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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Former military dictator elected

Elections are over in Nigeria, and the country is torn.

“Nigeria has the potential to be one of the best countries in the world,” said sophomore and Nigeria native Tarilabo Koripamo. “But when you have leaders put in seats because of connection (rather than education), we don’t have the results we’re looking for.”

The People’s Democratic Party nominee Goodluck Jonathan has been president of Nigeria since 2010, but now he has lost the election to former military dictator, Muhammadu Buhari.

“(Jonathan) is not a bad man, but when you have a lot of advisors telling you what to do, when you’re taking on (irrelevant) projects, it becomes a problem,” said Tarilabo Koripamo.

Originally scheduled for Feb. 14, the election was postponed until the end of March. The election was officially postponed because of Nigeria’s fight with terrorist organization Boko Haram, who is responsible for shooting 20 to 30 people and decapitating several corpses on voting day.

“Boko Haram has been linked to al-Qaeda and has recently declared allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria,” said Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Betsy Mesard.

“Their particular understanding of what it means to create an Islamic state has been influenced by a puritan ideology that is very similar to that behind al-Qaeda and ISIS.”

Those who are from Nigeria are concerned for their family and friends.

“They started killing their own people (and) bombing everywhere,” said first-year and Nigerian native Uroupaere Koripamo. “People don’t want to go out. They don’t want to get bombed.

“I just want Nigeria to be safe.”

With the rise of Boko Haram, security has become the number one issue in the election, which is part of the reason the country voted in a man with military experience.

“This election (came) down to who can protect Nigeria, who can make Nigerians feel safe,” said documentary filmmaker Ayo Johnson in an interview with CNN.

Additionally, opponents of Jonathan believe he used Boko Haram as an excuse to postpone the election.

“The president wants more time to get voters, to get people in his good graces,” said Tarilabo Koripamo.

Regardless, Boko Haram is only part of the religious conflicts occurring in the country.

The rising concerns about Boko Haram may be detrimental to Muslims in Nigeria.

“I wouldn’t blame religion,” said sophomore and Angola native Delcio Cassoma. “I would blame the people (in Boko Haram).”

The country as a whole is facing more than just Boko Haram, though. Right now, Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa but with high levels of poverty. Almost three out of every four Nigerians live below the poverty line.

“Despite the fact that the Nigerian economy is growing, the proportion of Nigerians living in poverty is increasing every year, although it declined during 1985-1992, and during 1996-2004,” said head of the National Bureau of Standards Yemi Kale in an interview with BBC.

Additionally, the 270 plus girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in 2014 have yet to be recovered.

“These girls are still missing,” said Tarilabo Koripamo. “They’re going on as if nothing has happened.”

Jonathan planned to make this a priority if reelected.

“Goodluck (plans) to bring back the girls, (but) he hasn’t done anything about it (yet),” said Uroupaere Koripamo.

According to Afrobarometer, an independent research project based around the social, political and economic events in Africa, the majority of Nigerians are frustrated with the current government.

“Nigerians are generally dissatisfied with current economic conditions and the government’s performance on key issues,” according to Afrobarometer. “Seventy-four percent said their country was headed in the wrong direction in 2014, up from seventy percent in 2012.”

The election is not just important for Nigeria but for Africa and the world as well, as Nigeria is the chief producer of oil in Africa.

“If Nigeria’s elections … result in deep political division, the financial engine of West Africa will slow,” according to Kevin Sieff in an article for the Washington Post. “Neighboring countries, whose own economies are linked to Nigeria’s through imports and exports, will suffer.”

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About the Contributor
Nicole Zelniker, Editor-in-Chief
English major, Environmental Studies and Communication minors
Nicole loves newspapers, social justice and Harry Potter.

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