In February 2019, Nigerians will vote in the country’s sixth election since the return to democracy in 1999. The stakes will be high, as immediate security and economic pressures combine with longer-term policy challenges such as population growth and employment provision, and environmental degradation and land management, in a context in which patronage, political settlements, and at times intimidation and violence, remain strong determinants of outcomes. Citizens, and especially those who will be eligible to vote for the first time and who were born after the 1999 transition from military rule, will demand more of their elected officials, as recession, inflation, conflict and insecurity have taken their toll.
Much depends on the preparations of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the lead up to the elections to produce a credible process. But the conduct of political parties, their primaries later this year and the space they create for women’s participation, as well as the independence and sharpness of the media and an involved and vigilant civil society, will be significant influences on the conduct of this election and more widely on Nigeria’s future.
Idayat Hassan, director of the Centre for Democracy and Development, will discuss INEC’s preparations, give her assessment of the importance of these elections for young people and women, and offer her view of the influence of political parties on how events in Nigeria will unfold in 2018 in the lead up to the elections next year.