Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari starts his second term on Wednesday formally with a defence of the contested outcome of elections that returned him to power. Buhari, 76, in a long speech, declared that “all parties have agreed that the elections were free, fair and peaceful.”
Related: Africa’s monarch-banker, Sanusi, loses influence in Kano emirate
He vowed to “consolidate the achievements” of his first four-year term, pushing ahead with a diversification of the country’s oil-dependent economy. The official launch of his second presidential term was also the occasion for the annual celebration of Democracy Day, which this year was celebrated for the first time on Wednesday.
The date marks the country’s first free elections, on June 12, 1993, after a long period of military rule. However, the spell of democracy was short-lived, for the results were annulled by the country’s military leader, Ibrahim Babangida, and the ensuing crisis led to another coup within months.
Buhari, a former general, was sworn in last month after gaining 56 per cent of the vote in Africa’s most populous nation after a delayed poll in February that angered voters. His rival, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who came second with 41 per cent of the vote, has along with other opposition leaders launched an ongoing legal challenge to the victory.
They allege irregularities in the vote and have called it a “sham” result. Dressed in simple white robes and traditional embroidered cap, a smiling Buhari was seated next to his wife and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Related: In Nigeria, pidgin opera is bridging cultures and breaking grounds
The presidents of Rwanda, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia and Namibia attended the ceremony to mark as Buhari starts his second term, held in a major square in the capital Abuja, while Venezuela and North Korea also sent senior officials.
Copyright: News Central TV
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central TV.