Saturday, February 27, 1999 Published at 21:11 GMT
Nigeria breaks with military past
Queues formed as soon as polling stations opened
Click here to listen to the BBC World Service Focus on Africa programme on the elections
Millions of Nigerians have voted in a presidential election set to put an end to more than 15 years of military rule.
But there was less enthusiasm in parts of the Niger delta and reports in some areas of attempts at vote-rigging.
General Obasanjo's supporters say that as a military man, he may be able to stop the soldiers seizing power again in the future. But his critics say he could become a military leader in civilian disguise.
Vote counting started as soon as the polls closed at 1330 GMT. First results are expected by Sunday.
No vote for Abubakar
In a bizarre incident, military leader General Abdulsalami Abubakar missed his opportunity to vote by five minutes.
"With what I have seen, I am very happy with the turnout," he said.
The elections are being closely monitored by foreign observers
Former US President Jimmy Carter, co-leader of the American monitoring team, said: "The turnout has been very impressive and orderly. The officials all in their posts. All voting materials in place at the right time."
Corruption and low prices for oil have bankrupted the economy and Nigerians struggle on average annual income of $300.
Hopes of smooth transition
Both presidential candidates voted in their home towns, expressing hope that the election would bury military rule.
"We are hopeful the transition to democracy will be smooth and with the rest of the world watching Nigeria will once again regain its former glory," General Obasanjo said after voting in the south-western city of Abeokuta.
His rival Mr Falae voted in his hometown Akure.
"If the election today is free and fair and peaceful and General Obasanjo wins in those circumstances, I will be the first person to congratulate him," Mr Falae said.
Both contestants are Christians and ethnic Yorubas from the south-west, and the outcome will mean a shift of power from the largely Muslim and Hausa-speaking north.
The presidential poll has been the fourth and last vote in the run-up to Nigeria's handover to democratic government.
The race for the presidency has captured far more public attention than the earlier polls, which have elected local and state governments, and parliamentary deputies