Nigeria's Buhari wins second term as president

Published: February 27, 2019 11:59:50 | Updated: March 01, 2019 14:09:07

Supporters of Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari carry APC flags as they celebrate at the campaign headquarters of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja, Nigeria on Tuesday — Reuters photo

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday won a second term at the helm of Africa’s largest economy and top oil producer, a tally by Reuters based on electoral commission results showed.

Buhari faces a daunting to-do list, including reviving an economy still struggling to recover from a 2016 recession and quelling a decade-old Islamist insurgency that has killed thousands of people in the northeast, many of them civilians, reports Reuters.

Buhari of the All Progressive Congress party proved wrong those who doubted he could survive the blows of recession, militant attacks on oilfields, and Islamist insurgency that blighted his first term.

He won by 56 per cent compared with 41 per cent for the other candidate, businessman, and former vice president Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party.

The president won by 3.9 million votes, having garnered 15.2 million to Atiku’s 11.3 million.

The turnout, based on valid votes, was 33.2 per cent. In the 2015 presidential election, turnout was 44 per cent.

A message posted on Buhari’s Twitter feed late on Tuesday showed him smiling and surrounded by applauding staff at his campaign office.

“I met the very hardworking members of our team, many of them young people, and was briefed on the performance of our party so far in the Presidential Elections. I am very proud of what has been accomplished,” he said on Twitter.

Earlier, Atiku’s party demanded an immediate halt to the release of results by the Independent National Electoral Commission until turnout figures are provided to the competing parties.

Atiku’s party has rejected the tallies announced so far as “incorrect and unacceptable”. Buhari’s party has said the opposition was trying to discredit the returns from Saturday’s election.

Buhari, 76, is a former military ruler who took office in 2015 and sought a second term with pledges to fight corruption and overhaul Nigeria’s creaking road and rail network.

Atiku, 72, had said he would aim to double the size of the economy to $900 billion by 2025, privatize the state oil company and expand the role of the private sector if voted into office.

Voting took place on Saturday after a week-long delay which the election commission said was due to its inability to get ballots and results sheets to all parts of the country.

The event - Africa’s largest democratic exercise - has also been marred by violence in which at least 47 people have been killed since Saturday, according to the Situation Room, a monitoring organisation linking various civil society groups.

Police have not yet provided official casualty figures.

More than 260 people have been killed since the start of the election campaign in October. The toll so far is lower than in earlier elections, but the worst violence occurred previously only after results were announced.

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