Publié le 03/04/2024
President of Nigeria Ahmed Bola Tinubu with the Governor of Lagos State

Benjamin AUGE

Voter turnout for Nigeria's presidential elections in February-March 2023 has never been so low since the country's return to democracy in 1999. Nigeria's new president, Ahmed Bola Tinubu, must now reassure voters that Africa's leading economy is capable of putting the lie to a persistent image of a country in decline.

Economic growth of 3.3% in 2022 (compared with 3.6% in 2021 and -1.8% in 2020) will benefit only a minority, while a growing majority of the population (63% in 2023) will be living in poverty[1]. This difficult economic and social climate is taking place against a backdrop of steadily declining oil production (from 2.3 million barrels per day to 1.3 million barrels per day between 2003 and 2022[2]). With oil sales financing almost two-thirds of the federal budget, this decline further reduces the federal government's scope for investment and limits financial transfers to the 36 federated states and 774 local governments.

As far as security is concerned, much of Nigeria is still affected by various forms of violence. In the Niger delta, mafias continue to plunder crude oil and reign terror, notably by increasing the number of kidnappings; in the central region[3], violence between herders and farmers has not ceased. In the north-west, gangsterism is taking on critical proportions in the states of Sokoto (the poorest in the country, with 91% of the population living below the poverty line[4]), Katsina and Zamfara. Finally, the north-east region continues to suffer the convulsions of groups that have emerged from the Boko Haram split[5].

President Ahmed Bola Tinubu, a member of the All Progressive Congress (APC) - victorious in February 2023 over Atiku Abubakar's People's Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi's Labour Party (LP)[6] –, is well aware that the vast majority of the population, very disappointed by Muhammadu Buhari's two terms in office (2015-2023), expect him to focus particularly on economic and security issues. These eight years were perceived as a period of deterioration in the standard of living of a very large proportion of the population[7], due in particular to an unreadable monetary policy and insecurity that now extended to most of the federation's 36 states.


This publication is available in FrenchLes défis majeurs de l’administration nigériane d’Ahmed Bola Tinubu [1].


[1]. Statistics from the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), set up by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Oxford University, based on ten criteria. The data was collected between 2021 and 2022 from 56,000 Nigerian households by the National Bureau of Statistics, available at: These statistics show that 65% of poor people live in the north of the country, and only 35% in the south.

[2]. Statistical Review of World Energy, 2023.

[3]. On this subject, see: « Stopping Nigeria’s Spiralling Farmer-Herder Violence », Rapport Afrique, n° 262, International Crisis Group, July 20, 2018 ; « Nigeria: Livestock Reform Is Key to Solving Farmer-herder Conflict », Rapport Afrique, n° 302, International Crisis Group, May 2020.

[4]. « Nigeria Launches Its Most Extensive National Measure of Multidimensional Poverty », National Bureau of Statistics, November 17, 2022.

[5]. In 2016, the Islamic State's West Africa Province (ISWAP), recognized by the Islamic State, split from Boko Haram, founded by Mohamed Yusuf in 2002 in Borno State and led from 2010 until his death (in 2021) by Abubakar Shekau. On this subject, see: « Q/A, Fighting among Boko Haram Splinters Rages On », International Crisis Group, May 30, 2023.

[6]. S. Husaini, « Nigeria’s 2023 Election: Democratic Development and Political Fragmentation », Notes de l’Ifri, Ifri, February 2023.

[7]. During Muhummadu Buhari's presidency (2015-2023), apart from 2015 and its 9%, the annual inflation rate has always been above 10%: 15.7% in 2016; 16.5% in 2017; 12.1% in 2018; 11.4% in 2019; 13.25% in 2020; 16.95% in 2021; 18.85% in 2022. On the other hand, the local currency, the naira, has depreciated sharply against the dollar: from 182 naira to the dollar in 2015 to 461 naira to the dollar in May 2023 when Buhari left power. His successor didn't do much better: by February 2024, it was 1,497 naira to the dollar.