On 25 February, the Nigerian people will decide who will occupy the presidency, replacing President Muhammadu Buhari, who is finishing two consecutive terms, the latter having been questioned for months not only by the opposition, but also by intense mobilisation and protests.
The high cost of living, unprecedented currency devaluation and growing insecurity are three of the serious problems that Nigerians hope to overcome by electing new authorities. Africa’s largest and until recently strongest economy has not been able to overcome the aftermath of the pandemic, the war against Ukraine, fuel shortages and the absence of circulating currency. The levels of shortages, both of currency and of fuel and other essentials, have made queues and protests a daily reality across the country. These elections are seen as a possibility for change.
Three candidates out of more than 15 appear with a real chance of winning the election. Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party and Peter Obi of the Labour Party, the latter with less political experience and an image that appeals to the youth vote. All of them, however, have business experience and “business acumen”.
Whoever the president-elect is, he or she will face not only the situation described above but also unemployment at 35%, 133 million Nigerians living in poverty (63% of the population), trends that have no prospect of abating. Let us hope that the election results do not bring great disappointment to a people who have placed their expectations in them.