By Scott Stearns
Electoral officials in Nigeria say President Goodluck Jonathan has won reelection in a vote that has sparked rioting in northern states that backed his leading opponent.
With results from all of Nigeria’s 36 states reporting, electoral commission president Attahiru Jega says the country has a clear-cut winner. “We have collated all the results as presented by the state collation officers, and it is my pleasure now to announce the tabulated results,” Jega said.
Jega says President Jonathan received nearly 22.5 million votes in Saturday’s poll. That is nearly twice the total of his main challenger, former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, who won a little more than 12 million votes.
Electoral officials say the president has met the requirements to avoid a second-round run-off by winning the most votes as well as at least one-quarter of the vote in at least 24 states.
That provision is meant to ensure that a Nigerian president has some measure of support across the country and is not merely a regional candidate. But much of the vote appears to have broken down along regional lines, with President Jonathan winning the south and Mr. Buhari winning the north.
Early results showing Mr. Jonathan in the lead led to rioting in parts of the mainly Muslim north. Vice President Namadi Sambo’s home was burned and a 24-hour curfew was imposed in Kaduna state, where a prison was raided and inmates set free.
In the capital of Kano state, security forces fired shots into the air as stone-throwing youths took to the streets, chanting support for Mr. Buhari.
In a written statement before the final results were announced, President Jonathan said he had received with great sadness the news of sporadic unrest and called on all candidates to stop what he called “unnecessary and avoidable conduct.”
Human Rights Watch says at least 60 people have been killed in election-related violence since the first of the month.