by Aminu Umar

An event occurred in African politics with the electoral victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate Muhammadu Buhari (a former military) as president-elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; defeating the incumbent President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). President-elect Muhammadu Buhari’s won the 2015 Nigeria presidential elections by a margin of 2, 571, 759 votes after securing a total of 15,424,921 against Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) 12,853,162 votes. The election originally slated for February was shifted to March 28th, 2015 on the excuse of security challenges of the Boko Haram insurgency. Muhammadu Buhari is the first candidate in Nigeria’s history to successfully dislodge an incumbent head of state through elections, while President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan stands tall among African presidents in accepting defeat even before the formal declaration of election results. It was a hard-won victory, but uproar still lies ahead as the President-elect and other elected officials will only be officially inaugurated on May 29. Disturbingly, the ruling party has not signed the election result sheets and a few court cases still linger on the candidature of the president elect. The election was the first in Nigeria’s history to attempt the use of an ICT-based instrument to curtail electoral fraud i.e. the use of the electronic data capture machine meant to accredit voters with a Permanent Voters Cards – PVC (electronic voter registration card). Geo-politically, President Goodluck swept the polls in the five South-East states and his South-South zone home base by 90 per cent, alongside a state (Ekiti) in the South-West of Nigeria, while Muhammadu Buhari swept the polls in the North East, North Central (with the exception of Plateau and Nassarawa), North West and South Western part of the country (lost Ekiti State marginally). The pattern of voting in the election may not be unconnected with the limiting of the political space by merger of numerous political parties into the opposition i.e. APC. It goes to show that the fewer the political parties in multi-ethnic and religious settings, the better for alliance politics and issues based campaign. This is because the central issue that dominates the Nigeria presidential election revolves around government economic reform, unemployment, dwindling power supply amidst privatization of the power sector, infrastructural decay, corruption, insecurity, etc. Indeed, there were hitches in the electoral process/election, and there were also difficulties in the new technology and logistics. But, largely, the election can represented a major improvement over previous elections. Certainly, the use of the Permanent Voter Card and Card Reader Machine gives credibility to the election. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) deserves commendation as well for its matured conduct during the PDP agent embarrassing objection on the final coalition of the results in Abuja. So far, the European Union, African Union and ECOWAS international observer missions’ have pronounced that the election is credible. The election has gone down as one of the most expensive elections in Africa, with billions of Naira (Nigerian currency)/Dollars sunk into the campaigns and election. Monetary inducement of voters was open, as were cases of violence and ballot box snatching. While there are allegations of vote-rigging in some states, alongside voter intimidation by security agents and manipulation of the coalition of result e.g. Rivers State, it appears that most Nigerians are comfortable with the election results. In this respect, the INEC should tidy up and ensure that the newly introduced card readers work flawlessly and address the problem of result sheets or collection of results in future elections. Generally, it appears that Nigerians are waking up to the reality that democracy is about the people and cannot thrive when majority of the electorate face serious development challenges amidst of abundant resources i.e. when public funds are expended without adequate answerability and accountability. The expectations of Nigerians on the President–elect is quite enormous, especially with regards to the fight against corruption. It is vital that the President-elect capitalizes on the overjoyed mood to push for change .

An event occurred in African politics with the electoral victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate Muhammadu Buhari (a former military) as president-elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; defeating the incumbent President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). President-elect Muhammadu Buhari’s won the 2015 Nigeria presidential elections by a margin of 2, 571, 759 votes after securing a total of 15,424,921 against Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) 12,853,162 votes. The election originally slated for February was shifted to March 28th, 2015 on the excuse of security challenges of the Boko Haram insurgency. Muhammadu Buhari is the first candidate in Nigeria’s history to successfully dislodge an incumbent head of state through elections, while President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan stands tall among African presidents in accepting defeat even before the formal declaration of election results. It was a hard-won victory, but uproar still lies ahead as the President-elect and other elected officials will only be officially inaugurated on May 29. Disturbingly, the ruling party has not signed the election result sheets and a few court cases still linger on the candidature of the president elect. The election was the first in Nigeria’s history to attempt the use of an ICT-based instrument to curtail electoral fraud i.e. the use of the electronic data capture machine meant to accredit voters with a Permanent Voters Cards – PVC (electronic voter registration card). Geo-politically, President Goodluck swept the polls in the five South-East states and his South-South zone home base by 90 per cent, alongside a state (Ekiti) in the South-West of Nigeria, while Muhammadu Buhari swept the polls in the North East, North Central (with the exception of Plateau and Nassarawa), North West and South Western part of the country (lost Ekiti State marginally). The pattern of voting in the election may not be unconnected with the limiting of the political space by merger of numerous political parties into the opposition i.e. APC. It goes to show that the fewer the political parties in multi-ethnic and religious settings, the better for alliance politics and issues based campaign. This is because the central issue that dominates the Nigeria presidential election revolves around government economic reform, unemployment, dwindling power supply amidst privatization of the power sector, infrastructural decay, corruption, insecurity, etc. Indeed, there were hitches in the electoral process/election, and there were also difficulties in the new technology and logistics. But, largely, the election can be regarded as a major improvement over previous elections. Certainly, the use of the Permanent Voter Card and Card Reader Machine was a good thing that gives credibility to the election. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) deserves commendation as well for its matured conduct during the PDP agent embarrassing objection on the final coalition of the results in Abuja. So far, the European Union, African Union and ECOWAS international observer missions’ have pronounced that the election is credible. The election has gone down as one of the most expensive elections in Africa, with billions of Naira (Nigerian currency)/Dollars sunk into the campaigns and election. Monetary inducement of voters was open, as were cases of violence and ballot box snatching. While there are allegations of vote-rigging in some states, alongside voter intimidation by security agents and manipulation of the coalition of result e.g. Rivers State, it appears that most Nigerians are comfortable with the election results. In this respect, the INEC should tidy up and ensure that the newly introduced card readers work flawlessly and address the problem of result sheets or collection of results in future elections. Generally, it appears that Nigerians are waking up to the reality that democracy is about the people and cannot thrive when majority of the electorate face serious development challenges amidst of abundant resources i.e. when public funds are expended without adequate answerability and accountability. The expectations of Nigerians on the President–elect is quite enormous, especially with regards to the fight against corruption. It is vital that the President-elect capitalizes on the overjoyed mood to push for positive change in Africa’s most populous country An event occurred in African politics with the electoral victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate Muhammadu Buhari (a former military) as president-elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; defeating the incumbent President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). President-elect Muhammadu Buhari’s won the 2015 Nigeria presidential elections by a margin of 2, 571, 759 votes after securing a total of 15,424,921 against Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) 12,853,162 votes. Buhari contest was the fourth in the country’s political history as he was defeated three times by the ruling PDP. The election originally slated for February was shifted to March 28th, 2015 on the excuse of security challenges of the Boko Haram insurgency. Muhammadu Buhari is the first candidate in Nigeria’s history to successfully dislodge an incumbent head of state through elections, while President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan stands tall among African presidents in accepting defeat even before the formal declaration of election results. It was a hard-won victory, but uproar still lies ahead as the President-elect and other elected officials will only be officially inaugurated on May 29, when the transfer of power in the Fourth Republic will be consummated. Disturbingly, the ruling party has not signed the election result sheets and a few court cases still linger on the candidature of the president elect. The election was the first in Nigeria’s history to attempt the use of an ICT-based instrument to curtail electoral fraud i.e. the use of the electronic data capture machine meant to accredit voters with a Permanent Voters Cards – PVC (electronic voter registration card).

Geo-politically, President Goodluck swept the polls in the five South-East states and his South-South zone home base by 90 per cent, alongside a state (Ekiti) in the South-West of Nigeria, while Muhammadu Buhari swept the polls in the North East, North Central (with the exception of Plateau and Nassarawa), North West and South Western part of the country (lost Ekiti State marginally). The pattern of voting in the election may not be unconnected with the limiting of the political space by merger of numerous political parties into the opposition i.e. APC. It goes to show that the fewer the political parties in multi-ethnic and religious settings, the better for alliance politics and issues based campaign. This is because the central issue that dominates the Nigeria presidential election revolves around government economic reform, unemployment, dwindling power supply amidst privatization of the power sector, infrastructural decay, corruption, insecurity, etc.

Indeed, there were hitches in the electoral process/election, and there were also difficulties in the new technology and logistics. But, largely, the election can be regarded as a major improvement over previous elections. Certainly, the use of the Permanent Voter Card and Card Reader Machine was a good thing that gives credibility to the election. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) deserves commendation as well for its matured conduct during the PDP agent embarrassing objection on the final coalition of the results in Abuja. So far, the European Union, African Union and ECOWAS international observer missions’ have pronounced that the election is credible.

The election has gone down as one of the most expensive elections in Africa, with billions of Naira (Nigerian currency)/Dollars sunk into the campaigns and election. Monetary inducement of voters was open, as were cases of violence and ballot box snatching. While there are allegations of vote-rigging in some states, alongside voter intimidation by security agents and manipulation of the coalition of result e.g. Rivers State, it appears that most Nigerians are comfortable with the election results. In this respect, the INEC should tidy up and ensure that the newly introduced card readers work flawlessly and address the problem of result sheets or collection of results in future elections.

Generally, it appears that Nigerians are waking up to the reality that democracy is about the people and cannot thrive when majority of the electorate face serious development challenges amidst of abundant resources i.e. when public funds are expended without adequate answerability and accountability. The expectations of Nigerians on the President–elect is quite enormous, especially with regards to the fight against corruption. It is vital that the President-elect capitalizes on the overjoyed mood to push for positive change in Africa’s most populous country.

Has economic growth finally arrived in the black continent? The World Bank reports that economic growth has improved in Sub-Saharan in the last two years, and further acceleration projected in the near term (Global Economic Prospects, Chapter 2, January 2015, World Bank). The critical question is whether the growth performance on the back of investment spending on infrastructure and fuelled farming can be sustained for a longer term. Investment inflow (both FDI and portfolio) to the region from outside –that is from the rich world– has decreased in 2014. Add to that, the adverse impact of the Ebola epidemic, and the drop in commodity prices.

Civil unrest, droughts, corruption, bad governance and reluctance to reform efforts in the public sector in order to maintain economic and financial stability rather draw a bleak outlook for the long-term growth, than the projected 5% real growth rate per year. Even then, it is uncertain that economic growth in the region will remain resilient to external shocks, as the region is more vulnerable to vulnerable to domestic shocks.

The region still dominates the bottom half of Transparency International’s corruption measures, majority of them still having a score of less than 50 per cent, indicating endemic corruption.  Comparing the results of the 2014 corruption survey rather indicates the failure of efforts to curb corruption, increase transparency, and provide an institutional boost to long term economic growth and prosperity. The governments in the region also need to restrain their budgets – fiscal balance has deteriorated in almost all countries in the region according to the World Bank report (2015), but in a way that would not interrupt the improvements and investments on infrastructure.

The economic growth in the region remains higher than the average of emerging economies excluding China. However, absent these reforms in the public sector, the growth performance will hardly be transformed into substantial improvement in standards of living, curbing poverty and reaching prosperity in the region.