Nigeria – Buhari praises peaceful handover

Reuters

Nigeria’s Buhari praises Jonathan for peaceful handover

Nigeria's former President Goodluck Jonathan (L) and former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari pose for a photo  in Abuja March 26, 2015. REUTERS/Stringer
 

ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigerian election winner Muhammadu Buhari congratulated outgoing president Goodluck Jonathan for peacefully relinquishing power on Wednesday, a day after becoming the first Nigerian politician to unseat a sitting leader at the ballot box.

“President Jonathan was a worthy opponent and I extend the hand of fellowship to him,” Buhari told journalists and supporters to loud applause.

“We have proven to the world that we are people who have embraced democracy. We have put one-party state behind us.”

The margin of victory – Buhari got 15.4 million votes to Jonathan’s 13.3 million – was enough to prevent any legal challenge.

In an unprecedented step, Jonathan called Buhari to concede defeat and issued a statement urging his supporters to accept the result, a signal of deepening democracy in Africa’s most populous nation that few had expected.

The rules state he must officially hand over on May 29.

His rival All Progressives Congress Party (APC) wasted no time in crowning him a “hero” for his good sportsmanship.

Jonathan’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has been in charge since the end of army rule in 1999 but had been losing support due to several oil sector corruption scandals and killings by Islamist militants in the northeast.

“You voted for change and now change has come,” Buhari said.

Nigeria – Buhari hails election victory

BBC

Nigeria election: Muhammadu Buhari hails ‘vote for change’

Nigerians celebrate in Kano, 31 March
Gen Buhari beat Mr Jonathan by 15.4 million votes to 13.3 million

The winner of Nigeria’s presidential poll, Muhammadu Buhari, has hailed his victory as a vote for change and proof the nation has embraced democracy.

Mr Buhari also praised outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan as a “worthy opponent” who peacefully relinquished power.

Gen Buhari beat Mr Jonathan by 15.4 million votes to 13.3 million.

Observers have generally praised the election, though there have been allegations of fraud.

Mr Buhari, of the All Progressives Congress (APC) party, has become the first opposition candidate to win a presidential election in Nigeria.

The former military ruler said: “President Jonathan was a worthy opponent and I extend the hand of fellowship to him.

“We have proven to the world that we are people who have embraced democracy. We have put the one-party state behind us.”

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Analysis: BBC’s Will Ross in Lagos

This is a hugely significant moment in Nigeria’s turbulent history. Never before has a sitting president been defeated in an election.

Since independence from Britain in 1960, there have been numerous coups and although the 2011 vote was an improvement, most elections have been rigged or even annulled by the military.

Of course in a relatively close election, there will be millions of people who are not pleased with the outcome. But the whole process is a sign that democracy is deepening in Nigeria and may be a tonic to other countries in Africa.

Nigerians can start to believe that it is possible to remove politicians through the ballot box.

Historic moment for Nigeria

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He added: “Your vote affirms that you believe Nigeria’s future can be better than what it is today. You voted for change and now change has come.

“You, Nigerians, have won. The people have shown their love for this nation and their belief in democracy.”

On Tuesday, Mr Jonathan said in a statement: “I promised the country free and fair elections. I have kept my word.”

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Muhammadu Buhari
Mr Buhari said: “You, Nigerians, have won”

Muhammadu Buhari in focus:

  • Aged 72
  • Muslim from northern Nigeria
  • Elected president in 28 March poll
  • Military ruler of Nigeria from 1984 to 1985
  • Deposed in a coup
  • Poor human rights record
  • Seen as incorruptible
  • Disciplinarian – civil servants late for work had to do frog jumps
  • Survived an apparent Boko Haram assassination attempt
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He added: “Nobody’s ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian. The unity, stability and progress of our dear country is more important than anything else.”

He said he had conveyed his “best wishes” to Mr Buhari, and urged “those who may feel aggrieved to follow due process… in seeking redress”.

However, analysts say the margin of victory is likely to prevent any successful legal challenge.

Mr Jonathan must officially hand over power on 29 May.

Nigerians celebrate in Jos, 31 March
Nigerians in the city of Jos celebrate Mr Buhari’s victory
Supporter of Mr Buhari in Kano, 31 March
Observers have generally praised the way the election was conducted

Boko Haram

This election was the fourth time that Gen Buhari, 72, had sought the presidency.

He ruled Nigeria from January 1984 until August 1985, taking charge after a military coup in December 1983.

Mr Jonathan had led Nigeria since 2010, initially as acting leader before winning elections in 2011.

Nigeria has suffered from attacks by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which has killed thousands of people in its drive to establish an Islamic state.

Many voters have said that they believe Gen Buhari is better positioned to defeat Boko Haram.

The former military ruler dominated the country’s northern states, winning 94% of the vote in one of the worst affected, Borno.

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Nigeria – PDP to challenge election results

Punch

‎PDP vows to challenge Buhari’s ‎victory at tribunal

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The  Peoples Democratic Party has said it will challenge the outcome of the March 28 presidential election.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, through its Chairman and Chief Returning Officer, Prof. Attahiru Jega, on Wednesday morning, declared  Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari(retd.)‎ of the All Progressives Congress as the winner of the election.
The PDP through its agent at the National Collation Centre in Abuja on Wednesday, when the final result was declared, had refused to sign the result sheet despite its candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan, having earlier conceded defeat.
‎The agent of the PDP, Bello Fadile, who was in attendance when parties were being called upon to sign the result sheet, told journalists shortly after the result was declared that the party was not satisfied with the outcome of the election and had decided to challenge it at the election tribunal.
“Whether I sign it (the result sheet) or I don’t sign it,  does not make any difference. It doesn’t invalidate the result‎. When we go to court, then we can challenge the result,” Fadile said.
When asked to confirm if the PDP will challenge the result at the presidential election petitions tribunal, Fadile added, “Sure! The party petitioned. Don’t forget. So the party will follow through the petition. There are rules for this. The law is there.
“The result was declared on the 1st of April, I think. We will follow the due process. Like the president (Jonathan) said, ‘If you have any grievances, follow due process and the due process in this instance is to go to the tribunal.”

Nigeria – Buhari wins, Jonathan concedes

BBC

Nigeria election: Muhammadu Buhari wins

  • 7 minutes ago
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  • From the sectionAfrica
Breaking news

Nigerian presidential poll has been won by Muhammadu Buhari, in the country’s first election victory by the opposition.

His opponent, Goodluck Jonathan, has conceded defeat and called Gen Buhari to congratulate him on his victory.

Gen Buhari was ahead of Mr Jonathan by at least three million votes.

Observers have generally praised the election but there have been allegations of fraud, which some fear could lead to protests and violence.

This is a hugely significant moment in Nigeria’s history – never before has a sitting president lost an election, the BBC’s Will Ross reports from Abuja.

For the first time, many Nigerians feel they have the power to vote out a government that is not performing well, our correspondent adds.

Nigeria – results from 35 states and capital territory

Punch

[UPDATED] Visualisation of Presidential results in 35 states, FCT

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Remi & Jonathan, Lagos:

Kenya – report names 175 officials suspected of corruption; connection with Chinese projects

Reuters

Kenya corruption watchdog makes allegations against 175 officials

Tue Mar 31, 2015
By Edith Honan and Humphrey Malalo

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenya’s anti-graft watchdog published a report detailing corruption allegations against 175 government officials on Tuesday, with some cases involving multi-billion-dollar Chinese-backed infrastructure projects.

Five ministers have already left their positions temporarily, after President Uhuru Kenyatta made a speech last Thursday in which he directed any public official cited in the report to step aside pending investigation, regardless of rank.

The report was not made public until Tuesday, although some parts had been leaked to the media.

Kenyatta made the fight against graft a priority on taking office in 2013, but critics say he has failed to be effective. Corruption is seen as a major obstacle to business and national security in Kenya.

The report by Kenya’s Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission outlines allegations against members of parliament, senators and governors in what local media has dubbed the “List of Shame.”

Presented to parliament for debate on Tuesday, the report cites cases ranging from bribery to abuse of office to interference with the award of tenders in government projects.

“In recent years, corruption and unethical behaviour… has gained root in Kenya,” the report said.

“This state of affairs has led to despair among the public, negative effect on the economy, skewed service delivery and eventually posed challenges to the…governance of the country.”

In one case mentioned in the report, a tender for the construction of a 320 billion-shilling ($3.5 billion) standard gauge railway was awarded irregularly. It also alleges that officials tried to influence the award of a $500 million pipeline contract to Chinese company Sinopec Corp.

The Sinopec deal was “meant to corruptly yield $15 million” to be shared between Energy Minister Davis Chirchir and the Nairobi Senator Mike Mbuvi Sonko, according to the report.

A spokesman from the Chinese embassy in Nairobi had no immediate comment. Neither Sinopec, Chirchir or Sonko, could be immediately reached.

Chirchir, as well as the ministers for labour, land, transportation and agriculture, have stepped down temporarily.

Agriculture minister Felix Koskei is accused of renting government land “under unclear circumstances” and ploughing 100 acres to plant potatoes.

Koskei was also unreachable for comment.

The National Audit Office is accused of defrauding the World Bank out of hundreds of millions of shillings by doubling the cost of an unspecified project. The World Bank had no immediate comment. The audit office could not be reached for comment.

($1 = 92.3500 Kenyan shillings)

Nigeria – Buhari claims outright victory

Reuters

Buhari claims victory in historic Nigerian vote

Tue Mar 31, 2015

By Tim Cocks and Alexis Akwagyiram

ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigeria’s opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) declared an election victory on Tuesday for former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari and said Africa’s most populous nation was witnessing history with its first democratic transfer of power.

“The people of Nigeria have taken over,” an ecstatic APC spokesman Lai Mohammed told Reuters at the house in the capital where Buhari, a sandal-wearing Muslim ascetic watching the results on television.

“This is the first time in Nigeria that a sitting government will be voted out of power using purely democratic means.”

The count showed Buhari steamrolling to a landslide against President Goodluck Jonathan, whose People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has made no comment since the scale of the political earthquake in Nigeria — Africa’s biggest economy and top oil producer — has become apparent.

With just one of 36 states left to declare, Buhari’s APC had 15.1 million votes versus 11.7 for Jonathan and the PDP, according to a Reuters tally.

Mohammed said there was no reason to doubt Jonathan would concede, in line with a ‘peace accord’ he signed with Buhari before this weekend’s vote to allay fears of violence.

Around 800 people were killed in three days of bloodletting in the mainly Muslim north after a Buhari defeat to Jonathan in 2011.

“He said several times that he would relinquish power if he was voted out in a free and fair election,” Mohammed said.

Buhari ruled from 1983 to 1985 before being ousted in another military takeover led by General Ibrahim Babangida. He has since declared himself a convert to democracy and has run and lost in several previous elections.

Jonathan’s five years at the helm have been plagued by corruption scandals and a Boko Haram Islamist insurgency in the northeast in which thousands have been killed. The PDP has run Nigeria since the end of military rule in 1999.

Bar some technical glitches and the killing of more than a dozen voters by Boko Haram militants in the northeast, the election has been the smoothest and most orderly in recent history – a factor that appears to have played in the outcome.

“There are probably lots of reasons why the PDP might have lost, but I think the key one is that the elections just haven’t been rigged,” said Antony Goldman, a business consultant with high-level contacts in Nigeria.

“NEW DIRECTION”

In the Abuja house where Buhari was staying, there was restrained joy tinged with a sense of the responsibility ahead, in particular managing a smooth transition in a country of 170 million people split along a complex mix of ethnic, religious and regional lines.

“We should all work together to redirect the country. A lot of sacrifices will have to be made,” Kwara state senator and senior APC official Bukola Saraki said.

In a sign of the simmering PDP passions, Buhari’s march to victory was briefly interrupted when Godsday Orubebe, a former minister from the Niger Delta, grabbed a microphone and launched into a 10-minute rant against election commissioner Attahiru Jega at the body’s headquarters in Abuja.

“Mr. Chairman, we have lost confidence in what you are doing,” he shouted. “You are being very, very selective. You are partial.”

Orubebe was finally persuaded to end his sit-in and put down the microphone, allowing the results ceremony to continue.

VIOLENCE LOWER

At least 15 people were shot dead on polling day, most of them in the northeast where Boko Haram has declared war on democracy in its fight to revive a mediaeval caliphate in the sands of the southern Sahara.

However, the level of violence and chaos was significantly lower than previous elections in a country that only rid itself of military rule 16 years ago.

As Buhari’s vote tally mounted, flashpoint northern cities such as Kaduna and Kano were quiet, pushing the stock market up more than 2 percent towards a three-month high.

The naira, which has been hammered by the decline in oil prices over the last eight months, also held steady at 218 against the dollar on the black market.

Although Nigeria’s economy has been growing at 7 percent or more, scandals over billions of dollars in missing oil dollars and the rise of Boko Haram have undermined Jonathan’s popularity.

His perceived slow reaction to the kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls from the village of Chibok in last April caused widespread anger, and fuelled a public appetite for decisive military action from a strongman such as Buhari.

The war has turned in Jonathan’s favour in the past six weeks, with external intervention by troops by neighbouring Chad, Cameroon and Niger, but the battlefield victories appear to have been too late for Jonathan at the ballot box.