Nigerians worry about post-election violence while awaiting outcome of a very close race

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    Nigeria was on edge today, awaiting the outcome of the closest election since the end of military rule in 1999. It pitted the former military dictator Muhammadu Buhari against incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan.

    With three-quarters of the country's states counted, Buhari led by two million votes.

    Jeffrey Brown reports.


    Hundreds of women in Southern Nigeria weren't waiting for the results. They rallied in Port Harcourt, demanding an election do-over.

    Nigerian television broadcast images of protesters blocking streets and claiming irregularities. Police fired tear gas to break up the rally. Earlier in the day, as results were initially slow to come, the opposition party All Progressives Congress flatly accused the ruling People's Democratic Party of rigging the count.

  • TOKUNBO AFIKUYOMI, All Progressives Congress:

    Absolutely what we have here is an attempt to steal the votes of our people with the use of the army and other ethnic militias set off by the other party to abort Nigerian democracy.


    Still, turnout was high and the voting itself appeared to be generally smoother than in the past.

    Secretary of State John Kerry and British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond issued a statement saying, "We have seen no evidence of systemic manipulation of the process," but, they continued, "there are disturbing indications that the collation process may be subject to deliberate political interference."

    Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield was in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, today, watching the process.

    I spoke to her a short time ago about potential rigging of the count.

    LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs: We're getting a lot of calls from around the country of people concerned about the process after the election. I don't think I would go so far as saying that it's rigging, but, again, people are noticing some issues and they're reporting the issues, and I think that's the good thing.


    Saturday's election went ahead, despite attacks by the Islamist militants of Boko Haram in Northeastern Nigeria. Thousands of displaced Nigerians lined up to vote at a camp in the east.


    I'm longing for a change, a positive change to affect the life of humanity, to protect their reputation, their life, their property, and to eradicate corruption, finally. This is what I'm longing and I'm hoping for.


    There were also technical problems that caused officials to extend voting in parts of the country by an extra day. Even the candidates ran into trouble. President Jonathan had to wait when at least three biometric identification readers failed to recognize his fingerprints. Still, he insisted all would be well.


    I believe and I'm convinced that elections will be free and fair and extremely credible.


    Now, though, as the nation of 170 million awaits the results, there are fears of post-election bloodshed. After the last election in 2011, more than 1,000 people were killed in such violence.

  • Again, Linda Thomas-Greenfield:


    Of course, we can't predict what is going to happen, but we're hopeful that it will be less violent than in previous elections.


    Final results in the election are expected tomorrow.