With the upcoming elections in Nigeria, suspense has mounted over which candidate is going to win. President Goodluck Jonathan is faced with having to create a significant turnaround in his campaign to emerge victorious as the race between himself and his rival, Mohammadu Buhari remains tight.
President Jonathan’s popularity is a far cry from the enthusiasm he was met with in 2010 and a win is uncertain at this stage of the race. According to CNBC Africa’s West African markets editor, Wole Famurewa, President Jonathan and Buhari are ‘neck and neck’.
“President Jonathan has to make significant changes if he is going to win,” adds Famurewa. He further said that while Buhari’s popularity is not growing, it is not decreasing and at this stage of campaigning the polls could go either way.
Based on recent events in Nigeria, one thing that may guarantee the success of either candidate is tackling Boko Haram. “[President Jonathan] needs to hit [Boko Haram] hard, this could have an influence on elections,” Famurewa explains.
Meanwhile, Buhari has also been vocal about the Islamic militants and was quoted in an article saying that he wants to ‘lead from the front’ in the fight against the terrorist group.
Boko Haram is not the only problem in the country, Famurewa said. “The issue of electricity is a big one and if we could see improvements before the elections take place, that might help.”
Famurewa highlights that, “Many people are hoping Nigeria will change on many [other] levels. They want the high levels of poverty, corruption and the rule of law to be addressed.”
They also want government’s exorbitant spending to be addressed.
In a recent interview with CNBC Africa, CEO of Financial Derivatives, Bismarck Rewane said a major strategy that could increase President Jonathan’s popularity would be if he followed the example of Venezuela where the president and his cabinet took a 40 per cent salary cut.
Nigeria’s presidential and national assembly elections are due to take place on 28 March while its governorship and state house of assembly elections will follow on 11 April 2015.