Nigeria's Jonathan Secures Unbeatable Poll Lead; Riots Erupt

Published on Monday 18th April 2011

Election results in Nigeria show President Goodluck Jonathan has secured an unbeatable lead in the presidential race, sparking protests and allegations of vote-rigging in the northern part of the country.Jonathan's victory became virtually certain after all but five of the 36 states released their results on Monday. There were not enough outstanding votes for main challenger, ex-military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, to catch up.The news prompted riots in the Muslim-majority north, where most residents backed Buhari, who is Muslim.Police said protesters lit fires in the street in the northern city of Kaduna, where a bomb blast late Saturday at a hotel wounded eight people.  Authorities also reported unrest Monday in Kano and Zaria.Saturday's vote was polarized, with Jonathan dominating in the mainly Christian south.Observers said voting proceeded calmly, with few instances of cheating.If declared the winner, Jonathan already has met the requirements to avoid a run-off vote. A candidate needs a simple majority and at least a quarter of the vote in 24 states.Security was tight at polling stations across the West African nation, which has a history of rigged voting and election violence. There were two explosions early Saturday in the northeastern city of Maiduguri.Observers say voters turned out in large numbers for the election.  Jonathan has promised to improve the country's economy, health and education. He assumed the presidency last year following the death of his predecessor, Umaru Yar'Adua. Buhari said he would not contest the results of the election, should he lose.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.



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