In Brief

Atiku Abubakar: Nigeria’s next ‘emoji president’

Opposition candidate forecast to win election to lead one of Africa’s biggest economies

Nigeria votes for a new president this week, with the latest polls predicting victory for opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar.

A survey from US-based firm Williams and Associates shows 64% of respondents believe the incumbent president Muhammadu Buhari does not deserve to be re-elected because of his poor performance in office.

Known as “Mr Honesty,” Buhari “was elected four years ago on a wave of disgust at the perceived avarice of Goodluck Jonathan’s administration – but as he fights for a second term in Saturday’s election, his efforts to bring corruption under control are widely seen as a failure”, says The Guardian.

According to Transparency International’s latest corruption perception index published last month, Nigeria has not improved significantly since he came to power.

“The lead-up to the elections has been marked by violence,” says CNN, “prompting warnings from the UK and US governments to say they would deny visas and likely prosecute those found inciting violence during the 16 February vote”.

On Sunday, Nigeria’s Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) confirmed two of its offices had been burned down in less than a week. The INEC did not say who was responsible for the fires, but it said it had notified the Acting Inspector General of Police on the “emerging trend of burning the electoral commissions' offices”.

Trailing in the polls, President Buhari has alleged that corrupt politicians planned to use laundered funds to buy voters during the election.

By contrast, “Buhari’s own enduring reputation as a “good man” of unimpeachable character is not matched by his main challenger, former vice-president Abubakar”, says the Guardian.

Popularly known as Atiku, he is seen as a good businessman capable of running and diversifying the economy to better utilize the country’s vast natural resource potential.

He has also successfully tapped into the youth vote with an emoji-based manifesto. Although in his seventies, in a country where the median age is 18 this has brought him to the brink of power.

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