Nigerians are so used to the idea that an incumbent should win
presidential elections that President Goodluck Jonathan’s failure to
beat Gen Muhammadu Buhari needs some explaining. Here are five reasons
why the opposition won:
1: Harder to rig
Past elections have
been marred by serious irregularities and suspicions of rigging. In 2007
observers said the presidential poll was not “credible”. In 2011 the
vote was considered to be better run but observers said that rigging and
fraud still took place.
This time the electoral commission took more steps to prevent rigging, including new biometric voters cards.
President Jonathan’s party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), had
lost control of some key states which meant it could not control the
electoral process there.
2: Boko Haram and security
The Nigerian army has made some recent gains against Boko Haram, but not enough to convince Nigerians
election took place against the background of an Islamist insurgency in
the north-east of the country. The Boko Haram militant group has killed
20,000 people and forced some three million others from their homes and
President Jonathan was criticised for not getting to grips with this.
poll was delayed for six weeks to give time for the security situation
to improve, but even though most areas controlled by Boko Haram were
recaptured, it seems to have come too late for many people.
3: United opposition, crumbling PDP
The extra six weeks of vigorous campaigning by the PDP was not enough to halt the slide in the party’s fortunes
PDP has been described as an election-winning machine. When it was
created it united a northern elite with leading politicians from the
south, but that alliance has broken up and the party lost some key
figures. Even former President Olusegun Obasanjo came out against Mr
At the same time, the opposition managed to unite under the
All Progressives Congress (APC) banner. The last six weeks of desperate
and dirty campaigning, in which the APC responded in kind, was not
enough to turn the tide.
Nigeria’s economy is growing but the wealth is not being spread around
is Africa’s biggest oil producer and its largest economy, but many fail
to feel the benefits with nearly half the population living below the
poverty line. Continued corruption is seen as partly being to blame.
income is due to grow by more than 5% this year and next year, but
people did not seem in the mood to thank Mr Jonathan for this.
5: Time for a change
supporters chanted “change” wherever they went and it seems to have
caught the mood. The PDP has been in power since the end of military
rule in 1999, and 2015 is the year that Nigerians decided that someone
else should have a go at sorting things out.
President-elect Buhari now has to prove he really can change things.
culled from BBC