Elections in Nigeria

The Nigerian president didn’t have good luck during the presidential elections that were recently held in the nation. Goodluck Jonathan lost the elections to Muhammadu Buhari (image) who will be the next president of the country. Buhari doesn’t give up easily. He had stood as a candidate in the previous three presidential elections as well, but had lost. Buhari was the leader of the nation once before. The military had taken over the country and Buhari was the head of Nigeria from 1984 to 1985. Buhari is 72 years old.

People were unhappy with Jonathan’s government. One of the reasons was that the government wasn’t able to stop a group called Boko Haram from hurting people. Boko Haram wants to create an Islamic state. The group has killed many people, and is still creating havoc in parts of the country.

Nigerians might not have been happy with Jonathan as president, but they are praising him for how graciously he has accepted election defeat. In the past, government changes have led to considerable fighting amongst various groups in Nigeria. Jonathan has asked Nigerians to respect the election results, and the country has been calm.

Nigeria got its independence from the British in 1960. It is now the most populous country in Africa (and 7th in the world). The national sport of the country is football (soccer). Nigerians love the sport so much that they once even stopped an ongoing civil war (in 1967) for two days to watch a Brazilian soccer legend, Pelé (image), play a match. The capital of Nigeria is Abuja. English is the official language, but there are over 500 languages spoken in the country. Many people speak pidgin, which is a mixture of English and native languages. Here are some examples:

How You Dey? – How are you doing today?
I no no – I don’t know
I Wan Chop – I want to eat

Buhari likes discipline. When he was the leader of Nigeria, government job employees had to do frog jumps if they showed up late at work. People were punished for not forming neat lines at bus stops. He called it the “War Against Indiscipline”.

Did you know?

The southwestern part of Nigeria has one of the highest rates of twin births in the world. If you think you are seeing double there, it might not be your imagination!

Image Credits: Chatham House for Buhari’s image, http://www.agenciabrasil.gov.br/ for Pele’s image
Sources: New York Times, CIA World Factbook, http://www.smh.com.au/, http://matadornetwork.com/abroad, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc, BBC