The Latest: As Nigeria counts votes, observers hit delays

The Latest on Nigeria's election (all times local):

1:20 p.m.

An observer mission from the United States is critical of the delays in Nigeria's election.

A joint statement by the International Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute issued Monday said that "the last-minute postponement of the election by INEC (Nigeria's electoral commission) and significant delays in the opening of polling units risk undermining citizen confidence in elections and disenfranchising voters."

The election was originally scheduled for Feb. 16 but then, just hours before polls were to open, the election was postponed a week, citing numerous logistical issues. When voting took place on Feb. 23 there were numerous delays causing many polling stations to open hours late. Some polling stations had to remain open a day later in order to allow people in line to vote.

The U.S.-based observers noted that Nigeria's major political parties remain the weak link in ensuring an inclusive election process and have issued worrisome statements.

The observers said that despite the voting issues, Nigerians have showed resilience and patience.

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Nigeria is counting votes in its presidential election and observers are giving mixed assessments of the process.

The African Union said the "overall political climate remained largely peaceful and conducive for the conducting of credible elections" but criticized poor preparation and called for calm until final results.

That could happen as early as Monday as President Muhammadu Buhari seeks a second term in Africa's most populous country.

A nationwide civil society platform of observers issued a more critical statement citing "major logistic lapses" including widespread delays and "disappointing" conduct by political parties. It called this election a step back from the one in 2015, seen as one of Nigeria's most transparent and efficient.

The Situation Room platform said at least 39 people were killed in violence related to Saturday's vote.

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Follow AP's full coverage of the Nigeria elections here: https://www.apnews.com/Nigeria