Counting continues while election tensions prompt protests, curfew in Nigeria

Nigeria’s electoral commission began counting votes in hotly contested presidential elections Monday as the United States and Britain warned that the count may be subverted by “deliberate political interference.” For the first time in Nigeria’s history, a presidential vote appears too close to call, analysts have said of Saturday’s high-stakes election to govern Africa’s richest and most populated nation. Front-runners are President Goodluck Jonathan and former military dictator Gen. Muhammadu Buhari. The winner could be announced late Monday or on Tuesday, electoral officials said.

So far, we have seen no evidence of systemic manipulation of the process. But there are disturbing indications that the collation process — where the votes are finally counted — may be subject to deliberate political interference.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and British foreign minister Philip Hammond in a joint statement

An overnight curfew was imposed in Nigeria’s southern Rivers state as tensions ran high over local results of the country’s general election, the state government said on Monday. Rivers state in the oil-producing Delta is considered a key battleground for the presidential election. After Buhari lost to Jonathan in 2011, more than 1,000 people died and some 65,000 were forced from their homes in northern riots, according to the National Human Rights Commission. Jonathan, 57, is a Christian from a minority tribe in the lush oil-producing south and 72-year-old Buhari is a Muslim from the semi-arid north that is home to farmers, cattle herders and centuries-old caliphates.

All we want is a fresh election because what happened on Saturday was a fraud.

Victoria Nyeche, local lawmaker and political activist