Nigeria’s Presidential Election – new term – old challenges

“Posterity will judge Buhari and his government by how well they use the opportunity granted to them by Nigerian voters to make peace, security, and prosperity possible for their fellow citizens.”
– John Mukum Mbaku, Brookings Institute

Editor’s Note: Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari was reelected for a second term on 26th February 2019, after the elections had been postponed for a week. The defeated opposition leader, Atiku Abubakar, has denounced the outcome, stating that Bhari’s win was a statistical impossibility. The postponement of the election was denounced, critics saying that the delay was “probably part of the incumbent government’s effort to manipulate the poll to its advantage.” According to the Brookings Institute, at the very least, the sudden postponement created, in the minds of many people—especially those in the opposition—the appearance of unfairness and corruption.

Journalist, John Mukum Mbaku, in an article published by the Institutue on March 1, 2019, stated: “Posterity will judge Buhari and his government by how well they use the opportunity granted to them by Nigerian voters to make peace, security, and prosperity possible for their fellow citizens.”

The reelection of President Buhari offers us an opportunity to reflect on, through the lenses of the IRIN news agency, the many security issues that confronted him during his first term and which follow him into his second. Click on the highlighted words to open the relevant IRIN articles.

These include the decade-long Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast that is showing signs of rejuvenation. There is also the ongoing insecurity in the oil-producing Niger Delta south, and the – less reported but often the most deadly – spiralling violence between pastoralist Fulani herders and local farmers in the northwest.

Despite Buhari’s 2015 claim that Boko Haram was “technically defeated”, jihadists continue gaining ground across Lake Chad and West Africa, where the humanitarian fallout is, if anything, worsening. For a comprehensive look at the causes and the consequences of militancy in the Sahel region, check out IRIN’s curation of its long-term reporting. And for a personal and graphic account of covering Boko Haram over the course of several years, this reporter’s diary from Chika Oduah is a must-read.