President Goodluck Jonathan has lost the 2015 presidential elections to the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate General Muhammadu Buhari following results released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). This makes him Nigeria’s first sitting president to be voted out of office.
The elections, which took place over the weekend, was Nigeria’s most keenly contested since the country’s return to democracy in 1999. He is also the first elected president to serve a single term.
Jonathan has been president for six years; he acted for two years in place of President Umaru Musa Yar’auda who was deposed by death. His tenure had been marred with issues of corruption, the most prominent being the alleged $20 billion unremmitted revenue by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) into the country’s coffers. He also failed to act quickly to curtail the Boko Haram insurgency that plagued the North East during a greater part of his administration.
In contrast, the incoming president, General Muhammadu Buhari is known to be a disciplinarian and an anti-corruption crusader. His short-lived reign as a military head-of-state, after overthrowing the democratic government of Shehu Shagari, was smeared by issues relating to media stifling and excessive use of fear to drive socio-economic policies.
Jonathan did not just make history as the first sitting president to be voted out of office but he also made history as the first Nigerian leader to gracefully accept defeat. He was reported to have called Buhari after 35 states had been announced and it was apparent that the former head of state was coasting to victory. Nigerians have commended this as characteristic of a true leader.