The stakes are high as the citizens of Africa’s largest economy – Nigeria – prepare to elect their next president on 16 February. With unemployment soaring and GDP growth at less than 2%, they must choose between two radically opposed views – the statist policies of incumbent Muhammadu Buhari or the free-market vision of Atiku Abubakar.
But unlike the energy and momentum of four years ago, when Buhari harnessed the hopes and frustrations of millions of Nigerians in a dramatic and engaging campaign that swept President Goodluck Jonathan from office and led to a rare peaceful transfer of power, 2019 is a largely muted contest. Despite the fact that both candidates are well known after decades in public life – former military ruler Buhari is a two-time president while Abubakar is a frequent party defector who served as vice-president under Olusegun Obasanjo – the lack of excitement among voters is palpable.
Our February Cover Story analyses this crucial moment for the continent’s most populous nation.
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