Nigeria's president was declared the clear winner of a second term in Africa's largest democracy on Wednesday. After a campaign in which he urged voters to give him another chance to fight the gaping corruption, widespread insecurity and an economy limping from a rare recession.
While many frustrated Nigerians had said they wanted to make a fresh attempt, President Muhammadu Buhari, a former military dictator, profited from his reputation in an oil-rich nation that was tired of making money from politicians rather than enriching themselves.
Supporters began to dance in the streets of the capital Abuja on Tuesday night as the vote count sparked its lead from the weekend elections to nearly 4 million votes over opposition opponent Atiku Abubakar, a former billionaire who had been vice-president of the party commentary Nigeria is working again. "
Buhari received 15.1 million votes, the electoral commission said in its official statement before dawn on Wednesday. Abubakar received 11.2 million. The average national turnout was 35.6 percent, continuing the downward trend.
In a failed final attempt to end the official statement, Abubakar's party claimed that election data had been manipulated and called for new elections in four of the 36 Nigerian states.
The Buharis party rejected the allegations. Abubakar, who had been out of public appearance since the Saturday elections, urged him to duly accept and grant his loss. "Let this nation move forward," said campaign spokesman Babatunde Fashola.
The elections, once called too tight, suffered from a surprising shift of a week and significant delays in opening polling stations. While election observers generally described the process as peaceful, at least 53 people were killed in an attack claimed by the extremist group of West Africa's West African province and other acts of violence, SBM Intelligence said.
It remains to be seen whether Abubakar will honor commitments to accept a loss or question its results. A former US Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, said the difficult elections had given the candidates the opportunity to go to court. This way could take months.
Many Nigerians prayed for peace. They were surprised in 2015 when President Goodluck Jonathan made an unprecedented move to quit Buhari before official results were announced. It was the first defeat of an incumbent president by the opposition in the history of the country.
"Jonathan set the standard for how election results should be handled," said Chris Kwaja, senior adviser to the United States Institute of Peace, a US government-backed institution that works for conflict resolution worldwide. "Accept defeat in the spirit of sport, which is an important tool for democratic consolidation."
The Nigerians were praised for their patience and resilience in this bumpy vote.