News February 27, 2019 at 07:23 am

Nigeria has chosen to stick with a 76-year-old president for the next four years

Mildred Europa Taylor | Head of Content

Mildred Europa Taylor February 27, 2019 at 07:23 am

February 27, 2019 at 07:23 am | News

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. Pic credit: The Guardian Nigeria

Nigeria has chosen to stick with a 76-year-old president for the next four years. Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has been re-elected for a second four-year term, results from Saturday’s national election confirm.

The 76-year-old defeated his main rival, Atiku Abubakar, by a margin of nearly four million votes in results, according to the results announced by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) in the early hours of Wednesday.

The opposition leader, Abubakar, rejected the results and vowed a legal challenge hours after Buhari was confirmed as the winner.

Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) got 15,191,847 (56%) while Abubakar claimed 11,262,978 (41%) of votes in the election.

“The new administration will intensify its efforts in security, restructuring the economy and fighting corruption,” Buhari said after his victory was officially announced.

Generally, turn out was a record low at just 35.6%. Buhari performed well in the north, while Abubakar took over the south and east, according to an analysis by the BBC.

Overall, Buhari won in 19 of the 36 states and his main challenger took control of 17 states including the capital, Abuja.

Nigerians finally headed to the polls for the country’s presidential and parliamentary elections last Saturday after a last-minute postponement a week prior angered many voters.

A total of 73 presidential candidates participated in the election, however, incumbent leader, Buhari, and former Vice President Abubakar were the main contenders.

The parties of both leaders, which have become well-established in the country, have been providing Nigeria with all its presidents since the end of military rule in 1999.

Buhari and Atiku are both from the mainly Muslim north of the country. They are in their 70s, meanwhile more than half of Nigeria’s 84 million registered voters are under 35, reflecting the country’s young population.

Buhari, a former military ruler, won the presidential election in 2015, defeating the then incumbent president, Goodluck Jonathan, with over two million votes. This was the first peaceful transition of power in the country. Buhari had campaigned on three issues: security, economy, and anti-corruption.

However, scores of Nigerians later expressed disappointment in his administration, particularly in the wake of rising poverty and corruption.

Buhari, whose health issues also became a cause of concern to many Nigerians, had faced charges of authoritarianism, particularly after suspending the country’s chief justice under graft issues.

His challenger, Atiku, is popular among many Nigerians as he has been vice president under Olusegun Obasanjo from 1999 to 2007. He has, since 2007, been seeking to be Nigeria’s foremost leader on various occasions but has not been successful.

The 72-year-old’s campaign was on issues of job creation and the economy. His opponents have, however, accused him of corruption dating back to his time as head of the customs service and time as vice president under Obasanjo.

Hours after the announcement that Buhari had won, Abubakar issued a statement rejecting the results.

“It is clear that there were manifest and premeditated malpractices in many states which negate the results announced…” he said.

“I hereby reject the result of the February 23, 2019, sham election and will be challenging it in court.”

Ahead of the election, there were fears of low voter participation as many Nigerians were not willing to make another journey to their cities and hometowns to vote following the prior delay.

There were also security fears after some heated campaigns in the run-up to the election and other cases of election-related violence left dozens dead and scores injured.

At least 39 people were killed in election-related violence, according to the Situation Room, a coalition of more than 70 civic organizations that monitored the elections.

The death toll is, however, lower than the figure recorded in the previous national election.

During and after the 2015 election, at least 100 people were killed in violence that erupted, according to the International Crisis Group.

Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, has one of the fastest-growing populations in the world, and one of the largest youth populations.

Despite being Africa’s biggest economy, an estimated 91 million Nigerians are now impoverished, the highest number in any country in the world, according to The Brookings Institution.

With Buhari given another four years, his task would be to tackle the issues of unemployment, corruption, and security challenges, including Boko Haram insurgents.

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