The presidential election has seen more mudslinging than serious debate. But vote-rigging and violence are the immediate concerns
Nigeria’s 84 million voters will go to the polls next weekend to give their verdict on Muhammadu Buhari. The country is Africa’s most populous, and by some measures has the largest economy on the continent. Nigeria celebrated Mr Buhari’s election in 2015 as not only a resounding rejection of the unpopular Goodluck Jonathan but also the first democratic transition since the return of civilian rule in 1999.
Unfortunately, the highlight of Mr Buhari’s presidency appears to have been the gaining of it. The economy struggles, and his pledges to curb rampant corruption have been applied to political opponents. Insecurity remains a pressing issue: notably, Boko Haram appears to be resurging despite the government’s repeated assurances that it has beaten the extremist group, and a spreading herder-farmer conflict has killed thousands. The president’s extended absence overseas, for medical treatment, prompted such persistent rumours of his death and replacement by a body double that he felt obliged to tell voters: “It’s the real me, I assure you.”