Nigerian General Elections 2019 Results were announced by the Election commission of Nigeria on Wednesday, February 27, 2019, stating All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate – Muhammadu Buhari – has been reelected as the president of Republic of Nigeria. Defeating Atiku Abubakar of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Buhari took the crown in 19 states out of 37 with a vote difference of 3,928,869 votes. Other smaller parties like Africa Action Congress (AAC) put up a good fight in selected regions like Lagos where it secured 8,910 votes. Meanwhile, the Young Progressive Party (YPP) and Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) collectively gathered 38,665 votes.
Nigerian citizens count on Buhari for taking strict actions against corruption as well before the election campaigning, he has been portraying himself as an anti-corruption crusader. However, the opposition had several questions for him. The presidential tenure that follows would be more challenging as many of Buhari’s own cabinet ministers and high-level officials have been charged for the same. At the same time, the public has been viewing these convictions as a positive sign of war against corruption.
Economic Challenges for the Government
Nigerian economy was negatively impacted in 2016 and since then, there has been a nominal growth in the overall economy. Meanwhile, the World Bank Organization is estimating GDP growth of merely 2.2% in the year 2019. At this rate, it would be extremely challenging for the Nigerian economy to roll repeat 2014 when it had crossed $550 billion.
According to Statista report, Nigeria will not be able to achieve that feat before 2021 but if things go as expected, before the next general elections in 2023, the biggest African economy – Nigeria – would cross the $650 billion mark.
Although GDP consists of multiple parameters, an immediate action strategy is expected, moreover, mandatory for the elected government in the following sectors.
Poverty and Illiteracy
The huge divide between urban and countryside Nigeria, when it comes to electricity and power, is enormous. National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) report states that even though 4 out of every 5 homes in cities and urban areas have electricity but out of the total rural families (which constitutes 64% of the total population of Nigeria), 2 out of every 3 do not.
Overtaking India, Nigeria has become the country with the largest population living under extreme poverty. According to a report in July 2018 by the World Poverty Clock, 86.9 million people have been affected by the curse of poverty and some major reasons include corruption and overpopulation in the country. It can hereby be concluded that the first Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) prepared by the United Nations, aiming to end poverty by 2030 seems too far-fetched, especially for African Nations including Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo which is expected to be the next to follow the suite and replace India to take 2nd position in the ranking.
More than 70 million Nigerian citizens including 11 million out-of-school children, and 60 million youth and adults, are illiterate. Furthermore, orthodox systems and communal obligations apart from lack of government’s ability to implement the
For a booming Nigerian population (increasing at 2.6% annual rate), fulfillment of fundamental requirements including food, shelter, and education is imperative. However, the worsening numbers is an indication for the upcoming Buhari’s governance to pay special heed.
Oil, Agriculture, and Remittances
The largest oil-producing country in Africa and the 6th largest oil producer in the world, the oil-driven economy of Nigeria needs to diversify.
Agriculture-sector needs special attention because the fertile land of Nigeria and the agriculture produce, due to lack of Agro-technology, are not able to feed the mouths. Once a leading food exporter, Nigeria today imports food from other countries. This points towards the negligence of duty by the Nigerian officials and policymakers who instead of extensively investing in oil should have been improving the agriculture sector as well.
At the same time, remittance inflow is playing a decisive role in keeping the economy afloat which is why it becomes essential for the Buhari government to promote international transactions and mobile payments. Those who want to send money to Nigeria online need easier and economically feasible platforms and the government must take encouraging steps for the money transfer services, businesses and investors to develop these services. Needless to say, there are plenty of other sectors that need more importance but ignoring the remittance industry would be a huge blunder for Muhammadu Buhari’s government.
Tensions and Violence
Nigerian general elections 2019 results came along with the announcement of the winner but there were more than 39 casualties and hundreds of arrests which is although less than the 2015 general elections (when almost 60 people died in 61 reported election-related violence), the country has a long way to go before conducting, what in a democratic nation is termed as, fair and safe elections. It would be expected from Buhari to keep aside the results, as he portrays himself as a law-abiding and honest person, and ensure that the hard-earned democracy is kept alive and prosperous.
As promised, Buhari has had a huge impact on the Islamic extremists, Boko Haram, in the North which is one of the biggest reasons for Nigerian voters vouching for him and giving an overwhelming mandate to APC in the 2019 general election.
However, the problem of southern insurgency still remains. This makes Nigerian economic diversification even more important as the insurgents since the 1990s simply do not want to be exploited. Buhari has promised to resolve the Niger Delta conflict soon, however, there is no definite timeframe decided. The unrest among minority ethnic groups led to a significant vote-share shift towards PDP in the recent elections. After the elections, we will keep an eye on how Buhari balances the oil crisis and the southern conflict.
While taking strict action to curb insurgency and corruption, Buhari may be continuously alleged for usurping both judicial and legislative power. His past record of using military rather than diplomatic or democratic steps have been put under question but also suppressed by power. This is not a very good sign for the future of the Republic of Nigeria, however, with the entire world tending to shift towards a more strong and decisive right-aligned governments, Buhari seems to be the best choice available and his steps in the next 4 years will decide what will be seen and experienced by the Nigerian generations that follow.
At FAZRemit, we hope that “Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress” prosper in the Giant of Africa.