A dismally low turnout in the presidential elections revealed the fractured relationship between politicians and populace
You know a democracy is in trouble when two out of three voters don’t bother to turn up for a presidential election. In Nigeria’s just-concluded presidential poll, incumbent Muhammadu Buhari was re-elected with the backing of 15.2 million voters compared to the 11.3 million votes his main rival Atiku Abubakar, was able to amass.
Although this gave Buhari 56% of the total votes cast, in a country with a population of close to 200 million, including more than 84 million registered voters, 15.2 million votes hardly qualifies as a huge mandate. The 35% voter turnout was down from 44% in the 2015 presidential election and way down from the 54% turnout in 2011. In fact, turnout for Nigerian presidential elections has been dropping at an alarmingly consistent rate since 2003. So why are increasingly fewer Nigerians feeling the need to vote in elections that decide the most powerful political office?