News, Politics

Nigeria Decides 2023 – Eve Of The Presidential Election

Michael Antonorsi


April 1, 2023

Nigeria is gearing up in preparation for tomorrow’s general elections, where voters will decide on a new president and vice president as well as members of the Senate and House of Representatives. Despite being Africa’s largest producer of oil there are shortages, exacerbating economic hardships and driving inflation. Nigeria’s economy has deteriorated as the naira has lost much of its value, decreasing the value of its exports, primarily oil, and increasing the costs of imports. Unemployment is over 30% and disproportionately affects younger individuals. The median age in Nigeria is 17. Voters have become increasingly recalcitrant and view the elite political class as corrupt, more likely to enrich their inner circle than execute their duties as public servants. Voters will have their say tomorrow, the 25th of November, and what could become Nigeria’s fairest election.

There has been a drastic increase in eligible voters since the 2019 election, as 9,464,924 individuals registered since. Most of these new voters are younger than 34, making the ‘youthful bloc’ the largest voting bloc for the first time. Splitting the registered voters into age groups reveals the following demography: 

Youthful (18-34): 37,060,399 or 39.65%

Middle (35-49): 33,413,591 or 35.75%, 

Elderly (50-69): 17,700,270 or 18.94%

Old  (70+): 5,294,758 or 5.66%

Total: 93,469,008

The largest voter blocs by occupation are students, farmers, and housewives.

Developments in voting security technology such as BVAS offer ways of authenticating ballots, however, the fairness of an election begins before that with openness and access to first cast a ballot. INEC faces a logistical nightmare in coordinating the election. The country is 923,768 square kilometres with 176,846 polling stations across 774 LGAs. As Chairman of INEC, Yakubu, has asked for 100,000 vehicles and 4,200 boats for the transfer of personnel and election material. There will be 1.26 million staff, mostly ad hoc, to assist the 93.46 million voters. 

The security situation in Nigeria has deteriorated, with kidnappings skyrocketing and terrorists and bandits marauding throughout the country. To ensure the safety of voters the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, will deploy 425,106 security operatives. He broke it down by agency, “In the Police we have 310,973, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence – 51,000; Federal Road Safety Corps – 21,000; Nigerian Correctional Service – 11,336; National Drug Law Enforcement Agency – 9,447; Economic and Financial Crimes Commission – 350; Nigeria Immigration Service – 21,000”. The Assistant Inspector General has warned police officers of any corrupt practices that can damage the image of the police and threatened full prosecution of individuals caught in such acts.

Nigeria’s police agencies are coordinating with the military to ensure no malicious actors enter Nigeria’s borders or wreak havoc on voters exercising their democratic rights. The air force will monitor large areas of difficult terrain and the navy has secured the waterways. The army has been deployed in varying numbers across many states away from polling stations, but in strategic locations to respond to large scale turmoil. As a result of the precarious security situation and importance of the election, movement in and out of states has been heavily restricted.

The election is a civic matter and therefor the military is only supposed to support the civilian security services and ensure that voters are safe and unmolested on election day. This is the largest and most important election for Nigeria. Voters must conduct their duty in a civic manner. The security services must ensure the safety and freewill of the citizens. INEC must ensure the authenticity and fairness of the election.Nigeria is Africa’s most populous state and largest economy, how the election is conducted will reverberate throughout the region. 


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