Tense Vote Count Continues in Extended Nigeria Poll
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Nigeria continued counting ballots in a closely fought general election after failures in controversial new technology pushed voting into a second day, with President Goodluck Jonathan facing a stiff challenge from ex-military ruler Muhammadu Buhari.
Despite violence linked to Boko Haram and sporadic unrest elsewhere, UN chief Ban Ki-moon and others praised the conduct of the vote on Sunday and called for calm to avoid a repeat of deadly rioting that followed 2011 elections.
Voters who were unable to cast their ballot because of technical problems on Saturday returned to the polls on Sunday, as the main parties traded accusations over the use of the technology.
The country's electoral commission said some 300 of the 150,000 polling stations would be open on Sunday to accredit voters after handheld devices to read biometric identity cards failed.
Thousands of people demonstrated in the Rivers state, as the head of electoral commission said he was concerned about allegations of irregularities there.
Attahiru Jega, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), said that the problems were limited to "only about 450" card readers.
Jega told a news conference in the capital Abuja on Sunday that he was concerned about allegations and the electoral authorities were investigating the complaints, which centred on opposition party agents being excluded from a vote-tallying meeting.
"The opposition says what is happening in the Rivers state is the beginning of the ruling party trying to steal the elections," said Al Jazeera’s Yvonne Ndege, reporting from Abuja.
Thousands took the streets of the state capital of Port Harcourt to protest alleged killings of opposition campaign workers and voting irregularities.