Insecurity and Identity Politics Ahead of Nigeria’s Vote
Insecurity and Identity Politics Ahead of Nigeria’s Vote
Podcast 1 minutes

Insecurity and Identity Politics Ahead of Nigeria’s Vote

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood speaks with Crisis Group’s trustee, Lagos-based lawyer and human rights activist Ayo Obe, and Crisis Group's Senior Adviser Nnamdi Obasi, about Nigeria’s forthcoming elections, held amid deteriorating security and a currency crisis.

Nigerians will go to the polls on 25 February to elect a new president. The election is shaping up as a three-way contest between Bola Tinubu, a veteran Nigerian politician from the ruling All Progressives Congress party, Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president, and Peter Obi, who appears to have won over many young Nigerians. A cash crisis, caused by a bungled government policy to replace old banknotes, plus fuel shortages look set to complicate the vote. The country also grapples with an array of security threats – jihadist insurgencies in the north east, kidnapping and banditry especially in the north west, herder-farmer violence, and, in the south west, separatist violence, including against election staff. Despite a pact among the presidential candidates to avoid hate speech, their supporters often resort to divisive rhetoric.  

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood speaks with Ayo Obe, Crisis Group’s Trustee and a Lagos-based lawyer and human rights activist, and ​​Nnamdi Obasi, Crisis Group’s senior Nigeria adviser, about the forthcoming vote. They look at the three main contenders, their campaigns and their prospects. They also discuss the impact of rampant insecurity on the vote and why identity politics look set to shape this election more than previous ones. They talk about the potential fallout from the cash crunch, concerns about vote-buying and risks of post-election disputes. Finally, they reflect on incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari’s legacy and the challenges facing his successor. 

Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

For more on the situation in Nigeria, check out Crisis Group’s extensive analysis on our Nigeria country page, and our recent report Mitigating Risks of Violence in Nigeria’s 2023 Elections.


Executive Vice President
Senior Adviser, Nigeria
Ayo Obe
Chair of the Board of Gorée Institute (Senegal); Legal Practitioner (Nigeria)

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