Buhari in the eye of international community | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Buhari in the eye of international community

Posted: Apr 5, 2015 at 3:22 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Funmi Falobi Correspondent, Lagos 

Finally, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was on Saturday March 28 elected the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, defeating the incumbent, President Goodluck Jonathan of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in what is considered as Nigeria’s most keenly contested Presidential elections.



Although this feat was achieved by Buhari after three failed attempts in the past, accolades have been pouring in to congratulate him on his electoral victory.

In spite of the attribution of violence to him after the 2011 presidential election, Buhari is widely viewed as having a record of intolerance for corruption. His stance against indiscipline when he was Nigeria’s military head of state from 1983 to 1985 remains his strongest point. Though, he was viewed by some as a religious extremist and a supporter of Sharia law in northern Nigeria, the international community may have preferred him above Jonathan based on his undaunted anti-corruption disposition.

It is generally perceived that Nigeria has not fared well in its anti-corruption fight under the Jonathan administration. The country ranks 136th out of 174 nations on Transparency International’s index of perceived corrupt nations. So to the international community, a candidate like Buhari that is seen to have the capability in fighting corruption will help the country to forge ahead.

“If he’s in office, he will have a strong anti-corruption initiative. It was the main thing he did as a military ruler,” said Darren Kew, an associate professor of conflict resolution at the University of Massachusetts Boston and the executive director of the Center for Peace, Democracy and Development.

Meanwhile, as the nation has successfully conducted the presidential election devoid of violence, and particularly on the statesmanly role of President Jonathan in conceding defeat and congratulating Buhari as President-elect, the international community seemed impressed by the conduct of a violence free election.

Now that Buhari has emerged victorious, the international community would be more interested in how he governs the country.

“There’s now going to be immense expectation placed on Buhari,” said Richard Downie, deputy director and fellow of the Africa programme at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “He has a reputation as a very straight shooter, someone who’s very tough on corruption.”

Reacting to the outcome of the election, President of the United States of America (USA), Barrack Obama, said, “I commend President Goodluck Jonathan and President-Elect Muhammadu Buhari for their public commitments to non-violence throughout the campaign. President Jonathan has placed his country’s interests first by conceding the election and congratulating President-Elect Buhari on his victory.

He therefore urged the president-elect Buhari and President Jonathan to repeat their calls to their supporters to continue to respect the election outcomes, focus on unifying the country, and together lead Nigeria through a peaceful transition.

In their separate messages, Prime Minister of United Kingdom, Tony Blair, President Francois Hollande of France, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud of Somalia, Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Prime Minister of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou congratulated Buhari on his victory and Nigerians for conducting a credible election that would ensure a peaceful transfer of power from one elected administration to another.

Among those who visited to felicitate with Buhari in Abuja during the week were the US Assistant Secretary of state for African Affairs, Linda Thomas- Greenfield and the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador James Entwistle, among others. They all pledged their support and commitment to ensuring the success of the Buhari administration and for better relations between their countries and Nigeria.

However, Human Rights Watch called on the President-elect to respect the rights of Nigerians in tackling the challenges facing the nation.

No doubt, the manifestation of these expectations shall be of great interest to the international community. Time and the days into a Buhari-led government shall tell.

In his response to the various leaders, Buhari thanked the international community for working with Nigerians in providing the atmosphere that helped to bring about change through elections in the country. He promised to work with the international community to restore Nigeria’s full commitment and obligations to the international system.