Early results in Nigeria’s presidential election appear to be split between incumbent Goodluck Jonathan – a Christian from the oil-producing Niger Delta – and former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, from the Muslim north.
President Jonathan was the clear front-runner among several challengers going into the race. He has promised to improve the country’s economy, health and education.
Mr. Jonathan assumed the presidency last year following the death of his predecessor, Umaru Yar’Adua.
Mr. Buhari, who has run for president and lost twice, said he would not contest the results of the election, should he lose. If elected, he has vowed to clean up corruption and invest in Nigeria’s infrastructure.
To avoid a runoff, a candidate must get a majority of votes nationwide, and at least a quarter of the votes in at least two-thirds of Nigeria’s 36 states.
Observers said voters turned out in large numbers Saturday for the election in Africa’s most populous country.
Security was tight at polling stations across the West African nation. And despite two explosions in the northeastern city Maiduguri early Saturday, observers said voting mostly proceeded calmly, with few instances of cheating. voa