News / Africa

    Buhari Officially Declared Winner of Nigeria Presidential Election

    • Nigerian former Gen. Muhammadu Buhari speaks to journalists in Abuja, Nigeria, April 1, 2015.
    • Nigerians celebrate the victory of Muhammadu Buhari in Kaduna, April 1, 2015.
    • Newly-elected Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari (right) and his deputy, Yemi Osibnajo, sing the national anthem after speaking to journalists in Abuja, April 1, 2015.
    • Nigerians celebrate the win of democratically elected president Muhammadu Buhari in Kaduna, April 1, 2015.
    • Nigerians celebrate the victory of democratically elected president Muhammadu Buhari in the streets of Kaduna, April 1, 2015.
    • Supporters of presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress (APC) party celebrate in Kano, March 31, 2015.
    • Supporters of presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari cheer as they watch news coverage of election results favorable to them on a street in Lagos, March 31, 2015.
    • The opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) declared victory for its candidate, former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, in Nigeria's presidential election, saying that the country is "witnessing history."
    • A Nigerian man listens to the election commission announce results on his radio in Kano, March 31, 2015.
    • Independent National Electoral Commission chairman Attahiru Jega (left) views election results at the coalition center in Abuja, March 30, 2015.
    • Nigerian former General Muhammadu Buhari speaks moments after he was presented with a certificate to show he won the election in Abuja, Nigeria, April 1, 2015.
    Ibrahim Ahmed, Anne LookPeter Clottey

    Nigeria's electoral commission has officially declared presidential challenger Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) the winner of Saturday's presidential election, defeating incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan.

    The commission announced the official results early Wednesday. Buhari, the former Nigerian military leader, beat Jonathan and the People's Democratic Party (PDP) by more than 2 million votes.

    Commission chairman Attahiru Jega said Buhari received 15.4 million votes to Jonathan's 12.9 million.  

    Late Tuesday when the outcome of the election was apparent, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan conceded defeat, thanking all Nigerians for the opportunity to lead them.

    Jonathan said he kept his promise for a free and fair election and appealed to those who disagree with the outcome to follow due process under the constitution and election laws.

    Jonathan, whose party ruled the country for 16 years, said his supporters should celebrating "a legacy of democratic freedom, transparency, economic growth, and free and fair elections."

    Though Jonathan, 57, took advantage of a six-week postponement in the vote to campaign hard, Nigerians appeared to be angry about his government's failure to stop attacks by the Boko Haram militants, as well as a sputtering economy and endemic corruption.

    Watch video report from VOA's Zlatica Hoke:

    Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Poweri
    April 01, 2015 4:05 AM
    Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.

    ​Buhari, 72, was previously the country's military ruler for 20 months after officers seized power in a 1983 coup.   He was toppled by another military coup, but has run for the presidency four times since democracy was restored in Nigeria in 1999.

    He will be inaugurated May 29.

    Nigeria's Muhammadu Buhari

    • Born in Daura in Katsina State, northeastern Nigeria, in Decemer 1942; he's 72
    • Educated at the Nigerian Defense Academy, he received further military training in India, Britain and at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania (1979-1980)
    • Rose to the rank of major general in the Nigerian Army
    • Served as Nigera's military ruler for about 20 months from 1983 to 1985 before being forced out in a military coup
    • Lost last three elections: in 2003, 2007 and 2011
    • Voiced support this year for Nigerians to observe the religion of their choice; he's a practicing Muslim
    • Considered an anti-corruption leader
    • Ran campaign promising to end Boko Haram's insurgency and survived a suspected Boko Haram assassination attempt in July 2014

    Sources: News reports, Reuters

    Buhari also won at least 25 percent of the vote in at least 24 states, as required under the constitution.

    Yau Shehu Darazo, a top aide to Buhari, said Jonathan had called his rival to congratulate him. Officials from both Buhari's party and Jonathan's party also confirmed to VOA that Buhari had accepted Jonathan's concession.

    The result marks the first time in Nigeria's history that an incumbent president was ousted at the ballot box and also heralds the end of a 16-year rule of Jonathan's Peoples Democratic Party.

    Some victories in south

    Some of Buhari's victories came in states in southern Nigeria, which is generally considered a stronghold for Jonathan.

    Peter Godsday Orubebea (C), Peoples Democratic Party agent, disrupts the announcing of election results in Abuja, Nigeria, March 31, 2015.Peter Godsday Orubebea (C), Peoples Democratic Party agent, disrupts the announcing of election results in Abuja, Nigeria, March 31, 2015.
    Peter Godsday Orubebea (C), Peoples Democratic Party agent, disrupts the announcing of election results in Abuja, Nigeria, March 31, 2015.
    Peter Godsday Orubebea (C), Peoples Democratic Party agent, disrupts the announcing of election results in Abuja, Nigeria, March 31, 2015.

    Tensions persisted in Port Harcourt, in the oil-rich Niger Delta region, where officials declared a dusk-to-dawn curfew. Rivers state has been the scene of some post-election protests.

    The All Progressives Congress has called for the election there to be redone after alleged vote-rigging.

    Jega, however, said Tuesday that commission investigators found no "substantial grounds" to cancel the vote there.

    Post-election violence marred the country's disputed 2011 vote, resulting in about 800 deaths, mostly in the nation's northern regions.

    On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond released a joint statement saying there were "disturbing indications" that the collation process "may be subject to deliberate political interference."

    'Acceptable' Voting

    International observer missions had called the conduct of the voting "acceptable," despite technical glitches in a new computerized, anti-fraud system that prompted officials to extend voting by a day. 

    Nigerians across the country appeared to be closely watching the commission's work, broadcast live on national TV.

    "There’s tension right now in Lagos because people are anxious to have the results. People are anxious," said David Olayemi, a Lagos resident. "They are waiting for the results, for the announcement of the new elected president."

    In the northern city of Kano, where men sat drinking tea and listening to a radio, Abdul Rashid Sani said he suspected the government was up to something. He said the results from previous elections came faster, but he was confident that his party, the All Progressives Congress, will win.

    In Kaduna, Al Amin Jinge also voiced concerns about the outcome.

    "Everybody is afraid of the announcement of result. That’s why everybody hide at home," he said. "But we pray so nothing will happen, that, God willing, there is not any violence."

    Nigeria's election originally was scheduled for mid-February, but officials pushed back the vote because of fighting and instability in northeastern states where Boko Haram militants have been battling the government since 2009.

    The security situation improved after a multinational offensive drove the militants from many towns they had controlled.

    Contributing to this report were Chris Stein in Kano, Ibrahima Yakubu in Kaduna, Katarina Hoije in Lagos and Hilary Uguru in Port Harcourt. Additional material came from Reuters.

    WATCH: Voters in Abuja react to Goodluck Jonathan's concession

    Voters React to Goodluck Jonathan's Election Concession in Abuja, Nigeriai
    March 31, 2015 5:53 PM
    Voters in Abuja, Nigeria took to the streets, honking their horns and cheering news that President Goodluck Jonathan had conceded to rival Muhammadu Buhari in the election.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 4
    by: Ahmad mahamoud ali from: Mogadisho
    April 03, 2015 10:36 AM
    Thanks now iam very glad winer buhari my be he is going up law and oder naigeria is good governes mahamoud buhari he prsident year of africa

    by: Asongseh Frankdieudonne from: Cameroonian
    April 02, 2015 11:29 AM
    It's was a free and fair election, "a simple distant between the two points is a straight line,isn't it ?.congratulations to Buhari.

    April 02, 2015 9:10 AM
    democracy has rooted some fits down as proven by nigerian citizens .it is timely for i suposes boko haram shall feel somehow relief as muhammadu is from katsina in north of nigeria.

    by: Don bruce from: Ghana
    April 01, 2015 9:45 AM
    Nigerian has shown their legitimecy as democratic citizens

    by: solagbade from: lagos
    April 01, 2015 9:41 AM
    Congratulation to our new president GMB, may God grant him wisdom and knowledge to lead us to the promised land.

    by: Freeman tanko from: Adamawa state demsa l.g.a
    April 01, 2015 8:39 AM

    by: Ma'aji Caleb Zonkwa
    April 01, 2015 5:44 AM
    But he Jonathan is right to congratulate Buhari as the raw score board presentation. Now how about the analysis on 25% of 2/3 of Nigeria states including the Federal Capital? Who is President? INEC have to trumps out taking into consideration of the Analysis, VOA? So i think we allow INEC to do their Job.

    by: mwenda kenfry from: meru kenya
    April 01, 2015 4:35 AM
    Congratulation buhari for your victory.A lesson to other african countries to accept defeat peacefully ,just like Jonathan since election are outcome of democracy.African leader should not cling into power but learn to accept outcome of democracy

    by: khalid muhammad from: kano city, nigeria
    April 01, 2015 4:25 AM
    All praise and glory be to Almighty GOD, who grants us the chance and awnsered our prayers for a better Nigeria and a good Gorvernment which by the grace of GOD would bring an END to all insecurity and other nigerian down falls. May GOD help and guide our new president GMBuhari, to the right part. Ameen

    by: Abdallah from: Adamawa
    April 01, 2015 4:05 AM

    Oh buhari fans let celebrate and enjoy together every body come out Nd enjoy 4 new elected president Gen Muh'd buhari, even though u have not vote 4 Gen buhari don't b a shame let enjoy together
    Comments page of 4

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