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Vol 60 No 1

Published 11th January 2019


Nigeria

A poll without passion

The party-political system is failing the country amid preparations for national elections in February and state elections in March

What should be an epic battle of ideas and policies in Africa's biggest democracy to address recurring economic and security crises is turning out to be one of the country's dullest campaigns. Some of the blame lies with the septuagenarian front-runners: incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari and challenger and ex-Vice-President Atiku Abubakar. The former, a quiet general with a penchant for economic nationalism, and his adversary, the ebullient buccaneering businessman and professional politician, have quite different temperaments and political views. But competition between them in the run-up to the presidential elections has not taken off. They have not engaged large constituencies in the country such as women or the under-30s, whose combined vote makes up the majority of the country's 84 million registered voters.

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