Nigerians are preparing to elect a successor to President Muhammadu Buhari, whose eight years in office have been marked by economic decline, increasing unemployment, increased insecurity, and an exodus of the educated elite, according to Bloomberg. The referendum on Feb. 25 in Africa’s most populous country pits long-established leaders in their 70s against a challenger from a minor opposition party who maintains a sizable lead in early surveys. The election has created extraordinary excitement among young Nigerians who are tired of being dominated by an old guard of leaders who have done little to enhance their living standards or career prospects. Around 40% of the 93.5 million registered voters are under the age of 35.
There are 18 candidates, with maybe less than a quarter having a realistic possibility of making a substantial impact at the polls. The Labour Party’s Peter Obi, the All Progressives Congress’s Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and the opposition People’s Democratic Party’s Atiku Abubakar are among the front-runners (PDP). Among of the primary themes in the contest, which has dominated Africa’s most populous nation for the last few months, have been the country’s uneven economy, persistent security challenges, and political unrest.
There are reportedly only 93 million registered voters in Nigeria.
Despite a population of over 213 million, Nigeria is said to have only 93 million registered voters. For Saturday’s election, presidential candidates are betting on civic engagement over laziness. It’s my turn, declared Tinubu, 70, a multimillionaire and former governor of Lagos state (1999-2007), when asked why he should be president. In 2013, the Yoruba Muslim co-founded the APC with incumbent and some say beleaguered President Muhammadu Buhari. Tinubu has utilized his contacts to mount a powerful campaign for the incumbent party in recent months, but his tenacious opponents remain unfazed. Tinubu, in response to the popular outcry, assured the electorate that he would utilize a larger military to battle the decade-long Islamist insurgency in Nigeria’s north.
Tinubu has faced allegations of theft of finances and corruption, which he has categorically denied. Allegations levelled against him have never been proven, despite being dismissed by Nigeria’s Code of Conduct Tribunal. Of course, fellow contenders take advantage of such claims. Religion is always the unseen but not unmentioned running mate of many candidates, particularly Muslim and Christian ones, with the ongoing question of control and influence. There have also been accusations of tribalism between the three primary groups: Yoruba, Hausa, and Ibo.
Sixth Presidential run for Abubakar in the coming elections.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, a northerner, Muslim, and Fulani, is running for the sixth time. Abubakar has campaigned vigorously on a record as vice president between 1999 and 2007, which he believes benefited the economy through banking, telecommunications, employment, and pensions. While avoiding claims of mismanagement of funds and granting jobs to friends, Abubakar has promised to combat social insecurity with a better-equipped military, targeting Islamic extremists and rebels in the northeast and turmoil in the southeast with Biafra secessionists. Perhaps in acknowledgment of those heavy challenges, Abubakar running mate is Delta state’s Christian Governor Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa.
In 1993, he stood in the Social Democratic Party presidential primaries but was defeated by Moshood Abiola and Baba Gana Kingibe. In the 2007 presidential election, he ran as an Action Congress presidential candidate, finishing third behind Umaru Yar’Adua of the PDP and Muhammadu Buhari of the ANPP. During the 2011 presidential election, he ran in the People’s Democratic Party presidential primaries, but lost to incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Before the 2015 presidential election, he joined the All Progressives Congress and ran in the presidential primaries, losing to Muhammadu Buhari. He re-joined the Peoples Democratic Party in 2017 and ran as the party’s presidential candidate in the 2019 presidential election, losing to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari.
The leading party for the election is the Labour party.
Labour Party representative Obi is in the lead. The former governor of Anambra, who is the youngest of the senior citizens, has been able to capture the interest of a disillusioned, jaded, and anti-establishment young voting sector. With the help of social media and a strong connection to Nigeria’s young urban population, Obi’s protesting and rallying obedient are convinced they can prevail. Obi is a Christian Igbo from the southeast, once served as running mate to Abubakar under the umbrella of PDP. He has made note of the fact that he had amassed an unparalleled budget surplus when he left his post as Anambra state governor ten years prior. A military with more resources might address the security challenges, he also concluded. Further desires to lessen Nigeria’s reliance on oil exports by growing the economy there.
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