31.03.2015 | Buhari wins Nigerian election

General Muhammadu Buhari has become the first opposition leader to defeat an incumbent in a Nigerian presidential election.

His victory was emphatic, with just over 2 million more votes than his rival Goodluck Jonathan.  Buhari won an expected and convincing victory in Nigeria’s northern states and made considerable inroads into Jonathan’s support in the south, which had been the main source of his majority in 2011. Some preliminary analysis has praised steps taken by Jonathan early in his presidency to shore up the independence of INEC, Nigeria's election commission, and to introduce measures such as biometric voting cards, as one of the deciding factors in Buhari's victory and one of his most valuable legacies.  The effect of these reforms seems to have been demonstrated in voter turnouts which were lower across the board than in 2011 - especially in the south - and which may indicate a significant reduction in electoral fraud.

Buhari, who ruled Nigeria as the head of a military government from 1983 to 1985, and who unsuccessfully contested Nigeria's presidential elections in 2003, 2007 and 2011, will be sworn in as president at the official end of Jonathan's term on 28th May.