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31 March 2015

Goodluck Jonathan concedes Nigerian presidential election

Ruling president peacefully concedes power to opponent after loss.

By New Statesman

Multiple sources are reporting that Goodluck Jonathan, the president of Nigeria, has lost the presidential election – and has called his opponent, Muhammadu Buhari, to concede defeat.

Votes are still being counted in Africa’s most populous nation, but with a current lead of more than three million votes, it is almost impossible now for Jonathan to win. His concession is the first by a ruling Nigerian president since the country’s independence from the United Kingdom in 1960. Buhari, himself the former leader of a military coup which ruled Nigeria from 1983 to 1985, had previously lost against Jonathan in the 2011 election.

Buhari’s party – the All People’s Congress – also controls the legislative branch of government, ending the national dominance of Jonathan’s People’s Democratic Party, which had been the main political force in Nigerian politics since 1999.

International observers have generally been satisfied about the election’s fairness, and fears of a return to the conflict that saw 800 people killed during the 2011 presidential have largely been unfounded, though there have been some allegations of fraud. Jonathan, a zoologist before he entered politics, was appointed vice-president in 2007, and assumed the presidency in 2010 after his predecessor, Umaru Yar’Adua, fell ill and subsequently died while in office.

 

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