Editor’s Note: February 27, 2019

Nigerians give their president a second chance

Incumbent Muhammadu Buhari has been declared the winner of Nigeria’s presidential election, securing a second and final four-year term at the helm of Africa’s biggest economy.

The result gives the 76-year old a shot at redemption, having fallen short of expectations that accompanied his 2015 election. Back then his victory was heralded as a watershed moment for Nigerian democracy, marking the country’s first peaceful transfer of power.

Optimism bordered on euphoria amid expectations of an overdue economic revival.

It hasn’t turned out that way, with Buhari presiding over the country’s first recession in a generation in 2016. Nigeria now has the most people living in extreme poverty globally.

He has not been helped by the commodities slump, but the consensus is that Buhari’s managing of the economy has been inadequate. HSBC summed up the mood in an analyst note last summer, warning of further fiscal deterioration and stagnation should he be re-elected.

Despite this the victory was comfortable in the end, beating his main rival by close to 4m votes – a reflection of the lack of meaningful choice among the country’s political elite.

Nigerians have deemed him to be the best of the worst. With oil prices stabilizing Buhari has no excuse not to deliver this time.

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