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Weary Nigerians hope for the best but expect less in the election

Shoppers in Kano, northern Nigeria, February 24th 2023   -  
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KOLA SULAIMON/AFP or licensors


As Nigerians prepare to vote the mood on the street is one of pessimism that the country's many problems will ever be resolved.

But there's also a small amount of hope that this could be a watershed election and signal a make-or-break moment in its modern history.

We heard the views of a bus conductor and two of the buses' passengers in the commercial capital Lagos to get a sense of what voters might be thinking:

“I feel Saturday will make or break Nigeria. That's my own opinion. Personal opinion. I feel it will make or break us because we are at that point of breaking. Any wrong choice anymore will just end it. Let's hope we don't get it wrong this time around," Chike Moses, a businessman.

“I don't think there has ever been a revolution this big in the history of Nigerian politics. I feel like this is a time where even not just the youths, but, you know, the old people have actually opened their eyes to see how much we've been cheated by our own people, you know, to see how much they've eaten into our system, the decadence and everything. So, I feel like this time, it's just like the one shot takes all. Like, we just have to do it this time. Get it right and then, kudos to whoever is going to win, because we need to reform Nigeria. Right now, people are angry, people are burning inside,” David Ajibade, a graphic designer.

“Since I was born. I've been hearing Nigeria is going to be better one day. One day will never be the day. My father promised me that, my father is no more, you understand? My grandpa also said the same thing. They are no more now. I've still promised my children the same thing that Nigeria is going to be better one day, but we are never sure whether it's going to be better,” the bus conductor, who did not want to be named.

This election may be different as more young people are interested in the election and more of them are registered to vote. That's significant because around 70 percent of Nigerians are under 30 years old.

Of the three main candidates to be president two, Atiku Abubakar and Bola Tinubu, are in their seventies. The third Peter Obi, is hardly much younger at 61 years old, but he's proving popular amongst younger voters.

Crucial to Saturday's vote will be the turnout:  in recent years it's been low, indicating the lack of hope Nigerians have in their political leaders. The question is, will that change?

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