By Derrick Kiplagat and Calvin Osiemo
Crowds filled the streets in Northern Nigeria in jubilation to celebrate the victory of opposition Presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday.
The City of Kano was brought to a standstill as a fleet of motorbikes and cars paraded the streets with their lights on and horns blaring marking the victory of their new leader in style. Others were on foot running ecstatically shouting “Sai Buhari” which translates to “Only Buhari”.
Opposition supporters brought out their wicker brooms, a symbol for the All Progressive Congress (APC) which claims it will sweep Africa’s most populous country clean after years of government mismanagement and corruption.
Miles away in the town of Kaduna, crowds chanted “Change Change” as thousands of people climbed onto buildings to have a better view of the celebrations.
Muhammadu Buhari won the election with a landslide victory in Kano, Nigeria’s second most populous state, garnering more than 1.9 million votes and 89% of the total ballots cast beating out the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan.
Buhari becomes the first opposition leader to defeat a sitting president in the history of Nigerian politics. Political analysts say that the two million victory margin is likely to render any legal challenges irrelevant.
Although there were some electoral malpractices allegations, observers have generally given praise to the conduct of the election but there are fears that fraud claims might lead to protests. Lai Mohammed, All Progressive Congress (APC) spokesman, said that Goodluck Jonathan had accepted defeat and called Mr. Buhari to congratulate him for the win.
“President Jonathan called General Muhammadu Buhari, the winner of the elections, to congratulate him; He will remain a hero for this move. The tension will go down dramatically,” Lai said.
“Anyone who tries to foment trouble on the account that they have lost the election will be doing so purely on his own,” he added.
Buhari, 72, who ruled Nigeria for 18 months from January 1984 until August 1985 took charge after a military coup in December 1983.
Buhari received an endorsement from the U.S appreciating his role in reconstructing the “new” Nigeria.
“His leadership of the opposition over the years has demonstrated a commitment to democracy that would seem to suggest he is participating Nigeria’s new era that began in 1999,” the U.S official said.
This is the fourth time Gen. Buhari was vying for presidency. His supporters were seen filling streets celebrating the win against Jonathan and most of the voters said Buhari was better placed to fight Boko Haram that has been a major headache for the outgoing president Jonathan.