President Jonathan named winner amid post-vote violence in Nigeria
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan emerged Monday as the winner in Nigeria's presidential election, according to preliminary results issued by electoral officials based on the completed count, dpa reported.
Jonathan, nominee of the ruling Democratic Peoples Party (DPP), won nearly 57 per cent of the vote. He scored at least 25 per cent of the votes cast in each of 30 of Nigeria's 36 states, plus the Abuja capital territory, to be declared winner by the independent National Electoral Commission.
The leading challenger, former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari of the main opposition Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), had nearly 31 per cent. Buhari promised not to contest the results, but insisted his party could contest the election if it wished.
Nuhu Ribadu, whose Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) was unable to agree on a coalition presidential candidate with the CPC, got more than 12 per cent.
Representatives of the defeated parties expressed displeasure on the outcome of the polls, citing irregularities in the conduct of the elections, only the Democratic Peoples Party accepted the poll result.
Earlier Monday, amid the expected election of Jonathan, a Christian from southern Nigeria, there were reports of at least 10 deaths in unrest in Nigeria's predominantly Muslim north.
In a number of cities, several houses belonging to functionaries of the ruling DPP were set ablaze, allegedly torched by opposition supporters.
The violence also reached Abuja - prompting many to scramble for safety - marring what had been widely lauded as free and fair elections on Saturday.
Jonathan and Buhari condemned the violence and called for peace and reconciliation.
International observation missions from the European Union, African Union, Commonwealth and the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) all commended the National Electoral Commission for conducting free, fair and credible polls.
Analysts believed the elections were the most credible conducted since independence in 1960. However, the outcome of the polls sparked protests in Northern Nigeria, a strong hold of the CPC.
The National Electoral Commission said that nearly 39.5 million people voted, a turnout rate of nearly 54 per cent. Nearly 3.2 per cent of the votes were invalidated over various problems or irregularities.
ECOWAS chief observer Amos Sawyer, a Liberian former president, praised the voter turnout and noted the electoral commission's professionalism.
Former vice president Jonathan, who took office in 2010 on the death of president Umaru Yar Adua, is to be sworn into office on May 29 for his first full, four-year term.
Amnesty International warned the Nigerian military against excessive force in quelling the rioting and demonstrations.
"The security forces' response to this unrest must not lead to further human-rights violations," said Tawanda Hondora, Amnesty's deputy director for Africa.
The violence followed early election results that showed Jonathan with a wide lead over Buhari.
"They destroyed our cars and houses," Dora Ogbegor, a woman from the city of Zaria, told online newspaper Next. "I ran for my life."
Authorities in the affected states imposed a 24-hour curfew.