Nigeria’s elections, previously due to be held last month, are being held in the coming weeks. So you know what this means – a list of recommended readings!
But before you applaud, a brief background:
Presidential elections, as well as those for the Senate and National Assembly will be held on March 28, while elections for governors and state assemblies will be held on April 11. In the presidential race, there is the possibility of a runoff if candidates fail to secure more than 50% of the national vote plus at least 25% of the vote in 2/3 of Nigeria’s states (or 24 of 26 states).
Enter the analysis I’ve been reading to get smart on #NigeriaDecides:
In January, the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute released a Statement of the Joint NDI/IRI Pre-Election Assessment Mission to Nigeria, detailing major issues affecting the political environment, challenges specific to the 2015 polls, and Nigerian-led initiatives to address these challenges.
After the elections were postponed, Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie penned Democracy, Deferred, and International Crisis Group posted and Nigeria’s Elections: A Perilous Postponement. (For additional background, see previous ICG reports Nigeria’s Dangerous 2015 Elections: Limiting the Violence and Curbing Violence in Nigeria (II): The Boko Haram Insurgency). In addition, in Democracy is Taking Root in Nigeria, Uchenna Ekwo argued that Nigeria’s democracy is challenged, but growing stronger.
African Arguments’ Nigeria Forum has been hosting a wide array of contributors, notably Incumbency and Opportunity: forecasting Nigeria’s 2015 elections by Zainab Usman and Oliver Owen and In the event of a Buhari win by Tolu Ogunlesi. Outside of African Arguments, Alex Thurston cautioned Don’t ignore Nigeria’s gubernatorial elections.
Some analyses tried to deconstruct the over-simplification of the country’s internal divisions, like Tolu Ogunlesi’s Nigeria’s Internal Struggles or unravel the dominant narratives on the primary presidential candidates Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari, such as Alex Thurston’s Nigeria’s Elections: Beyond “The Bumbler vs. the Thug”.
AfroBarometer released Nigeria’s pre-election pulse: Mixed views on democracy and accountability, with public opinion polling on Nigerians’ views on the quality of democracy in the country, support for legislative oversight, trust of elected leaders, religious leaders, and executives, and accountability of elected leaders.
Regarding Boko Haram and its connections to global jihadi movements, the Nigeria Security Network released Special report: The end of Boko Haram?, Hilary Matfess argued that Boko Haram is not al-Qaeda, and Obinna Anyadike (quoting Ryan Cummings and Jacob Zenn, who’ve written extensively on Boko Haram) tackled the question What does the Boko Haram/IS alliance mean?.
Regional security initiatives against Boko Haram are just getting off the ground, so I haven’t found assessments (aside from news articles) of ongoing operations. In the mean time, Celeste Hicks has written on Chad’s role in the region in Clay Feet: Chad’s Surprising Rise and Enduring Weaknesses.
Davin O’Regan has analyzed The Geography of Boko Haram: More Deadly but More Remote, while the following sources have been tracking violence in Nigeria:
- Nigerian Social Violence Project at SAIS
- Nigeria Security Tracker at CFR
- Armed Conflict Location and Event Dataset Conflict Trends Report
As 2014 drew to a close and most of the Chibok girls were still missing, Alexis Okeowo asked As the year ends, where are Nigeria’s kidnapped girls?. Chika Oduah also wrote on the human impact of Boko Haram in Executions, beatings and forced marriage: Life as a Boko Haram captive. See also the UN’s Office for the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Nigeria: Displacement – Humanitarian Snapshot (as of 10 March 2015).
On U.S. policy in Nigeria in context of elections – including details on increasing support to the country’s Lake Chad Basin neighbors – see Nigeria’s 2015 Elections and the Boko Haram Crisis by Lauren Ploch Blanchard.
There’s many more analyses out there, but this is all I’ve had time to digest, so eat, read, and be merry.