Buhari's party makes gains in local elections

Results seen as key victory for party of president-elect

The All Progressives Congress (APC) party of Nigeria's president-elect Muhammadu Buhari has retained the key Lagos state governorship according to official results released following the 11 April nationwide poll to elect 29 governors and all 36 state assemblies.

So far the APC has won at least 20 of the 29 governor posts, compared to the six currently claimed by the PDP which has suffered its biggest defeat since military ruled ended in 1999.

There are still three states where the official results are inconclusive but the APC has secured a majority, ending the PDP's 16-year rule and causing a radical shake-up of Nigeria's political landscape. Elections were not held in seven of the 36 states where the tenures of their governors are yet to expire.

The APC victory of Nigeria's commerical capital consolidates the power of Buhari who beat outgoing president Goodluck Jonathan of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) in the 28 March election, and comes ahead of Buhari's inauguration as Nigerian president on 29 May.

The win is regarded as important for Buhari's party, an alliance of four opposition parties that merged in 2013, as Lagos generates up to one third of Nigeria's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The result means that for the first time since Nigeria's transition to democracy in 1999 the governor of Lagos and the country's president are from the same party.

Voter turn-out on 11 April was reportedly lower than in the presidential election a fortnight earlier, with violence at polling stations a significant factor in keeping people away. At least 10 people were killed in election-related violence in the days leading up to polling day, while more than a dozen people were killed during the presidential election, blamed on the Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

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