By YUSUF MOHAMMED

This is one of the most keenly contested elections since the return of democracy in 1999.

President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress APC is up against a former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. Both candidates are from the northern part of Nigeria. They are also Muslims.

As it stands now, Atiku is leading in the North Central as projected while Buhari is leading in the North West and North East.

In the South West which should be another stronghold of the APC, Atiku is also pulling votes based on the results we have seen thus far.

The South East is a no go area for the APC as PDP has swept almost all the nook and crannies in this zone.
In the South South, PDP also hold sway But there is a fierce battle going on in Rivers and Akwa Ibom States.
It is a battle of ego. In Rivers to start with, the Minister of Transport, Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi is doing everything within his powers to ensure that Buhari gets substantial votes. A poor outing in Rivers, a state he governed for eight years may cast doubts on his political clout.

On the other hand, Nyesom Wike, the governor of the state wants to make sure he delivers no fewer than the votes he delivered for Jonathan in 2015. Those who are conversant with Rivers politics would agree that there is no love lost between Wike and Amaechi, the two main political figures in from Rivers today.

In Akwa Ibom State, a former governor of the state, Sen. Godswill Akpabio is not only trying to help Buhari get some substantial number of votes, he is also fighting the battle of his life. He was on the ballot yesterday. If he did not assert himself enough, those voting against Buhari in his senatorial district may have also vote against him.

According to Ben Umosen who spoke with Business Hallmark on the phone, “We are not used to voting any party other than PDP. This may cost Akpabio his reelection.”

This morning, the candidate of the PDP, Atiku expressed confidence of winning following the results that have trickled in so far.

In a statement, Sunday, by his Special Assistant on Public communication, Mr. Phrank Shaibu, Atiku commended Nigerians for turning out in large numbers to vote for him.

He said, “I would like to sincerely thank millions of people who, despite having to bear the additional burden of a postponed election, came out yesterday to vote for me and the other PDP candidates standing in this election.

“With strong shares of vote in South South, South East as well as an increased share in the South West and North Central, we are very pleased with the progress the PDP has made.
“We look forward to sharing some exciting news in other parts of the country very soon, which will confound all the armchair pundits.

“The people of Nigeria can take solace that very soon, the living nightmare of the last four years will come to an end so that together, we will get Nigeria working again,” he said.

President Muhammadu Buhari has not said a word. We will keep Nigerians posted.