The peaceful, relatively clean elections in Nigeria are the first good news from that region in quite a while.
It is historic in the sense that most of the other presidential elections were marred by fraud, rigging, and violent clashes.
Unless changes occur overnight, the man who has been taking care of the presidency since the death of Mr Umaru Yar’Adua has already won democratically, meaning that for the first time in decades, Mr Goodluck Jonathan will have legitimacy.
This is good for a number of reasons. First, Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nations, an important oil producer, and an economic powerhouse, whose affairs have been mismanaged by a succession of military dictators and feckless impostors.
Secondly, except for minor hitches and some unrest in the Muslim north, nobody can claim the election was sold to the highest bidder as was said of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Third, Mr Jonathan is a cool, calculating man not given to making brash decisions. His cautious approach to events in Côte d’Ivoire indicates that he is not the kind of man who would plunge his country into unnecessary wars.
This can only be good for Nigeria, and for Africa.
The rest of the world can only wish Nigeria good luck in their choice of leader.
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