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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

NEW PRESIDENT EMERGES IN NIGERIA-GENERAL MUHAMMADU BUHARI


General Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler and candidate of the opposition party, All Progressives Congress (APC), has won the Presidential election conducted on Saturday March 28, 2015 in Nigeria. Buhari won the heated and keenly contested vote by at least 3 million votes. The APC candidate got the highest number of votes in 21 states while Mr. Jonathan prevailed in 15 states and Abuja. After three previous failed shots at the presidency, Muhammadu Buhari is finally moving into Aso Rock, Nigeria’s presidential palace, as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Jonathan’s gesture and defeat is hugely significant and symbolic, as it has never happened before in Nigeria’s history for a sitting president to be defeated in an election.


The retired army officer’s journey to the presidency began in 2003 when he contested under the platform of the now defunct All Peoples Party, APP. That year, he got 12.7 million votes to lose to Olusegun Obasanjo, also a retired army officer, who was seeking a second term as president. Despite picking a southerner, the late Chuba Okadigbo, as a running mate, Mr. Buhari got a huge chunk of his votes from the north.

Four years later, Mr. Buhari, contesting under the ANPP, attempted another shot at the presidency, this time going head to head with a fellow northerner, Umar Yar’adua of the PDP. Again, he lost.

Despite still picking a southerner as a running mate, his performance in 2007 was far worse than that of 2003 – he polled a meagre 6.6 million votes while the eventual winner got thrice his vote.

By 2011, Mr. Buhari helped found another party, the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, and, once again, he aimed a shot at becoming president. Once again, he picked a southerner as running mate. On April, 16, 2011, he ran against the incumbent, President Jonathan. He polled 12.2 million votes to lose to Mr. Jonathan who got almost twice his votes.

After the 2011 general elections, three major political parties – the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), and Mr. Buhari’s CPC – began talks on a merger that would enable it provide a formidable platform to challenge the dominant PDP. On February 6, 2013, the APC was founded

At the APC presidential primaries in December 2014, Mr. Buhari contested against political heavyweights like Atiku Abubakar, former vice president; Rabiu Kwankwaso, governor of Kano State; and Rochas Okorocha, governor of Imo State. At the end of the day, the retired general polled 3,430 delegates votes to defeat his challengers.

For his running mate in the run up to the 2015 general election, Mr. Buhari again picked a southwesterner as a running mate. During his campaign, the 73-year-old traversed the length and breadth of the country canvassing for votes.

The 2015 presidential election was the first time Mr. Buhari won in states outside northern Nigeria, winning all the south-western states except Ekiti State.

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