In 2002, Nigeria was a populous West African country with a population of over 130 million people. Its economy was heavily reliant on the production and export of oil, with the country being one of the world’s top 10 oil producers. Despite its vast natural resources, Nigeria had a low standard of living with a per capita GDP that was significantly lower than other countries in the region. Education levels were also below average, with approximately 50% literacy rate among adults. In terms of economic reforms, the government had implemented several measures such as reducing trade tariffs and increasing foreign investment which had helped to boost economic growth. Additionally, efforts were also being made to improve health care services and access to education for all citizens which had helped to reduce poverty rates significantly. Furthermore, despite political instability due to military coups over the past decades, according to computerannals, Nigeria had been making progress in terms of democratic reform since 1999 and was seen as one of the most politically stable countries in West Africa at that time.
Nigeria. In January, a new electoral law was adopted, which allows more parties to take part in general elections than the three who were allowed to run in 1999. Later, three new parties were approved. But planned local elections could not be carried out due to lack of preparation. The delay was feared to affect all the elections at the state and national level that must be held in 2003, which was seen as a setback for Nigeria’s fragile democracy.
According to Countryaah website, national day of Nigeria is every October 1. President Olusegun Obasanjo was threatened with national law by the House of Representatives. He was accused of wastefulness with state funds, indifference to the problems of the population and general incompetence. When the president demanded that MPs report their payrolls, they instead began a comprehensive review of the government’s work.
The suspicions of government waste were fueled by a schism between the Nigeria and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The fund’s informal review of the government’s economic policy was suspended, according to Nigeria because the IMF adopted a “too narrow macroeconomic approach” that threatened the country’s stability. According to the IMF, monitoring was interrupted because the government ignored agreed spending ceilings.
In August, the government announced that it would not be able to handle the repayments on most of N’s foreign debt. Payments on a debt to the so-called Paris Club – an association of major donors – of USD 22 billion were canceled.
The strict application of Islamic law, sharia, in the country’s northern states sparked further debate. Fiancee’s mother Safiya Husaini was acquitted of a previous death sentence by stoning for adultery, but at the same time Amina Lawal was sentenced to death with the same method of having given birth to a child after divorce. The death sentence was set by a higher Shari’a court, but appealed to the Supreme Court.
The plans to organize the Miss World competition in the capital Abuja in November led to severe unrest in the Muslim-dominated city of Kaduna. The jeepot had long stirred up the sentiments in the Muslim states and a racy newspaper article about the Prophet Muhammad triggered riots demanding at least 200 casualties. The beauty pageant was moved to London and the female reporter responsible for the unfortunate wording was forced to leave the country to avoid being killed.
Democracy Again: The Fourth Republic of 1999
Elections to the President and National Assembly were held in February – March 1999, and a new constitution was passed in April. Olusegun Obasanjo, who chaired the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), was elected president. The party also got a majority in most states and in parliament, and it got the governor post in 21 of the 36 states.
Obasanjo was re-elected in 2003, when one of the opposing candidates was the returning Biafra leader Ojukwu. PDP has maintained the dominance of power at all levels in all elections up to the 2015 elections.
First civil power transition between parties
The year 2007 marked the first civil power transfer in the country’s history. The Nigerian Constitution restricts a person’s ability to be president for two terms. Prior to the 2007 election, Obasanjo sought to amend the Constitution to be able to run for a third presidential term. This was rejected by the Senate. For PDP, therefore, the governor of Katsina, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who was elected with 69.8 percent of the vote. Muhammadu Buhari from ANPP got 18.7 percent and Atiku Abubakar from Action Congress (AC) 7.5 percent.
The year 2015 marked both the first transition of power between two civilian regimes and the first time a candidate from the incumbent president’s party did not win the election. All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate, Buhari, won over PDP and incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari won by a good margin, with 54 percent against Jonathan’s 45 percent. Jonathan accepted the defeat.
Buhari won again in 2019, with 56 percent against PDP opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar’s 41 percent. Abubakar rejected the election result and will go to court to challenge it. Both national and international election observers have pointed out extensive logistical problems, and in some areas major problems, but consider Buhari to be the real winner.
Nigeria was plunged into a constitutional crisis when former President Yar’Adua fell ill over the winter of 2009/2010 and was inaccessible for a long period during hospital stays in Saudi Arabia. The country was a period without a functioning head of state because Yar’Adua and his supporters would not authorize Vice President Goodluck Jonathan to serve as president. Finally, Parliament broke in and made sure Jonathan got the necessary powers. When Yar’Adua died in May 2010, Jonathan took over.
Behind the conflict over Jonathan’s presidency during Yar’Adua’s sick leave lay the PDP’s principle of power sharing between the north and south, and positioning before the 2011 elections. The principle was challenged when Jonathan took over from the south for a period ruled from the north (Yar’Adua). Stakeholders in the North also feared that if Jonathan took over for Yar’Adua, it would be more difficult for the North to claim the presidency in the 2011 election.
Jonathan was re-elected as president in 2011, and left again as a candidate for the 2015 election, which faced opposition in the north. This may partly explain the opposition’s election victory in 2015. In 2019, the two main parties, APC and PDP, both filed with candidates from the north (Buhari and Abubakar).