Buhari’s party claims victory in Nigeria poll

(CNN)Incumbent Goodluck Jonathan phoned former military leader Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday to concede defeat in Nigeria’s presidential elections, Buhari’s party says.

All Progressives Congress party spokesman Garba Shehu confirmed Jonathan had made the call.

The Independent National Electoral Commission is still announcing the final tally in the polls, but early numbers indicate Buhari, now the President-elect, has an overwhelming majority of votes.

Buhari ruled Nigeria from late 1983 until August 1985 after ousting his predecessor in a coup.

His 20-month rule was known for what he described as a “war on indiscipline,” a tough regime that some say was marred by human rights abuses.

    The 72-year-old retired major general’s experience as a military ruler has variably been viewed as a plus or minus in present-day Nigeria, where the government has been locked in a deadly battle with the militant group Boko Haram.

    His campaign has focused on security and ending corruption in Nigeria.

    Read more: Who is Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari?

    Election violence

    Violent protests after Nigeria’s presidential elections Saturday sparked calls for calm from the two main candidates and a warning by the United States and Britain against political interference.

    Demonstrators fired gunshots and torched a local electoral office in Nigeria’s oil-rich Rivers state on Sunday as they marched to protest the elections amid claims of vote-rigging and voter intimidation.

    Expert: There is a thirst for change in Nigeria

    After the protests in Rivers, Buhari’s All Progressives Congress demanded the elections there be canceled. “There’s been so much violence in Rivers state that it’s just not tenable,” party spokesman Lai Mohammed said.

    But the People’s Democratic Party disputed the accusation, saying the election was “credible and the result reflects the overwhelming wish of the people of Rivers state to support President Goodluck Jonathan.”

    Both candidates took to social media to call for calm.

    “I want to urge all Nigerians to also wait patiently for the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to collate and announce results,” Jonathan said on his Facebook account.

    “Fellow Nigerians, I urge you to exercise patience and vigilance as we wait for all results to be announced,” Buhari said on Twitter.

    Jonathan and Buhari last week issued a pledge reaffirming their commitment to “free, fair and credible elections” after their signing of the Abuja Accord in January.

    Read more: Democracy was the real winner

    More than 800 people were killed in post-election violence across Nigeria’s north in 2011 after charges that those elections were illegitimate.

    How important is Boko Haram as an election issue?

    Boko Haram

    Nigeria’s vote had been scheduled for February 14, but on February 7, Nigeria’s election commission announced it would be postponed for six weeks because of security concerns, with the military needing more time to secure areas controlled by Boko Haram. The controversial decision was unpopular among many Nigerians and led to widespread protests.

    Jonathan has been criticized for not doing enough to combat Boko Haram, which is waging a campaign of terror aimed at instituting a stricter version of Sharia law in Nigeria.

    On Saturday, residents in the northeastern state of Gombe said at least 11 people were killed and two more injured in attacks at polling stations, apparently by Boko Haram extremists.

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