Party of Nigeria's defeated president wins oil hub Rivers state

By Tife Owolabi
Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan casts his ballot in his ward at Otuoke, Bayelsa State March 28, 2015. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

By Tife Owolabi

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria (Reuters) - The party of Nigeria's outgoing president Goodluck Jonathan won a landslide victory in the governorship election for the key oil-producing Rivers state, officials said on Monday.

There was no immediate comment from the People's Democratic Party's (PDP) main rival, the All Progressives Congress (APC), but the defeated candidate had already described the poll as a "sham", citing failures by organizers and security services.

Jonathan's PDP took the southern state with 1,029,120 votes, against just 124,896 cast for the APC, the electoral commission said.

Jonathan lost the presidency to APC candidate Muhammadu Buhari in decisive elections last month that were considered the freest and fairest yet in Africa's biggest oil producer and economy.

The parties faced off again on Saturday in elections for Nigeria's powerful state governors, who control budgets larger than those of some small nations.

Voting had to be extended into Sunday in some areas in several states including Rivers due to ballot box snatching and violence. In some, polls have been delayed even longer.

The electoral commission reported 66 instances of violence at polling stations, with the highest number in Rivers and other southern states.

Rivers state defeated incumbent governor Amaechi defected from the PDP to the APC two years ago and has been feuding with President Goodluck Jonathan ever since.

"The entire process is a sham because INEC (the Independent National Electoral Commission) and security agents have not lived up to the desired expectations," Amaechi said on Saturday.

In south-eastern Akwa-Ibom state the APC and protesters, who blocked INEC headquarters in state capital Uyo on Sunday, called for the cancellation of elections.

Muhammadu Buhari does not take power as president until May 29.

(Writing by Julia Payne; Editing by Andrew Heavens)