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- Published on Monday, 18 April 2011 14:38
- By Elombah.com
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...........................Northern riots as Jonathan 'set to win'
Riots erupted today in several towns in Nigeria's Muslim North as incumbent Goodluck Jonathan won the presidential elections by a comfortable majority
"Kaduna is on fire right now!" reads an SOS message we got at the elombah.com newsroom this morning. "The riot started mid-night when it was glaring Jonathan is going to win! Churches are being burnt down and christians are been killed..NYSC members are mostly targeted.. A bomb explosion occur monday morning by 9am by Magadingaari where NYSC sesction is located. Corp members in the villages are trapped! Ali akilu way is blocked, Ungwan Rimi, Badiko, Rigyasa, Gwoza Road , Jada Road, Ogbomosho street, etc!"
Another message reads: "Violence erupts in Kano with heavy losses of lives. Emirs palace,Naabba,Bashir tofa,Bala borodo (Ex Minister),Galadima of Kano etc houses bunt".
While these reports have not been independently confirmed, what is not in doubt is that riots have broken out in the two several northern Nigerian cities like Kano, Zaria, Gombe, Sokoto, Maiduguri and Kaduna as presidential poll results show Goodluck Jonathan is set to win.
With nearly all the votes counted, the incumbent - a Christian from the oil-producing Niger Delta - has almost twice the number of his main rival.
Young supporters of Muhammadu Buhari, who is popular in the north, have been clashing with police.
The African Union observer team said it was Nigeria's best poll for decades.
Mr Jonathan was appointed to the presidency last year, upon the death of incumbent Umaru Yar'Adua, whom he had served as vice-president.
He staked his reputation on the election, repeatedly promising it would be free and fair.
Results so far put Mr Jonathan on track to become the country's first elected president from the Niger Delta.
Anti-riot policemen were deployed in the streets as protestors hit some northern states alleging rigging. Angry protestors set tyres ablaze and barricaded streets even as anti-riot policemen tried to disperse them in Kaduna town.Violent protests were also witnessed in other northern states of Gombe, Adamawa and Katsina.
PDP Chairman's House burnt in Kaduna
In Gombe, a dusk to dawn curfew was announced by the state police command to forestall further spread of violence. Jonathan won Nigeria's presidential election by securing 60.02 per cent of the vote, results showed today.Jonathan, 64, beat his main rival Muhammadu Buhari of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) by a wide margin, with the former General getting only 30 per cent of the vote, the country's Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said.
The incumbent president won in more than 23 out of the 36 states securing all the votes in the southern region and in some states in the northern region and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. While Buhari (59) won only in 10 states, all in the northern region, Jonathan - a Christian from the oil-producing Niger Delta - was the clear front-runner among several candidates going into the race.His main opponent Buhari, a former military ruler, is from the Muslim north.
There were no reports of casualties. Jonathan will be sworn in on May 29 to serve a four-year tenure after which he is free to go for a second term. African Union observer and former President of Ghana John Kuffuor said the election was free and fair.
The BBC's Mansur Liman in Kano says smoke is billowing over the skyline as angry youths burn tyres across the city, the largest in the north.
They feel that the elections have been rigged in some areas of the south where there is a discrepancy between turnout and results, he says.
Police, who have appealed for calm on state radio, have fired tear gas in some areas.
School children have been sent home and businesses are closing.
There are also reports that the houses of prominent politicians of Mr Jonathan's PDP party have been burned, our correspondent says.
In Kaduna, police are using tear gas and live ammunition to quell similar protests, the BBC's Abdullahi Kaura Abubakar reports.
To win at the first round, a candidate needs at least 25% of the vote in two-thirds of Nigeria's 36 states.
According to regional results, Mr Jonathan has passed that threshold in at least 24 states.
He has polled more than 22m votes, compared with 12m or so for former military leader General Buhari.
In Akwa Ibom state, Mr Jonathan was credited with winning 95% and in Anambra it was 99%. In his home state, Bayelsa, he took 99.63%.
"Figures of 95% and above for one party suggest that these are fabricated figures and, personally, they worry me because they pose serious questions on the credibility of the election," Jibrin Ibrahim of the Centre for Democracy and Development told AFP news agency.
A spokesman for General Buhari, Yinka Odumakin, also said irregularities had taken place, but any challenge would come after the vote count.
Mr Jonathan's campaign team said they would not comment publicly until the election commission had formally declared all the results in the capital Abuja. That announcement is expected later on Monday.
While past polls have been marred by widespread violence and vote-fixing, Saturday's seemed to go generally smoothly.
Voters in many areas queued patiently for hours despite intense heat to cast their votes.
The head of the African Union observer team, former Ghanaian President John Kufuor, told the BBC he was satisfied.
"Nigeria hasn't been served too well for decades electorally, but to our pleasant surprise we found the people of Nigeria generally are the security against this," said Mr Kufuor.
"All of them co-operating to give the nation a befitting election."
There has been tension and violence in other parts of the north and officials' homes were burned, amid rigging allegations.
A curfew was imposed on Sunday in Gombe state because of rioting. Unrest was also reported in parts of Adamawa, Sokoto, Katsina and Bauchi states.
There were several explosions on polling day, including one at a hotel in Kaduna state and another in the Borno state capital of Maiduguri.
Jonathan came to power last year when his predecessor died in office following a lengthy illness.Goodluck, the former governor of southern Bayelsa state, was born to a family of canoe makers in the riverine town of Otuoke situated in the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
He is the first President to come from the Southern minority group that has been agitating for resource control since petroleum exploration started in the early 70s.
Nigerians turned out in a large numbers at polling centres across the country on Saturday in what they hoped will be the first credible presidential election for decades in Africa's most populous nation. There was no sign of the chaos and violence that has dogged past elections although two bombs panicked voters in the troubled northeastern city of Maiduguri.