Attahiru Jega
Attahiru Jega, chairman of Nigeria's Independent National Electoral Commission, speaks at a news conference in the country's capital city of Abuja. Reuters

With just three states left to count, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan is trailing challenger Muhammadu Buhari by 3 million votes, according to a Reuters tally of election results. Jonathan of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party had won 11 million votes, while Buhari of the All Progressives Congress opposition had won 14 million votes from the 33 states counted so far on Tuesday.

But as Nigerians anxiously awaited the rest of the results at the International Conference Center in Abuja on Tuesday, officials of Jonathan’s PCP disrupted the meeting and petitioned against the results being declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission. Peter Godsday Orubebe, a PCP vote-counting agent and former Niger Delta minister, grabbed the microphone at the podium and accused INEC Chairman Attahiru Jega of bias. Orubebe said he would not allow the tallying of results to continue until Jega and other election officials return to their offices and “address PDP complaints,” the Premium Times in Nigeria reported.

“We have raised issues about results in Kano, in Kaduna, Jigawa and Katsina, and yet you have done nothing about it. You are biased. You are partial. You are tribalistic,” Orubebe said to Jega at the central vote-counting site, according to the Daily Post in Nigeria. “We don’t believe in you anymore. You are compromised. And we won’t take it from you.”

After 30 minutes of heated exchange, Orubebe was led away from the podium. Jega dismissed the allegations and resumed announcing results from various states. “I reject the so-called petition because it was brought to me while I was at the hall presenting results,” he said, according to Turkey's Anadolu news agency. “It is improper for any party agent to do so. For that reason, I do not take it, because other party agents and the media could be watching.”

In order to win the presidency, a candidate must garner more than 50 percent of all valid votes and at least 25 percent of the vote in two-thirds of Nigeria’s 36 states. If no candidate wins by this measure, Nigeria will hold a runoff election seven days later. Parties have 30 days from the election to legally challenge final poll results.