Magnanimity of Goodluck Jonathan and Victory of Buhari Brought Good Tide to Africa
Buhari’s election win in March 2015 against then incumbent President Jonathan surprised many Africans. It marked the first time in the history of Nigeria that a sitting president lost to an opposition candidate in a general election. It also raised hopes for many Africans that, finally on the continent, power can be attained without a bloodbath.
In many parts of Africa, the opposition parties are too weak to unseat the incumbents through democratic and transparent electoral processes. Authoritarian leaders have steadily weakened the opposition and dissenting voices by means of political repression, while using state resources to allow patronage.
Other African Leaders Buhari’s Victory Opened Doors forBuhari’s win has fortified many in West Africa.
Ghana’s President Nana Akufo Ado, a former opposition figure, successfully unseated John Mahama in the December 2016 general elections. Mahama became the first elected Ghanaian president to lose an election after only one term in office.
In Sao Tome and Príncipe, Evaristo Carvalho defeated President Manuel Pinto da Costa, who had served as president from 1975–1991 and 2011–2016.
However, one of the most notable results for years came from The Gambia, where President Yahya Jammeh, who seized power in a coup 22 years ago, was defeated by the opposition coalition candidate Adama Barrow. Jammeh– now in exile– at first appeared to swallow the defeat but later he failed to digest it. He made a dramatic U-turn, only to have political and military pressure exerted on him by President Buhari and members of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS. These political gains, at least in West Africa, should be consolidated and protected.