By Alhagi Manta Drammeh
Some people cast doubts about the credibility of the Nigerian elections before they were even held on Saturday. Others have been waiting and speculating about what the results would be, who would be the winner and which direction Nigeria would take . The voting process had to continue into Sunday due to some technical mishaps as electoral officials had to familiarise themselves with some of the new technology used this time around. Others insisted that whoever won, there was bound to be a crisis as the defeated may not concede defeat.
Here we are today Tuesday this morning having early indications that Retired General Muhammad Buhari is the winner of the unprecedented and extraordinary Nigerian presidential elections. Moreover, later today we had a report that the incumbent President Jonathan Goodluck had a telephone call with Buhari congratulating the later on his victory. This further indicates the readiness and resolute readiness of the Nigerian people and the sitting Nigerian government to transfer power peacefully and smoothly.
This is history writing and making in Nigeria and on the African Continent. The world is indeed watching Nigeria-the biggest African economy surpassing recently South Africa.
Whatever the factors for this victory by a former military Leader, what is glaringly clear is that Nigerians have spoken loudly and that the once sleeping giant is awoken. Some ascribe Buhari’s victory to political fatigue meaning that the Nigerians were fed up with the rule of one party for so many years. Whether it is poverty, corruption and economic malpractices, Nigerians were yearning for a positive change in their country that is blessed with abundant human capital and natural resources.
More importantly, this looming transition and transformation in Nigeria heralds a beginning of a new dawn not only in Nigeria but on the entire Continent. It is an important moment signalling the development of a political culture of maturity, sharing and participation in a country which is the biggest in Africa politically and economically.
The Nigerian elections call for unity under the banner of the national agenda to move Nigeria forward on one hand, while de-emphasising regionalism, ethnocentrism and religious bigotry on the other.
Finally, I contend that the above elections have proven wrong those who think Africa is doomed to failure and perpetual backwardness. With its resources Africa can develop and prosper through political participation and equitable distribution of power and wealth. Nigeria can play a pivotal role in Africa in many respects.