Nigeria in Search of a True Leader in Presidential Elections — Global Issues

Youth represent more than 39 percent of the 93.4 million registered voters in Nigeria. Credit: INEC, Nigeria
  • by IPS reporter (abuja)
  • Associated Press Service

Since the founding of the Fourth Republic in 1999, the upcoming elections scheduled for February 25, 2023, will be the most challenging in many ways.

Besides the fact that the top three presidential candidates – Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the ruling All Peoples Progressive Congress (APC) is Yoruba, Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is Hausa/Fulani, while Labor Party’s Peter Obi is Igbo After all, ethnic, tribal and religious background may not be the deciding factor in poll winners.

Nigeria, the once giant of Africa, is at a tipping point. Almost all economic indicators are negative. The safety of life and property is at the lowest level. Non-state actors are having a field day.

With an unemployment rate of more than 33%, the national currency seriously depreciating, the inflation rate as of the end of January this year released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) is 21.8%, the index of corruption increased with the nation’s organized theft. major source of foreign currency revenue – revenue from crude oil, at an all-time high, the outgoing administration is running into a confidence deficit.

The picture is grim if one considers the agitation of some ethnic minorities, such as the outlawed Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) and the secession-driven Oduduwa Nationalist Movement. into independent states.

Worse still, the insecurity and looting ravaging northern parts of the country posed a significant challenge. Loose borders, especially on the northern slopes, coupled with climate change and the aftermath of the crisis in Libya, have increased insecurity in the country. As a result, rancher/farmer clashes and kidnapping for ransom have made the country a questionable destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

The business environment also does not favor local investors. Instead, they migrated abroad to invest, leaving an army of unemployed college graduates roaming the streets in search of jobs that weren’t available.

In November 2022, the Nigerian government announced that 133 million Nigerians out of an estimated total population of 211 million were living in multidimensional poverty. The #EndSars protest in October 2020, triggered by Police brutality against civilians, although it was a non-partisan protest, reawakened the sense of youth within the polity. .

The organization and implementation of its goals, especially in the mobilization of youth across most parts of the country, shows that if mobilized according to a political program, these young people can play a decisive role in political leadership.

Indeed, of the Electoral Commission’s 93.5 million registered voters, the youth demographic makes up about 70%. The implication of this demographic dominance is that the youth vote could largely determine the outcome of the February 25 presidential election.

Under the Elections Act 2022, the top three presidential candidates participated in roadshows, traveling through 36 Federal states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, to attract voters.

Notably, the religious and tribal issues that often dominate the election campaign have been largely removed from the platform, with the twin issues of economy and insecurity taking center stage. heart.

The nation’s economy is in dire straits, with insecurity ravaging most parts of the country.

Corruption practices are transforming all sub-sectors of the economy, while unemployment is at an all-time high.

The National Coordinator of the Human Rights Writers’ Association (HURIWA), Emmanuel Onwubiko, warned that voters should not be carried away by the empty promises of these candidates. Instead, he advised voters to be guided by their predecessors regarding the country’s socioeconomic issues.

“I think what Nigerians need to consider before making their choice is the premise of the candidates against the actual socioeconomic realities and the prospect of providing solutions whether in the short term or not. long-term. These qualities will include accountability, competence, competence and the ability to deliver on what they promise.”

The executive director of the Civil Society Legislative Advisory Center (CISLAC) and the Director of Transparency International (Nigeria), Auwal Ibrahim Musa, is concerned that voters are not being presented with many other real choices. due to processes that have eliminated some of these candidates.

However, Musa challenged voters to vote for “a candidate possessing the capacity and ability to pull the country off the brink.

“It is important that the people of Nigeria do not elect someone who will mortgage their future, plunder our common property and trample on the rule of law. It is a guideline that they do not vote for a legally responsible person, so the international community will not laugh at us. Nigeria is an important player in the community of nations, and would be delighted if she had the right leadership.”

Whether this poll is decided on the first ballot or the second round, besides being a referendum on the ruling All-People’s Progressive Congress, whoever wins will inherit a country. Declining family needs quick repairs to keep the company afloat.

Report of the UN IPS Office

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© Inter Press Service (2023) — All rights reservedOrigin: Inter Press Service


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