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Nigeria election body declares official vote results

1 April 2015 6:44


Nigeria’s electoral commission has announced the official results of the country’s presidential election, declaring opposition leader Mohammadu Buhari the winner of the polls.

Buhari, a 72-year-old former military ruler from the All Progressives Congress (APC) Party, won 15,424,921 votes or 53.95 percent of the 28,587,564 total valid ballots cast, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said on Wednesday.

“Muhammadu Buhari… having satisfied the requirement for the law and scored the highest number of votes is hereby declared the winner,” INEC Chairman Attahiru Jega said.

Nigeria’s President-elect Muhammadu Buhari

Buhari’s closest rival, President Goodluck Jonathan, 57, of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), garnered 12,853,162 votes (44.96 percent) in the election.

Jonathan had conceded defeat to Buhari and congratulated him in a statement released on Tuesday.

The vote was the eighth election since Africa’s most populous country won independence from Britain in 1960. It is the first time in Nigeria’s history that a challenger has defeated a sitting president.

Buhari ruled Nigeria from January 1984 until August 1985 following a military coup in December 1983.

In the recent election, he received more votes in Nigeria’s northwestern states, hit hardest by the acts of violence committed by Takfiri Boko Haram terrorists. In Borno state, for instance, he won 94 percent of the votes. Many had criticized Jonathan’s handling of the violence.

Boko Haram extremists have claimed responsibility for a number of deadly shooting attacks and bombings in various parts of Nigeria since the beginning of their militancy in 2009, which has so far left over 13,000 people dead and 1.5 million displaced.

People in the oil-rich West African country turned out en masse to vote on Saturday. The election was extended to Sunday, on the account that ballot papers arrived late or imported card readers failed to recognize the fingerprints of the voters.

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