Nigeria: President-elect Buhari vows to crack down on corruption and crush Boko Haram
March 29, 2015
President-elect Muhammadu Buhari will be sworn in on 29 May after winning the 28–29 March presidential election. This was the first time that the opposition ousted the ruling party in Nigeria since the end of military rule in 1999, which is widely seen as a signal of strengthening democracy. Buhari from the All Progressives Congress (APC) gathered 54.0% of the national vote, while the incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan from the People's Democratic Party (PDP) secured 45.0% of popular support. Moreover, the APC comfortably won the elections in the House of Representatives and in the Senate, providing the party comfortable majorities in both chambers of the National Assembly. Furthermore, the APC retained its hold on Lagos—Nigeria’s commercial capital—which means that the administrator of this key state will be from the same party as the president for the first time since 1999.The elections were originally scheduled for 14 February. However, the Independent National Electoral Commission decided to postpone the elections due to security concerns.
Although the peaceful transition of power represents a success in the country’s short democratic history, Nigeria’s political and economic outlook remains challenging. The new government vowed to crush the menace of the Boko Haram military group, which has killed thousands of people, captured swaths of territory in the northeastern region, and disrupted the economy. Moreover, the current low oil price environment is posing additional risk to the country’s economic outlook, as oil accounts for 75% of government revenues and 95% of total exports. In order to shore up dwindling revenues, Buhari pledged that his administration will crack down on corruption. Moreover, it remains to be seen what shape Buhari’s initial cabinet will take. Investors will be particularly interested to see whether the PDP’s practice of primarily appointing technocrats to key economic posts continue.