Nigeria holds its breath as the first results of the presidential election are announced

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The Nigeria holds its breath as the first results of the presidential election are announced

Officials examine documents at a vote collection center in Alimosho.

Nigeria began releasing the first-ever presidential results on Sunday after a hotly contested poll in the country on Sunday. most populous in Africa, where delays in counting operations have sparked concerns and accusations of attempted fraud.

More than 87 million voters were called on Saturday to choose from 18 candidates the man who will have the difficult task, for four years, of redressing Nigeria, weighed down by a flagging economy, by recurrent violence by groups armed and bandits as well as by a general impoverishment of the population.

The announcement of the results, state by state, began shortly before 7 p.m. but will take time: after giving the figures for Ekiti, a small state in the south-west, the National Electoral Commission (INEC) postponed the following Monday morning. Nigeria has 36 states plus the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Earlier on Sunday, the opposition (PDP) candidate, Atiku Abubakar, had called on the #x27;INEC to remain neutral and publish the results as soon as possible, accusing some governors of trying to compromise the electoral process.

It will be a disservice to Nigerians and a negation of democracy if anyone subverts the will of the people as it was freely expressed at the ballot box yesterday, the former deputy said in a statement. -president, who is running for the presidency for the sixth time.

For its part, the Labor Party of outsider Peter Obi accused Saturday evening INEC to refuse to report results in Lagos State – which has the largest number of registered voters in the country (seven million) – and Delta State, citing pressure from the ruling party (APC).

MM. Obi and Abubakar are among the trio of favorites competing with Bola Tinubu, 70, representing President Muhammadu Buhari's APC, who is stepping down as required by the Constitution after two terms with a much-criticized record. Considered one of the most influential men in the country, this former governor of Lagos, warned: this time, it's my turn.

In a statement, INEC acknowledged technical issues with the use of new technologies to collect and centralize results from some 176,000 polling stations for the first time in a national election . However, she assured that these results are safe […] and cannot be tampered with.

Voting was generally peaceful despite a few security incidents and logistical hiccups that caused delays, stoking fears of vote manipulation as previous polls were marred by accusations of fraud.

Let Nigeria decide, Nigerian music star Burna Boy wrote on Twitter, challenging the Electoral Commission. This Grammy winner gave them a warning: Don't try to make magic with the results.

The evening before, in several offices across the country, crowds of voters were filming the counts live at night with their smartphones, counting the ballots aloud with the electoral agents, and this, in an atmosphere festive.

Unprecedented situation since the return to democracy in 1999, Nigeria could experience a two-round presidential election if Peter Obi, who managed to impose himself as a serious third party candidate against the two parties that traditionally dominate Nigerian politics, turns the trial at the polls.

The former governor of Anambra, a 61-year-old Christian supported by the small Labor Party (LP), is very popular with young people.

His two main adversaries, experienced in the exercise of power, benefit from a vast national base. Both of the Muslim faith, they also intend to win many votes in the north populated by a Muslim majority in a country where the ethnic and religious vote remains decisive.

To be elected in the first round, the winner must obtain, in addition to the majority of the votes cast, at least 25% of the votes in two thirds of the 36 states of the federation, to which is added the territory of Abuja. , otherwise a second round should take place within 21 days.

This election is crucial: Nigeria – 216 million inhabitants – should reach in 2050 the third rank among the most populous countries in the world, while West Africa is threatened by a strong democratic backsliding and the spread of jihadist violence.

The first economy from the continent has become a global cultural power thanks in particular to afrobeats, a musical genre that is setting the planet ablaze with stars like Burna Boy.

However, faced with the immense difficulties of daily life, compounded by recent shortages, many Nigerians are calling for change, sickened by decades of poor governance and by an aging elite, reputedly corrupt.

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