Muhammadu Buhari: Nigeria's converted democrat comes back from the brink
By Alexis Akwagyiram ABUJA (Reuters) - Muhammadu Buhari, who has secured four more years as Nigeria's president according to a Reuters tally of election results, proved wrong those who doubted he could survive the blows of recession, militant attacks on oilfields, and Islamist insurgency that blighted his first term.
By Alexis Akwagyiram
ABUJA (Reuters) - Muhammadu Buhari, who has secured four more years as Nigeria's president according to a Reuters tally of election results, proved wrong those who doubted he could survive the blows of recession, militant attacks on oilfields, and Islamist insurgency that blighted his first term.
The former military ruler showed that his pledge to fight corruption remained popular, particularly when combined with promises to extend social welfare programmes aimed at feeding the poor and helping young people find work.
Experts had forecast a tough race against his main rival, Atiku Abubakar, a businessman and former vice president who sought to tap into discontent at unemployment and inflation by vowing to create jobs and double the size of Africa's biggest economy.
Buhari's comfortable victory caps a remarkable turnaround just two years after many thought the 76-year-old might not survive an undisclosed illness that had forced him to spend nearly half of 2017 being treated in Britain.
He did not respond when asked for comment after a Reuters tally showed he had an unassailable lead over Atiku, having previously stated that he would not discuss the outcome until the electoral commission declared a winner.
Atiku's party rejected the tallies announced so far as "incorrect and unacceptable".
But a message posted on Twitter, which had Buhari smiling and surrounded by applauding staff at his campaign office, hinted at celebration.
"I met the very hardworking members of our team, many of them young people, and was briefed on the performance of our party so far in the Presidential Elections. I am very proud of what has been accomplished," he said.
Buhari's win came after the opposition People's Democratic Party had accused the government of election-rigging, which it denied.
Buhari made history in 2015 as the first Nigerian to oust a president through the ballot box.
That victory marked a fresh chapter for a man who described himself as a "converted democrat" after years in the political wilderness following a stint as the head of a military regime in the early 1980s.
Born on Dec. 17, 1942 in Daura in Katsina state in the north, Buhari spent his career in the army. He seized power in 1983 as military ruler, promising to clean the stables of a mismanaged country but was removed after 18 months by another army general.
As military ruler, Buhari took a tough line on everything from the conditions sought by the International Monetary Fund to unruliness in bus queues, which he brought into line with soldiers armed with whips.
Three decades later, that intransigence emerged again in policies that prevented Nigeria from making a swift recovery from its first recession in 25 years, a slump caused by a collapse in oil prices and attacks on energy facilities by armed gangs looking for a slice of the country's hydrocarbon wealth.
The euphoria that saw his first election victory greeted by both Muslims and Christians - in a country split almost equally between the two religions - quickly turned to disappointment as the hoped-for injection of discipline failed to emerge.
Voters were prepared to overlook his advanced age and the admission that he was no economic expert, but they were less forgiving when he failed to seek expert advice to combat Nigeria's first recession in a generation.
Cuts to an amnesty package for former militants in the oil-producing Niger Delta, followed by the deployment of troops to the region, prompted a new round of attacks on energy facilities in 2016 that reduced oil production on which the country depended.
Faced with a slowing economy, Buhari applied the same tools to drag Nigeria out of recession that had failed when he was in power in the 1980s - keeping the currency artificially high as a matter of national pride.
That forced the closure of many businesses that relied on imported goods. His economic policies also meant international investors kept their distance from Nigeria.
His critics also called into question his strongest political asset, his military credentials, when Nigeria was hit by a series of security challenges: the Niger Delta oil attacks, an upsurge in clashes between herdsmen and farmers in the central states, and a resurgence in the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency in the north.
His re-election campaign had an inauspicious start when he was forced to deny rumours that he had died and been replaced by a lookalike from Sudan called Jubril.
However, even though his appearances at campaign rallies were often restricted to brief moments on stage when he waved to supporters but said little, audiences were large.
The crowds were particularly big in Buhari's northern heartland, where his anti-corruption message showed he retained the common touch that his tycoon opponent lacked.
That ability to mobilise his base proved to be crucial in carrying him to victory.
"One good term deserves another," said one of Buhari's campaign billboards. His victory suggests that, despite the travails of his first term, enough voters agreed with that message.
(Editing by James Macharia and Giles Elgood)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
By Jessica Resnick-Ault NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices strengthened on Wednesday, as OPEC and its allies were seen complying with a pact to cut oil supply in September, even as concerns loomed that recovery in fuel demand will be stalled by soaring global coronavirus cases. Early in the day crude was boosted by a bullish stock market. Even as equities whipsawed on pandemic worries, oil stayed higher, buoyed by expectations that OPEC could staunch a supply glut
By Tina Bellon and C Nivedita (Reuters) - Tesla Inc will further cut the price of its Model S "Long Range" sedan in the United States to $69,420, the electric carmaker's chief executive, Elon Musk, announced in a tweet https://bit.ly/2H0JCP0 on Wednesday. The anticipated drop marks the second time this week Tesla has cut the price for the high-end sedan, following a 4% cut of the Model S's price in the United States on Tuesday to $71,990.
By Jeff Mason DES MOINES, Iowa (Reuters) - Under siege over his handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump on Wednesday cited what he said was his son's mild bout of the virus as a reason why American schools should reopen as soon as possible. Trump made the comment about his son, Barron, as the president swept into Iowa on a mission to shore up support in battleground states that he won in 2016 but is in danger of losing to Democrat Joe Biden barely three weeks before the election. First lady Melania Trump announced in a statement earlier in the day that the virus that struck both her and her husband had also infected their 14-year-old son