…By Paul Ejime
Former foreign minister Mohamed Bazoum, 61, has won Niger’s presidential run-off election with 55.75% of the vote, the Electoral Commission, CENI announced on Tuesday.
He was the frontrunner in the first round balloting on December 27 with 40% of vote among 30 candidates. In Sunday’s run-off overshadowed by militant attacks that killed seven electoral officials in southeastern Tillaberi region, Bazoum of Arab descent, defeated former President Magamane Ousamane 71, who got 44.25% of the vote.
The final official result will be certified in a few days’ by the Constititional Court.
On Monday as Nigeriens awaited the results of Sunday’s vote a polling official was also killed by a roadside bomb that left nine others injured in the southeastern Diffa region.
Bazoum will inherit from outgoing President Mamadou Issouffou, leadership of a politically restive country, which though rich in uranium, is the world’s poorest country according to the UN Human development ranking.
Niger, a former French colony in West Africa is plagued by adverse effects of climate change, abject poverty and severe unemployment.
It also endures chronic political instability characterized by several military coups compounded by terrorism and incessant insurrections by jihadist groups linked to Al Qaeda and ISIS in the Sahel and Boko Haram from Nigeria.