For months, there were doubts that Nigeria would survive 2015. Headlines fixated on the winds of Boko Haram’s terrorism combining with the ethnic and religious tensions that divide the north and the south to create a storm of rampant violence that would tear the country apart. There was the expectation that Nigeria would burst into flames as a result of bullets being used to force political change instead of ballots, especially considering the massive election violence that erupted four years ago.
But over the weekend, Nigeria, a country of 170 million, gave the world a largely peaceful and credible election, with its most transparent vote to date. Retired Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) defeated incumbent Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the presidency. To Jonathan’s credit, he called the 72-year-old Buhari on Tuesday to concede. No doubt it is the mark of a functioning democracy when a losing candidate respects the results of a democratic election. Buhari’s victory was decisive: He won 54 percent of the vote to Jonathan’s 45 percent.
Everything’s great, except for this one sad fact: “This is is also the first time that Nigeria used biometric card-reading technology, to help cut back on vote fraud and rigging.” Such a triumph for democracy and the rule of law, marred by the use of racist voter ID.