Monday, April 18, 2011

Newspapers splash incumbent’s commanding lead in vote

By Charles Omondi in Lagos, Nigeria, comondi@ke.nationmedia.com

Incumbent Goodluck Jonathan’s clinching of Nigeria’s presidential election dominated local newspaper headlines Monday.

“Hail to the Chief! Jonathan! screamed The Guardian, regarded as Nigeria’s most authoritative paper.

“It’s Jonathan!’’ announced the Daily Sun, the country’s most widely read paper.

Another daily, This Day, was more conservative. It stated, “Jonathan Cruises to Victory, Reaches out to opponents.”
“Hurricane Jonathan knocks out Buhari, others,” shouted The Puch.

Earlier on Sunday, The Sun had carried another incumbent’s triumph headline; “Jonathan winning.”

The front page story was spiced up with a photoshop illustration of the president, donning sports gear and his trademark broad-brimmed hat, beating his bitterest rivals to the finish line.

With a few more million votes yet to be tallied, Jonathan was already assured of retaining the seat he inherited when President Umar Yar’Adua died last year, without going through a run-off.

Declared winner

At the last count Sunday evening, Jonathan had secured the 25 per cent threshold required by the constitution to be declared winner, in more than 24 states.

Another frontrunner, former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, had managed the 25 per cent feat in more than 14 states, with clear indications that it would be hard for him to raise the number to the constitutionally required figure, in addition to overtaking Jonathan in the overall tally.

Nigeria has 36 states, plus one, the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

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