Nigerian election winner Muhammadu Buhari congratulated outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan for peacefully relinquishing power on Wednesday, a day after becoming the first politician in Nigeria’s history to unseat a sitting leader at the ballot box.

In an unprecedented step, Jonathan phoned Buhari to concede defeat and urged his supporters to accept the result, a signal of deepening democracy in Africa’s most populous nation that few had expected.

“President Jonathan was a worthy opponent and I extend the hand of fellowship to him,” Buhari, wearing a black cap and kaftan, told reporters and supporters to loud applause.

“We have proven to the world that we are people who have embraced democracy. We have put one-party state behind us.”

The 72-year-old general, who first came to power three decades ago via a military coup, campaigned as a born-again democrat intent on cleaning up Nigeria’s corrupt politics.

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