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City of Banjul
Saturday, January 16, 2021

Nigeria’s Buhari gains early ground amid vote tally fears

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The city, scene of three days of bloodletting after Buhari lost to Jonathan in the last election in 2011, was tense but quiet as the results trickled in, with the roads empty of traffic and many shops and homes shuttered. Buhari, a northern Muslim, also won 1.9 million votes in Kano against 216,000 for Jonathan, an indication of the political polarisation that has deepened over the last five years under Jonathan’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Although the economy has been growing at 7 percent or more, scandals over billions of dollars in missing oil receipts and the eruption of an Islamist insurgency in which thousands have died have undermined Jonathan’s popularity. Although the early results will hearten the Buhari camp, they are far from conclusive in an election forecast to be the closest since the end of military rule in 1999. In Rivers state, in his home Niger Delta region, the volatile and hotly contested home of Africa’s biggest oil and gas industry, Jonathan won a massive 95 percent of the vote. The results coming from states such as Rivers have prompted suspicion among diplomats, observers and the opposition, whose sympathisers took to the streets in protest. Police fired tear gas at a crowd of 100 female supporters of Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) demonstrating outside the regional offices of the INEC election commission. “Their intention was to destroy INEC materials,” a policeman at the scene told Reuters.


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