Violence Mars Goodluck Jonathan's Win In Nigeria Vote

On Saturday, Nigeria accomplished something that even four years ago seemed impossible: it held peaceful and legitimate elections.

Proving the skeptics and the fear-mongerers wrong, Nigerians marched to the polls and waited for hours in the blazing sun and stifling humidity to cast their ballots in the hotly contested presidential vote. But subsequent violence cast a shadow over Saturday's vote, which was widely praised as the fairest since the country abandoned military rule since 1999.

The vote pitted incumbent Goodluck Jonathan, a southern Christian from the oil-rich delta, against one-time military ruler and northerner Muhammadu Buhari. Mr. Buhari, who has staked his reputation on his sometimes brutal intolerance for corruption in a country rife with it, was strongly favored in the north, but Mr. Jonathan – who polled as high as 99.8 perfect in his home state of Bayelsa – took the victory.

The results of the vote indicate a deepening divide between the north and the south – one that President Jonathan, who rose to power when his predecessor died in office, may find difficult to bridge.

"All the northern states don't like Jonathan, that is the message clearly out," says Halima Ben Umar, a women’s rights activist in the northern city of Kano who like many other northerners was dismayed when it became apparent Sunday night that Jonathan would win.

Want to keep up with the Monitor's best stories? Sign up for our daily World Editor's Picks newsletter.

On Sunday, as results from each of Nigeria's 36 states were read on live national television, tension began to build among northerners whose rallying cry during the campaign was "Only Buhari!"

By mid-morning on Monday, young men had taken to the streets in several northern cities, armed with wooden planks and lighter fuel, apparently motivated to protest the results. The mobs quickly turned violent and began burning wood and tires to create inf
NTV Kenya