Nigeria opposition claims historic election win

NNA – Nigeria’s former military leader Muhammadu Buhari claimed a historic election victory in Africa’s most populous country on Tuesday, sending thousands of jubilant supporters into the streets chanting “change, change.”

Buhari’s campaign spokesman said incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan had called the retired general to concede defeat in the most closely fought election in Nigeria’s history.

If confirmed, this would be the first ever democratic change of power in Nigeria and cap a remarkable comeback for the 72-year-old, who headed a short-lived military regime in the 1980s.

With just one state to declare, Buhari is virtually guaranteed victory.

Thousands of jubilant Buhari supporters poured into the streets in celebration, many in northern Nigeria which has borne the brunt of the bloody six-year Boko Haram uprising.

Many brandished brooms to symbolize his promise to clean up corruption in the oil-rich country of 173 million people.

“President Jonathan called at 5:15 (1615 GMT),” his campaign spokesman Shehu Garba said. Asked by AFP if Jonathan conceded, he said: “Yes, and General Buhari has accepted and thanks him for this.”

There was no immediate comment from Jonathan, his spokesman or the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), but Buhari’s wife Aisha took to Twitter to celebrate.

“We see this as a triumphant show of democracy, a change for the better,” she wrote.

Bukhari had told AFP he was “very confident” of victory as counting of votes showed him pulling well ahead of Jonathan.

With 36 out of 37 results in, his All Progressives Congress (APC) had won 20 states, while Jonathan’s PDP was on 15, plus the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja.

The final result is awaited from Borno state, the heart of the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency.

“Change, change,” chanted opposition supporters in the northern city of Kaduna.–AFP