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New leader for Nigeria: new era too?

Wednesday, April 01, 2015 - 02:14

Nigerian election winner Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan for peacefully relinquishing power. David Pollard looks at the challenges facing the first Nigerian politician to unseat a sitting leader at the ballot box.

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A simple declaration from Nigeria's electoral commission. All that's needed to confirm a new leader. (SOUNDBITE) (English) INEC CHAIRMAN, ATTAHIRU JEGA, SAYING: "Mohammadu Buhari of the APC, having satisfied the requirements of the law, and scored the highest number of votes, is hereby declared the winner and is in turn elected." Stock markets were winners too. The main stock index soared 6.7 percent, its single biggest gain this year. Nigerian dollar-denominated bonds climbed. Both signs of relief at an absence of violence that's blighted previous elections. Outgoing president Goodluck Jonathan was applauded for a gracious concession of defeat. And incoming leader Muhummadu Buhari, for reciprocating. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NIGERIAN ELECTION WINNER MUHAMMADU BUHARI SAYING: "President Jonathan engaged in a strict campaign and was a worthy opponent. I extend my hand of fellowship to him.'' Oil-rich Nigeria is a complex ethnic mix of 170 million people speaking more than 500 languages, split between Muslims and Christians. As well as insurgency by Boko Haram militants, Buhari must deal with the fallout from a dive in global oil prices in the last eight months. It's hammered state revenues and forced two de facto currency devaluations. Seven Investment Management's Justin Urquhart Stewart. (SOUNDBITE) (English) (SOUNDBITE) (English) JUSTIN URQUHART STEWART, SEVEN INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, SAYING: ''You've won the vote, now you've got to win the peace, because the economy's got some very serious issues to address, obviously with regard to the oil price, then there's the political issue with regard to Boko Haram and all the issues underlying all of that, and the running of the country and the corruption and the inability to be trusted in terms of oil production on a reliable basis, and making sure inward investment is coming in. So a long list of issues.'' The 72-year-old general first came to power three decades ago via a military coup. He campaigned as a born-again democrat intent on cleaning up Nigeria's corrupt politics. A message many say clinched the vote. A clear two million majority: enough to prevent a challenge - and prompt hopes of new era of peaceful democracy for Africa's biggest economy.

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New leader for Nigeria: new era too?

Wednesday, April 01, 2015 - 02:14