PoliticsNews & AnalysisElection Watch 2014: A Nigerian go slow for Goodluck

Sat,01Nov2014

Posted on Monday, 16 December 2013 17:38

Election Watch 2014: A Nigerian go slow for Goodluck

By The Africa Report

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan. Photo©ReutersThe next president is to be inaugurated on 31 May 2015. According to the constitution, national elections must be held six months earlier, in November or December 2014.

 

That schedule is likely to slip, but 2014 will see the big campaign spend and the big politics, with the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) facing a serious national opposition, the All Progressives Congress (APC), for the first time in 14 years.

Finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has made the monetary trains run on time: the budget deficit is down to 2.3% of GDP; inflation is down to 8%; foreign reserves have risen to $46bn from $32.6bn over the past year; and her 2014 budget forecasts growth at 6.8%.

All that could be at risk if party barons – the PDP in Abuja and the opposition APC in all the states it controls in southwestern Nigeria – raid government coffers for campaign funds.

And central bank governor Lamido Sanusi, a strong ally for Okonjo-Iweala, is due to stand down in June 2014.

If the government's response to the Islamist insurgency fails to make progress, this will complicate electoral calculations in the north, an opposition stronghold.

Renewed conflict and piracy in the Niger Delta, President Goodluck Jonathan's home base and headquarters of the oil industry, presages fierce political battles there too.

This time, the opposition looks determined to get a toe-hold in the Delta. ●



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