#Nigeriadecides: how Buhari's election played out on Twitter

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Most hotly contested campaign in country’s history was also the first to reach such levels of excitement on social media. Here’s how it unfolded

Finally, Nigeria has a new president. Muhammadu Buhari, a former army general and reformed democrat, beat the sitting president Goodluck Jonathan in the most closely contested election in the country’s history. It was also the first to be played out at such a scale on social media.

First came the month-and-a-half postponement, justified on the grounds that Jonathan’s government needed more time to secure the north from Boko Haram. Some were concerned that this would be the first of endless delays, Nigerian commentator Max Siollun suggested it had been a good thing for democracy:

As everyone waited for the results, thousands of Nigerians took to Twitter to discuss the election using the hashtag #NigeriaDecides (or, as Africa is a Country noted: #Nigeriadecidesveryslowly).

The term was trending in Nigeria through the vote counting, with the names of key states also ranking high as their results were announced.

By Tuesday afternoon #Nigeriahasdecided and GEJ WAS A USELESS PRESIDENT, referring to Jonathan, had taken its place.

Concerned about rising tensions in the absence of a result, Buhari urged for calm as the polls closed. He tweeted: “Fellow Nigerians, I urge you to exercise patience and vigilance as we wait for all results to be announced”. Jonathan used Facebook to say “We waited patiently to vote in these elections, now I want to urge all Nigerians to also wait patiently for the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to collate and announce results.”

And then all there was left to do was wait.

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Source: The Guardian 31 March 2015