Editor’s Note: February 15, 2019

Nigeria’s election is both important and meaningless

Nigerians go to the polls on Saturday to pick their next president. In what is expected to be a tight vote incumbent Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is facing off against Atiku Abubakar of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

The world will be watching as Nigerian elections are a big deal by default. As Africa’s biggest economy events in the West African country reverberate across the continent.

The vote also comes during a time of crisis. 

Years of economic stagnation have earned Nigeria the unenviable distinction of having the most people globally living in extreme poverty.

Basic security has deteriorated amid the ongoing Boko Haram Insurgency and the ever-present threat of violence in its oil producing south-east. Nigeria ranks lower than war-torn Libya on the fragile states index.

The election is undeniably important, and largely meaningless.

In Buhari and Abubakar Nigerians are choosing between two members of a ruling elite that has dominated the country’s politics for decades, consistently failing to deliver economic prosperity.

Their parties are marriages of convenience. Defections are common, including Abubakar leaving the APC in 2017 to challenge Buhari.

Those looking for change will be disappointed. The best we can hope for is that the vote is peaceful, and the result is respected.

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