According to a United States-based election monitoring organization, National Endowment for Democracy, the upcoming presidential election in Nigeria would not be foreseeable despite political possibilities.
The US agency acknowledged that the Nigerian election of 2023 was “a momentous election,” praised Nigeria for its technology-driven voting system, and expressed confidence that Nigeria will be the second-largest democracy in the world by 2050.
During a conference organized by Yiaga Africa to engage with other stakeholders about the preparations for the 2023 general elections, Damon Wilson, President and Chief Executive Officer of NED, made these statements in an interview with journalists in Abuja. NED, a private, non-profit foundation dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world, was established in 1983 by the American Congress for the promotion of world democracy.
NED awards more than 2,000 grants annually to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating overseas that promote democracy in more than 100 nations.
According to Wilson, Nigeria is currently the fifth-largest democracy in the world and is expected to surpass the United States in size by the year 2050. But after seven elections since the transition, there will be a significant election in less than 40 days.
“And we have seen in this time a Nigerian democracy that has removed incumbents, where term limits have been enforced, where peaceful transitions have occurred, and now we have seen a country that is poised to have a more technically sound election that has bolstered the country’s democratic institutions,”
“There is a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm and we are looking to understand that to learn from that and to see how we can help support that.”
He also emphasized that his organization wasn’t there to make predictions about the outcome of the elections or the possibility of a run-off.
Wilson, however, expressed worry about the poor voter turnout in Nigerian elections.
He continued by saying that the present presidential contenders had made it difficult for Nigerians to predict who would win the election and that as a result, Nigeria’s democracy was actually improving substantially.
Wilson declared that it was not really his responsibility to forecast or determine the results of this election. I am a very keen observer, and what I notice is that I follow your most recent election and the very low voter participation.
Wilson, however, expressed concern over low voter turnouts during elections in Nigeria.
He added that Nigeria’s democracy was really evolving dramatically as the current presidential candidates have made it difficult for Nigerians to know who would win the election.
Wilson said, “It is not really my place to determine or predict the outcome of this election. I am a really interested observer and what I do see is that I watch relatively low voter turnout and your last election.