President Buhari said Nigeria now had "a window of opportunity to fulfil her potential"
President Buhari said Nigeria now had "a window of opportunity to fulfil her potential"
President Buhari said Nigeria now had “a window of opportunity to fulfil her potential”

The winner of Nigeria’s presidential election in March, Muhammadu Buhari, has been sworn in as leader of Africa’s most populous country.

Mr Buhari is the first opposition figure to win a presidential election in Nigeria since independence in 1960.

“I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody”, he told cheering crowds at the inauguration in the capital, Abuja.

He vowed to tackle “head on” the issues of corruption and the insurgency from militant Islamist group Boko Haram.

Mr Buhari, a former military ruler, has taken over from Goodluck Jonathan, who had been in office since 2010.

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Will Ross, BBC News, Abuja:

As soon as Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in the invited guests in Eagle Square rose to their feet, danced and sang their new president’s name. As he was then driven around in an open vehicle, people rushed forward to record the moment on their phones.

This was a time for celebration not just for supporters of the new leader but also for Nigerians who are proud that their country has witnessed this historic transition. By conceding Goodluck Jonathan steered the country away from violence. We will never know how close Nigeria was to the precipice.

Moments after Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in thousands of excited young men ran through the security barriers to Eagle Square and pressed up against the perimeter fence cheered their new leader. It was a stark reminder that so many in Nigeria are expecting change, including jobs, from President Buhari.

As Mr Jonathan is driven away I would not be surprised if he has a sense of relief and feels an almighty weight has just been lifted off his shoulders.

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At the inauguration ceremony at Abuja’s Eagle Square – Mr Jonathan handed over the constitution and national flags before Mr Buhari took his oath of office.

“I will discharge my duties to the best of my ability, faithfully and in accordance with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the law,” he said to cheering crowds.

The announcer declared to the audience afterwards: “Change has come to Nigeria.”

Muhammadu Buhari in focus:
Muhammadu Buhari
  • Muslim from northern Nigeria, aged 72
  • Military ruler of Nigeria from 1984 to 1985, deposed in a coup
  • Seen as incorruptible
  • Poor human rights record
  • Survived apparent Boko Haram assassination attempt

Profile: Muhammadu Buhari

Handing over the reins of power

Buhari’s to-do list

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Among the guests at the ceremony was US Secretary of State John Kerry and African leaders including Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe.

Mr Buhari comes into power as Nigeria faces significant economic as well as security challenges with an Islamist insurgency having devastated towns and villages in the north-east.

Besides tackling the Boko Haram militants, Mr Buhari has promised to stamp out corruption.