Nigeria's closest election since the end of the military era in 1999 has begun to produce preliminary results. Bola Tinubu won decisively in one of his strongholds, according to official results from the southwestern state of Ekiti. Additional results will not be made official until 10:00 GMT.
In some regions of the country, voting was postponed until Sunday because of widespread delays and attacks on polling stations on Saturday. While in some areas, voting continued throughout the night. Approximately a third of the 87 million eligible voters are young adults, and their participation appears to be high. This makes it Africa's largest democratic exercise.
The election presented an unprecedented challenge to the two-party system that has ruled Nigeria for the past 24 years. Potential winners include Peter Obi of the previously obscure Labour Party, Atiku Abubakar of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Mr. Tinubu of All Progressives Congress (APC). There are fifteen additional presidential candidates. To be declared the winner, a candidate must receive the most votes and 25 percent of ballots cast in two-thirds of Nigeria's 36 states. Otherwise, a run-off election will be held within 21 days, a first in Nigeria's history.
Saturday's voting was marred by lengthy delays at polling stations, as well as scattered reports of ballot-box thefts and attacks by armed men, particularly in southern regions where Mr. Obi's support is strong. Dr. Nkem Okoli was about to vote in the Lekki district of Nigeria's largest city, Lagos, when the polling station was attacked by masked men.
Dr. Nkem also mentioned that there was complete chaos as there were bottles flying everywhere, the armed men broke the ballot box and stole phones of the officials.
In certain areas, elections did not begin until approximately 18:00 local time, approximately three and a half hours after polls were scheduled to close.
Susan Ekpoh, a first-time voter, told sources that she spent 13 hours at her polling station in Abuja, the capital, before leaving at midnight.
She reported that when it became dark, election officials requested more light to see what they were doing, prompting her and others to use their car headlights to illuminate the
The southern state of Bayelsa was one of the areas where voting was postponed until Sunday. It is unclear how many areas of the country were affected.
There is tension in portions of the states of Rivers and Lagos, where political parties have instructed their members to go to the centers where votes are being tallied to prevent their manipulation.
In addition, there have been complaints regarding the recently implemented electronic voting system, with many voters accusing electoral officials of failing to upload the results at the polling places as required.
In regions where voting went smoothly, however, results are posted outside of individual polling stations.
The results from tens of thousands of polling places across the nation are being tallied. A representative from each of Nigeria's 36 states' electoral bodies will then travel to the capital, Abuja, where the results will be announced state-by-state.
Results are not expected until at least Monday, and possibly not until Wednesday.