Obi won more than 582,000 votes against around 572,000 for Tinubu.

Obi, 61, a former Anambra State governor, has attracted younger voters with a campaign message of change from his two septuagenarian rivals.

Tinubu known as the “Godfather of Lagos” for his influence, accepted defeat and urged his supporters to remain calm.

“As a democrat, you win some, you lose some,” he was quoted by AFP as saying.

As of Monday afternoon, however, the overall tally of provisional electoral commission results still shows Tinubu was ahead with about 4.26 million votes, against Atiku Abubakar of the main opposition PDP with about 3.26 million votes. 

Abubakar, 76, a former vice president is on his sixth bid for the presidency. 

Obi was in third place with about 1.77 million.

READ MORE: Nigerians go to polls to elect new president in tight contest

The latest vote count has prompted opposition parties to walk out of the counting process citing concerns of fraud.

Nearly 90 million were eligible to vote on Saturday for a successor to President Muhammadu Buhari, with many hoping a new leader can bring real change to tackle insecurity, economic malaise and widening poverty.

Voting on Saturday was mostly peaceful, although there were reports of suspects ransacking some polling stations and many others opened late.

The slow pace of the state-by-state count and accusations of manipulation have fuelled tensions.

By early Monday evening, INEC had only released official results from 10 of Nigeria’s 36 states and the final count could take longer.

To win the presidency, a candidate must garner the most overall votes along with 25 percent of ballots cast in two-thirds of Nigeria’s states — a measure to reflect the country split between a mostly Muslim north and widely Christian south, and with three main ethnic groups.

Voting is determined by large key states including Lagos, northwest Kano, Kaduna and Southern Rivers.

Nigeria tallies votes after tight election hit by long delays

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