Early results from Nigeria’s toughest election since the end of military dictatorship in 1999 have begun to come in.
According to official results from the southwest Nigerian state of Ekiti, candidate Bola Tinubu of the ruling party won handily in one of his strongholds.
Upcoming results won’t be properly published until Monday at 10:00 GMT.
Voting was delayed till Sunday in various parts of the nation because of prolonged delays and attacks on a few polling places on Saturday.
In several places, voting went on all night.
In particular, among young people, who make up approximately one-third of the 87 million eligible voters, turnout seems to be strong.
As a result, it is Africa’s largest democratic exercise.
The two-party system that has ruled Nigeria for the past 24 years has faced an unprecedented challenge in the election.
Atiku Abubakar of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and Peter Obi of the previously unknown Labour Party are all viewed as probable winners. There are 15 other people running for president.
To be crowned the victor, a candidate must receive the most votes and 25% of the total ballots cast in 26 of Nigeria’s 36 states.
If not, there will be a run-off in 21 days, which is unprecedented in Nigerian history.
Saturday’s voting was marred by long delays at polling stations, as well as scattered reports of ballot-box snatching and attacks by armed men, especially in southern areas, where Mr. Obi has strong backing.
Dr Nkem Okoli was just about to vote in the Lekki district of the biggest city Lagos when masked men attacked the polling station.
“There was pandemonium. There were bottles flying everywhere,” she told the BBC. “They broke [the ballot box]. They stole the phones of the officials. Now we can’t vote.”
In some areas, voting did not begin until around 18:00 local time – three-and-a-half hours after polls were due to close.
First-time voter Susan Ekpoh told the BBC that she spent 13 hours at her polling station in the capital, Abuja, only leaving at midnight
Long queues at the polls on Saturday and sporadic claims of ballot boxes being stolen and armed men attacking voters marred the election, especially in the south, where Mr. Obi has considerable support.
In the Lekki neighborhood of Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos, Dr. Nkem Okoli was ready to cast his ballot when masked thugs assaulted the polling place.
“There was utter chaos. bottles were flying everywhere “She spoke to the BBC. “[The ballot box] was broken. The authorities’ phones were taken by the thieves. We are no longer able to vote.”
Voting did not start in several places until about 18:00 local time or three and a half hours after the polls were scheduled to close.
Susan Ekpoh, a first-time voter, told the BBC that she spent 13 hours in her polling place in Abuja, the capital.
She claimed that when it became dark, election officials claimed they required light to see what they were doing; as a result, she and other participants illuminated the scene with their car headlights.
It is unclear how many portions of the nation saw voting postponed; the southern Bayelsa state was one among those where voting was delayed till Sunday.