The outcome of Nigeria’s election remains on a knife-edge this evening, with a mere 20,000 votes separating incumbent Goodluck Jonathan from fierce rival Muhammadu Buhari as the election enter its final stages.
With eight states and the Federal Capital Territory having declared official results, Jonathan has received 2,322,734 votes compared to 2,302,978 for Buhari – but a majority of key states which could settle the contest decisively have yet to declare.
Despite Jonathan’s slender lead, the Buhari camp will have seen much to raise their spirits, including an impressive win in Kogi state – a region solidly behind Jonathan in 2011 – which delivered a 60% vote for Buhari this time around. Buhari also secured a strong victory in Ogun, with an increased turnout delivering victory for the APC leader.
Perhaps significantly, the number of votes cast for Jonathan at this stage of the campaign in 2011 stood at a far higher 3.368 million. Buhari requires a 13.5% across the country to secure victory.
Jonathan’s PDP will have been disappointed by a poor turnout in Enugu state, where a comfortable victory was overshadowed by a 21% decrease in ballots cast.
Nevertheless, the Jonathan camp will have been buoyed by victories in Ekiti, Nasarawa and the Federal Capital Territory, as well as a respectable showing in the solidly Buhari-supporting Osun. Official turnout in Ekiti increased from 34% in 2011 to 43% this time.
A recess declared by election chief Attahiru Jega until 8pm Nigeria time will allow the candidates to catch their breath and take stock of events before what is expected to be an incredibly tight finish.
Controversy has swirled around the voting in Lagos, where EU observers reported that vote collation was “quite disorganised” and “not dealt with in the best way”. A source from Jonathan’s PDP told New African that they have serious concerns about the process in the city.
– additional reporting by David Thomas