Niger (MNN) — Over the past few weeks, there have been nonstop reports on the deterioration of several governments across the Middle East. Just a bit further south in the Western Hemisphere though, one country is in the process of rebuilding their government.
This time last year, West African nation Niger was in a similar spot as nations like Egypt and Jordan are now, but Nigeriens had an easier time of ousting their leader. A peaceful coup made up of the country's junta militia took President Mamadou Tandja's power away from him. The junta vowed Niger would have a fair election in the future. This week, that promise was fulfilled.
"On Monday, this West African country, which is predominantly Islamic, conducted its first presidential in quite some time after a coup deposed the previous president in February 2010," confirms Lee DeYoung with Words of Hope.
Following suit with the rest of this government changeover, elections were peaceful.
"By all accounts, the voting was peaceful, and seemed to go in an orderly fashion," says DeYoung. "10 candidates were vying for the presidential office, and if none of them has received a majority of the votes, the top two will square off in a run-off election in about two weeks."
Candidates included Niger's first-ever female presidential candidate, as well as Mahamane Ousmane, who held the presidency in Niger in 1993 until his rein was extinguished by a coup in 1996; and also anti-Tandja leader Mahamadou Issoufou.
Results should be out later this week, or even today.
Whatever comes of the elections, pray that the new government would maintain the relative religious freedoms that the Christian minority has enjoyed thus far.
"This overwhelmingly-Muslim country does provide opportunities that are rather surprising for free proclamation of the Gospel. Words of Hope broadcasts in Hausa five times per week and in French five times per week. We're on a total of 34 different radio stations scattered in all of the major populated areas of this West African nation."
People have responded positively to Words of Hope radio broadcasts, which openly proclaim the Gospel. Pray that as Niger enters a new era government, more and more people would be drawn to the freedom they find in Christ.