Abuja, Nigeria (CNN) Nigerians will head to the polls on Saturday in a hotly contested presidential election that analysts say is too close to be called.
It will be the largest democratic exercise on the continent as Africa’s most populous country chooses a new president.
decisive elections This comes as the country grapples with a myriad of economic and security problems ranging from fuel and cash shortages to increasing terrorist attacks, rising inflation, and a declining local currency.
For the first time since the country’s return to democratic rule in 1999, none of the candidates is a former military leader or leader.
Analysts say outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari is of a limited term and will step down amid an unfinished legacy that has caused “much frustration and anger” for Nigerian voters.
Who are the candidates?
Eighteen candidates are vying for Nigeria’s highest office, each confident they can turn the country’s fortunes around if voted into power, but polls suggest three are leading in the race for the popular vote.
One of the main contenders is Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the candidate of Buhari’s party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). The other is the main opposition leader and former vice president Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party.
Nigerian presidential elections have usually been horse races between the ruling party and the opposition, but this year’s election had a third strong challenger, Peter Obi, who is running under the lesser-known Workers’ Party.
Tinubu, 70, a former governor of Nigeria’s affluent Lagos state, wields huge influence in the southwest region where he is known as a political godfather and kingmaker.
Veteran rich politician, boasts Elections assistance Buhari won the presidency on his fourth attempt in 2015, after three previous failed bids.
After decades as a political puppet leader, Tinubu announces that it is now his turn to step out of the shadows and into the presidency. His campaign slogan is “Amy Lucan,” which translates to “It’s my turn” in his native Yoruba language.
However, allegations of graft haunt the ruling party’s candidate, which he vehemently denies. critics say Nor did he deal convincingly with concerns about his health, and seemed, at times, disoriented and incoherent on the course of the campaign. He’s made too slips which has recently made him a viral joke and meme on social media.
Tinubu has also been criticized for Refrain from presidential debates and delegate questions about his statement to his team members During a recent walk at the Chatham House research center in the UK.
One of Tinubu’s main challengers is Aboubakar of the opposition party, who is running for the sixth time after five previous losses.
The 76-year-old Abubakar, who served as Vice President from 1999 to 2007, is a powerful capitalist who made his wealth by investing in various sectors of the country. The billionaire has been investigated for corruption in the past. but, He denies any wrongdoing.
Many believe that Abu Bakr’s presidential ambition may be the case Informal arrangement rape to rotate the presidency between the northern and southern regions of Nigeria, because he is from the same northern region as the outgoing leader, Buhari.
Peter Obi is a former two-time governor of Anambra State, who has been described as a credible alternative to the leading candidates.
Eschewing the excesses of a typical “big African man” chief, Obi eschews a large entourage, flying economy class and carrying his own luggage. His “no-frills” approach has attracted legions of supporters, mostly young Nigerians who call themselves ‘Obidients.’“.
Obi is also the only Christian among the frontrunners. And its Southeast region has yet to produce a chief or vice-chairman since Nigeria’s return to civilian rule in 1999.
Tinubu the ruling party, although from the religiously mixed southwestern part of the country, is Muslim and has also chosen a Muslim candidate. fueling public anger on his choice.
Tinubu described it as:Mr. stingyObi, 61, is known for his frugal style and is seen as the “clean master” of Nigerian politics.
However, his offshore accounts were among those found in the Pandora Papers, which revealed the hidden riches of the global elite in 2021. Obi denies any wrongdoing.
Will the elections take place?
Previous elections were postponed twice in a short time, and there are fears that this will follow the same fate. But the Electoral Commission insists there will be no disturbances.
Professor Kingsley Mugallo, a political economist and former presidential candidate in the 2019 election, told CNN he expects a high turnout “unless suppressed by a security breakdown of any kind,” he told CNN.
more than 93 million Nigerians They are registered to vote but uncertainty hangs over voter turnout on polling day, with insecurity among the biggest concerns.
Public policy analyst Abidin Olasobo told CNN that uncertainty surrounding this year’s election has put many voters back.
“Nigerian voters are the most upset and confused voters in the world right now because they are not sure if the elections will take place or not, and if they will take place, they are not sure if the process will not be rigged,” Olasobo said.
Citizens have also been disturbed by trying to limit vote-buying before Making old currency notes Useless to prevent rogue politicians from hoarding money. But there are fears that a shortage of new naira notes could disrupt the elections themselves.
INEC Electoral College He reportedly warned The inability of banks to distribute enough new cash could make it difficult to pay the temporary staff and security guards needed to run thousands of polling stations for the February 25 presidential and parliamentary elections.
As it is, the vote will not be over 200 polling units Across Nigeria, in places like Imo and Taraba (two of Nigeria’s conflict-prone states) the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says, due to security concerns.
Separatist gangs and armed insurgents, known locally as bandits, have terrorized parts of the country through kidnap-for-ransom operations.
in another place, Other hurdles threaten voter turnout because some Nigerians have not yet obtained their Permanent Voter Card (PVC) less than a week before the polls..
What are the issues?
The co-founder and chief intelligence officer of data firm Stears, Michael Famorotti, told CNN that critical issues related to security and the economy will be top of mind for voters and could influence their electoral choices.
“Nigerians fall under two groups: the first is insecurity. However, in general, the main issue that Nigerians agree we need to deal with is the economy,” he said, with concerns ranging from poverty to unemployment and politics.
“The liquidity crisis, the scarcity of petrol…are issues that are likely to be on top of the minds of those arriving at the polls and arguably could influence votes,” Famorotti says.
Fuel shortages and a scarcity of the newly redesigned local currency have sparked violent protests in parts of Nigeria as millions of people struggle to obtain new copies of the banknotes.
Nigerians expect the eventual winner of the presidential election to be in full swing to find solutions to those problems, including tackling the country’s burgeoning debt profile, oil theft, and the controversial gasoline subsidies that deny it. Major oil revenue country.
The top three candidates have made promises to address some of these issues. ruling Tinubu party vows to create jobs, grow the economy, and “obliterate terrorism, kidnappings, banditry, and violent crime from the face of our nation.”
Promoting the slogan “Take Back Nigeria,” Abubakar of the PDP said he wanted to “Prevent government wasteBy running a small governmentand weaning the state from subsidizing oil, and making itA crude oil refining center in Africa.“
Obi of the Labor Party says his government will be keen to shift Nigeria’s focus”From consumption to productionWhile also insisting on “fighting corruption and significantly reducing it” and creating systems to reduce unemployment, insecurity and inflation.
Who tends to win?
a Predictive poll by Steers It puts Obi ahead of the two main contenders in a high voter turnout scenario. According to the Steers poll, the lower turnout would support Tinubu.
“There was a scenario where we only considered voters who chose their PVC… Based on that scenario, the Labor candidate is probably the winner,” Famorotti told CNN.
“However, we also estimated a low turnout scenario. The idea is that these are the toughest hardcore voters and those who are most likely to turn up to vote on the day. Under this scenario, the APC candidate… emerges victorious,” he added.
last vote by Lagos-based SBM Intelligence does not predict a leading candidate but suggests that Obi and Abubakar can get enough votes to meet the 25% of the vote in 24 of Nigeria’s 36 states required by law to win.
Expectations Vary for POLAF survey which It polled three million people and predicted a close race between the opposition People’s Democratic Party (38%) and the ruling General People’s Congress (29%).
Obi’s Labor Party is expected to finish third with 27% of the vote.
“This election is very difficult to predict,” Mugalo, a political economist, told CNN.
This is due to the ‘third force’ factor of Labor candidate Peter Obi, which has soured the outlook of the two traditionally dominant parties, the APC and the PDP.
“While many still believe that one will eventually come out on top, the fact that several scientific surveys put Obi ahead means that the potential for disruption is clearly there,” says Mugallo.
Mugalu believes that Nigerians may vote largely along ethnic and religious lines, in addition to traditional party lines.
“The only major ‘issue’ factor, which will influence many votes, is the desire for a change in direction that millions of young and middle-aged voters enjoy, and that is why they support Obi. Will that be enough to propel him to victory? This is the X factor.” .
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