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Nigeria’s 2023 Elections: Risks to Peace,’Nigerianess’ and economic growth – Richard Odusanya.


Nigeria’s 2023 Elections: Risks to Peace,’Nigerianess’ and economic growth – Richard Odusanya.

Ahead of the 2023 general elections in Nigeria, and the current unpleasant situations. Young Nigerians especially are mobilizing for an election that will have enormous consequences for their, and Nigeria’s, future. Nigerians have stood in long lines to register to vote, so many that INEC extended the registration period to accommodate demand. Compared to the 84 million voters registered for the most recent national elections, in 2019, almost 10.5 million more voters had registered by June 27. About 70 percent of new registrants are aged 18 to 35.

As Africa’s most populous country, largest economy and most notable democracy, Nigeria is a bellwether for the continent. A weakening economy, rising insecurity and violent conflicts threaten progress made in its democratic development. Amid deepening distrust in government and institutions, Nigeria has significant work to do in improving national, state and local security and governance ahead of national and state elections in 2023. Thus, the need for cohesiveness as well as reinventing our ‘Nigerianess’

While Nigeria has made some progress in socio-economic terms in recent years, its human capital development ranked 150 of 157 countries in the World Bank’s 2020 Human Capital Index. The country continues to face massive developmental challenges, including the need to reduce the dependency on oil and diversify the economy, address insufficient infrastructure, build strong and effective institutions, as well as address governance issues and public financial management systems. Hence the need for a deeper introspection and honest appraisal on the part of the citizens and stakeholders.

Nigeria is a multi-ethnic and culturally diverse federation of 36 autonomous states and the Federal Capital Territory. The political landscape is partly dominated by the ruling All Progressives Congress party (APC) which controls the executive arm of government and holds majority seats at both the Senate and House of Representatives in parliament, and 23 out of 36 State Governors. Whereas the major opposition party PDP and the other parties seems like a house divided against itself.

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As the clock ticks to 2023, the political climate is upbeat with regards to who succeeds President Muhammad Buhari. Many conjectures are being thrown up on what should be? Who should be? And, how it should be? There are permutations, contestations, arguments to the effect of the above thinking. However, the concerns about religious coloration and ethnic profiling has been a major issue threatening the success of 2023 general elections. It is worrisome and should not fester for too long.

Interestingly, the number of human-made existential risks has ballooned, but the most pressing one is the original: religious war. Nevertheless, the political situation in our beloved country Nigeria is going to determine how much we confront the socioeconomic status – vis-a-vis security, education, power generation and the other pressing issues. Therefore, this is the right time for reinventing our ‘Nigerianess’ enough of divisiveness and stoking religious sentiments.

Profoundly, permit my indulgence to encourage Nigerians to believe more in our ‘Nigerianess’ by using the words of George Denis Patrick Carlin, an American stand-up comedian, actor, author, and social critic. Regarded as one of the most important and influential stand-up comedians of all time, he was dubbed “the dean of counterculture comedians”. He was known for his black comedy and reflections on politics, the English language, psychology, religion, and taboo subjects. He famously said: “Religion is like a pair of shoes…..find one that fits for you, but don’t make me wear your shoes”


Richard Odusanya is a Social Reform Crusader and the convener of AFRICA COVENANT RESCUE INITIATIVE ACRI

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