Nigeria elections: Your views

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has appealed for an end to "unnecessary and avoidable" post-election violence across the north of the country.

Incumbent Mr Jonathan has been declared winner in the presidential poll, with the electoral commission saying he received about 57% of the vote.

BBC News website readers across Nigeria have been responding to the country's political developments. Here is a selection of their comments.

Emmanuel Isaiah, Port Harcourt

Image caption Nigerians cast their ballots

My wife and I voted for the first time in Nigeria because we believe change is coming to our country.

For the first time in a long time we have a leader who believes, and has shown, that every vote must count.

Most people, including my wife and I, voted for Mr Goodluck Jonathan and not the PDP.

We believe he is a sincere leader and committed to making a change.

Mr Goodluck Jonathan, like many people in this country, knows what it means to go to bed without food in the midst of so much wealth being looted by corrupt politicians.

We believe he will change Nigeria.

Daniel Morrison, Delta

The People's Democratic Party (PDP) will be a disaster to Nigerians as far as I am concerned. They have nothing to offer us, except four more years of bomb blasts, bad roads, no electricity supply and enriching themselves.

They have been in power for 12 years and have nothing to show for it.

For a good 12 years no single federal road has been refurbished.

We do not have a good health care system and 70% of the last budget was spent on government officials.

Valentine Utulu, Lagos

Image caption "Nigeria needs focused, bold and determined leadership now"

I voted for Goodluck Jonathan and not for any party. Ideological differences in Nigerian party politics does not exist.

All the political parties seem to be clones of one another and so the people make choices based on their assessment of the particular candidate.

This is shown when the voting pattern of the National Assembly elections is compared to the presidential polls.

The patterns were radically different. I believe Goodluck's election on a popular mandate will embolden him to take the very necessary decisions he must now take.

Prior to this he was limping along like [former UK Prime Minister] Gordon Brown, a leader in an elective post who had not won an election.

Now he is on the verge of winning.

Nigeria needs focused, bold and determined leadership now.

AJ, Kano

Elections were peaceful in Kano but money politics have played a significant role, with allegations from some quarters that the ruling PDP allocated three billion Niara to Kano alone in order to woo voters.

In Bichi, north of Kano city, there have been reports of two vehicles carrying ballot papers already thumb printed for the PDP, being burnt to ashes.

There are reports from the south-east of the country that voters should only vote for the ruling party or they will be harmed.

And results from Bayelsa state, where the president hails from, show discrepancies in the total number of registered voters and total number of votes casts.

The election has also divided the country into religious and ethnic politics, which is very unhealthy for the unity and development of the country in general.

In conclusion, the election can be called historic not because it was free and fair, but because it was peaceful.

Emmanuel Edibo, Abuja

As far as this election is concerned, Nigerians voted for personalities rather than parties.

The voting pattern in this election suggested that President Jonathan is widely accepted by Nigerians.

The key to this is the manner in which he presented himself to the people, by his avowed stance at ensuring that votes count this time.

His humility and honesty has equally endeared him to the people across the country.

Hence, it's not about PDP's victory, rather it's about the trust that people now have in Goodluck Jonathan.

He's poised to contribute his best towards delivering Nigeria out of the doldrums of decadence it's been in, in spite of its enormous wealth.

Ifechukwu Justin, Abuja

Having participated in last Saturday's presidential elections, I think this is the PDP's last chance to redeem its image after 12 years of governance.

I'm convinced that for the first time in the history of this country the voice of the Nigerian people is being heard.

For the first time, Nigerians truly decided on who should lead them.

If the PDP-led government fails this time, in the next four years, surely we have no choice but to vote them out.

Okafor Paul, Nnewi

I believe PDP presidency under Goodluck Jonathan will bring good change to Nigeria's governance.

For many months now, there have not been queues at petrol stations and price for petrol remains the same since Dr Jonathan became the president.

Electricity supply is improving gradually and I foresee a Nigeria where all citizens will have equal opportunity to employment and national grants shall be awarded on merit and not on tribal sentiments.

I pray the current PDP leadership will change the tribal or ethnic mentality that had been holding the nation down since independence.

May Almighty God grant us peace and unity to enjoy our God-given natural resources.

Aminu Mohd, Kano

As a citizen I voted hoping for a change of the way we were ruled these past 12 years, but it seems to no avail.

This time round, the PDP used a new system of rigging, but we are not fools.

In some states in the south the PDP got more than 90% of the votes which is not possible considering the number of parties and the low turnout of voters.

In short the PDP has made millions of Nigerians and the so-called international observers look as fools by portraying a free and fair election while taking advantage of the low turnout of voters to rig the election.

Nigeria: A nation divided

To win at the first round, a candidate not only needs the majority of votes cast, but at least 25% of the vote in two-thirds of Nigeria's 36 states. Goodluck Jonathan, of the PDP, reached that threshold in 31 states; runner-up Muhammadu Buhari of the CPC only did so in 16 states.

Nigeria's 160 million people are divided between numerous ethno-linguistic groups and also along religious lines. Broadly, the Hausa-Fulani people based in the north are mostly Muslims. The Yorubas of the south-west are divided between Muslims and Christians, while the Igbos of the south-east and neighbouring groups are mostly Christian or animist. The Middle Belt is home to hundreds of groups with different beliefs, and around Jos there are frequent clashes between Hausa-speaking Muslims and Christian members of the Berom community.

Despite its vast resources, Nigeria ranks among the most unequal countries in the world, according to the UN. The poverty in the north is in stark contrast to the more developed southern states. While in the oil-rich south-east, the residents of Delta and Akwa Ibom complain that all the wealth they generate flows up the pipeline to Abuja and Lagos.

Southern residents tend to have better access to healthcare, as reflected by the greater uptake of vaccines for polio, tuberculosis, tetanus and diphtheria. Some northern groups have in the past boycotted immunisation programmes, saying they are a Western plot to make Muslim women infertile. This led to a recurrence of polio, but the vaccinations have now resumed.

Female literacy is seen as the key to raising living standards for the next generation. For example, a newborn child is far likelier to survive if its mother is well-educated. In Nigeria we see a stark contrast between the mainly Muslim north and the Christian and animist south. In some northern states less than 5% of women can read and write, whereas in some Igbo areas more than 90% are literate.

Nigeria is Africa's biggest oil producer and among the biggest in the world but most of its people subsist on less than $2 a day. The oil is produced in the south-east and some militant groups there want to keep a greater share of the wealth which comes from under their feet. Attacks by militants on oil installations led to a sharp fall in Nigeria's output during the last decade. But in 2010, a government amnesty led thousands of fighters to lay down their weapons.

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