n Journal of African Elections - Nigeria 2015 presidential election : the votes, the fears and the regime change

Volume 14, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1609-4700



Nigeria's 2015 presidential election has been a landmark in the country's political history. As the fifth round of elections since the restoration of constitutional rule in 1999, it not only resulted in an alternation of power for the first time in the democratic history of Africa's largest democracy, but its outcome is widely acknowledged as substantially reflecting the wishes of the electorate. This paper reviews the 2015 presidential contest in Nigeria. It observes that, while the election conferred broad legitimacy on the post-election regime, the expectations that accompany the electoral outcome are a huge challenge for the Buhari administration. The paper identifies some factors that may challenge the aspirations of the new government. It also identifies useful lessons that can be drawn from the outcome of the election. These lessons have implications not only for the management of future elections but, more importantly, for efforts at deepening democratic rule in Nigeria.

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