President Goodluck Jonathan’s concession to General Muhammadu Buhari

April 1, 2015 12:21 pm

President Jonathan says nobody’s ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian. He really is the hero in all this. He ensured that Nigerians had the freedom to chose who they wanted as their president.

US President Barack Obama has praised President Jonathan for conceding
defeat in the recently held presidential election. In a statement
released today, President Obama said President Jonathan through his
action placed ’s interest first. The full statement below…

The last few days have shown the world the strength of Nigeria’s
commitment to democratic principles. By turning out in large numbers
and sometimes waiting all day to cast their votes, Nigerians came
together to decide the future of their country peacefully.

I commend President Goodluck Jonathan and President-Elect Muhammadu
Buhari for their public commitments to non-violence throughout the
campaign. President Jonathan has placed his country’s interests first
by conceding the election and congratulating President-Elect Buhari on
his victory.
I look forward to working with President Jonathan
throughout the remainder of his term, and I thank him for his many years
of service and his statesmanlike conduct at this critical juncture. I
urge President-Elect Buhari and President Jonathan to repeat their calls
to their supporters to continue to respect the election outcomes, focus
on unifying the country, and together lead Nigeria through a peaceful
transition.

Nigeria’s Independent National Election Commission (INEC) and its
Chairman, Attahiru Jega, deserve special recognition for what
independent international observers have deemed a largely peaceful and
orderly vote.

I commend INEC for its extensive efforts to increase the credibility and
transparency of the electoral process. Looking ahead to the
gubernatorial elections on April 11, it is imperative that national
attention turn to ensuring isolated logistical challenges are overcome
and peace is protected, even in the most hotly contested races.

On behalf of the American people, I extend congratulations to the people
of Nigeria and to President-Elect Buhari and look forward to continuing
to work with the newly-elected government on our many shared
priorities.

 
The 72-year-old Buhari built an early lead in northern state [AP]

Former
military ruler Muhammadu Buhari has become the first Nigerian to defeat
a sitting president through the ballot box, putting him in charge of
Africa’s most populous nation and its biggest economy.
Al Jazeera’s Yvonne Ndege, reporting from the capital Abuja, said
Buhari was declared the winner after he gained 2.7 million more votes
than his rival, incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan.Buhari managed to
secure more than 25 percent of votes in 24 states, ruling out a run-off
vote.

To win the election, Buhari had needed more than 50 percent of the
total votes nationally – and take at least 25 percent of the vote in two
thirds of the states.
Jonathan has publicly conceded defeat and conveyed his “best wishes” to the president-elect.
He urged his supporters to follow “due process” in channeling their frustrations at losing the election amid fear of violence.
“Nobody’s ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian,” he said in a
statement issued after his election defeat. “The unity, stability and
progress of our dear country is more important than anything else.”
The All Progressives Congress (APC) party earlier said
that Buhari had received a phone call from incumbent Jonathan during
which he immediately conceded defeat and congratulated him on his
victory.
“There had always been this fear that he might not want to concede,
but he will remain a hero for this move. The tension will go down
dramatically,” Lai Mohammed, spokesman for the APC, said.
Victory for Buhari marks the first time in Nigeria’s history that an
opposition party has democratically taken control of the country from
the ruling party.
Incumbent
Goodluck Jonathan phoned former military leader Muhammadu Buhari on
Tuesday to concede defeat in Nigeria’s presidential elections, Buhari’s
party says.

Jonathan acknowledged the phone call and his defeat in a written statement to his countrymen.
“I
thank all Nigerians once again for the great opportunity I was given to
lead this country and assure you that I will continue to do my best at
the helm of national affairs until the end of my tenure,” he said.
The
Independent National Electoral Commission is still announcing the final
tally in the polls, but early numbers indicate Buhari, now the
President-elect, has an overwhelming majority of votes.
Buhari ruled Nigeria from late 1983 until August 1985 after ousting his predecessor in a coup.

 Residents celebrate the anticipated victory of Presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari in Kaduna, Nigeria 31 March 2015Supporters of Muhammadu Buhari celebrated as the results came in 

Former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari has become the first opposition candidate to win a presidential election in Nigeria.

Gen Buhari beat incumbent Goodluck Jonathan by more than 2.5 million votes, final results showed.
Mr Jonathan telephoned his rival to concede defeat. Gen Buhari’s supporters took to the streets to celebrate.
Observers have generally praised the election, though there have been allegations of fraud.
Election results as they happened
“I promised the country free and fair elections. I have kept my word,” Mr Jonathan said in a statement.
He
said he had conveyed his “best wishes” to Mr Buhari, and urged “those
who may feel aggrieved to follow due process… in seeking redress”.

Celebrations

A
spokesman for Gen Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) party
praised Mr Jonathan, saying: “He will remain a hero for this move. The
tension will go down dramatically.”
Gen Buhari’s supporters have
celebrated by dancing and singing in the streets in APC strongholds,
including the northern cities of Kano and Kaduna.

Supporters of the presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressive Congress (APC) party celebrate in Kano, 31 March 2015

Gen Buhari’s supporters took to the streets in APC strongholds such as Kano and Kaduna

Nigeria’s electoral commission
officially declared the 72-year-old general the winner of the
presidential election early on Wednesday morning.
The APC won 15,424,921 votes and Mr Jonathan’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) gained 12,853,162 votes.
File photo: Goodluck Jonathan (left) and Muhammadu Buhari shake hands after signing a peace deal agreeing to respect the outcome of the polls

Goodluck Jonathan (left) and Muhammadu Buhari agreed last week to respect the outcome of the polls

Gen Buhari’s victory is a
hugely significant moment in Nigeria’s turbulent history. Never before
has a sitting president been defeated in an election.
Since
independence from Britain in 1960, there have been numerous coups and
most elections have been rigged. Of course in a close election there
will be many voters who are not pleased with this outcome but the whole
process is a sign that democracy is deepening in Nigeria.
The poll
has once again brought to the surface dangerous religious and regional
differences and there is still a threat of violence.
The man
who has been voted out, Goodluck Jonathan, has played a huge part today
in trying to prevent that. He made the phone call when there would no
doubt have been some in his camp who would have preferred to dig their
heels in.
The APC issued a statement after the result was announced, calling
for “calm, sober celebrations” and warning supporters not to attack
opponents.
“He or she is not with me, whoever does that,” the president-elect said.
He is due to give a speech later on Wednesday.
The
former military ruler dominated the country’s north-western states,
which have suffered most from attacks by Islamist militant group Boko
Haram.
In Borno state, one of the worst-affected by Islamist violence, Gen Buhari won 94% of the vote.

map

It is the fourth time that Gen Buhari, 72, has sought the presidency.
He ruled Nigeria from January 1984 until August 1985, taking charge after a military coup in December 1983.
Mr Jonathan had led Nigeria since 2010, initially as acting leader before winning elections in 2011.
Nigeria
has suffered from several attacks by the Islamist militant group Boko
Haram, which has killed thousands of people in its drive to establish an
Islamic state.
Many voters have said that they believe Gen Buhari is better positioned to defeat Boko Haram.
The verdict on Mr Buhari’s 20 months as military ruler is mixed.
The
European Union’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, congratulated Gen
Buhari on his victory, saying she “looked forward to working with” him.
Muhammadu Buhari

Muhammadu Buhari in focus:

  • Aged 72
  • Muslim from northern Nigeria
  • Elected president in 28 March poll
  • Military ruler of Nigeria from 1984 to 1985
  • Deposed in a coup
  • Poor human rights record
  • Seen as incorruptible
  • Disciplinarian – civil servants late for work had to do frog jumps
  • Survived an apparent Boko Haram assassination attempt
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