To choose a new leader, Nigerians will head to the polls on February 25. Veteran politician Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress party, Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president, and Peter Obi, who appears to have won over many young Nigerians, are the frontrunners in this election. The vote could be complicated by a cash crisis brought on by a botched government policy to replace old banknotes, as well as fuel shortages. Threats to national security include jihadist insurgencies in the north east, kidnapping and banditry in particular in the north west, herder-farmer violence in the south west, and separatist violence anywhere in the country, including against election staff. Although presidential candidates have agreed to refrain from using hateful language, their supporters frequently resort to such tactics.
Hold Your Fire! host Richard Atwood discusses the upcoming election in Nigeria with Crisis Group Trustee and Lagos-based lawyer and human rights activist Ayo Obe and senior Nigeria adviser Nnamdi Obasi. They analyse the campaigns and futures of the three leading candidates. They talk about how widespread fear affected the vote and why identity politics are likely to play a larger role in this election than in the past. Possible repercussions from the shortage of funds are discussed, along with related issues such as fears of vote-buying and the potential for post-election disputes. They conclude by considering President Buhari’s legacy and the difficulties that lie ahead for his successor.