Abuja, Feb. 25 (BBC/GNA) – Vote counting is under way in Nigeria’s tightest presidential election since military rule ended in 1999.
Voting was marred by long delays as polling stations failed to open on time in some areas because of logistical problems and security incidents.
Turnout appeared to be high, with many young, first-time voters arriving before dawn to cast their ballots.
The elections are the biggest democratic exercise in Africa, with 87 million people eligible to vote.
Politics has been dominated by two parties – the ruling APC and the PDP – since the restoration of multi-party democracy 24 years ago.
But this time, there is also a strong challenge from a third-party candidate in the race to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari – the Labour Party’s Peter Obi, who is backed by many young people.
Tens of thousands of polling stations are counting the results, which will be collated and sent to the electoral headquarters in the capital Abuja.
The final result is not expected until at least Tuesday.
At a press briefing, the electoral chief, Mahmood Yakubu, apologised for the delays in voting, but he said that everyone who was in a queue by 13:30 GMT (14:30 local time) would be allowed to cast their ballots, even though polling stations were officially supposed to close by then.
Voters in the biggest city, Lagos, cheered as electoral officers arrived at a polling station in the suburb of Lekki nearly four hours after polls had officially closed.
There have also been reports of violence and ballot boxes being snatched in Lagos.
Although some voters were angry at the delays, others waited patiently to vote.
“As a Nigerian you expect any eventuality, so I came out with my power bank and a bottle of water. I will wait till they arrive so I can vote,” first-time voter Edith told the BBC.