Nigeria's presidential elections at risk as insecurity and popular protests loom
Nigeria is set to hold presidential elections on the 25th of February, amid a state of anticipation and popular anxiety, due to the possibility of violence, riots, or terrorist attacks against voters at polling stations. Nigeria has been suffering from a lack of security due to terrorist groups, especially Boko Haram, widespread unemployment, continuous corruption, and economic recession.
Out of the 18 candidates for the presidential elections in Nigeria, some candidates are closer to winning the presidency, following the end of the current president's term, Muhammadu Buhari. They share the characteristic of moving between parties and previous experience in political work.
The security crisis in Nigeria is considered one of the most important issues in the election campaign for the upcoming president, and it appears to be very close between three candidates. They are Bola Tinubu, who belongs to the ruling party "All Progressives Congress," Atiku Abubakar, who belongs to the "People's Democratic Party," the largest opposition coalition, and Peter Obi, who is seen as a newcomer to the political scene and the youth candidate. The three have promised to put an end to the increasing violence in the country.
Nasser Ma'moun Eissa, the researcher in African affairs, says that the 2023 elections, which will take place in a few days, are laden with many factors that make it difficult to predict their outcome. One of the challenges is the lack of safe passage, as after eight years of the rule of a Muslim president from the north, it was supposed to be the turn of a Christian president from the south. Here, the first challenges emerge, as the People's Democratic Party, which pioneered the 1998 agreement for power-sharing between regions and religions, chose a Muslim candidate from the north to replace General Muhammadu Buhari, who belongs to the same region and creed. Even the ruling All Progressives Congress party also chose a Muslim candidate, despite being from the south, but he is not a Christian, as the agreement stipulates.
Nasser confirmed in a special statement to "Al-Murajaa" that the upcoming elections put Nigeria at a crossroads, as the country faces a difficult path in the light of multiple challenges that require careful consideration and management. These challenges include the security crisis and the increasing violence, as well as the issue of power-sharing and managing the country's resources to achieve the greatest benefit for its people.
On her part, researcher in African affairs, Nourhan Sharara, stated that the current situation in Nigeria poses a great and difficult challenge for the state due to the Nigerian people's lack of confidence in President Muhammadu Buhari's government to confront "Boko Haram" violence and other armed groups in the country. Therefore, the Nigerian people are not enthusiastic about the presidential elections.
Sharara added in a statement to "Al-Murajee", that all the above-mentioned data give rise to significant security problems and crises in the country, which could hinder the holding of the presidential elections. She further added that the people themselves may protest during and after the elections.
The researcher in African affairs also pointed out the possibility of "Boko Haram" group carrying out strikes against election facilities, with the aim of destabilizing the security situation in the country and inciting significant violence that could lead to a postponement of the elections.