By New York Times
ABUJA, Nigeria — Officials declared early Wednesday that Muhammadu Buhari had won a second term as president of Africa’s most populous country, where voters rejected a corruption-stained candidate in favor of a leader who promised to continue a campaign to eliminate graft.
Not long after midnight, election officials finished counting the votes, making it apparent that Mr. Buhari had defeated the leading candidate, Atiku Abubakar, by a wide margin in an election that was marred by pockets of violence. He was declared the winner shortly before 5 a.m.
Local civil society groups had ticked off lists of irregularities during the voting, and Mr. Abubakar rejected the vote in some states. At one point his party demanded a halt to the counting. Some international observers had indicated earlier in the week that the problems likely hadn’t been widespread enough to sway the outcome.
But violence did punctuate the voting on Saturday, and civil society groups decried the deaths of at least 39 people killed across several states. One of the victims was a young election worker struck by a stray bullet.
On Wednesday morning, Mr. Buhari said he planned to keep working to improve security and the economy, and to fight corruption. He asked supporters “not to gloat or humiliate the opposition. Victory is enough reward for your efforts.”
Nigeria’s election was in many ways a referendum on honesty, as voters once again embraced a candidate who held up a broom at rallies, declaring to sweep away the graft that has given the nation a bad reputation worldwide.
It was also a tribute to the power of incumbency. For all Mr. Buhari’s talk of fighting corruption, some prominent suspects — including a governor caught on camera handing out a bribe — have gone unprosecuted under his regime. Critics say he targeted political opponents in his antigraft inquiries.