Top 5 Challenges Facing Nigeria in 2023


From insecurity and political instability to the economic downturn and social inequality, here are the top five challenges facing Nigeria in 2023 according to the ECOWAS parliament report.

The ongoing 2023 first Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament saw Nigeria’s delegations to the Community Parliament presenting the challenges that threaten to impede its progress. From insecurity and political instability to the economic downturn and social inequality, here are the top five challenges facing Nigeria in 2023 according to the ECOWAS parliament report.

Disputed Presidential Election

Nigeria’s 2023 presidential elections were expected to be a pivotal moment for the country, as millions of eligible voters were called upon to exercise their democratic right to choose their next leader. However, the reality of the turnout was far from what was hoped for, with just 26.72% of registered voters showing up at the polls. The reasons behind this underwhelming performance were numerous, with technical hitches, logistical issues, and other challenges all contributing to the low participation. Despite these hurdles, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressive Congress (APC) the winner of the election, sparking heated debates and legal challenges from other parties.

 Security challenges in the North-West

Fulani Herdsmen Cries Out Over Increasing Cattle Rustling in Kaduna State

The rise of armed banditry in northwest Nigeria has led to unprecedented levels of kidnapping, maiming, killing, population displacement, cattle rustling, and socio-economic disruption, creating a climate of uncertainty. From January to March 2023, 214 people were killed, and 746 were abducted by bandits in Kaduna State alone, with the central senatorial district recording the highest number of casualties. In response, the Kaduna State government has pledged to intensify and sustain ground and air kinetic actions across the seven frontline states of the Northwest region and Niger most heavily impacted by the security challenge.

Security challenges in the North-East

Islamic State of West Africa Province, ISWAP, at Sabon Tumbu, a swampy area in Marte LGA Borno State. Image from public domain

The Nigerian government’s agenda to resettle and return internally displaced people (IDPs) in Borno state has faced challenges due to the presence of jihadist groups near some of the relocation sites, exposing residents to risks. While the Borno state government has made efforts to accelerate the relocation of IDPs, civil society groups have called for a suspension of camp closures and instead focus on providing IDPs with the support they need. Borno state has been the epicenter of fighting between Nigeria and jihadist insurgents for thirteen years, resulting in the most war-related displacement in the country’s northeast.

Tensions due to Naira Scarcity

Nigerian Central Bank Governor, Mr. Emefiele

The Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Naira redesign and demonetization policy, along with the introduction of a new cashless policy, caused a scarcity of cash and queues at banking institutions, leading to protests in several states. The CBN’s initiative aimed to reduce cash in circulation outside the banking system and control inflation and corruption but had unintended consequences such as increasing the risk of citizens being susceptible to vote-buying and impacting the ability of security operations and INEC to hold polls in all polling units. The hardship posed by the policy led to a Supreme Court judgment that reversed the Naira redesign policy and reintroduced the old Naira designs.

Human Rights violations triggered during the 2023 elections

The National Human Rights Commission in Nigeria received 450 complaints of human rights abuses during the 2023 general elections, with 300 of them reported during the Presidential and National Assembly elections and 150 during the governorship and State House of Assembly elections. The complaints were mainly about violence, vote buying, voter suppression, intimidation, and hate speech. In response, the Nigerian Police Force directed its state commands to investigate all cases of violation of the Electoral Act, and the Independent National Electoral Commission confirmed setting up a legal team to prosecute over 200 persons arrested for various electoral offences. The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission is also investigating 13 suspects for voters’ inducement during the polls. The prosecution of these cases is expected to serve as a deterrent to potential offenders and reduce future elections violence.


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