A ballot box filled with ballot is pictured before being counted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at a polling station in Yenagoa in Bayelsa State ~ PIUS UTOMI EKPEI
Abuja - The African Union on Monday praised the conduct of Nigeria's general election but urged political parties to go to court to resolve any disputes, given fears of violence.
The African Union Election Observation Mission (AUEOM) said in preliminary findings that the vote was "conducted in a peaceful atmosphere within the framework that satisfactorily meets the continental and regional principles of democratic elections".
Teams of international observers, including from the European Union and the Commonwealth, as well as the United Nations, have been on the ground to monitor the vote, held on Saturday and Sunday.
Also read: Taraba Speaker hails conduct during election
Political campaigning has been closely run between President Goodluck Jonathan and former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari in what is the first serious opposition challenge in the country's history.
There have, however, been problems with new technology to "read" biometric voter identity cards, the non-arrival of election officials and materials plus protests about irregularities.
Some 1,000 people were killed after Jonathan beat Buhari to the presidency last time round in 2011.
The AU said the election was "generally peaceful during the accreditation as well as voting and counting processes" but said any challenges of the results should not be fought on the streets.
"The AUEOM encourages all parties to resort to legally established channels, should there be a dispute on the outcome of the process," it said in a statement.
"The AU long-term observers will continue to observe the post-electoral process."
For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page.