Voting has taken place sufficiently smoothly in Nigeria and official results should be available within two or three days. There have been sporadic reports of the late arrival of ballot papers and election commission staff, voter intimidation, isolated violence in, for example, Lagos and Rivers state, and a bomb attack in Maiduguri (in Borno state in the northeast, claimed by Islamic State West Africa Province). In previously completed elections there is a precedent for greater disruption than so far reported in both the campaign and voting phases.
Of course, the key test for an orderly election remains acceptance of results or a non-violent appeal by the declared loser. None of the partisan claims which usually flood social media at this stage of an election informs the likely result, nor the likelihood of an orderly outcome. While Nigeria remains vulnerable to security disruption (Islamic State in the northeast, herder-farmer clashes in the middle belt, militants in the oil-producing Delta in the south) and protest (Biafran autonomy in the southeast) there is, as yet, no evidence, from the day of voting, to suggest a change in the level of these risks. The fact that both main contenders hail from the northwest suggests there is less at stake this time compared to 2015 (which pitted a northern candidate against a southern one).
Our views going into this election were that the result is too close to call and a pro-business push is more likely if Atiku wins. Buhari benefits from incumbency but also has a lower approval rating just prior to the election than his predecessor in 2015, Jonathan, and many of the political barons who supported his successful campaign last time have defected to the challenger, Atiku. A Buhari victory likely results in more of the same (priority given to security, anti-corruption and stability rather than economic growth) whereas an Atiku one likely leads to a pro-business push (FX rate harmonisation, change of central bank leadership, faster public project implementation, albeit in the face of the same challenge to overcome vested interests in implementing structural reform of, for example, the oil sector).
We will update our views as events unfold, specifically announcements from the election commission and comments from both main challengers or independent election observers.