Sunday, December 6, 1998 Published at 08:49 GMT
Monitors cheer Nigeria polls
Nigerian voters show off their polling cards
International observers have praised Nigeria's local elections, saying they augur well for state and national elections due early next year.
The elections are the first stage in the military government's plan to restore the country to civilian rule by next May.
The Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, said he was delighted at the evident enthusiasm of Nigerians towards the first polls in the transition to democracy.
In second place is the All Peoples Party (APP), made up of politicians that formerly backed General Abacha.
A third party, the Alliance for Democracy (AD), cleaned up in the southwest of the country and Nigeria's biggest city Lagos.
Top three go ahead
Of the nine participating parties it is thought only the top three will attract enough votes to proceed to January's state elections.
Politicians are now likely to embark on a frenetic few weeks of bargaining and deal-making as they seek to secure their own positions in Nigeria's emerging democratic landscape.
The PDP had a successful campaign of alliance building between Nigeria's various ethnic groups and regions.
But the AD gained from the majority ethnic Yoruba voting for them en masse.
But the BBC's Lagos Correspondent Barnaby Phillips says although General Obasanjo is popular in northern Nigeria, many Yorubas feel he has betrayed their interests too often in the past.
Turnout was high and with voting having passed off relatively peacefully, Nigeria's military government has taken encouragement from the poll.
The only reported violence took place in the Niger Delta, where six people died when rival supporters clashed at a remote polling station.