Malawi former president Bakili Muluzi who is leading the Commonwealth Election observers has given Nigeria’s general elections a clean bill of health, saying despite widespread logistical challenges the Nigeria election was broadly credible.
Muhammadu Buhari won Nigeria’s presidential election, defeating incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan in what is the country’s first ever democratic change of power to an opposition party and a historic moment in the African nation’s history.
Buhari beat Jonathan by 15.4 million votes to 12.9 million.
Other observers have also described the elections as the best ever held in the past 16 years after the return of democracy.
Muluzi who together with former Ghana president John Kuffor and Amos Sawyer met Buhari and Joathan before announcement of the results to persuade them to show leadership and maintain peace in post-election said he was pleased that Jonathan had called Buhari to congratulate him on winning the election.
“The Nigeria elections have been an important mark and a step forward for democracy in Africa’s most populous country and a key member of the Commonwealth,” said Muluzi from Abuja.
Muluzi said any challenges of the results should not be fought on the streets.
President-elect Buhari has since hailed his victory as a vote for change and proof the nation has embraced democracy.
Buhari also praised outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan as a “worthy opponent” who peacefully relinquished power.
The African Union Election Observation Mission (AUEOM) also said the vote was “conducted in a peaceful atmosphere within the framework that satisfactorily meets the continental and regional principles of democratic elections”.
The West African bloc known as ECOWAS said the elections met the “criteria of being free and transparent”, despite “pockets of incidents and logistical challenges”.
Buhari – a former military general – has failed on three occasions (2003, 2007 and 2011) in his bid to return as Nigerian president since the country moved from a series of military rulers to a democratic system in 1999. He survived a Boko Haram assassination attempt last July when a suicide bomber aligned to the radical Islamist group targeted his car in the northern city of Kaduna.
The election, originally scheduled for February 14 was delayed until March 28 by the electoral commission on the recommendation of the country’s security services. The security authorities claimed that a six-week military operation against Boko Haram in the northeast would leave an inadequate security presence for voters in the rest of the country as it began on the same day as the original polling day.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :