Discover the World News Forecast . . . FIRST in Foresight Journalism

Anniversary of historic Nigerian transfer of power a point for taking stock

May 29, 2016 - NIGERIA

Muhammadu Buhari took office as Nigeria's president in an historic transition one year ago, promising to stamp out corruption in Africa's most populous country and vowing to crush Islamist jihadists Boko Haram. Ahead of the anniversary, some progress can be seen.

Buhari, who first came to power after a military coup in 1983, took over from Goodluck Jonathan, who had been in office since 2010. Buhari thanked Jonathan for swiftly conceding defeat in the Mar 28 election, rather than challenging or disputing the result - an outcome that could have unleashed political violence. Both men made history, Jonathan by handing over power promptly and Buhari as the first opposition figure to win a presidential election in Nigeria since independence in 1960.

Britain's Economist is one of many publications watching for signs of Buhari-engineered improvements. In October the magazine reported that power supplies have improved, leaving Nigerians in darkness less often, oil refineries are working better, frayed diplomatic relations are being restored and stolen money is being hunted down. Buhari says that he wants to trace and recover what he has called "mind boggling" sums of money stolen over the years from the oil sector.

Overhauling the oil sector, which provides about 70 per cent of government revenue, is Buhari's first target. Buhari has said he will hold Nigeria's oil portfolio in his new cabinet rather than trust anyone else with the source of most of Nigeria's revenue.

Buhari's vow to crush Boko Haram, whom he described as "a mindless, godless group, who are as far away from Islam as one can think," could be his biggest challenge. Boko Haram has waged a bloody insurgency since 2009 marked by mass abductions, village massacres and suicide bombings, sometimes by women and teenagers, according to AFP. The newswire reports that Buhari's first move has been to move the headquarters for the offensive closer to the fight, from Abuja, the capital, to Maiduguri in the north-east near Lake Chad. The city will be reinforced with a new command and control center to improve the counter-insurgency effort.

Baba go slow (Economist 10 Oct 2015)

Fifty dead in total as Boko Haram pounds Lake Chad area (AFP 11 Oct 2015)

Deadly violence hits Nigeria as new President Buhari takes office (DW 31 May 2015)

Date written/update: 2015-10-12