Moving on: Nigeria president-elect vows action

By April 2, 2015
(Photo Muhammadu Buhari courtesy Wikipedia/Chathamhouse)

(Photo Muhammadu Buhari courtesy Wikipedia/Chathamhouse)

Nigeria (MNN) — Muhammadu Buhari is the president-elect of Nigeria. A former military ruler (1983-1985 by coup) and Muslim from the north, he beat incumbent Goodluck Jonathon handily in this weekend’s elections. Todd Nettleton, a spokesman for the Voice of the Martyrs USA, says this election was groundbreaking in a number of ways.

First, “This is the first time in Nigeria’s history that an opposition party has defeated a sitting president in the country.”

Second, “It’s the first time in history that a sitting president has given a concession speech and said, ‘I was beaten. I turn the power over to you, now.’ So this is a significant step forward for Nigeria.”

The terror group Boko Haram attacked so fiercely during the campaign that the elections were postponed six weeks. Odd, since they were one of the reasons why people voted for a Muslim president. “Buhari ran on the principle that he would clean up the corruption, that he would aggressively handle Boko Haram and get control of that situation.”

(Map courtesy Wikipedia)

(Map courtesy Wikipedia)

Under a Muslim strongman, will the situation in Nigeria mirror that of India with the election of BJP Narendra Modi? For reference, under Modi’s leadership, many Christians have been saying BJP (Hindu nationalists) have been oppressing and persecuting them with impunity. Religiously-motivated attacks have jumped 55% in 300 days of Modi’s leadership. Organizations that support the Persecuted Church are keeping watch.

Now what? Nettleton responds, “[Buhari has] won the job, and we get to see what he actually does and if he is able to fulfill the promises that he made as a candidate.” A tall order, Nettleton notes. It seems he was able to loosely unify people. “About two years ago, three major opposition parties came together and said, ‘We couldn’t beat Goodluck Jonathon as three separate parties; let’s join hands and work to try to defeat him together.’ That seems to have worked.”

(Photo courtesy VOM USA)

(Photo courtesy VOM USA)

However, how long will that unity will last? Nobody knows, and it’s too early to tell. “It’s a significant challenge to unify the people of Nigeria together behind any one idea or candidate. Once that candidate wins, as Buhari has done, now the challenge is to unify and govern.”

What do reforms look like for Christians under a Muslim president in a country with a Muslim insurgency? A crucial issue will be the appointments he makes. Nettleton says, “We want to pray for president-elect Buhari as he’s forming his government. Pray that godly people will be put into positions of influence and that they can be a blessing to their country.”

Is this election one to close the books on? That depends on whether the People’s Democratic Party leaves without violence when the All Progressives Congress takes over. PDP supporters are already crying “foul.”

“Particularly in the northern part of the country, pray that there will be security,” urges Nettleton. “[Pray that] there will be safety, and that they will be able to worship and serve the Lord without as much fear as they’ve faced in the last five years.”


  • I will be very surprised if Buhari does anything about Bok Haram. After he lost the 2011 elections he publicly incited violence mostly against Christians in the northern states of Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto and Bauchi. Several thousand Christians were killed and many churches and homes destroyed. The north was in total curfew for several days, sunset to dawn for two months and he encouraged Boko Haram to continue their rampage in Bauchi and Borno states. I lived in Zaria from 2007 to 2014 and saw first hand what this man caused.
    When he was head of state 1983-1985 (I also lived in Nigeria 1981-1993) he embezzled somewhere in the vicinity of $50 million for which he was imprisoned.
    I cannot understand why this man who is very old has been elected as president. So few votes have been counted, does that mean so few people voted?
    I pray for the Nigerian church every day. God have mercy on our brothers and sisters, I fear for their future.

  • KB says:

    Please avoid spreading blatant lies and misinformation. Few politically motivated incidents and selfish propaganda don’t mar India’s centuries old secular fabric. This is unless, your website and there by views are also funded by same unrighteous bigots. India has always been a country that welcomed non-Hindu religious views. Indian constitution gives equal rights to all of its citizens. Please visit India and talk to people including Christians..

  • Greg Yoder says:

    KP, we have talked to Christians on the ground. That’s where this information is coming from. We don’t deal with propaganda. We just deal with truth and with the Bible says about situations in which we live. I’m sorry you believe we’re unrighteous bigots, but we still appreciate your comments. We know the information we post won’t be liked by everyone. But, news isn’t always meant to make people happy, it’s meant to encourage Christians to pray, given financially, or go and do something about it. My encouragement to you would be to read the Bible and find out what it is the Christians believe. We believe is share Love for people who are sometimes not very lovely, but pointing them the most incredible hope in the World, Jesus Christ.

  • KB says:

    Dear Greg,

    I did not call you out ‘unrighteous bigots’ but organizations who fund misinformation campaign to fund faith-based activities in India. I agree, we all deal with people who are not incredibly lovely and I apologize if you felt I belong to that category of people. I will read up again but also encourage you to read about Hindu philosophy and experience God therein. You’ll be surprised about commonality that our two faiths share vs. differences. Please note, using words like oppression and persecution to garner support is where I object as that is plain falsehood.

    No Christian in India is persecuted or oppressed. I too pray that all who spread faith based on falsehood to get back on truthful and righteous path.

  • JK says:

    Dear KB ,
    I live in India and I know exactly what’s happening in my nation. We are not propagating a religion but indeed we profess love.
    Where were you when the Hindu Extremists burnt Graham Stains and his 2 sons alive in the state of Odisha ? They came to serve and help the needy. Our nation was under shame for the activities of these religious extremists.
    Where were you when the Hindu Fundamentalists demolished the churches and killed innocent people (Christians) in the state of Odisha ?
    Where were you when the radical hindus broked the churches in our capital Delhi after this newly elect BJP government ? Does your geetha teaches this ?
    I never consider a foreign religion or demand foreign fund, I share the PERSON JESUS CHRIST in my own cost and I am happy to see their lives uplifted in the society. Don’t say that India is peaceful on the grounds of religion. We are facing opposition, persecution and even death threats. Indeed we have Right to Religion, but it’s no more working,as of today. No religious harmony between the brethren due to this Hindu extremists.Helping the needy and bringing home the destitute and offering hope to the abandoned is Sin ? Does it deserves death ?
    My nation is my pride. I love India and I will preach the Love of Jesus at the cross to my people (Indians) until I see the transformation in their lives.

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