Nigerian election: Jonathan calls rival to concede defeat

Muhammadu Buhari has won Nigeria’s elections in the country's first election victory by the opposition.

The Nigerian flag flies in Lagos. Picture: AFP.

ABUJA - Nigeria's presidential poll has been won by Muhammadu Buhari in the country's first election victory by an opposition candidate.

Buhari won Nigeria's presidential election with 15,4 million votes against incumbent Goodluck Jonathan's 13,3 million, according to a Reuters tally of votes in all of its 36 states.

Jonathan conceded defeat and congratulated the former military ruler, who last came to power in Nigeria via a coup in 1993.

Buhari had been claiming victory for a few hours insisting Jonathan's acceptance of defeat was "just a matter of time".

The transition is a victory for democracy in Africa and passes the ultimate test of a peaceful transfer of power.

Jonathan's Peoples Democratic Party has been in power since 1999.

Security forces were bracing themselves for the loser of last Saturday's election crying foul.

Buhari now has his work cut out keeping his promises, as a tough military man, to defeat the insurgency of Islamist terror group Boko Haram.

JONATHAN CALLS RIVAL TO CONCEDE DEFEAT

The Nigerian president telephoned Buhari to congratulate him on winning this weekend's election, a spokesperson for Buhari's All Progressives Congress (APC) said.

"At about 5 minutes to 5, President Jonathan called General Muhammadu Buhari, the winner of the elections, to congratulate him," APC spokesman Lai Mohammed said.

"I think he conceded defeat. There had always been this fear that he might not want to concede but he will remain a hero for this move. The tension will go down dramatically," he added.

"Anyone who tries to foment trouble on the account that they have lost the election will be doing so purely on his own."

Earlier today, the APC declared victory before all the votes were counted and said the country was "witnessing history".

"This is the first time in Nigeria that a sitting government will be voted out of power using purely democratic means," APC spokesman Lai Mohammed told Reuters at the house in the capital where Buhari was watching the results come in.

"The people of Nigeria have taken over."

He said the APC had no reason to doubt that Jonathan would concede defeat.

Bar some technical glitches and the killing of more than a dozen voters by Boko Haram militants in the northeast, the election has been the smoothest and most orderly in recent history, a factor that appears to have played in the outcome.