Familiar faces pledge to solve Nigeria’s problems in 2023

familiar faces pledge to solve nigeria's problems in 2023
familiar faces pledge to solve nigeria’s problems in 2023

Two political veterans in their seventies are fighting for the presidency of Nigeria, pledging pro-business measures to revitalise the continent’s largest economy by repairing its oil sector and reducing pervasive security risks.

This week, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) selected Bola Tinubu as its candidate to replace President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 election. Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president and senior politician who is the principal opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, will be his opponent.

Prior to his election, Abubakar pledged to privatise the state-owned oil company and establish a fund to encourage private infrastructure investment. Tinubu pledges to improve manufacturing to lessen Nigeria’s reliance on imports, construct a deep sea port in the south, and increase gas and oil exploration in the continent’s leading crude producer.

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The Financial Derivatives Company stated in a note to investors that the policy trajectory will alter fundamentally regardless of the outcome of the upcoming election. It seems conceivable that the protectionist measures of the past decade will be abandoned.

Tinubu and Abubakar wish to eliminate the exchange controls and import priority list enacted by the central bank under Buhari in an effort to restrict dollar outflows.

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They also want to clean up the oil industry by privatising the state-owned oil company or eliminating a hefty gasoline subsidy.

As a result of crude theft and pipeline damage, the government has reduced its budgeted oil output to 1.4 million barrels per day from an initial 1.8 million bpd, preventing Nigeria from benefiting from the post-Ukraine war oil price rise.

The oil regulator reports that Nigeria lost 434 billion naira ($1 billion) to oil theft in the first quarter of this year alone.


Tinubu, 70, and Abubakar, 75, are both established leaders who have constructed huge tribal, religious, and political networks that have determined the election winner over the past two decades.

However, the two candidates must fight with the perception of elderly men governing a young nation.

The proportion of tech-savvy young Nigerians who participated in the 2019 election is projected to increase. They want jobs and business opportunities and complain of being excluded from decision making in Nigerian politics.

The winner will also face a slew of security issues, including a widening Islamist insurgency that has left many dead in its wake as underlined by a massacre in a Catholic church on Sunday in which 40 people were killed.

Banditry and kidnappings, long-running unrest in the Niger Delta, confrontations between herders and farmers, and separatist Biafra movement in the southeast are other risks.

Tinubu and Abubakar say they will end the cycle of violence, but this will not be the first time Nigerians have heard such promises, and many are dismayed at how insecurity and poverty levels have grown since voting for Buhari, who pledged to alleviate insecurity and boost the economy.

“These are establishment candidates, the system made them so I doubt they are going to be reformists or revolutionary,” said Abiodun Adeneyi, a professor of mass communication at Baze University in Lagos. “I do not see how they can do anything different to overcome the security situation.”

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