The inauguration of Muhammadu Buhari marks Nigeria’s first ever democratic transfer of power from one political party to another. The 72-year-old Buhari inherits a host of problems.
Muhammadu Buhari, who last led this country as a military dictator three decades ago, was sworn in as its elected president Friday in the first civilian transfer of power in Nigerian history.
Buhari takes over amid high expectations that he can resolve problems of chronic corruption and poor administration that have driven oil-rich Nigeria’s economy to near-collapse, and under threat from Boko Haram militants who have given the Islamic State its first foothold in sub-Saharan Africa.
Buhari’s victory was the first time an opposition candidate unseated a government through democratic means.
Buhari and his vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, joined Jonathan on a tour of the presidential villa on Thursday. They had an inauguration dinner that night.
Secretary of State John F. Kerry led the U.S. delegation to the inauguration. Accompanied by Gen. David M. Rodriguez, head of the U.S. Africa Command.
John Kerry arrives for the inauguration of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in Eagle Square.
In his inaugural speech, Buhari said that “Nigerians have shown their commitment to democracy,” and he thanked those “who did not vote for us.”
“I intend to keep my oath and serve as president of all Nigerians,” he said. “I belong to everybody. And I belong to nobody.”
After thanking Cameroon, Niger and Chad for committing their armed forces to the fight against Boko Haram inside Nigeria, Buhari said he wanted to “assure the wider international community of our willingness to cooperate” on a host of pressing issues, including cybersecurity and the fight against terrorism.
Kerry met briefly with Buhari immediately after the inaugural ceremony, the new president’s first private session with a foreign dignitary.