Wednesday, April 1, 2015

New Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari Vows to Deal with Terrorism and Corruption

ABUJA, Nigeria - Former general Muhammadu Buhari Buhari defeated incumbent Goodluck Jonathan by about 2 million votes in the 2015 Nigerian presidential elections. Analysts and political pundits say wide discontent with incumbent Goodluck Jonathan's failure to tackle corruption and slow Boko Haram's roll fueled Buhari's win. The 2015 elections mark the first time a sitting president has been voted out of office in Nigeria.

During the campaign, Buhari, 72, pledged to reverse the economic and public security crises he claimed Jonathan failed to tackle during his five-year tenure.
Buhari will be challenged with stymieing ongoing corruption rampant in Nigeria’s massive oil industry. Oil is the nation's main source of income and 40% of its GDP. Buhari and others have accused outgoing incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan of funneling billions to his cronies in the state bureaucracy while neglecting the 62% of Nigerians who live in extreme poverty.

Then there is the omnipresent threat of Boko Harem that Goodluck Jonathan never quelled. While the Nigerian military recently made some gains against Boko Haram, Jonathan, 57, never mounted an effective defense against the Islamic extremists. The militants are responsible for killing 10,000 people last year and forced about 1.5 million to flee for southern Nigeria and neighboring countries. They have kidnapped hundreds of people, including 219 schoolgirls who have yet to be found nearly a year after their abduction.

Buhari wasted no time in voicing his intentions toward Boko Harem.

"No doubt this nation has suffered greatly in the recent past and its staying power has been challenged to its limits, chief among them the insurgency of Boko Haram," he said at Abuja's international conference center, according to the Associated Press. "Boko Haram will soon know the strength of our will and commitment to rid this nation of terror … we shall spare no effort until we defeat terrorism."

Supporters of Buhari believe that he and his administration will emerge successful against purveyors of terrorism and corruption in Nigeria.

This is not Buhari’s first time to the big dance. He rose through the military ranks to the position of military governor in the nation's northeast in the 1970s. He then served as the country's leader from 1983 to 1985 before being ousted in a military coup.

Buhari has a reputation of having a zero tolerance attitude toward criminal activity. He is also known for cracking down on journalists and arresting opponents.  His policing of minor infractions such as littering and not standing properly in line to board buses leads credence to the expectations of him resolving large-scale corruption and terrorism.

In his past, he has had no problem jailing public officials that engage in corruption.  He’s responsible for jailing 500 prominent public servants and members of the business community for bribery and corruption offenses.

His promise to deal with Boko Harem is everything but empty. He’s had experience in dealing with insurgents.  In 1983, he forced Chadian soldiers to retreat after they tried to annex Nigerian islands. Buhari also confronted insurgencies, including an Islamic religious sect that was stirring trouble in 1981.

Buhari officially takes the office of Nigerian president May 29.

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