(Lagos, Nigeria) In a Nigerian presidential election plagued by technical mishaps, former military dictator Muhammadu Buhari has sealed victory over incumbent Goodluck Jonathan by little more than two million votes in the tightest race the country has seen since the end of military rule in 1999.
Jonathan called Buhari to concede victory on Tuesday evening and if the transition goes smoothly — not a given considering Nigeria’s dark legacy of post-election violence — the onetime military dictator, 72, will be making history as the first opposition candidate to unseat an incumbent since the country gained independence from Britain in 1960.
The hard-won election will be nothing compared to what is in store for the President elect, however, from the falling price of oil, economic stagnation, entrenched corruption, a radical Islamist insurgency in the north and the possible resurrection of a southern rebellion.
Results from 35 states and the small Federal Capital Territory amounting to some 28 million votes showed Buhari leading by 2 million votes. Buhari is expected to carry the sole remaining state, northeast Borno that is the birthplace of Boko Haram and has 1.4 million eligible voters.
Electoral officials broke off the count saying it would take up to two hours for Borno results to arrive.
Buhari crucially carried Lagos state, Nigeria’s commercial hub with the largest number of voters, according to results announced Tuesday though fewer than one third of voters participated.
[Ed: Will a theologically-aligned Muslim president “go easy” on Boko Haram, dooming Nigeria’s Christians? Did the Obama administration “school” Buhari supporters in the effective theft of elections?
Time will tell… Or not.]