It is a crucial week in Nigeria as the presidential election to elect incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari’s successor takes place on Saturday February 25.
Buhari who was first elected in 2015 is not contesting because he is serving his second and final term in office which ends on May 29 2023.
The four leading candidates this year’s presidential election are Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).
Majority of the polls conducted have favoured Mr Obi, who is mostly supported by Nigerian youths who are fed up with the ruling class and are seeking to effect change of leadership with their votes. They are mostly addressed as ‘Obidients’.
Mr Tinubu, a former governor of Nigeria’s commercial capital, boasts of wealth of experience in politics. He has promised Nigerians renewed hope and continuation of the policies of Mr Buhari if elected.
Mr Atiku, a former Vice-President of Nigeria has promised to recover the country from the mess created by the ruling party while Mr Kwankwaso believed that he is the best among those vying for the highest political office in the country.
To be declared winner, a candidate needed a simple majority of votes nationwide and at least 25 percent support in two-thirds of Nigeria’s 36 states and the capital territory.
However, there are uncertainty in the country on whether the election will proceed as scheduled as the country’s electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said the cash it needed for logistics is yet to be given by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The country is currently facing a financial crisis due to the redesigning of three banknotes of N1,000, N500 and N200.
In recent days, there have been violent protests as people struggled to get hold of newly designed banknotes.
In a televised address last week, Mr Buhari said the old N200 notes would remain legal tender for another 60 days.
He also said that the old N500 and N1,000 notes could be exchanged at the Central Bank and other designated places until 10 April – the previous deadline had expired on 10 February.
However, some governors elected under the ruling party have disagreed with Mr Buhari and called on residents to continue using the old banknotes until the Supreme Court gives a pronouncement on the contentious issue.
Any candidate who wins the presidential election will have a serious work to do in uniting the nation which has become polarised along ethnic, religious and political divides.