Nigeria seemed to breathe a sigh of relief this morning after the 2015 Presidential elections result had been announced and the feared extensive violence had not taken place (approximately 50 reported killed throughout the country.) The streets of Jos were back to its normal bustle and traffic. Shops have reopened after several days of being closed.
The “opposition candidate,” Muhammadu Buhari, of the All Progressives Congress (APC) won the presidency and will replace current president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party (DPD), with a vote of 15.4 to 13.3 million, in spite of concerns about Mr. Buhari’s background as a Military ruler of Nigeria (1984-1985, deposed in a coup) and his poor human rights record. Buhari gained much of his support in the north, particularly in the north-east, which has suffered the most from Boko Haram’s six-year insurgency. Many Nigerians had accused Mr. Johathan of not taking Boko Haram seriously until the last month and a half before the election. It is hoped that Buhari will end some of the stagnation and corruption of the current administration and that a wider population will be represented, because the APC is a coalition of parties representing different tribes.
Staff members at Church of the Brethren of Nigeria headquarters, where I am based, also expressed their gratefulness for this. In its morning Bible study and prayers, many expressed the following, “We thank God for the peaceful elections,” and, “We will continue to pray for the newly elected leaders, that God will work through them and that God will thwart any harm they might want to cause.”
At the end of the work-day, I came back to the guest house where I am staying, and sat with some of my neighbors under a huge mango tree in our yard, loaded with mangos. Two of the boys climbed up and threw down mangos which were getting ripe. With the women, girls and boys, I enjoyed my first fresh mangos right off the tree and learned a few phrases in the Hausa language. It is good to sense how more relaxed people are, now that the election ordeal is over.
Peggy Gish, 1 April, 2015 (and I’m not fooling!)