By Eagle Eye News24
These are crucial times for Nigeria,as the Nation goes to the polls this month in what could be the most significant elections ever in Africa’s most populous nation. More than that, the election could prove as, or even more, important to the continent’s development as Ghana’s 2008 election or South Africa’s historic 1994 poll.
For the first time in Nigeria’s history, presidential power is about a four horse race that is geared to change hands via the ballot box, as opposition candidates Peter Obi(Labour Party).Atiku Abubakar(Peoples Democratic Party),Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso(New Nigerian Peoples Party) seeks to unseat the ruling party’s Bola Ahmed Tinubu(All Progressives Party),hoping to succeed outgoing president Muhammadu Buhari of the APC. Whatever the outcome, the election will be close, creating the conditions for a historic acceptance or rejection of the results by the losing candidates, and perhaps more importantly, their supporters.
Elections on the continent can be crisis points. The Chinese word for “crisis” may not actually be composed of the characters for “danger” and “opportunity” but it is nevertheless true in Nigeria’s context. These elections could spell disaster. Boko Haram, the Islamist insurgency focused in the country’s northeast, could heavily disrupt voting in much of the country or the rampaging bandits in the North-West and the agitating IPOB in the South -East. Supporters of rival political parties have engaged in pre-election violence, which could set the scene for large pockets of post-election violence if one or the other side suspects foul play.
We could witness a nation deeply divided, with the loudest mouths on either side using regional, ethnic and confessional differences and distrust to entrench opposition. As one prominent Nigeria political analyst told EAGLE EYE WATCH, “This could be absolutely catastrophic.”
Dangerous, yes, but the opportunity is also enormous. Nigeria can come out the other side of this almost perfect storm of challenges. And, if it does, the country’s democracy will be so much stronger and more robust. Nigeria will truly have entered a new era.
Without being melodramatic, that is what is at stake this month: catastrophe or era-defining success.
This is why EAGLE EYE WATCH NEWS has dedicated so many pages of its publication you are reading to proper evaluation and analysis of these elections. What happens on the streets of Kano, in the forests of Borno, in the creeks of the Niger Delta, the campaign offices of Lagos, and in the official offices of Abuja will affect the whole continent. This isn’t just because Nigeria is a nation with around 15% of the continent’s entire population. It isn’t just because Nigeria has the continent’s largest economy. It is because Nigeria is also at the cutting edge of social change on the continent. Nigeria’s charismatic, sometimes brash style alienates some, but few can deny the nation’s raw dynamism.
And whether because of, or in spite of, Outgoing president Muhammadu Buhari’s transition to pass the baton to his party’s flagbearer Bola Ahmed Tinubu., this social change is happening quickly. Nigeria deserves our attention now more than at any other point in recent history.