Well Done O!

“Our country has now joined the community of nations that have used the ballot box to peacefully change an incumbent president in a free and fair election…” General Muhammadu Buhari, President-Elect, Nigeria

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The above picture is from a meeting I attended with candidate General Buhari in January 2105.

This past weekend, Nigeria did the unthinkable, it deposed a sitting incumbent and surprisingly, everyone went to work on Wednesday. It was eerie driving home on Tuesday night as shops were closed, fuel stations, which had previously had fuel lines for as far as the eye could see were deserted and the streets were empty. People were fearfully what would happen once the president-elect was announced. But the announcement came and went and on Wednesday morning, Nigeria went back to normal. As I have previously said, the winner in this election is not only General Buhari but Nigerians who told the world that the individual vote matters and they can celebrate their triumphal feat. Thanks in large part to the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) decisions to require a permanent voter card that includes biometrics and an electronic smart card reader to recognize the card which significantly minimized ballot stuffing and voter registration manipulation.

General Buhari faces some significant challenges in the months and years ahead. While Boko Haram has struggled to regroup after the joint task force of Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger’s relentless attacks, the price of oil continues to drag down the economy and the country has struggled to make ends meet. General Buhari has also stated that he will take on corruption in Nigeria which is a HUGE task in a country that is constantly ranked as the most corrupt country on the continent. I have come to learn that corruption is like a disease, you have to deal with the root cause and not the symptoms. To tackle corruption he must first look at the people around him and then proceed to deal with the root causes.

Credit must also be given to President Goodluck Jonathan for gracious conceding to General Buhari and reinforcing the message that his election was not “worth the blood of Nigerians.” He has shown himself to be a statesman and willing to put his country first. It is difficult to admit defeat but it speaks of someone’s character when he is willing to put his country’s future before his personal ambitions.

Today is a day of celebration…Nigeria is maturing in its democracy and has shown other countries on the continent how to hold competitive presidential elections. As they say in Nigeria – Well-done-o!

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