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Lagos governor re-elected in win for Nigeria’s ruling party

Babajide Sanwo-Olu of the All Progressive Congress led the vote by a clear margin over his nearest rival from the Labor Party.

The governor of Lagos has easily won his re-election in local elections with low turnout, figures show. This marked a victory for Nigeria’s governing party just weeks after the commercial capital backed the opposition in a disputed presidential election.

Incumbent Babajide Sanwo-Olu of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) party had more than 736,000 votes after counting votes in districts representing 95 percent of voters on Sunday, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

His closest rival, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour of the Labor Party, won 292,000 votes, according to INEC figures.

The turnout was only a small fraction of the seven million registered voters in Africa’s largest megacity, with a population of more than 20 million.

The Lagos election was the most popular among races for powerful governorships in 28 of Nigeria’s 36 states, as well as state assemblies across the country.

The race in Lagos was expected to be tense after Labor opposition candidate Peter Obi received the most votes in the state in last month’s disputed presidential election, won overall by the APC’s Bola Tinubu.

Tinubu himself is a former governor of Lagos, who administered the state from 1999 to 2007 and has since been seen as instrumental in choosing his successors there, including Sanwo-Olu.

Obi has said rampant fraud has robbed him of victory, and political analysts said the handling of last month’s presidential election may have discouraged some voters from taking part in Saturday’s regional polls.

Some INEC officials presenting the results in Lagos on Sunday reported that some ballot boxes had been stolen, but said it was not widespread enough to affect the outcome of the vote.

Voting was postponed until Sunday at 10 polling stations in a Lagos neighborhood after disagreements between INEC officials and voters over the location of the polling stations. The final results were expected later.

Governors have great influence in Africa’s most populous nation, and their support can help decide who becomes president.

Some governors preside over states whose annual budgets exceed those of some small African countries. Lagos has an annual budget of $4 billion.

In northeastern Adamawa, a conservative and largely Muslim state, election officials were gathering the results after a race that could see Nigeria’s first female elected governor.

Voters continued to cast their ballots in two districts of the oil-producing state of Rivers, where INEC was unable to provide voting materials.