Nigeria is preparing for a fiercely contested presidential election, set to take place tomorrow, with the most open race in years. The presidential candidates from the two dominant parties, which have taken turns in power for more than 20 years, now face an unexpected challenge from a third-party contender.
In the run-up to voting day, Nigeria’s government decision to replace its currency has led to chaos. Voters are expressing their anger towards the governing party for the scarcity of new banknotes, and this has sparked protests that could disrupt the election in some areas of the country.
Sarah Oka our Report Focus West Africa correspondent is currently in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, covering the election. She stated that “When I spoke with Peter Obi, one of the three main candidates, he referred to this election as an ‘existential election.’ I think that’s how many Nigerians feel, particularly young Nigerians who were involved in the EndSARS movement a couple of years ago, protesting against police violence, but also against everything they saw going wrong in Nigeria.” She added that “Many of them have left or are trying to leave the country. If their chosen candidate wins, maybe some will stay, or come back.”
As the population of wealthy countries ages, Africa’s median age is decreasing. In Nigeria, over half of the population, which is over 200 million, is 18 years or younger. “If Nigeria is secure and prosperous, it will brighten the lives of an entire generation of Africans,” Sarah said.