Nigeria — The 2023 Elections and the Making of a Banana Republic

7 min readApr 2

Rising inequality, rising inflation, incessant terrorist attacks, an acute lack of job opportunities, widespread poverty, and a seeming lack of respect for the rule of law indicate that Nigeria is not on the right path of development. These ills, combined with the loss of confidence and lack of trust in the government and institutions, converge to paint a picture of an emerging banana republic. A banana republic is an economic condition whereby a country is operated as a private commercial enterprise for the exclusive profit of the ruling class. The 2023 elections held in February and March in Nigeria have removed any doubt from the minds of reasonable observers as to the decrepit situation in the country.

The elections have reconfirmed the notion that power belongs to the elite and the ruling class. From the inability of the government to conduct credible elections to the electoral violence that led to the deaths of uncountable numbers of people, it is obvious that not a modicum of progress has been made after 24 years of uninterrupted democratic practice. The political discourse has even taken a more dangerous turn with the introduction and implementation of xenophobic attacks, palpable religious bigotry, ethnic profiling, and extreme voter suppression by physical violence.

The problem is that most people have never accepted the results of most elections. After every election cycle, the winners and losers as announced by the electoral umpire always end up in court to dispute the results of the elections. The only exception was Goodluck Jonathan who chose not to contest the results of the 2015 presidential elections to avoid violence and bloodshed. A plausible reason for these recurrent election disputes is the utter lack of transparency as to how winners emerge. The process for winners to emerge, although well documented in the electoral act, has always been shrouded in controversy with allegations of rigging and manipulations of results.

The three top contenders for the 2023 presidential elections all claim to have won the elections although only one of them was declared the winner by the Independent Electoral Commission of Nigeria (INEC), the body enshrined in law to conduct elections and pronounce winners. The matter is currently in court, however, the…


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