NIGERIA: Official results of Nigeria’s presidential election are expected as early as Monday in what is called a close race between President Muhammadu Buhari and a former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, both from the largely Muslim north. At stake is Africa’s largest economy and largest democracy that is experiencing a demographic boom that could make Nigeria the world’s third most populous country by 2050.
The winner inherits an oil-dependent economy still limping back from a recession that began in 2016 after global crude prices crashed. Nearly one-quarter of Nigeria’s more than 190 million people are unemployed. Inflation is over 11 percent. The country now leads the world in the number of people in extreme poverty. Frustration with the economy could decide the election, though insecurity is also a major issue.
For the presidency, a candidate must win a majority of overall votes as well as at least 25 percent of the vote in two-thirds of Nigeria’s 36 states. If that isn’t achieved, the election moves to a runoff.
Top candidates have spent untold millions of dollars campaigning. Buhari is expected to do well in the north and Abubakar in the southeast, while many are watching the southwest anchored by Lagos, Africa’s largest city, and the central region where Buhari is criticized over his weak response to deadly farmer-herder clashes. The results of Saturday’s vote have made their way to compilation centers, where election workers hunch over calculators and scribble totals under party agents’ watchful eyes.