BusinessDay

Ordinary Nigerians paying hefty price while their leaders frolic in name of campaigning

The race for Nigeria’s presidency has cost the country key ministers, jeopardized the central bank governor’s role and sent the naira plummeting reports Bloomberg.

About three dozen politicians are running to lead Africa’s most populous nation on the two major party tickets, with those in government having had to resign.

While elections are only in February, political jockeying is at fever pitch ahead of primaries to be held by the ruling All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party this month.

There are well known names but no clear frontrunners.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and former Lagos state Governor Bola Tinubu are vying for the APC ticket against about 20 others.

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is competing for the PDP’s candidacy against Governor Nyesom Wike from the oil-rich Rivers state and at least 13 others.

The winner may have to decide what to do with central bank Governor Godwin Emefiele, who briefly — and very publicly — flirted with running for the APC slot.

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The episode raised questions about his continued suitability for an ostensibly non-partisan role.

Yet, ordinary citizens are paying the price for the crowded field.

Campaigns are costly and in a nation where, analysts say, there is a history of vote-buying, the dollar is king.

With so many candidates, demand for greenbacks has surged, pushing the naira to a record low on the black market.

In a country that relies largely on imports and where inflation is already almost 17%, that’s bad news for the tens of millions of Nigerians whose lives are likely to see little change, no matter who wins.

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