Jonathan Concedes Defeat: What Could A Buhari Presidency Mean?

Jonathan Concedes Defeat: What Could A Buhari Presidency Mean?

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan telephoned opposition challenger Muhammadu Buhari to congratulate him on winning this weekend’s election, a spokesman for Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) told Reuters.

“At about 5 minutes to 5, President Jonathan called General Muhammadu Buhari, the winner of the elections, to congratulate him,” APC spokesman Lai Mohammed said.

“I think he conceded defeat. There had always been this fear that he might not want to concede but he will remain a hero for this move. The tension will go down dramatically,” he added.

Nigeria’s opposition candidate Buhari took an early lead in the presidential election pitting him and the incumbent Jonathan with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as front runners.

According to an earlier Reuters tally from 33 of Nigeria’s 36 states, the 72-year-old Buhari had more than 14 million votes, while Jonathan, who has had a five years term a Nigeria’s president, had taken 11 million votes.

“There are probably lots of reasons why the PDP might have lost, but I think the key one is that the elections just haven’t been rigged,” Antony Goldman, a business consultant with high-level contacts in Nigeria, told Reuters.

Buhari, a former army general who first won power three decades ago in a military coup, has increasingly looked like the better alternative to Jonathan’s bad run ins with the Islamic militant group Boko Haram that has killed thousands since 2009.

“A casualty of low oil prices”

Despite Nigeria becoming Africa’s largest economy after rebasing of its GDP in April last year, Jonathan’s term in office faced corruption cases, insecurity from the Boko Haram and other rebel groups. Falling oil prices made matters worse.

The West African nation of nearly 180 million people is the biggest oil producer on the continent and gets more than 70 percent of its budget revenue from the commodity.

But a tumble in oil prices globally since late last year left the country in financial straits, something that hdidn’t help Jonathan’s campaign for reelection.

According to Michael Lynch, a petroleum and energy contributor at Forbes, Jonathan is already being referred to as “a casualty of low oil prices.”

Lynch further compares a Buhari win to Hugo Chavez victory in 1998 when oil prices had also tanked, but quickly recovered after Chavez decided to cooperate with other oil-producing countries to end the crisis.

“The two cases are not remotely comparable, but there could be some similarity in the results,” Lynch said.

A Buhari win will be seen as a good sign in the war against the Boko Haram militants.

His military background and that fact that he’s from the North is seen as a plus since his knowledge of the terrain could come in handy when devising counter attack strategies against the militants.

Of course a counter attack might not be necessary if he decided to negotiate with the militants…if that is still an option.