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AU, ECOWAS urge calm following post-election tensions in Nigeria

The African Union and ECOWAS on Tuesday called for calm and urged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to release without further delay results of Saturday's tightly contested elections to ease political anxiety in the country.

In a joint statement, the Election Observation Missions of the two organisations said they had noted "with concern signs of increasing tensions in the country...," following the presidential and parliamentary votes.

The main opposition Peoples Democratic Party and the Labour Party, have called for the cancellation of the poll results, accusing INEC of breaching the electoral law by failing to upload the results on its viewing portal from the polling units.

At press conferences addressed by their senior officials on Tuesday, the same political parties said they had lost confidence in the INEC leadership.

Their agents walked out of the National Collation Centre in Abuja on Monday after failing in their spirited demand on the INEC Chairman Prof Mahmood Yakubu to suspend the vote collation and announcements.

They claim that the results were not uploaded as required by the electoral Act.

This was in spite of the assurances by Yakubu that the Commission would review all relevant complaints after the collation.

Two former Nigerian leaders, retired army generals Olusegun Obasanjo and Abdulsalam Abubakar have also weighed in on the controversy calling for peace, with Obasanjo joining in the call for the cancellation of the poll results to avoid setting the country "on fire,"

For their part, officials of the ruling All Progressive Congress want the ongoing vote collation and announcements of results to continue.

The party's flag bearer has taken an early lead in the results of some of the 36 states so far declared by INEC.

Balloting was delayed in some voting centres due to late arrival of election officials or materials, while the media reported incidents of thuggery, vote rigging, voter intimidation and suppression as well as vandalism and snatching of electoral materials in some voting centres in parts of the country.

The police in Lagos, the commercial capital reported the arrest of more than a dozen suspects over violence in the city.

Some INEC officials were attacked by thugs in some cases, while the Islamic extremist Boko Haram group also launched mortar attack in the North Eastern state of Borno resulting in injuries but no death.

Africa's most populous and oil-rich nation is on political teetherhooks anxiously awaiting results of the seventh round of elections since its return to civilian rule in 1999 after prolonged spells of military dictatorships##

Credit: ECOWAS



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