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Photo courtesy of BBC

Transparency concerns surrounding Nigerian presidential election

Tinubu was declared the winner of the Nigerian Presidential election in an election plagued by fraud allegations. He faces significant challenges, including uniting Nigeria's diverse population and addressing security and economic concerns.

On Feb. 25, Nigerians made their way to polling stations to elect their new president. The Giant of Africa, as the country is known, is home to around 220 million people — of which 87 million were eligible to vote.
This year’s elections have been described as a potential inflection point for a country that has experienced economic turmoil, increasing violence, and corruption in the eight years of Muhammadu Buhari’s rule. Over 60 percent of Nigerians live in poverty, and violence has enormously increased in the form of kidnappings, terrorism, and militancy in oil-rich areas. As for the economic situation, the country is experiencing a shortage of currency following the government’s decision to redesign and establish a new currency before the election.
Nigeria has ample supplies of oil, gas, and solid minerals. Its fertile lands and abundant water make it one of the countries with the greatest agricultural potential in Africa. The sentence Naija no dey carry last, which translates in English as “Nigerians never come last”, demonstrates young Nigerians’ drive for creativity and innovation.
Before the elections, three out of 18 potential candidates had a high chance of winning. Two of them were from the two main political parties in the country: Bola Ahmed Tinubu, 70, of the All Progressive Congress (APC), and Atiku Abubakar, 76, of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). The third candidate, Peter Obi, 61, was running the Labour Party (LP). The first two candidates have experience in office. Tinubu, also known as *the godfather* of Nigerian Politics, governed Lagos for eight years. Abubakar was the former Vice President of the country during Olusegun Obasanjo’s presidency. Obi is also a wealthy businessman that gained young people’s favor through his social media strategy.
All three candidates have faced accusations of corruption or wrongdoing. However, they gained people’s support through efficient slogans, mainly when it comes to Mr. Tinubu who ran under the slogan “It’s my turn” in reference to his role as godfather of Nigeria’s politics.
Early on March 1, the Independent Nigerian Election Commission (INEC) anounced Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the winner of Nigeria’s presidential election. Earlier on Feb. 28, three main opposition groups, People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party (LP) and African Democratic Congress (CDC), called for a cancellation of the election results at a press conference under the claim that the poll was a sham.
In this regard, international observers such as the European Union team indicated that the electoral commission lacked transparency, there were disenfranchised voters, and the elections had major logistical problems. At the core of these allegations is the biometric voter identification technology recently introduced to improve transparency. Some opponents claimed that a system failure allowed for ballot manipulation and disparities in the results between the system’s results and the manual counts at the polling stations.
Mr. Tinubu will assume the presidency on May 29, with many challenges awaiting him. For instance, both Mr. Tinubu and Vice-President elect Kashim Shettima are Muslims. In a country divided along sectarian lines, with a Christian population nearly as large as its Muslim one, the new government will face the challenge on how to unite Nigeria’s diverse population. In addition, growing insecurity will also be at the center of the problems that Mr. Tinubu will face, since militants of extremist groups like Boko Haram and a local affiliate of the Islamic States have forced millions of Nigerians out of their homes and killed thousands more.
Scarlette Jimenez is News Editor. Email her at
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