Who’s leading the Nigeria election? All to know about the results

Voters and observer missions have highlighted failures of the electoral commission and violence at polling units as election results are awaited.

official holds up a ballot paper
An Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) official holds up a ballot paper during the counting process at a polling station in Egbeda, Lagos, on February 25, 2023, during Nigeria's presidential and general election. [Benson Ibeabuchi / AFP] (AFP)

On February 25, millions of Nigerians went to the polls across its 36 states and the federal capital, Abuja, to elect a new president and lawmakers to the two houses of the National Assembly.

Three days later, the results are yet to be announced and there is no indication of when that will be.

Indeed, Al Jazeera verified that as of 10:54 am (09:54 GMT), only 46 percent or 81,569 result sheets of the 176,846 polling units nationwide, had been uploaded to the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) portal. In Abuja, INEC announced results from only 14 states.

There have also been numerous allegations of voter suppression and intimidation, as well as outright rigging in parts of the country.

Here is more about the election and things as they currently stand in Nigeria.

What offices are up for the vote?

Elections were held for the 109 senatorial districts and 360 constituencies in Nigeria’s bicameral federal legislature on February 25, the same day as the presidential election.

On March 11, 28 of the 36 states will hold the governorship and state parliament elections.

Who is running for the presidency?

Eighteen candidates ran in the election but the top four contenders are:

  • Bola Tinubu, a two-term former governor of Lagos and a major stalwart of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
  • The People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP) Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president, gunning for the position for a record sixth time.
  • The Labour Party’s (LP) Peter Obi, a two-time former governor of Anambra.
  • Rabiu Kwankwaso, ex-defence minister and former governor of the northern hub Kano, is on the New Nigerian People’s Party (NNPP) ticket.

How do the elections work?

  • To win the presidency, a candidate must get the most votes and win at least 25 percent of votes cast in two-thirds of Nigeria’s 36 states.
  • If no candidate meets these criteria, a run-off will be held within 21 days, with the top two candidates participating.
  • INEC used the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) to accredit voters using biometrics, and upload results after physical ballot papers had been used to cast votes.

Who is leading the election?

  • At the INEC collation centre in Abuja, results have been called from only 19 states.
  • Tinubu and Abubakar are each leading in 7 states. Obi, leading in 4 states, and Kwankwaso, leading in 1 state are in third and fourth places respectively.
  • But Tinubu is leading in the popular vote, with a third of the total votes so far.
  • Given the current results, it is still hard to tell whether a run-off could happen.
  • But many voters, journalists and civil society experts nationwide have expressed dissatisfaction with the conduct of the elections, alleging widespread voter intimidation, suppression and disenfranchisement.

What has gone wrong?

  • Voting had to be extended into Sunday in a few parts of the country after some glitches.
  • In some cases, INEC officials did not show up or showed up without sufficient knowledge of the BVAS.
  • At the Awada Primary School in Onitsha on Saturday, Al Jazeera watched as more than 1,000 people who had been waiting for hours – some since 7am – complain about officials arriving a little after noon. Voting began slowly after a Catholic priest who was also there to vote, intervened and aided the officials.
  • INEC has also been slow to upload result sheets from the polling units to the server. This has led to concerns about the transparency of the elections.
  • In a statement on Monday, the European Union observer mission said INEC “lacked efficient planning and transparency during critical stages of the electoral process”.
  • On election day, the statement added, trust in the electoral commission was reduced further because of “delayed polling processes and information gaps related to much anticipated access to results on its Results Viewing Portal (IReV)”.
  • There were also uploading errors with the sheets. In some cases, Al Jazeera noticed that there was a mismatch; for instance, at one polling unit in Ajah, Lagos, the uploaded sheet was for another in Lafia in Nasarawa, more than 925km (574 miles) away.


There is a long-running pattern of violence in Nigeria’s elections, even though the frequency and intensity of the events have always varied.

  • Since Saturday, a number of young people posted footage on social media showing the disruption of the electoral process by groups of attackers believed to be political supporters.
  • Anietie Ewang, Nigeria researcher of the Human Rights Watch wrote in a note on Monday that there were reported incidents of violence in Rivers, Kogi, Edo, and Imo. “Elections should not be a risky affair where citizens like [Bina] Efidi put their lives at risk to vote and have a say in their country’s future,” she wrote, referencing the case of a young voter in Lagos who suffered deep cuts around her eye after unknown attackers struck her with a sharp object. The incident happened in Surulere, Lagos.
  • In another Surulere polling unit, Emmanuel Akinwotu and Aanu Adeoye, West Africa correspondents of the Financial Times and NPR were present when masked gunmen interrupted the voting and made away with the ballot box, shooting as they entered and exited.


Source: Al Jazeera