What Nigeria's Elections Means for the Country, For Continent; Voters are the "super heroes" of the elections; Unflappable INEC Chairman Jega Nobel Peace Prize-Worthy
|Young Nigerian Women in North Central Nigeria |
clamoring to vote in Nigeria's March 28, 2015 elections
Photo By Ambassador Robin Sanders
The tough-minded Buhari and his scholarly Vice President-elect, Professor Oluyemi Osinbajo, head the coalition-based opposition political party, All Progressive Congress Party (APC), which handily dethroned in the March28-29 elections, the country's ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which had been in power since the end of military rule in 1999. Osinbajo is from the battleground Southwest region where the two candidates, Jonathan and Buhari, competed neck-and-neck. Buhari wholeheartedly took the North where he is viewed as the best answer to tackling the insecurity. Most election observers in the North or North Central walked away thinking Buhari likely had a victory. It was a tighter race in the Southwest and South-South Regions.
|Photo by Dr. Robin Sanders - |
The Vote Count @ Dusk
|Photos by Dr. Robin Sanders (above & below)|
- He called the new President-elect;
- Spoke to the nation as a statesman in a conciliatory speech; and,
- Accepted defeat in the most gentlemanly manner possible.
Upcoming Gubernatorial Elections: Keep Focus
The upcoming gubernatorial elections on April 11, 2015, will be another opportunity for Nigeria to consolidate its democracy. For non-Nigeria watchers, these elections are equally as important. The Executive Governors of Nigeria control vast amount of financial resources and wield considerable influence. We should expect INEC to sort out the biometric and logistic glitches, and the security services to stay the course with good behavior. Voters, we hope, turnout with the same verve, commitment, and patience as before. Election observers should be as engaged as before, and voter mobilization will remain key.
When all of Nigeria's elections are over, and when its first opposition leader-turned president is sworn-in, Nigerians should be extremely proud of the example they have set for the Continent and evolving democracies around the world. They have redefined their future and the direction of their nation. I am extremely proud of Nigeria, proud to have represented the U.S. Government there, and honored to have served as an observer for this historic election. I wish the nation and the President-elect and his team the very best.
|Photo owned by Sanders |
(Sanders in USA cap)
|Photo owned by Sanders|