A police officer stands guard as electoral officials prepare to count ballot papers in Uyo, Nigeria, Tuesday. Nigeria began voting Tuesday for who should serve as state governors in the oil-rich nation, lucrative positions many politicians use violence and election fraud to obtain. (Photo: AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Early results from Nigeria’s gubernatorial elections show the ruling People’s Democratic Party holding a lead in most states, the country’s electoral commission announced Wednesday.
Officially, the party can claim victories in the states of Enugu and Kwara. It is leading in seven others including Rivers (located in the south) and Jigawa, Kebbi, Niger and Benue in the North. Opposition party Action Congress of Nigeria, won the Lagos state governorship—a victory PDP is already planning to challenge—and is leading in three other southern states, Bloomberg reports. Final results from all of the states where voting took place are expected 48 hours after the polls closed.
Violence has devastated the nation’s northern region since incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan won re-election last Monday, claiming the lives of at least 500 and causing thousands to flee their homes. There was fear that Tuesday’s elections would ignite more violence, but civil organizations in the country claim the election was largely calm.
"Although in general there was low turnout, reports from observers indicate that the elections were well organised and largely peaceful in many states," the Election Situation Room, a collection of civil organizations said in a statement. "In other states, however, there were considerable reports of violence, ballot box snatching and other forms of electoral malpractice."
Voters in the northern states of Kaduna and Bauchi, which were hit hard by last week’s rioting, will head to the polls Thursday.