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Nigeria's Ruling Party Wins Majority of States in Regional Elections


Partial results from Nigeria's state and legislative elections indicate the ruling party has won victories in 20 of 36 states. Meanwhile, in the most densely populated state of Lagos, opposition candidates were victorious. Sarah Simpson has details from Lagos.

According to results from polling in Lagos state, Babatunde Fashola of the opposition Action Congress party won a decisive victory in the race for governor.

Analysts Charles Dokubo of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, based in Lagos, says he was not surprised by the victory. He says there is such dislike for President Olusegun Obasanjo and his ruling People's Democratic Party.

"The dislike for the president in this part of the country is palpable," he said. "For the president to make an inroad into the politics of Lagos would have been a very difficult one for many Nigerians to swallow. So the elections in Lagos were not only free and fair - they were free from fear."

State governors can potentially have a significant impact on Nigerians' lives - controlling millions of dollars of oil revenue dispersed from the federal government for spending on services like health and education.

Nigeria's electoral commission says the ruling People's Democratic Party won in three southern oil producing states -- Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers -- all part of the Niger Delta.

The commission said turn out was high in those states, but many voters said they struggled to find a polling booth.

The Niger Delta experienced some of the worst voting-day violence. Police say most of the violence was between rival supporters attempting to steal ballot boxes and ballot papers.

The European Union had declined to send a team of election observers to the Niger Delta states over security fears.

This weekend's elections are seen as a litmus test for presidential elections on Saturday, when President Olusegun Obasanjo will have to step down after completing his maximum two consecutive terms in office.

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