The Men Who will Become Nigeria’s Next President

Observant Nigerians are currently gripped by both fear and optimism in the face of the country’s divergent realities. On the one hand, rising poverty and insecurity in the land. On the other, a burgeoning youth population that if harnessed could power Nigeria to spectacular success. So much is at stake with the country fast reaching an inflection point. Yet, the critical factor of leadership and good governance looks both elusive and tantalisingly close. Take first leadership and politics. Things look grim in the medium term, but prospective game-changers abound in the longer term. In Nigeria today, we see sections of the citizenry that are increasingly aware, engaged and mobilizing for meaningful leadership change. Some positive changes for the long-term are however emerging, evident in civil-society led initiatives on election reform which the Buhari government is conceding to albeit reluctantly. Online voters registration, electronic transmission of vote tallies and compulsory party primaries (rather than selection through backroom deals) are key initiatives currently in implementation or being crafted into legislations. The latter especially could see more competent and reform-minded candidates emerge at all government levels but big question marks loom. Key is will the president and Nigeria’s political godfathers provide the space to actualise these?