On Saturday, February 25, Nigeria had their presidential elections. Our global team has been praying about this for the past two weeks, as it is a very important election.
Here are some brief facts about Nigeria:
Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, with more than 214 million people. Half of the population is under the age of 18. It is also the country with the highest number of people in extreme poverty, with 70% living below the poverty line. There are more than 250 ethnic groups in Nigeria and more than 500 languages. There is an almost even split between Muslims and Christians in the country (with Muslims mostly in the north and Christians in the south).
Nigeria has significant safety concerns, with Boko Haram in north and central Nigeria. Kidnappings, muggings, and theft are widespread, with ongoing challenges of corruption and high unemployment. Inflation in 2022 was 19%. National debt has doubled in the last ten years, while the amount of oil production has halved.
Add to that a rush to change currency notes in the last six weeks, created a shortage of cash, leaving people no cash to make their purchases. People were unable to withdraw cash and electronic payments also stopped as they were unable to cash out these transactions. People were not able to get medical help, food, and basic needs met if they didn’t have cash, despite what they might have in a bank. This has caused desperation and a lot of angst going into an election.
It’s a lot for any leader to tackle.
We continue to say that “people are not the problem, they are the solution.” Nigeria has a TON of potential that can be unleashed to help Nigerians and all of Africa to flourish.
But figuring out how to unlock that potential is a challenge.
Saturday’s election could mean a significant change, or it could be “same-old, same-old.” There are two candidates who look like “same-old” while one candidate has captured the attention of the youth and seems to be drawing out record number of voters. This candidate is younger than the other two (61 years of age), a Christian, and from a political party that is not one of the main two, which is unusual. Should he win, it could bring significant opportunity for positive change.
And so we pray. Results are not expected before Tuesday and we continue to pray for honest and transparent results.
I left on Sunday for one month in South Asia and covet your prayers. I will not be able to provide a lot of details on this trip while I am gone, but it will be busy and full. I thank God for the opportunity to join Him in what He is doing!