Two contrasting scenes reveal the aspirations and challenges Nigerians currently encounter. At the presidential inauguration crowds cheer as the former president, Goodluck Jonathan and the new office-holder, Muhammadu Buhari shake hands after the formal handover of power. Shouts of “change” resonate as the euphoria builds. As Buhari gives his inaugural speech, loud applause greets every promise that he makes.
The night before, just across the street from Nigeria’s premier luxury hotel, the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja, long queues at a petrol station, and in clear view of international dignitaries staying at the hotel, tell a potent tale of some of the challenges that await the incoming government.
Regardless of these challenges, Nigerians celebrate a unique episode in the country’s history. The new ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), has made its mark as the first opposition party in the country’s history to take over power from a ruling party. In his speech after the announcement of the Presidential results, Muhammadu Buhari made a comment that many Nigerians would agree with. His words: “This is not the first time you’ve cast your vote but this is the first time your vote has been counted.” No matter how one chooses to rationalise this achievement, most Nigerians see it as a good omen. READ MORE OF THIS STORY