By Ruth Olurounbi and
Peter Obi, the outsider candidate for Nigeria’s Labour Party, narrowed the gap with Bola Tinubu and opposition leader Atiku Abubakar in the race to become the next president of Africa’s biggest democracy.
Obi won in seven states so far, the Independent National Electoral Commission said on Tuesday. The ruling All Progressives Congress’ Tinubu has nine states, the same number as the Peoples Democratic Party’s Abubakar.
Opposition parties and civil-society groups have criticized the results, citing disparities between official tallies and data available with parties’ polling agents. Three of the parties said that they will boycott the process.
Electoral Authority Defends Results Process (Feb. 28, 4:14 p.m.)
Nigeria’s electoral authority defended its handling of the Feb. 25 presidential vote.
Allegations that the agency is declaring doctored results are “unfounded and irresponsible,” Rotimi Oyekanmi, a spokesman for the INEC, said in a statement on Tuesday. The scores announced so far “point to a free, fair and credible process,” he said.
Bonds Drop as Opposition Boycotts Vote-Counting Process (Feb. 28, 4:07 p.m.)
Nigerian bonds dropped for the first time in four days as a boycott of vote-counting by opposition parties jeopardized the uncontested result that markets want to see.
The country’s dollar bond due 2051 slid 1.7 cents to 69.88 on the US dollar, while securities maturing in 2047 and 2031 dropped less than one cent each, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.
Its sovereign-risk premium widened 16 basis points, according to a JPMorgan Chase & Co. index. Investors worried the latest developments may delay the formation of a stable government that can carry out fiscal reforms needed to ease a crippling debt burden and stabilize the currency.
Vote Count Suspended in Oil Hub (Feb. 28, 3 p.m.)
An electoral officer in Rivers State, Nigeria’s main oil hub, suspended the collation of votes on Tuesday, saying he’d been blamed for the malfunctioning of the voter-verification system and his life had been threatened.
Charles Adias, state collation officer for the presidential election, told reporters, political party officials and law-enforcement agents gathered at the regional results center to disperse until the electoral commission clarified his role to the public.
Ruling Party Claims Victory (Feb. 28, 2 p.m.)
The ruling All Progressives Congress described opposition claims of fraud as unsubstantiated and accused them of casting aspersions on the whole electoral process.
It called on the PDP’s candidate, Atiku Abubakar and Labour’s Obi to concede defeat, saying “his election has already been won by our candidate,” according to a statement.
Lagos, Abuja Residents Stay Home (Feb. 28, 1:30 p.m.)
Markets and streets in the commercial hub of Lagos and the capital, Abuja, were quieter than normal, with many people opting to stay at home until the final results are announced.
Several foreign diplomatic missions also urged citizens to stay off the streets until there is greater clarity on the outcome. Post-election crises are common in Nigeria, with much of the population divided along religious and ethnic lines.
Nigeria Vote Unlikely to Revive its Oil Industry (Feb. 27, 16:40 p.m.)
Whatever the outcome of the election, a revitalization of the nation’s oil industry is seen as unlikely in the short to medium term. Oil production has been in decline for over a decade, dropping from more than 2.5 million barrels per day in 2011 to less than 1.3 million barrels a day last year.
Fiscal hardship, persistent oil theft and the prioritization of lower-risk assets by oil majors remain significant bottlenecks that do not lend themselves to a quick-fix solution.
— With assistance by Emele Onu and Anthony Osae-Brown