The 2019 general elections will be the sixth consecutive electoral cycle since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999. The 2019 elections, scheduled for 16 February and 2 March 2019 – comprising the Presidential and National Assembly elections and the Governorship and State House of Assembly elections respectively – by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will see a number of firsts. It is the first general election to be conducted with Professor Mahmood Yakubu at the helm of INEC, the first general election that the former opposition, now ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), will oversee and a first chance for people born since the countries return to democracy to cast a ballot.
With at least 91 political parties – the largest number in Nigeria’s electoral history – expected to be on the ballot and a total number of 84, 271, 832 citizens on the voter’s roll, the forthcoming 2019 elections is set to be one of the most contested elections in the history of Nigeria. With four months to go, the political scene remains tense with unofficial campaigns already underway. Just like in 2015, there are ongoing attempts by political parties and actors to form alliances and coalitions to win offices. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and 38 other parties have formed the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), the ruling All Progressive Congress, itself a coalition, is also working with other parties. Defections of serving elected officials and their supporters from APC to PDP and vice versa continues to happen with alarming regularity and at very senior levels as candidates pass judgement on who gives them a better chance of re-election. On 31 July 2018 the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, defected from the ruling APC to the PDP having supported a number of other sitting senators to do likewise. Newcomer political parties have also benefited from this merry-go-round of defections. One of the prominent defector from the APC, former vice-President Atiku Abubakar, clinched the PDP presidential ticket and will contest against incumbent President Buhari in the 2019 elections.
Download Full Report (PDF): Voting Amidst Insecurity_Briefing Paper_October 2018