Buhari Extends Lead in Tight Nigerian Election

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Nigerian opposition contender Muhammadu Buhari built a lead of over 2.5 million votes with only six states uncounted on Monday, raising the prospect of a stunning ballot box victory for a man who first came to power three decades ago via a military coup.

Buhari Extends Lead in Tight Nigerian Election

The 72-year-old general who has campaigned as a born-again democrat intent on cleaning up the corrupt politics of Africa's most populous nation notched up 12.9 million votes, according to a tally collated by Reuters from 30 of Nigeria's 36 states.

This compared to 10.2 million votes for President Goodluck Jonathan, a one-time zoology professor whose five years at the helm of the continent's biggest economy and top oil producer have been plagued by corruption scandals and a bloody insurgency by Islamist Boko Haram militants.

There is still time for a reversal of fortunes, with one of Jonathan's big support bases in the oil-producing Niger Delta yet to report. Announcement of the results will resume at 09:00 GMT on Tuesday, the election commission said.

In Rivers state, the volatile and hotly contested home of Africa's biggest oil and gas industry, Jonathan won a massive 95 percent of the vote.

Such results prompted suspicion among diplomats, observers and sympathizers of Buhari's All Progressives Congress (APC), some of whom took to the streets in protest.

In the oil city of Port Harcourt, police fired tear gas at a crowd of 100 female APC supporters demonstrating outside the regional offices of the INEC election commission.

"Their intention was to destroy INEC materials," a policeman at the scene told Reuters.

The weekend vote was marred by technical glitches, arguments and occasional violence but in many places proved to be less chaotic than previous elections in the country of 170 million, which only got rid of military rule in 1999.

At least 15 people were shot dead on polling day, most of them in the northeast where Boko Haram has declared war on democracy in its fight to revive a mediaeval caliphate in the sands of the southern Sahara.

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