Nigeria’s President was declared the clear winner of the second term in Africa’s largest democracy early on Wednesday, after a campaign in which he urged voters to give him another chance to tackle gaping corruption, widespread insecurity, and an economy limping back from a rare recession.
While many frustrated Nigerians had said they wanted to give someone new a try, President Muhammadu Buhari, a former military dictator, profited from his upright reputation in an oil-rich nation weary of politicians enriching themselves instead of the people.
Speaking shortly after the announcement of the official results, Buhari told colleagues that he was “deeply humbled” by the win. Supporters began dancing in the streets of the capital, Abuja, on Tuesday night as vote counting stretched his lead from the weekend election to nearly 4 million votes over top opposition challenger Atiku Abubakar, a billionaire former vice president who made sweeping campaign promises to “make Nigeria work again.” Buhari received 15.1 million votes, or 55 per cent, the electoral commission said in making its official declaration before dawn on Wednesday.
Abubakar received 11.2 million, or 41 per cent. The average national turnout was 35.6 percent, continuing a downward trend. In a failed last-ditch effort to stop the official declaration, Abubakar’s party claimed that election data had been manipulated and demanded fresh elections in four of Nigeria’s 36 states.
Buhari’s party rejected the accusations. It also called on Abubakar, who hasn’t made a public appearance since Saturday’s election, to accept his loss gracefully and concede. “Let this nation move forward,” campaign spokesman Babatunde Fashola said.
While election observers called the process generally peaceful, at least 53 people were killed in an attack claimed by the Islamic State West Africa Province extremist group and other violence, analysis unit SBM Intelligence said.