KADUNA, Nigeria — The United States and Britain said Monday that Nigeria’s election results “may be subject to deliberate political interference,” a harsh warning issued just as the official vote count began in a crucial election for Africa’s most populous country.
The statement from Secretary of State John F. Kerry and British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said there were “disturbing indications” that such interference would mar the bitterly contested race.
The final election results from Saturday’s election are expected Tuesday, but concerns of fraud could delay the process. The country’s election commission started releasing its state-by-state tally of vote counts on Monday afternoon, but it later announced that it would investigate allegations of electoral fraud in at least one state.
The vote marks a pivotal moment for this democracy of 170 million and for the region as a whole. Many observers worry that an election perceived as fraudulent could lead to violence and bitter divisions in the country as it takes on a persistent insurgency and long-standing economic problems.