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BUHARI SWEEPS IN

By Marcel Mbamalu, Mohammed Abubakar, Collins Olayinka, Adamu Abuh and Abosede Musari (Abuja)
01 April 2015   |   8:49 am
With 15, 424, 921 votes, Buhari clinched victory against the incumbent, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who came second with 12,853,162 votes. General Muhammadu Buhari, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has won Nigeria’s most-keenly-contested presidential election.
APC-Buhari

APC presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari

• I have kept my word, says President

GENERAL Muhammadu Buhari, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has won Nigeria’s most-keenly-contested presidential election.

With 15, 424, 921 votes, Buhari clinched victory against the incumbent, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who came second with 12,853,162 votes.

The president lost to the APC candidate by a slim margin of about 2.6 million votes.

Having won by simple majority votes, Buhari, a former military Head of State, also had the mandatory 25 per cent of total votes cast in two-thirds of the 36 states and the FCT.

Buhari’s votes were, however, netted in mainly from the North and the Southwest, where Jonathan and the PDP also showed strong performance.

With more than 25 percent of total votes cast in 28 states, the PDP, however, did better than the APC, which met the requirement only in 27 states, shared between the Southwest and the three geo-political zones of the North. The opposition party also met the requirement in the South South state of Edo, even though it failed to meet the requirement in the rest of the zone and the whole of South East.

The two-day collation — the second phase of which began at about 12 noon yesterday — did not end until about 10.25 p.m. when Prof. Attahiru Jega, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) broke out the session to add up figures from the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in preparation for the official announcement of the winner. The exercise was still ongoing as at the time of going to press.

The last break came mediately after the announcement of the long-awaited final results from Borno State, which was also won by Buhari and his party.

While Jega and a team of his INEC commissioners were busy adding up the figures at the International Conference Centre, in preparation for official announcement, thousands of APC supporters had gathered at the party’s national headquarters Abuja, chanting victory songs. The jubilation continued until 1 a.m. today (Wednesday), in anticipation of Buhari’s acceptance speech, which was later scheduled for 11 am, because INEC was yet to make formal declaration at the time.

The celebrations, which also swept through some cities in the North, followed reports that President Jonathan had already congratulated Buhari.

As president-elect, the former Military head of state will be taking oath of office on May 29, 2015, the same day Nigeria shall be marking its 16th ‘Democracy Day’ since 1999 when former military head of state, Olusegun Obasanjo, was sworn in as civilian president.

Stressing that the PDP has established strong democratic tradition, Jonathan, in his concession speech last night, appealed to supporters and members of his party to accept the outcome of the March 28 Presidential poll.

In a television broadcast to concede defeat last night, the President thanked all Nigerians for coming en masse during the elections, noting that he had promised Nigerians to create a space for the conduct of a free, fair and credible elections and he had kept his word.

Meanwhile, Presidential Villa, Nigeria’s seat of power remained largely deserted for the most part of the day yesterday as visitors stayed away. Besides, the security operatives, most of the offices remained closed as workers left for their homes.

Apart from the President’s close aides, the car park in the forecourt, which normally occupied by very important persons and usually a beehive of activities, remained largely deserted.

However, former Minister of Aviation and Senator-elect representing Anambra North, Mrs. Stella Adaeze Oduah, and Governor Seriake Henry Dickson of the President’s home state of Bayelsa were among the early callers to the seat of power. However, the duo left shortly.  The President, held a consultative meeting with chieftains of his party, the PDP, at the new Banquet Hall.

No statement was issued after the meeting.

Head of ECOWAS Election Observation Mission (EOM), former Ghanaian President John Kufuor, and his colleagues from the African Union and the Commonwealth congratulated Nigeria’s National Peace Committee for its work and called on Nigerians to carry through the entire electoral process the maturity and discipline displayed during the 28 March 2015 presidential and federal legislative elections.

At a meeting in Abuja yesterday, former President Kufuor, and the African Union Observer Mission chief, former Liberian leader Prof. Amos Sawyer and former Malawi President Bakili Muluzi, who headed the Commonwealth poll observers, were unanimous in their praise of the National Peace Committee, chaired by former military leader, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar.

They encouraged the committee members to continue their laudable job of building trust and confidence for peaceful coexistence, especially during the post-election period, just like they did before and during the polls by facilitating the Abuja Peace Accord signed by the major politicians.