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April 10, 2015

Hopeful Signs in Nigeria

The first and only time I saw Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan was during the independence of South Sudan on July 9, 2011, where my daughter, Zoe Newcomb, and I were attending the events that marked the birth of a new country. President Jonathan had been in office for just over a year. The optimism under his new leadership was palpable.

Ten days ago, the Nigerian people spoke through closely watched and monitored elections—Goodluck Jonathan was defeated and General Muhammadu Buhari was elected as the next president of Nigeria.

In the midst of troubling news in various quarters around the world, this is a story that has gone largely unreported. Nigeria holds the largest population across Africa, totaling 178 million people, the median age is 17.8, and they face the growing threat of Boko Haram. The fact that these elections were largely violence free is truly note-worthy.

While President-elect Buhair will now serve the Nigerian people, President Goodluck Jonathan’s commitment to a democratic electoral process and outcome is truly commendable, and a strong reason to continue to share a spirit of optimism with our friends in Nigeria.

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