As the results of Nigeria’s presidential elections come in, incumbent Goodluck Jonathan is reported to have called Muhammadu Buhari to formally concede and congratulate him on his victory. The AP reports:
Celebrations erupted all over Buhari’s strongholds in northern Nigeria and around Buhari’s campaign headquarters in Abuja. Cars honked and people waved brooms in the air – a symbol of Buhari’s campaign promise to sweep out Nigeria’s endemic corruption.
Jonathan called Buhari, 72, to congratulate him Tuesday evening, thus conceding defeat, Aviation Minister Osita Chidoka told The Associated Press. Chidoka is close to the man who has governed Nigeria for the past five years.
[…] This is the first time in Nigeria’s history that an opposition party has democratically taken control of the country from the ruling party – a sign of the West African nation’s maturing young democracy. Jonathan’s party has governed since decades of military dictatorship ended in 1999.
Goodluck’s peaceful concession is an encouraging sign in a country where past elections have sparked widespread deadly violence. Nigeria, bedeviled by a powerful Boko Haram insurgency and a struggling economy hit by low oil prices, headed into the election amid fears that the results would be challenged and violence again ensue.
Buhari has led the country before—as a military dictator. It remains to be seen how he will act now that he’s back in power, and whether he will be able to address at least some of the country’s major problems. For now, however, what looks to be a peaceful transfer of power is a welcome good omen.