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With over 30 of 36 states having submitted results, the ruling party's candidate is heading for victory
Festus Keyamo, communications director for Bola Tinubu's presidential campaign, said the ruling party's candidate had won comfortably – having secured a plurality of votes and 25% of the votes in two-thirds of the 36 states – according to results submitted to the the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Election observers estimate voter turnout to have sunk to 20-25%, the lowest since the country's return to civil rule in 1999 (AC Vol 64 No 5, A high turnout will shake up national politics).
Officials are due to release a marathon set of results later on 28 February from the presidential and national assembly elections, said an official at INEC. Several election observers expect the final results to be announced later on 28 February or early the following morning.
Reuters news agency reported that Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives' Congress (APC) was ahead with about 35% or 7.5 million of the votes counted from 31 of the 36 states, according to its tally. That would make him the probable winner in the first round on present trends.
Behind him are former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) with 29% or about 6.2m votes and Peter Obi of the Labour Party with 25% or some 5.2m votes.
This follows calls by opposition parties for INEC to suspend the announcement of results pending a review of its widespread failure to use digital recording systems to verify results at individual polling units.
The main opposition grievance is that at many polling stations INEC officials failed to record the results sheets, meant to be signed by all the party agents before transmitting digital copies of the sheets to collation centres and the commission's national HQ in Abuja. Instead, INEC officials have been filling in results sheets by hand but they lack the party agent's signatures and the digital verification.
On 27 February, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, a keen supporter of Peter Obi, said that INEC should not accept any results without digital verification as this would contravene electoral law.
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