AFRICA/NIGERIA - Elections to change governors are underway; uncertainty about turnout

Saturday, 18 March 2023 elections  

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - Nigerians return to the polls today, March 18, to elect the governors of 28 of the 36 states of the Federation and more than 900 representatives to the state assemblies.
After the presidential and parliamentary vote on February 25, this is an important election because governors wield enormous influence and their support often decides the election of the president. Some governors preside over states whose annual budgets are larger than those of some small African countries.
Gubernatorial elections were due to take place on March 11 but the Electoral Commission postponed them for a week, saying it needed more time to reconfigure the electronic voting machines that are at the center of the contest for the presidential victory, of Bola Tinubu, of the All Progressives Congress (APC) party, (see Fides, 1/3/2023). A victory rejected by the two main opponents of the presidential election who have appealed to the Supreme Court to annul its validity (see Fides, 2/3/2023).
Only time will tell if today's vote will be marked by a low turnout, as was the case in the February 25 elections, when the turnout was only 27%.
One should know that it is not easy to register on the electoral lists in Nigeria. You must appear in person at the electoral offices at least twice: once to register and another time to collect a permanent voting card, or PVC, necessary to vote. Over 93 million Nigerians have registered to vote in this election cycle. More than 87 million of them have removed their PVC. But on February 25, less than 25 million registered voters actually went to the polls. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 18/3/2023)