President Buhari wins re-election in Nigeria
By Paul Ndiho
Nigerian incumbent Muhammadu Buhari has been re-elected as president. Meanwhile, votes are still being counted in Senegal — but President Macky Sall is widely expected to win that country’s presidential election.
Muhammadu Buhari was re-elected Wednesday as Nigeria’s president after a delayed poll that angered voters and raised political temperatures – but the opposition immediately vowed to challenge the election results.
It was the second victory at the ballot box for Buhari, a one-time military ruler who in 2015 was elected to lead Africa’s most populous nation and leading oil producer.
With ballots counted in all of Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Buhari, 76, won with 15.2 million votes. His nearest rival, Atiku Abubakar, trailed by nearly four million votes. The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission announced the winner.
“Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressive Congress, having satisfied the requirements of the law and scored the highest number of votes is hereby declared the winner and returned elected.”
Abubakar on Wednesday rejected the result of the vote, which he says was marred by claims of rigging and corruption.
“I hereby reject the result of the February 23, 2019 sham election and will be challenging it in court.”
Buhari, thanked Nigerians for re-electing him “for the next four years”, saying he was “deeply humbled and profoundly grateful.
Addressing supporters and party leaders at his All Progressives Congress party campaign headquarters, he called his win “another victory for Nigerian democracy.”
“The new administration will intensify its efforts in security, restructuring the economy and fighting corruption,”
In Senegal, incumbent, Macky Sall, the heavy favorite going into last Sunday’s presidential election, is confident that when all the votes are counted he will remain president.
Despite no official announcement from the nation’s electoral commission — Prime Minister Mohammed Dionne, a Sall ally and appointee, claims incumbent President Macky Sall has secured enough votes to avoid a run-off. “The compiled results are telling us today that we must congratulate President Macky Sall for his re-election in the first round.”
His comments are at odds with earlier statements from main opposition candidates Ousmane Sonko, a 44-year-old former tax official, who has galvanized young people with his promises of making government more accountable and transparent and Idrissa Seck, a three-time presidential contender and former prime minister.
The country’s election commission has been stern in warning on all the candidates to abstain from prematurely announcing any unofficial results.
Sall, 57, who cast his ballot in his hometown of Fatick, seeks re-election on his record as the builder of modern Senegal, building roads, high-speed train that links the capital to its brand new international airport and creating jobs to boot.
Opposition supporters maintained those efforts have not reached many in this West African country where young men often risk their lives to migrate to Europe.
This year’s vote also has been marked by allegations that President Sall has effectively blocked two prominent opposition politicians from participating in the election process.
Political observers say Senegal has long been a defender of democracy in the region — and so far, local and international observers are saying this election has already been given a clean bill of health.