By Ojelabi ol’Victor
The APC candidate Muhammadu Buhari has won Nigeria’s presidential election with 15.4 million votes against the incumbent president, Goodluck Jonathan’s 13.3 million, who has conceded defeat and called Gen Buhari to congratulate him on his victory.
Gen Buhari was ahead of Mr Jonathan by at least three million votes.
Observers have generally praised the election but there have been allegations of fraud, which some fear could lead to protests and violence.
However, 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.”
“Anyone who tries to foment trouble on the account that they have lost the election will be doing so purely on his own,” the spokesman added in quotes carried by Reuters.
This is a hugely significant moment in Nigeria’s history – never before has a sitting president lost an election, the BBC’s Will Ross reports from Abuja.
For the first time, many Nigerians feel their votes count, rooting out a non performing government.
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 president elect, who contested for the fourth time before eventually winning urged his followers to remain calm and be magnanimous in victory.
Meanwhile, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has congratulated the Presidential candidate of the All progressives congress Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.) on his victory in the presidential poll, charging him to fight corruption and carry out reforms in different sectors.
The congratulatory message was made available in Abeokuta on Tuesday following Buhari victory in the March 28 presidential election.
He said, “With so much harm already done to many national institutions including the military, which proudly nurtured you and me, you will have a lot to do on institution reform – education, healthcare, economy, security, infrastructure, power, youth employment, agri-business, oil and gas, external affairs, cohesiveness of our nation and ridding our land of corruption. Your varied and wide experience will undoubtedly stand you in good stead.”
The former president said the country “is blessed with men and women of goodwill, character and virtue across the board that you can mobilise to join hands with you in the reform, repairs and re-direction that will be imperative to put Nigeria back on the fast lane of good governance, unity, cohesiveness, development and progress.” Obasanjo noted that Buhari’s victory, after three previous unsuccessful attempts, must be a great lesson to himself and for all politicians, particularly in Nigeria.
He said, “For me, the totality of 2015 elections hold many lessons for our democracy and democratisation process, which are both maturing.
“On this occasion, the system has been unnecessarily overheated before and particularly during the campaigns when emphasis was more on trivialities and hate, divisive, undignifying and disrespectful statements and comments rather than on pressing issues requiring attention.
“I know that in victory, you will be magnanimous to start binding the wounds and bitterness occasioned by the campaign and the evil disciples.”