Nigeria Elects New President

Opposition leader Muhammadu Buhari has swept to victory in Nigeria’s presidential election, a historic moment in the country’s democracy as an incumbent leader was defeated at the ballot box for the first time.
The 72-year old retired general Mr Buhari and his All Progressives Congress Party (APC) defeated incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan and his People’s Democratic Party (PDP) after a hard fought election campaign
The declaration of Borno state result gave Mr Buhari overall victory by more than two million votes after more than 28 million had been cast.
Mr Buhari led the country as part of a military dictatorship around 30 years ago, when he became known for his draconian “war against indiscipline”. He has hailed himself as a ‘’born-again democrat’’ which has helped propel him towards presidency at his fourth attempt. Despite the brutally repressive regime headed by Mr Buhari in the 1980s, people are putting enormous faith in him.
His fierce denunciation of corruption and his frugal lifestyle appeal to the poor, who make up the majority of Nigerians. Many of them think it will take a former general to root out the corruption rampant in the upper echelons of the army and to defeat the jihadists. “We will end Boko Haram,” his party’s posters promised.
Mr Jonathan called Mr Buhari to congratulate him on his win. “At about five minutes to five, President Jonathan called General Muhammadu Buhari, the winner of the elections, to congratulate him,” APC spokesman Lai Mohammed told reporters at the party’s headquarters in Abuja. “There had always been this fear that he might not want to concede but he will remain a hero for this move,” he added.
Supports of the APC were also out in force in Lagos and Abuja, with flags waving and car horns blaring.
The most fiercely fought election in Nigeria’s history was too much for a PDP official, Godsday Orubebe, a former minister disrupted the result announcements accusing the electoral commission chairman, Attahiru Jega, of being biased against the PDP. Mr Orubebe grabbed a microphone and for 30 minutes loudly objected to the electoral commission (INEC) investigating complaints from Mr Buhari’s APC in Rivers state, and not those of the PDP in Kaduna, Kano and Katsina.
The defeated president, Goodluck Jonathan, graciously conceded defeat, acknowledging that the rule of his People’s Democratic Party, unbroken since the generals gave way to a civilian government in 1999, had ended.
Mr Buhari, a northern Muslim who led a coup in 1983, had fought the three previous elections in vain. This time he won all the northern states but also made inroads in the south and centre, easily meeting the electoral requirement that the winner must get at least a quarter of the votes in two-thirds of the 36 states to show support across the tribal and sectarian spectrum.
The party has a lot to prove. It has proclaimed itself the harbinger of change, winning over voters disgusted by their government’s dishonesty and its failure to end an Islamist insurgency in the north-east that has cost at least 15,000 lives.
The poll was still marred by technical glitches, Boko Haram terror and concerns that the electoral commission might succumb to political interference in collating the figures. But Attahiru Jega, the commission’s head, has received well-deserved plaudits for maintaining his independence in overseeing the process. He withstood government pressure to ban new permanent voter cards and biometric readers which, despite teething problems, made box-stuffing harder
The current government has another two months in power. A peaceful handover at the end of May would send a telling signal to leaders elsewhere in Africa, some of whom want to breach their constitutional term limits. Meanwhile Nigerians hope that their first-ever ejection of an incumbent president at the ballot box marks the maturing of their democracy. “If things are not better with Buhari”, says Aisha Musa, a housewife in Kano, “we will get rid of him in four years’ time.”
By Editor in Chief

Author: nmmin

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