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Five key issues in Nigeria’s elections

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inecNigeria, Africa’s most populous country and its biggest economy, holds general elections on Saturday. Here are five issues that could shape the results.

– Security –

Which candidate is best suited to end Boko Haram’s six-year uprising that has killed more than 13,000 people and left 1.5 million others homeless?

This may be the key question for some of Nigeria’s 68.8 million registered voters, especially those in the north directly affected by the violence.

President Goodluck Jonathan’s record on the conflict has been widely criticised.

Despite successes claimed over the Islamists in the last six weeks, many observers have described his response to the uprising as misguided and lacking urgency.

Opposition leader Muhammadu Buhari, a former military head-of-state, is generally seen as capable of being a strong commander-in-chief.

But experts have also noted that, despite the bloodshed, Boko Haram will not be the decisive issue for all voters, particularly for southerners untouched by the insurgency.

– Corruption –

Graft has crippled progress in Africa’s top economy for decades and may be the key issue that unites voters of all religions and ethnic groups.

Buhari has made the fight against corruption the key to his political identity, dating back to 1983, when he took power in a coup that toppled a civilian administration accused of stealing public funds.

While Jonathan insists he has made progress in cleaning up the federal government, critics say graft has in fact flourished under his watch, including at the state-owned oil corporation.

Most experts say the March 28 vote is too close to call but if Buhari manages to unseat an incumbent president — which would be a first for Nigeria — his anti-graft credentials will likely have played a key role.

– Economy –

The collapse in global oil prices highlighted Nigeria’s vulnerability to crude market shocks.

Oil generates more than 70 percent of government revenue and falling prices have sent the economy into a tailspin.

Jonathan’s economic czar, Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been calling for diversification for years, with a focus on revitalising agriculture.

The president’s performance on agriculture has been praised and there are signs of increased investment and job growth in the long-neglected sector, which could help him on re-election day.

Annual GDP growth has also averaged more than five percent through Jonathan’s tenure.

But poverty and unemployment remain rampant with most of Nigeria’s 173 million people living on less than $2 per day.

Buhari’s economic credentials have been questioned, especially given his background as an army general and military ruler.

Doubts over his ability to steer Africa’s top economy could hurt him on polling day, with whoever wins facing a pressing problem of how to boost government coffers in an unfavourable climate.

– Tribe –

Always a factor in Nigerian elections, Buhari’s Hausa-Fulani tribesmen who dominate Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north believe it is their turn to control the presidency.

A southerner has occupied the presidential villa for 13 of the 16 years since democracy was restored in 1999.

While a majority of northerners are likely to support Buhari, Jonathan will still win votes in the region, which, like the rest of the country, is ethnically mixed.

The president is an Ijaw, a minority ethnic group in the oil-producing Niger Delta, and is expected to win a majority there as well as in neighbouring areas dominated by the Igbo tribe.

– Religion –

Some of Buhari’s rivals have tried to portray him as a religious fanatic committed to imposing Islamic law across all of Nigeria.

The charge is almost certainly baseless but experts say it could dissuade some swing voters in the mostly Christian south.

Jonathan has not made his Christian faith or Buhari’s religious beliefs a key part of his public campaign but he is still expected to win more votes among Christians



2 Comments
  • Diamond Nivax

    Since Jonathan became president Igbo south east has annually got the the least project allocation in the budget. While other regions get as much as two hundred and something billion naira Igbos are yearly allocated seventy something billion naira.None of the top five highest public officer in Nigeria is an Igbo man. President, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representative and the Chief Justice of Nigeria belong to other tribes despite the fact that Igbos are one of the three ethnic groups in Nigeria. If that is a wicked coincidence why is no Igbo man qualified to head any of Nigeria security agencies: the National Security Adviser, Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Air Staff, Chief of Navy Staff, Director of DSS, and Inspector General of Police? Jonathan hates Igbos so much.Jonathan did nothing while Boko Haram killed more than 10 thousand and displaced 100 of thousands of Igbo men and women in the North. For five years Jonathan was unconcernedly presiding over the shedding of blood of innocent south easterners. Would he have kept quiet if they were the blood of his Ijaw kinsmen? Don’t forget that it was him that hurriedly pardoned the former governor of Bayelsa of criminal convictions simply because he is an Ijaw man.Even in the way he is campaigning he has not hidden his utter disdain for Igbo. The second Niger Bridge he is using to deceive us is not captured in this year’s budget. I have not seen one reason why Jonathan deserves a single vote of Igbo nation. Where is the much talked about railway of Jonathan in Igbo land?

  • mbainyi1

    THAT SO CALLED INSECURITY THAT IS FORMING A FACTOR IN 2015
    ELECTION

    Insecurity issue in Nigeria has been over journalisdized by
    our media within this election period. One
    now start to ask is it this war
    that was levied on Nigeria Nation by
    Boko Haram that is being taunted on Government as security failure? Now If we
    go by figure information, that is if minus the Boko haram levied war/its ancillaries
    therefrom, from the totality of
    insecurity index of Nigeria, the ratio will be 9:1 , with BH was grabbing the 90%.
    Others like robbery, kidnapping, burglary, attempting suicide, rape etc cracking
    the remaining 10%. With this, permit me
    to say that but for BH, Nigeria is highly secured from this our criminological
    point of view.

    Now when war is levied on a country whether civil or
    international, it is a war between two enemies. In this BH case it is BH versus
    every citizen of Nigeria – APC, PDP, Nig Armed forces, able and disable of
    Nigeria. Every citizen therefore gear up to fight and win it. It is better won on one spirit and one faith.

    But since the BH war was levied on us and even the forces of
    BH sacking and occupying some of our territory, many of us have never saw it or
    taken the BH as our individual and collective enemy of their person not to talk of the enemy of Nigeria. Most individual chose
    to sneer at the Government of the day rather than dishing out idea and lines of
    solution to crushing the war. Some of the senior citizens and retired generals
    were very undiplomatic to utterances and efforts of the forces crushing the
    war. OBJ in particular was saying that BH was fighting a just war. The victims of the war –
    such Chibok Girls were seen as heinous of the Federal Government rather than
    victims of international war. The dead victims
    were counted and posted on the Government as murder. Everybody forgot that at
    war that death is one of the usual out come on both sides.

    As if –it is not enough, the other parties especially the APC have made the war an insecurity interdiction
    on PDP and its Candidates for the purpose of
    winning vote forgetting that the war is a Nigeria war including them.
    Even as the soldiers are winning the war, these other parties made it over their dead body will they
    congratulate them, or send ordinary bag
    of pure water to the gallant soldiers in the sub-desert helping us do our
    collective duty of crushing the war, our
    war.

    when on 911 Osama’s forces
    killed 3,000 Americans, it was never made an election topic for two
    reasons : – i) the American saw it as war on all of them which the Commander in
    Chief and their forces must be encouraged to win. 2. They know that Their voting out their President will be a
    capping Victory to Osama and his Ladins in addition to the havoc of making
    3,000 Americans dead.

    Now therefore to all of us the above American precedents should
    be ideally be adopted to return the Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to power, as
    otherwise will be seen by Boko Haram as victory in a war they levied against you and i, to
    which by the commanding forces of GEJ, we have crushed. Vote GEJ bros and sisters,
    Vote GEJ.