Nigerian President InauguratedMay 29, 2015 in Nigeria
On Friday, the winner of Nigeria’s presidential election in March, Muhammadu Buhari, was sworn in as leader of Africa’s most populous country.
President Buhari is the first opposition figure to win a presidential election in Nigeria since independence in 1960. He defeated Goodluck Jonathan, who had been in office since 2010, by 15.4 million votes to 12.9 million. At the inauguration ceremony at Abuja’s Eagle Square, Mr Jonathan handed over the constitution and national flags before Mr Buhari took his oath of office. Mr Jonathan also urged his successor to unite the country in the face of the continued threat from Boko Haram. Speaking to cheering crowds, President Buhari stated, “I will discharge my duties to the best of my ability, faithfully and in accordance with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the law.” President Buhari comes to power as the country is facing significant economic as well as security challenges, with the on-going Boko Haram insurgency, which has devastated towns and villages in northeastern Nigeria. President Buhari has also promised to stamp out corruption.
Security was increased in and around the capital Abuja on Thursday, as final preparations were underway for the inauguration of Muhammadu Buhari as president. Amongst those confirmed to attend are South African President Jacob Zuma, US Secretary of State John Kerry and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. On the ground sources have reported that soldiers were out in force on the streets of the capital, including at the main entry points into the city. There was also a visible police presence at key locations across Abuja, including at hotels and government buildings. Roads have been closed around the Eagle Square inauguration venue, where dozens of international flags have been hoisted alongside the Nigerian flag. Nigeria’s federal police chief Solomon Arase has indicated that the measures have been imposed in order “to ward off possible plans by insurgents to carry out widespread violence and coordinated attacks.” He has urged members of the public to remain vigilant and to cooperate with the security services “to stamp out crimes, including (the) war against terror…to ensure (a) hitch-free inauguration.” Such threats include a possible attack by Boko Haram militants, who in the past have hit Abuja, including twice in the space of a month last April and May, when nearly 100 people were killed. On those occasions, the bombings targeted a bus station located on the outskirts of the city. In June last year, 21 people were killed when a bomb targeted a shopping mall located near the city center. In 2010, twin car bombings claimed by militants from the oil-producing southern Delta region killed ten people near ceremonies in the capital marking fifty years of independence.