Hope for democracy in Nigeria

Tuesday night, Nigeria was still finding it hard to believe. For the first time in its history, a transfer of democratic power seems possible. After two days of counting the ballots from the presidential election, incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan admitted defeat and congratulated the winner, Muhammadu Buhari.

“I promised the country free and fair elections. I have kept my word. . . . Nobody’s ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian.”

Polling zone in Nigeria

This short statement from the defeated president plunged the population into joy and the hope that another future is possible. Nigeria, the African giant that has experienced civil war, dictatorships and is now confronting the blind violence of the extremists of Boko Haram, is sending a strong message to the entire continent: interreligious violence is not inevitable, and the aspirations of the people for security, for an end to corruption and for greater economic justice can triumph.

“We are delighted, along with all Nigerians, at this historic moment,” said Raphael Yimga Tatchi, Programs Officer – Africa, at Development and Peace. “Together with our partners in the field, we set up a major program to observe the elections and support the democratic process,” he added. “Tensions throughout the process were keen. Civil society, the Independent National Electoral Commission and the religious authorities played a crucial role in the proper holding of these elections. We must remain vigilant and united in the coming days. But yes, today all of Nigeria is right to rejoice.”

 

Our partner YARAC asking for non-violent elections.

Development and Peace’s support to the current electoral process, across several states and in collaboration with our partners in both the northern and southern regions of the country, is in keeping with our priorities of strengthening the rule of law and citizen participation.