2023 Nigeria Elections: Why the World Should Be Watching
This month, Nigerian citizens will go to the polls and elect a new president and vice-president and members of the House of Representatives and Senate. BCI team members have lived and worked in Nigeria and seen previous elections up close, so we’re paying close attention to February 25th!
But why should the world pay attention?
With 176,846 polling stations and hundreds of unique ballot races, it is one of the most complex elections operations in the world. These elections are a critical moment for the largest country in Africa and one of the world's most populous nations with over 93 million voters, 40 per cent of whom are under 35. The election's outcome will have far-reaching consequences for Nigeria, the wider African continent, and the world.
Nigeria is a crucial player in Africa's geopolitical landscape. As the largest economy on the continent and a major oil-producing nation, Nigeria holds significant influence in regional and global affairs. The outcome of the 2023 elections will determine the direction of the country's domestic and foreign policies and its role in shaping the future of the African continent.
The future of Nigeria’s democracy
The 2023 Nigeria elections are crucial for the future of democracy in the country. Nigeria has a long history of democratic struggles and has been working to establish a stable, functioning democracy since the end of military rule in 1999. However, the country's democratic progress has been hampered by various factors, including corruption, ethnic and religious tensions, and a lack of political accountability. The 2023 elections offer a crucial opportunity for the people of Nigeria to hold their leaders accountable. We’ve worked with some fantastic civil society activists dedicated to combatting corruption and advancing democracy in their country.
Several security challenges, including terrorism, kidnapping, and organised crime, plague Nigeria daily. Violence and insecurity increase around elections as dedicated election officials and civil society activists risk their lives to safeguard democracy's most fundamental ingredient. Unfortunately, attacks against the Independent Election Commission (INEC) offices and staff are a common feature of Nigerian elections. The 2023 elections could impact the region's security and stability significantly. The election's outcome will play a significant role in determining the country's ability to address these threats and maintain regional stability and security.
The elections are critical for the economic future of the country and the region. Nigeria is one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa and has the potential to play a significant role in driving regional economic growth and development. However, the country faces significant challenges, including high poverty levels, unemployment, and inequality. The outcome of the 2023 elections will significantly impact the country's ability to address these challenges and promote economic growth and development in the region.
Finally, the 2023 Nigeria elections are of global importance because they offer a critical opportunity for the international community to support and promote democracy and human rights in Africa. The world has a stake in the stability and security of the African continent, and the 2023 elections in Nigeria provide a crucial moment for the international community to show its support for the people of Nigeria and the cause of democracy and human rights in Africa.
In the next few weeks, to keep up to date with information from Nigerian civil society organisations monitoring the elections, we recommend following: Yiaga Africa and The Transition Monitoring Group (TMG).
Author: Francesca Binda