Nigerian elections: 5 major challenges facing the country’s next president

ways of solving political problems in nigeria

Reader (Associate Professor), Senior Lecturer, Department of Political Science, Federal University of Lafia, Nigeria, Federal University Lafia

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Al Chukwuma Okoli is a Reader in Political Science at Federal University of Lafia, Nigeria. He has consulted for UN-Women, African Union and Centre for Democracy and Development (Nigeria). He is a member of CORN- West Africa.

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A man lifts up a placard in the midst of a crowd

Nigerians will soon determine who their next president will be in a general election . Polling is due at the end of February and inauguration is scheduled for 29 May 2023.

As Nigerians count down to election day, it’s worth considering the key challenges the country’s next president will deal with as he takes on his mandate.

The challenges revolve around five critical areas:

national cohesion

the economy

the university system

the fight against corruption.

It’s a lot to ask, but the challenges are surmountable if the president has the will and commitment to the ideal of democratic governance.

The big threats

Fractured polity: Nigeria is more divided and polarised than it’s ever been. The cleavages and fault-lines of ethnocentrism, sectarianism, sectionalism, parochialism and religious extremism are pushing the country to the brink.

The polarisation is evident in conversations around the de facto rotational presidency, the controversy over presidential candidates and religious faith , the neo-Biafra separatist agitations in the south-east, and the toxic and bigoted ethnocentric rhetoric peddled in the mainstream and social media.

The next president must undertake urgent measures at national reconciliation and integration to avert impending chaos.

Read more: Africa’s largest democracy goes to the polls amid rising insecurity

Collapsing national security : The prevailing state of national security in Nigeria is apocalyptic. The receding Boko Haram insurgency in the north-east is being substituted by a nexus of banditry and terrorism in the north-west.

The north-central is still grappling with the deadly farmer-herder crisis . For its part the south-east is enmeshed in separatist violence and the associated criminal opportunism.

There is an upswing in gang and ritual brigandage in the south-west while south-south is still afflicted with militancy, piracy and oil theft .

The next president must get a grip on these dire security threats.

Read more: Nigeria's next president faces a collapsing security situation: five things he can do

Battered economy: Nigeria is battling with slow economic growth . The national currency (naira) has been grossly devalued amid a volatile exchange rate . Inflation and unemployment rates are high and rising.

Rises in the cost of living are unprecedented and unbearable. The government seems to have lost traction on national economic planning and management. The next president has the challenge of revamping an ailing and critically dysfunctional economy.

Read more: Nigeria's economy: four priorities president-elect Bola Tinubu must deliver on

Restive university sector: Nigeria’s university system is witnessing a systematic deterioration as a result of government neglect.

In 2022 public universities in the country lost nearly a year due to an industrial dispute between the federal government and the various university unions over issues relating to funding, governance and workers’ welfare. The crux of the dispute was government’s failure to honour a series of agreements it signed with the unions.

In an effort to break the continuing strike of the academic staff union in late 2022, the federal government secured a court order compelling the lecturers to go back to work. But the conditions and issues that warranted the strike have barely been addressed.

This means industrial harmony and stability won’t last in the country’s university sector. The next president may wish to take early note of this.

Read more: Nigeria's university system needs radical reform: student loans for more than 100 million people might be a good place to start

Endemic public corruption: Corruption among public functionaries in Nigeria is endemic, though the current administration claims to be opposed to it.

Even the former accountant general of the federation was alleged to have swindled over 100 billion naira (US$216,449 million).

The next president must confront the menace head on, setting an example of transparency and zero tolerance of self-regard.

What’s needed

It’s clear that the next president is inheriting a massive governance burden. Dealing with it requires forthrightness, sincerity of purpose and radical political will.

To succeed he needs to be ready to approach governance differently. He must be decisive enough to confront an entrenched system of vested interest and self-regard.

He must be a patriotic statesman who is committed to the utilitarian principle of democratic governance – the greatest happiness for the greatest number of the civil populace.

Read more: Jihadists and bandits are cooperating. Why this is bad news for Nigeria

The fate of the country in the face of these challenges largely depends on the strength of character and dedication of the incoming president.

A good statesman will be able to mitigate the problems by adopting a hard-line commitment to the principles of democratic good governance, even in the face of possible reactionary pressures arising from entrenched vested interests .

But, under a bad statesman, the chances are that the challenges will aggravate into a combustible mix that may herald a failed state in Nigeria.

  • Peacebuilding
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  • Nigeria election 2023

ways of solving political problems in nigeria

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General Buhari holding a broom at a campign rally

Title: The Failure of Governance in Nigeria: An Epistocratic Challenge

The failure of governance in Nigeria manifests in the declining capacity of political leaders to recognize systemic risks such as election fraud, terrorist attacks, herder-farmer conflict, armed banditry, and police brutality and put in place the necessary measures to navigate these challenges. In contrast with the current system in which leadership is attained through bribery, intimidation, and violence, Nigeria needs an epistocratic system of governance that is founded on the pedigree of its political leaders and the education of its voters.

At the end of the Cold War, African civil society movements striving for more democratic governance began to challenge authoritarian regimes on the continent. Declining living conditions within African countries and the failure of authoritarian African leaders to deliver the promises of economic prosperity they made to encourage the acceptance of development aid fueled the push for change. International donors’ insistence on democratic reform as a precondition for aid gave impetus for Nigerian civil society to push for domestic accountability. Thus, domestic pressure for political pluralism and external pressure for representative governance have both played a role in the calls for democratic reform in Nigeria.  

But despite some successes, corruption and socioeconomic disparities within Nigerian democracy continue to run rampant. Since 1999, the democratic space has been dominated by political elites who consistently violate fundamental principles associated with a liberal democratic system, such as competitive elections, the rule of law, political freedom, and respect for human rights. The outcome of the 2019 presidential election further eroded public trust in the ability of the independent electoral commission to organize competitive elections unfettered by the authoritarian influences of the ruling class. This challenge is an indicator of the systemic failure in Nigeria’s governance system. A continuation of the current system will only accelerate the erosion of public trust and democratic institutions. In contrast with the current system in which votes are attained through empty promises, bribery, voter intimidation, and violence, Nigeria needs a governance system that will enhance the education of its voters and the capability of its leaders.

Statistically speaking, Nigeria has consistently ranked low in the World Governance Index in areas such as government effectiveness, political stability and the presence of violence and terrorism, rule of law, and control of corruption. Nigeria is perceived in the 2020 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index as a highly corrupt country with a score of 25/100 while its corruption ranking increased from 146 in 2019 to 149 in 2020 out of 180 countries surveyed. While President Muhammadu Buhari won the 2015 election on his promise to fight insecurity and corruption, his promises went unfulfilled; Boko Haram continues to unleash unspeakable violence on civilians while the fight against corruption is counterproductive.  

At the core of Nigeria’s systemic failure is the crisis of governance, which manifests in the declining capacity of the state to cope with a range of internal political and social upheavals. There is an expectation for political leaders to recognize systemic risks such as terrorist attacks, herder-farmer conflict, and police brutality and put in place the necessary infrastructure to gather relevant data for problem solving. But the insufficiency of political savvy required to navigate the challenges that Nigeria faces has unleashed unrest across the nation and exacerbated existing tensions. The #ENDSARS Protests against police brutality in 2020 is one of the manifestations of bad governance. 

The spiral of violence in northern Nigeria in which armed bandits engage in deadly planned attacks on communities, leading to widespread population displacement, has become another grave security challenge that has sharpened regional polarization. Because some public servants are usually unaware of the insecurities faced by ordinary Nigerians, they lack the frame of reference to make laws that address the priorities of citizens. The crisis of governance is accentuated by a democratic culture that accords less importance to the knowledge and competence that political leaders can bring to public office. These systemic challenges have bred an atmosphere of cynicism and mistrust between citizens and political leaders at all levels of government.  

Political elites in Nigeria also exploit poverty and illiteracy to mobilize voters with food items such as rice, seasoning, and money. The rice is usually packaged strategically with the image of political candidates and the parties they represent. The assumption is that people are more likely to vote for a politician who influences them with food than one who only brings messages of hope. The practice of using food to mobilize voters is commonly described as “ stomach infrastructure ” politics. The term “stomach infrastructure” arose from the 2015 election in Ekiti state when gubernatorial candidate Ayodele Fayosi mobilized voters with food items and defeated his opponent Kayode Fayemi. It is undeniable that Nigerian political culture rewards incompetent leaders over reform-minded leaders who demonstrate the intellectualism and problem-solving capabilities needed to adequately address systemic issues of poverty and inequality. 

Jason Brennan   describes the practice of incentivizing people to be irrational and ignorant with their votes as the unintended consequence of democracy. Brennan believes specific expertise is required to tackle socio-economic issues, so political power should be apportioned based on expert knowledge. As Brennan suggests, Nigeria lacks a system of governance in which leadership is based on capability. Rather, the political system in Nigeria is dominated by individuals who gain power through nepotism rather than competence, influence voters with food rather than vision, and consolidate power through intimidation or by incentivizing constituents with material gifts which they frame as “empowerment” to keep them subservient and loyal political followers. By implication, the failure of governance in Nigeria is arguably the result of incompetent leadership.

Nigeria needs a new model of governance in which political leadership is based on the knowledge and competence of both political leaders and the electorate. One solution is to establish what Brennan refers to as epistocracy , which is a system of governance in which the votes of politically informed citizens should count more than the less informed. For  J ustin Klocksiem , epistocracy represents a political system in which political power rests exclusively on highly educated citizens. This idea drew its philosophical influence from  John Stuart Mill , who believed that the eligibility to vote should be accorded to individuals who satisfy certain educational criteria. The notion that educational attainment should be the prerequisite for the electorate to choose their leaders as proposed by Brennan, Klocksiem, and Mill is an important proposition that should be taken seriously. 

However, one cannot ignore that such thinking originates from societies where civic education is high and the electorate can make informed choices about leadership. In Nigeria, the majority of citizens are uneducated on political issues. Simultaneously, those who are highly educated are increasingly becoming indifferent to political participation; they have lost faith in the power of their votes and the integrity of the political system. For an epistocratic system to work in Nigeria, there must be significant improvements in literacy levels so that citizens are educated about the issues and can use their knowledge to make informed decisions about Nigeria’s political future. 

It is important to mention that Nigeria’s political elites have exploited illiteracy to reinforce ethnic, religious, and political divisions between groups that impede democratic ideals. Since the resultant effect of epistocracy is to instill knowledge, raise consciousness and self-awareness within a polity anchored on the failed system of democracy, decisions that promote the education of uninformed voters are the rationale for an epistocratic system of governance. The Constitution must ensure that only citizens who can formulate policies and make informed decisions in the public’s best interest can run for public office. When the Constitution dictates the standard of epistocratic governance, informed citizens will be better equipped to champion political leadership or determine the qualifications of their leaders. Epistocratic governance will be the alternative to Nigeria’s current dysfunctional democratic system while retaining the aspects of liberal democracy that maintain checks and balances.  

We are not, however, oblivious that implementing such an epistocratic system of governance in Nigeria potentially contributes to more inequality given its highly undemocratic and exclusive nature. Our argument takes into consideration the contextual realities of poverty and illiteracy and the realization that poor and illiterate constituents have less power to evaluate the credibility of public servants or hold them accountable. The benefits of electing epistocratic leaders are that many citizens would desire to be educated in preparation for leadership. The more educated the population the more likely it is that political leaders will be held accountable. However, the kind of education that is needed to significantly transform the governance landscape in Nigeria is civic education. 

We propose three policies to promote epistocratic governance in Nigeria. First, aspiring leaders must demonstrate the intellectual pedigree to translate knowledge into effective, transparent, and accountable governance that leads to national prosperity. As Rotimi Fawole notes, the bar should be higher for those aspiring to executive or legislative office “to improve the ideas that are put forward and the intellectual rigor applied to the discussions that underpin our statehood.”

Second, the government must increase access to education through government-sponsored initiatives that integrate civic education into school curriculums. Currently, little opportunity exists for young Nigerians, particularly those in underfunded public education systems, to learn about their civic roles at the local, state, national, and international levels, including how to emerge as participating citizens through the academic curriculum. 

Third, the government should engage the support of local NGOs to promote civic education across Nigeria in culturally appropriate ways. The NGOs should be empowered to define the legal concept of citizenship and summarize specific civil rights enshrined in the Constitution into a Charter of Rights and Responsibilities modeled after the Canadian Charter. The Charter should include value positions essential to an effective democracy, such as the rights of citizens, social justice, accountable governance, and rule of law. It can then be commissioned as a resource for civics education in Nigeria.  

This article recognizes that Nigeria is grappling with governance challenges orchestrated by two decades of a failed democratic project. Governing these challenges requires knowledgeable leaders and an equally informed electorate. Like any new experiment, there are concerns about the viability of epistocracy as a political system, particularly in a Nigerian context fraught with ethnoreligious and political challenges. But Nigeria will only have effective governance when the right people are saddled with the responsibility to govern. However, change cannot be spontaneous. The implementation of an epistocratic system of governance within the Nigerian context must be incremental, bearing in mind that Nigeria’s democracy is still evolving.  

Obasesam Okoi is Assistant Professor of Justice and Peace Studies at the University of St. Thomas , Minnesota, where he teaches Intro to Justice and Peace Studies, Public Policy Analysis and Advocacy, and Social Policy in a Changing World. His research interests and expertise include governance and peacebuilding, insurgency and counterinsurgency, assessment of post-conflict peacebuilding programs and policies, and peace engineering. He has published in prominent peer-reviewed journals such as World Development, Conflict Resolution Quarterly, African Security, and Peace Review. 

MaryAnne Iwara is a Senior Jennings Randolph Fellow in the program on Countering Violent Extremism at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), USA, and a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nigeria. Very recently, she was a Policy Leader Fellow at the School of Transnational Governance, European University Institute, Florence, Italy. She is currently a PhD student at the University of Leipzig, Germany.

Image Credit: Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung (via Creative Commons)

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Nigeria is facing its worst instability since 1970.

Failed state? Why Nigeria’s fragile democracy is facing an uncertain future

In the first in a series on Africa’s most populous state, we look at the effects of widening violence, poverty, crime and corruption as elections approach

  • My father’s senseless murder must be a wake-up call for Nigeria

A series of overlapping security, political and economic crises has left Nigeria facing its worst instability since the end of the Biafran war in 1970.

With experts warning that large parts of the country are in effect becoming ungovernable, fears that the conflicts in Africa’s most populous state were bleeding over its borders were underlined last week by claims that armed Igbo secessionists in the country’s south-east were now cooperating with militants fighting for an independent state in the anglophone region of neighbouring Cameroon.

The mounting insecurity from banditry in the north-west, jihadist groups such as Boko Haram in the north-east, violent conflict between farmers and pastoralists across large swathes of Nigeria’s “middle belt”, and Igbo secessionists in the south-east calling for an independent Biafra once again, is driving a brain drain of young Nigerians. It has also seen the oil multinational Shell announce that it is planning to pull out of the country because of insecurity , theft and sabotage.

Among recent prominent victims of the lethal violence was Dr Chike Akunyili, a prominent physician in Nigeria’s southern state of Anambra, ambushed as he returned from a lecture to commemorate the life of his wife, Dora, who had been the head of the country’s national food and drug agency.

Who killed the widower and his police guard remains unclear. The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), an Igbo secessionist movement whose militancy has grown increasingly violent and which has vowed to prevent November’s elections for governor in Anambra state, has denied involvement. So too has the security agency, the Department of State Services . Eyewitnesses reported that the attackers, who also killed his driver, were shouting that there would be no elections in Anambra .

Dr Chike Akunyili

What is clear, however, is that Akunyili’s murder is far from an isolated event in Africa’s second-largest economy – a country facing multiple and overlapping challenges that have plunged many areas into violence and lawlessness.

From Boko Haram ’s jihadist insurgency in the north, to the escalating conflict between farmers and pastoralists, a growing piracy crisis in the Gulf of Guinea and the newly emboldened Igbo secessionists, Nigeria – under the presidency of the retired army general Muhammadu Buhari since 2015 – is facing a mounting sense of crisis as elections approach in 2023.

Those security issues are in addition to a series of other problems, including rising levels of poverty , violent crime and corruption amid an increasing sense that the central government, in many places, is struggling to govern.

All of which has prompted dire warnings from some observers about the state of Nigeria’s democracy.

One of the bleakest was the analysis delivered by Robert Rotberg and John Campbell, two prominent US academics – the latter a former ambassador to Nigeria – in an essay for Foreign Policy in May that attracted considerable debate.

Women clean bottles recovered from shops burned down after Fulani-Yoruba clashes

“Nigeria has long teetered on the precipice of failure,” they argued. “Unable to keep its citizens safe and secure, Nigeria has become a fully failed state of critical geopolitical concern. Its failure matters because the peace and prosperity of Africa and preventing the spread of disorder and militancy around the globe depend on a stronger Nigeria.”

Even among those who dispute the labelling of Nigeria as a fully failed state accept that insecurity is rising.

Nigeria’s minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, accepts that insecurity exists but insists the country is winning the war against its various insurgents.

Lai Mohammed, information minister,

“I live in Nigeria, I work in Nigeria and I travel all around Nigeria and I can tell you Nigeria is not a failed state,” Mohammed told the BBC.

But if the murder of Chike Akunyili represents anything, it is the dangers facing Nigerians in many parts of the country. This has prompted some to argue that the country’s centralised federal model, a legacy of independence and the long years of military rule, is in need of reform.

While Nnamdi Obasi , who follows Nigeria for the International Crisis Group, would not yet brand Nigeria a failed state, he sees it as a fragile one with the potential for the situation to worsen without radical improvements in governance.

“I’d say the country is deeply challenged on several fronts,” he said from Abuja. “It’s challenged in terms of its economy and people’s livelihoods.

Nigeria since independence

From hopeful beginnings in 1960, west Africa’s powerhouse has suffered civil war, years of coups and military rule, ethnic and regional conflicts, endemic corruption, banditry and Islamist insurgencies. Here are some key events.

New constitution establishes federal system with Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, a northerner, as prime minister and Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe, an Igbo, as governor general, the ceremonial head of state.

Government overthrown in what was seen as an “Igbo coup”  and General Aguiyi-Ironsi takes power. Balewa and Ahmadu Bello, northern Hausa-Fulani leader, among those killed

Lt Col Yakubu Gowon becomes head of state. Estimated 30,000 Igbos massacred in riots in northern Nigeria, causing about 1 million to flee to south-east

Between 500,000 and 2 million civilians die from starvation during the war. Gowon attempts reconciliation, declaring “no victor, no vanquished”

Process of moving federal capital to Abuja begins

Succeeded by top aide, Lt Gen Olusegun Obasanjo, who initiates transition from military rule to US-style presidential system

Shehu Shagari, a northerner, becomes first president of second republic, with Igbo vice-president

Coup led by Maj Gen Muhammadu Buhari after disputed elections

Chief Moshood Abiola is apparent winner

In 2000, government declares that Abacha and his family stole $4.3bn from public funds

He is  arrested for treason and jailed for four years

The writer and campaigner against oil industry damage to his Ogoni homeland, is executed with eight other dissidents . EU imposes sanctions and Commonwealth suspends Nigeria’s membership

Clashes with Christians opposing the issue lead to hundreds of deaths

Obasanjo elected for second term despite EU observers reporting “serious irregularities”

This leads to  attacks to pipelines and other oil facilities and the kidnap foreign oil workers

Subsequently more than 100 are killed in co-ordinated bombings and shootings in Kano

A state of emergency is declared in northern states of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa. Insurgent violence mounts in eight other states

They are taken from a boarding school in northern town of Chibok. Over the next year, Boko Haram launch series of attacks across north-east Nigeria and into neighbouring Chad and Cameroon, seizing several towns near Lake Chad. Group’s allegiance switched from al-Qaida to Islamic State

The intention is to push Boko Haram out of towns and back into their Sambisa forest stronghold. UN refugee agency, UNHCR, says conflict has caused at least 157,000 people to flee into Niger, Cameroon and Chad . A further one million people estimated to be internally displaced inside Nigeria

He is the first opposition candidate to do so in Nigeria

US thinktank Freedom House claims polls “marred by serious irregularities and widespread intimidation ”. At least 141 people killed in communal clashes between Fulani and Adara in Kaduna state

Youth protests against police brutality, focused on the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) , spread across cities in the south. The #EndSARS movement ends with massacre of still unconfirmed number of protesters shot by security forces at Lekki tollgate in Lagos

They also abduct nine women and girls in Takulashi, Borno state. The following month  Boko Haram abduct 334 boys from school in Kankara, Katsina state; days later, 80 pupils of madrasa abducted in Dandume , Katsina State

Isis-linked militia seizes arms from Boko Haram and integrates former commanders and fighters. Analysts say Iswap’s greater discipline and strategy of both co-opting and coercing local communities has helped it expand across Sahel and poses bigger threat.

Nigeria spends 1.47tn naira (£2.6bn) on servicing domestic and external debt in first half of 2021, according to data from Debt Management Office 

“There is a sense of disappointment in the fact that the country hasn’t developed as people had expected and has suffered reversals in poverty and youth unemployment. Then there’s the dearth of infrastructure and a generally very poor quality of services.

“On the security front there are several main areas of concern. The first is the north-east, which is where Boko Haram and Islamic State in West Africa (Iswap) are located.

“In the north-west there are armed groups who are generally referred to as bandits but who have, in a sense, grown beyond that definition of ‘bandit’. [Recently] they attacked a military camp in Sokoto state and killed 12 military personnel.

“Then there is the old problem in the Niger delta [Nigeria’s main oil-producing region], which remains unresolved.”

Petrol and newspapers for sale by a road in Maiduguri

But the Niger delta’s bubbling disquiet has in recent years been eclipsed by other conflicts – particularly that between pastoral herders and farmers in Nigeria’s central belt, and the re-emergence of an armed Biafran nationalist movement in the Igbo south-east. This separatist activity is happening for the first time since the end of the Biafran war , from 1967 to 1970, which led to widespread starvation and left a million people dead .

For many Nigeria experts, the lesson is not to be found in the individual parts of the crisis but in the way they are beginning to bleed into one another.

As Obasi points out, the conflicts between nomadic herders and farmers have been in part driven by the displacement south of pastoralists from the north-east and north-west by the insecurity in those regions, while a widening sense of impunity across Nigeria has driven people to arm themselves.

“Insecurity seems almost nationwide,” said Obasi. “People have difficulty moving from one city to another, with kidnappings and danger on the highways.

“It is going from a largely governed country with a few ungoverned spaces to a place where there are a few governed spaces while in the rest of the country governance has retreated.”

It bodes ill for Nigeria’s democratic system of civilian government, adopted in 1999 after long years of military rule that began in 1966 apart from a brief four-year interregnum during President Shehu Shagari ’s second Nigerian republic, which ended in 1983.

ANigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari. The northerner’s second term ends in 2023, meaning that the presidency should go next to a southerner – in theory.

It was Buhari – who now calls himself a “converted democrat” – who succeeded him as head of state after he overthrew Shagari’s government in a military coup.

While the 2011 elections were seen by the US as being among the “ most credible and transparent elections since the country’s independence ”, Nigeria’s politics have long been complicated by an unwritten agreement among its elites that power should rotate between a figure from the Muslim-dominated north and the mainly Christian south every two terms. With Buhari’s two terms due to end in 2023, power will then – in theory at least – rotate to the south.

Leena Koni Hoffman, a research associate at the Chatham House thinktank and a member of the Nigerian diaspora, says ordinary Nigerians feel “vulnerable” and “grim”, suggesting that the rotational system of government may no longer be fit for purpose.

“The agreement negotiated by the elites is broken. It is not inclusive and the democratic dividend is not being distributed,” she said.

People carry off bags of food after a warehouse was looted during a Covid lockdown last October.

The consequence, she adds, has been that Nigeria’s politics has fractured, with “people exploiting ethnic and religious differences to give people answers that match questions in any part of Nigeria”.

“To give you an idea of the scale of the conflict happening in Nigeria, I could show you a map coloured pink for where violence is happening – it is pink all over.

“For a country that has not been at war since the Biafran war that ended in 1970 – and in the middle of the longest stretch of civilian democracy – to be experiencing this scale of intense violence should be alarming,” she said.

“We knew a long time ago that the country’s rural population had little security, but now we understand they are being exposed to violent non-state actors who have worked out that the security apparatus is hollowed out.

“My family comes from the middle belt. My father is a retired accountant who wants to farm but he can’t be in his home town because it has been decimated by violence. You hear of incidents where 30 people are killed here, a dozen there. Villages attacked .

“More and more communities are seeing that the government is not stepping in with its security forces and are forming their own vigilante groups.”

Aggravating the sense of a state being hollowed out is an under-resourced and overwhelmed judicial system that has left ordinary Nigerians with little expectation of access to justice.

Police at an area in Lagos where a protest against police brutality erupted in 2020and spread to other cities across the country.

Writing on Facebook after his death , Akunyili’s daughter described their last conversation the day before his killing, with questions that many Nigerians are asking.

“I asked him if he was being careful and he assured me that he was, going on to add that he never went out any more and was sure to be home by six. Convinced, I reminded him to be even more careful and to take care of himself. “We can choose a different path,” she added, referring to ubuntu , a concept of humanity and community based on the idea: “I am because we are.”

“This current [path] leads to more senseless death and pain for one too many,” she said.

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Nigeria’s Vote Signals Risks: How Its Partners Can Support Democracy

An election vital to Africa shows democratic aspirations — and challenges they face.

By: James Rupert

Publication Type: Analysis

Nigeria’s disputed election 12 days ago is raising protest at home and concern abroad over its implications for the strength of democracy in that country and across Africa. Yesterday’s new wrinkle was the postponement of this week’s planned election for Nigerian state governors. Nigeria’s electoral commission is working to fix problems in a vote management system that failed to transparently process and report a result on February 25. An erosion of democracy’s credibility in Africa’s most populous nation would be catastrophic. Nigeria’s allies should support the remediation efforts by Nigerians that so far have largely avoided violence by working through the courts.

Nigerians in Lagos cheer and snap photos at a February rally for presidential candidate Peter Obi in a three-way race. Obi and rival candidate Atiku Abubakar are challenging the election’s declared outcome in court. (Taiwo Aina/The New York Times)

Elections have never been simple in a massive nation, forged through colonial violence, that sprawls from ocean to savannah, across hundreds of ethnic and language communities. Still, Nigerians in this century overcame prior decades of military rule to build a working, if turbulent, democracy marked by regular elections — including seven for president — and legal transfers of power. And they show determination to improve it. The past year has seen a high-energy, pro-democracy campaign, notably by young Nigerians, for more transparent elections and more responsive governance.

That pro-democracy energy has shifted Nigeria’s electoral landscape, and the full implications of that remain unclear. After decades in which two main parties dominated national politics, youthful demands for greater representation , a halt to corruption and better governance helped fuel a vibrant third-party candidacy — that of former governor Peter Obi. This election also broke the mold for Nigerian parties’ efforts to show balance between a mainly Muslim north and a largely Christian south. The two main parties dropped their traditional practice of “ticket balancing,” igniting a national debate over the country’s need to broaden political inclusion  to include marginalized communities, women and youth.

The changes included an opportunity on February 25 for a more transparent vote. Nigeria’s national electoral authority promised faster, more visible tabulation of results through a new, high-tech election management system. But the plan misfired, with many polling places opening late, remaining closed or lacking supplies to process votes. Nigerian and international analysts say the opening to strengthen the credibility of elections has been missed so far — and that the political legitimacy of the outcome risks being diluted . The Independent National Electoral Commission yesterday postponed Saturday’s scheduled elections for governors of most of Nigeria’s 36 states.

Risks for Nigeria

“The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, underperformed on election day and it missed an opportunity to strengthen the country’s electoral system and improve public trust in the country’s elections,” said Ambassador Johnnie Carson, a former assistant secretary of state for Africa who co-led the joint election observers’ team from the twin pro-democracy institutes of the U.S. Republican and Democratic parties.

Carson, a USIP advisor on Africa, noted that the election was more competitive in some ways than prior ones. In the presidential race, each of the three main candidates won 12 states each. “Strikingly, seven sitting governors who were running for the Senate failed to win their races,” said Carson, “and that seemed to show a strong ability of electors to work against the power of incumbency, and to choose candidates who seemed to them to offer democratic benefits.”

Yet if those features suggested a democratic fervor, the number of votes cast and counted is an alarm signal, Carson and other analysts say. While voter drives last year increased registration to 93.4 million, only 24.9 million votes , about 27 percent of registrants, were counted on election day — a third consecutive decline of participation in presidential votes. Four years ago, President Muhammadu Buhari won election with about 15 million votes. The declared winner this time, Bola Tinubu of Buhari’s All-Progressives Conference, received 9 million votes to govern a nation of 220 million people.

Implications in Africa

Despite the flaws in Nigeria’s presidential election, the country remains a democracy committed to following constitutional norms, Carson noted. President Buhari respected the country’s presidential term limits, a step that democracy advocates hope might strengthen that practice as a norm. Opinion research, for example, by the independent group Afrobarometer , has shown that Africans strongly support term limits as part of democratic systems. Still, analysts have counted at least 13 cases since 2015 in which leaders forced constitutional changes or otherwise manipulated their way to remaining in power beyond term limits. That has weakened their governments’ legitimacy. In some cases, as in Guinea, it has led to military coups.

So, despite the turmoil of the moment, “Nigeria’s foundational commitment to democracy may serve as an example to other political leaders in West Africa to strengthen their own democracies or fight to restore democracy in countries where it has failed,” Carson said. Nigeria’s government and its vibrant pro-democracy, civil society movements are also in a strong position to advocate democratic, constitutional rule in other West African states and to work strategically to reverse democratic backsliding and coups. 

Africa’s desire for democratic governance remains strong. Afrobarometer, which is Africa’s leading public opinion research organization, reports that nearly 70 percent of Africans want multiparty democratic government. The majority of Africans do not see value in authoritarian or military regimes.

What Meaning for Policies?

“A centerpiece of American policy in Africa should be the promotion of democracy, rule of law and good governance,” Carson said. This means focusing on supporting civil society groups that promote democratic norms and working with governments to strengthen their democratic institutions, notably their judicial and legislative bodies, he said.

And there is this: Africans do not seek, and Americans do not support, democracy simply for its own sake. They and we do so because we all have learned over the centuries that democracy is the form of government that can best respond to the needs of the citizenry. So African and allied policymaking should support not simply transparent elections, but accountable governance that is improved through elections. Governments’ accountability and responsiveness — the solving of problems and the improvement of lives and the building of sustainable peace — is the ultimate goal.

Nowhere on earth is that goal more vital than Africa. By 2050, Africa will be where most of the world’s population growth takes place. The continent will by then form fully a quarter of humanity to become a geostrategic partner like never before in our history. Nigeria will be at the center of that rise, shaping much of Africa’s — and our — future with the quality of its democracy.

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Resolving Nigeria’s Population-Productivity-Insecurity Problem

ways of solving political problems in nigeria

Debating Ideas is a new section that aims to reflect the values and editorial ethos of the  African Arguments book series , publishing engaged, often radical, scholarship, original and activist writing from within the African continent and beyond. It will offer debates and engagements, contexts and controversies, and reviews and responses flowing from the African Arguments books.

ways of solving political problems in nigeria

A bustling market in Lagos. Credit: Whistler Nigeria

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and biggest economy, is assailed on all fronts by insecurity that increasingly appears to overwhelm both its political leadership and its institutions. The response of the government has been underpinned by diagnostics that mistake symptoms for cause with the result that the management of Nigeria’s crises of insecurity has suffered an escalation of misadventure and misfortune founded on the official mindset that the country can shoot its way out of its problems. This limited toolkit would benefit from a re-think.

Some numbers may help to illustrate – even if inadequately – the scale of the crises. In June 2021, Nigeria recorded over 763 atrocity killings . One state alone, Kaduna, in the north-west, officially reports a toll of at least 545 killed and 1,723 kidnapped in the first six months of 2021. Over the same period, 2,371 people were reported kidnapped in at least 281 separate incidents across the country, grossing tens of millions of dollars for Nigeria’s fastest growing industry. Reported ransom economy in the first half of 2021 alone grossed over 10 billion Naira (about $20 million) although the actual sums are believed to be significantly higher. The Financial Times reports that “the kidnapping industry is thriving in Nigeria.” Over 1,000 victims of what the British conservative magazine, The Spectator , recently described as Nigeria’s “ abduction epidemic ” were taken in mass attacks on schools that now threaten to shut down education systems in about 14 of the 19 states of northern Nigeria. The recorded incidents and victims represent only a fraction of the full picture in a country in which statistics are chronically massaged and most victims prefer quiet arrangements with the kidnappers since the state acts indifferently. Former United State Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, notes the existence of a “growing perception among many in Nigeria” that “the country does not meet the first condition of statehood: the provision of security for its citizens.”

Since the end of 2016, Nigeria’s National Security Adviser (NSA) has issued an annual internal security threat assessment to govern prioritization and deployment of security assets across the spectrum of Nigeria’s internal security challenges. Over the same period, the assessment has held constant, identifying the following as the main threats: in the north-east , Boko Haram and its affiliates; in the north-west , bandits so-called and the Shi’ites of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN); in the north-central , “killer herdsmen”; in the south east , the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB); in the south-west , cults and criminal gangs; and in the south-south , resource militants.

This exercise in federal character falls far short, however, of providing an informed or useable security threat assessment. Sheikh Zakzaky, the leader of the IMN, has been detained since the end of 2015 and the group proscribed under the Terrorism Prevention Act . The government similarly proscribed IPOB in 2017 and has recently abducted its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, back from Kenya to Nigeria. There was not even a pretence of legal process to his extraordinary rendition from Kenya to Nigeria. These developments have not made any dent in the pathologies of insecurity in the country, suggesting that regime security rather than public safety could be the focus of the NSA.

An assessment of the internal security threats in Nigeria should proceed from acknowledging the fact that Nigeria has been unable to subdue the various networks of agitation or violence identified by the NSA. Far from being diminished by the enhanced attentions of the Nigerian state, they have grown in intensity and significance. A security threat assessment must seek to uncover those things that imperil or incapacitate the ability of the state to prevail over these. Five issues easily stand out.

First is demographics. Nigeria’s population is growing at a rate that the country cannot sustain. Shortly before he died, in December 2020, former Director-General of the Nigerian Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Habu Galadima, warned that “Nigeria’s population is growing at 3.2% every year, which translates to an additional 6.7 million persons annually, making it one of the highest in the world. As of 2019, 86.7% of Nigerians depend on others to survive, meaning that only 27.9 million people out of about 210 million are productive.” A national average fertility rate of 5.4 births per woman masks disturbing regional disparities . The fertility rate in the southern states is around four births per woman, nearly doubling to above seven in the north-east and north-west, where early and child marriage as well as polygyny are both customary and widespread. While the population has grown at 3.2% over the past five years, the economy has averaged an annual growth rate of a mere 0.28% over the same period, recording negative growth in two of those five years and near-neutral growth in a third. The result is that the supply of public goods is exponentially mismatched against the demand. Absent capable institutions and leadership, the ensuing contest can only be resolved by violence.

Second, therefore, is the criminalization of elective politics and the weaponization of demographics for this purpose. With elective politics as the only legitimate means of producing leaders, Nigeria’s politics has come to resemble organized crime powered by the three deities of “ godfathers, guns and graft .” Politicians have perfected the art of arming rival political gangs and thugs during elections, after which they are unable to amnesty or buy-back the guns. Indeed, an official panel of Nigeria’s federal government all but confirmed in 2011 that the Boko Haram insurgency began from this pattern of political misconduct. Deploying the spoils of office, the political rulers who emerge from these mutually assured killing fields compromise security institutions in order to cover their tracks. Over time, this has incapacitated the effectiveness of the security services. In Nigeria’s winner-takes-all political system, demographic growth is weaponized for electoral purposes by the ethnic interests who control Nigeria’s politics and who, therefore, have no self-interest in addressing the mismatch between population and productivity.

Third is a crisis of incapable security institutions. Afflicted with poor morale and conditions of service, over one-third of the personnel of the Nigeria Police Force find comfort in hawking personal guard duties to higher-ups in and out of government. The result is that the Force is chronically short-staffed and overwhelmed . Rather than address this, government has chosen to casualize the Police and deploy the army routinely in internal security operations in all 36 of Nigeria’s states. In both its primary role and its assumed one, the army is compromised to the point of being popularly accused of being complicit in Nigeria’s insecurity crises or profiteering from it. It is unable to fulfil its primary role of defending the country against external threats and at the same time it is not equipped to undertake internal policing. Far from diminishing in footprint, insecurity has metastasized.

These three problems point to an obvious fourth, a crisis of political inequity . With a crisis of demand and supply, dissolute political leadership and incapable institutions, it is only natural that systems of productivity, distributive and remedial justice in the country are ineffectual. Deeply held notions of injustice when popularized across the country become a tinder-box, endangering every part.

Looking to the future, there is a fifth problem. Nigeria’s economy is dependent on oil and gas for over 65% of government revenues and 88% of foreign exchange earnings in an era in which the world is transitioning from dirty energy. In 2020, Nigeria reportedly spent 97% of its revenues on debt servicing. This implies not merely that government relies on debt to service its capital expenditure and to pay for its overheads and salaries, but logically also that a significant part of the debt is unsustainable, pointing to potentially bigger problems. With a population estimated to grow by nearly 100% in another quarter of a century and an incapacity to improve its investments in public goods to underpin the legitimacy of the state, the country’s fundamentals could suggest even deeper crises of violence unless it can extract a dividend from its demographic curve , render its politics more accountable and navigate the global energy transition to a safe harbour.

Addressing these issues will not be easy by any means. It requires a different approach to Nigeria’s crisis of insecurity, which must begin with a national leadership that is present and a security strategy that follows clear political direction: not the other way round. It is not without political cost either. There is no sustainable pathway out of this situation without addressing Nigeria’s mutually dissonant demographic and productivity gradients. The last Nigerian ruler to recognize this publicly in office was Ibrahim Babangida, the military ruler who instituted a national population policy in 1988, limiting population size per family to four. As a soldier, he did not need votes. President Obasanjo updated the policy in his second term in 2004, knowing he was term-limited. Nigeria’s insecurity problem is not going to be fixed by soldiers wielding guns and bayonets. As long as the dominant politicians choose to weaponize demographics without a plan for investing in productivity, for so long shall Nigeria know little peace.

السودان وصندوق النقد الدولي: ما وراء مظاهر ...

Africa has the right tool to protect ....


Chidi Anselm Odinkalu

Chidi Odinkalu is a former chair of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission and works with the Open Society Foundations. The opinions in this article are personal.

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The potential is there, no doubt about it, the methodology may take more time but it’s a work in progress ! And productivity is a great subject that our team love to explore, we therefore wrote about it in here, hope it helps:

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You have brought up a very good details, regards for the post.

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COVID-19: An open letter from African intellectuals to Africa’s leaders

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What are the 10 major political problems in Nigeria today?

Even though Nigeria is considered an African country that is developing quite fast, it still does not mean that our native land is entirely devoid of all problems. In this article, you will read about the major political problems in Nigeria and the possible ways to solve them.

What are the problems of political parties in Nigeria today

What are the political problems in Nigeria and solutions? There are a lot of issues in the political and social arena. People have been unaware of possible solutions for many years, and the situation remains the same. Minor improvements are made every day to improve the life of Nigerians, but there are still so many things that should be considered.

List of political problems in Nigeria

Unfortunately, the diversity of Nigerian politics is not always helping because every politician has different opinions on what should be done to restore the country. Below are the major causes of political problems in Nigeria.

ways of solving political problems in nigeria

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1. Corruption

It is not news to everyone that the country has been notorious as one of the most corrupt countries in the world . Most Nigerian politicians are known for their corrupt deeds, as the statistics say that 70% of corruption practices come from this branch of society.

Governmental officials often put the funds that belong to the public in foreign bank accounts. Private citizens are known to help out in the process of money laundering. On top of everything else, the politicians hide billions of naira under different names for society to stay unaware of their money-stealing practices.

Corruption also blossoms in the law and police force, so the citizens no longer trust these branches with their safety. This problem is one of the foundations of the general crisis in the country.

This is because corruption can leak into various settings and threaten all political institutions, economic sectors, and other spheres of life. And the government, which is supposed to protect the citizens and be the highest branch of society that solves all the problems, is the most involved in the existence of corruption.

ways of solving political problems in nigeria

Nigeria's social problems in Nigeria and possible solutions

2. Tribalism

Tribalism is one of the major political issues in Nigeria in 2022. This results in political differences, civil wars, human losses, and blindness during elections, which means that the citizens vote not because of the political capabilities of the candidate, but tribalism.

This problem has always been the root of all the other issues in the country, and nowadays, people are tribally biased toward or against people from the same or different backgrounds.

It often leads to inter-tribal conflicts and deaths because people disagree on religion, politics, culture, or anything else. Tribalism is also a significant problem in the political sector, as people mostly vote based on their tribes.

When a person commits a mistake, it is forgiven by people of their tribe but viewed as the worst crime by people from another. This psychology is divisive and does nothing good for the Nigerian people.

ways of solving political problems in nigeria

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3. Economic downturn

The country's economic position has drastically gotten worse. The country's population is stuffing greatly due to the decline in annual revenues.

As a result, the wages of workers are no longer adequate to buy goods from markets. It seriously endangers the lives of many individuals, which is one of the causes for which numerous employees are asking for salary increases.

4. Oil and gas industry

causes of political problems in Nigeria

Even though the industry sector in Nigeria was always known for its numerous resources, there are still issues connected with that, which contribute to the overall political crisis.

This is not a far-fetched problem, and it can be easily linked to the political life of Nigeria. It is suspected that many politicians gain huge profits from oil and gas. For instance, there was a subsidy removal story, which resulted in the national scarcity of fuel.

5. Boko Haram terrorist group

ways of solving political problems in nigeria

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The state's neglect by the officially ranked figures left the country with another problem – the terrorist group Boko Haram attacks. The Boko Haram terrorists decline everything western and want their ideology to thrive.

The actions of this violent group are such a problem to Nigerian society due to the neglect and mismanagement of the country by the leaders.

Many studies that were carried out on the Boko Haram activity in the country suggest that their rise is a consequence of state leaders neglecting the current state of events and depriving a big part of the population.

Many other factors contribute to the terrorist movement in Nigeria, including injustices, poverty, class inequality, the failure of social services and more.

6. God-fatherism

What is God-fatherism? This is a political sponsorship based on manipulation and imposing someone's agenda on other politicians.

Many people who venture into politics would look for their "godfathers" as the first move in their political careers. This is a term for looking for a person who would be your career patron and push you towards acquiring a higher political position.

ways of solving political problems in nigeria

Reasons for underdevelopment in Nigeria and possible solutions

Many politicians seem to be forgetting that Nigeria is a democratic state, and the government should depend entirely on the choices of Nigerian citizens, which they have a chance to make through independent elections.

The paradox here is that the "godfathers" usually do not share God's core values and follow the ideology of mostly corrupt political parties . Unfortunately, this phenomenon has been dividing the country and becoming a toxic part of its political life.

7. Nigerian youth and their political inactivity

In general, young people are very active and dynamic and participate in basically every field of life, except politics. Unfortunately, their voices are often overlooked and not taken seriously.

They also feel it is not worth starting a political career and exposing themselves to all the dangers and threats it can bring. There are plenty of other problems with young people, aside from their lack of political awareness and activity.

ways of solving political problems in nigeria

Different types of profitable farming business in Nigeria in 2019!

The unemployment rate among the youth is extremely high, and the government's general attitude toward giving youngsters actual jobs shows that this trend will continue in the near future .

The biggest question nowadays is: when will the older people let the youth lead? And when will the young people also wake up and realise their voices can be heard? This would probably change things for the better if youngsters were not afraid to participate in the political life of Nigeria.

8. The Nigerian media

solutions to political problems in Nigeria

As you may know, the media is a large part of a democratic society. Therefore, the primary obligation of the journalists who work for these media outlets is to praise these leaders and show their opponents in a bad light.

This distorts the accuracy of all the political news that Nigerians read daily. As a result, all the important details are overlooked, and people must process the generalised information and make their own conclusions from something that is not particularly true.

ways of solving political problems in nigeria

How to solve the problem of cultural diversity in Nigeria

Another major issue is that most political leaders, or their representatives, pay the journalists a good amount of money to write articles that cover up all the negative things they did and represent them only in a positive light.

9. Religions

Nigeria is one of those countries where different religions are spread all over the state. It is quite natural, considering how Nigeria consists of so many different cultures and is the most populated country on the African continent.

There are various religions, but some of the most widespread are Christianity and Islam, as well as the African traditional religion.

The issue with religion is that people of the major religion fight each other for power, and people vote for the candidates based on their religion instead of voting for their strategy and political capabilities.

This divides people and makes them feel separated from each other because of their religious differences, instead of being a part of the same country and having the same core values.

ways of solving political problems in nigeria

Environment issues in Nigeria: problems and solutions

10. Nigerian citizens

Many Nigerian citizens gave up on the country's political life. They do not participate in any electoral processes and usually have no opinions about the country's candidates or general political conditions.

Quite often, during the elections, people travel to their native towns instead of voting and refuse to participate in the national electoral process.

To this day, many Nigerians meet all the eligibility criteria for voting but do not desire to participate directly. This is because they think that their vote will not matter and leave it to the others who are more aware of the current political state.

These similar behaviours are not helping the development of Nigeria, as so many people refuse for their voices and concerns to be heard for various reasons.

Solutions to political problems in Nigeria

Below are some of the solutions to the current issues in Nigeria in 2022.

ways of solving political problems in nigeria

Advantages and disadvantages of democracy

  • Use technology and social media to engage citizens in current anti-corruption problems. The increase of young people on social media demonstrates its potential for inspiring debate and encouraging participation in the fight against corruption.
  • Regardless of colour or tribal heritage, all Nigerians must accept diversity and collaborate.
  • The country's government must diversify the economy and make agriculture the mainstay of the economy. It should also lift the import ban on certain critical commodities.
  • Ensure that openness, good governance, and accountability are codified in the administration of Nigeria's petroleum resources.
  • Adequate security and engagement with terrorists to address issues related to the source of terrorism are the best approaches to terrorism, and the government must emphasise the advantages of the people.
  • The electorate should be adequately educated to understand that no family has a monopoly on power and that power does not belong to a single family.
  • Educate and create excellent work opportunities for the next generation. This will aid in developing the country's economy and reducing the high unemployment rate.
  • The Nigerian Union of Journalists must remember their duty to maintain journalistic standards. Among these are common requirements for media proprietors and proper information distribution to society.
  • To reduce religious violence, the government should make education cheap for everybody and make efforts to employ more people. Furthermore, the government should refrain from interfering in religious matters, as this might lead to social discontent, instability, and divisiveness.
  • Encourage and educate all Nigerians on voting and choosing their leaders. They should be educated on the Nigerian political system, the value of choosing excellent leaders, and the freedom that comes with it.

ways of solving political problems in nigeria

What effect does corruption have on Nigeria?

How can we improve Nigeria?

Nnigeria political system

Nigeria can be improved by increasing policy transparency and predictability, improving basic education financing, monitoring the impact of conflict on household welfare to protect the poor and vulnerable, and leveraging digital technologies to diversify the economy and create jobs for young workers.

What are the examples of socio-political problems in Nigeria?

Some of the primary sociopolitical problems include corruption, poverty, unemployment, insecurity, politics, and poor governance.

How can corruption in Nigeria be curbed?

Providing incentives for the general public to report examples of corruption, strengthening anti-corruption authorities, and increasing openness are some viable answers.

What are the problems of political parties in Nigeria today?

Corruption, tribalism, and religious conflicts are among political parties' major problems. These parties are characterised by high levels of violence and conflict, with the only goal of government elected officials striving to control the structural construction of the party.

ways of solving political problems in nigeria

10 interesting facts about Nigeria you should know

Listed above are the major political problems in Nigeria and their possible solutions. The government can implement policies to assist in eliminating such issues in the country.

READ ALSO: What is a child-friendly school environment? Definition, principles, objectives recently published an article on the definition, principles, and goals of a child-friendly school environment. UNICEF created the child-friendly school (CFS) paradigm to aim to equalise learning opportunities.

The approach is based on the idea that a school can and should act in the child's best interests. A learning environment must be well-staffed, safe, and equipped with adequate resources to promote learning.


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Ways of Solving the Common Social Problems in Nigeria.

explain the effects of social issues and problems in Nigeria. evaluate the measures adopted to solve social problems.

What you'll learn

  • Effects of social problems; Poverty; underdevelopment; etc.
  • Ways of solving contemporary social problems e.g. Government policies, participation in civil society, personal discipline e.g. contentment, loyalty, faithfulness etc.

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Government agencies charged with the prevention of corruption in our country are:

  • Independent corrupt practices and other related offences commission (I.C.P.C)
  • Economic and financial crimes commission (E.F.C.C)
  • Code of conduct Bureau (C.C.B)
  • W.A.I.C- War against indiscipline and corruption
  • Public complaints commission (P.C.C)
  • N.O.A- National orientation agency


  • I.C.P.C was charged with the responsibility of fighting corrupt practices such as Advanced fee, fraud, bribery, illegal acquisition of property, making false offences.   
  • E.F.C.C: they are responsible for fighting financial crimes in both public and private sector of the economy.
  • C.C.B: They duty is to list out proper ways of conducting business in public and private sectors in order to check corruption among public.
  • W.A.I.C: They have their role to fight against indiscipline and corruption, there by reporting such cases to the appropriate quarters for necessary actions. They are also charged with the responsibility of hearing the public complaints and petitions on misappropriation of public funds, favouritism, nepotism and abuse of office by government and private officers and agencies.
  • N.O.A: They are charged with the duty of spreading government information to members of the public.


  • They should avoid pornographic films.
  • Provision of free education and educational facilities to the people.
  • Empowerment of youths.
  • Provision of skills acquisition centre to encourage development of skills.
  • Poverty alleviation programme should be encouraged, especially in rural areas.

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Problems Of Nigeria: 15 Major Problems/Challenges Of Nigerian Economy

  • Post author: Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka ACMC
  • Post published: August 16, 2023
  • Post category: Scholarly Articles

Problems in Nigeria and Solutions : Nigeria is Africa’s most populated country and the world’s sixth most populous country. The burgeoning population has resulted in a slew of new issues, including environmental deterioration and traffic congestion in major cities. Violence is being perpetrated in northern Nigeria by a group known as Boko Haram, which is fighting for a state-controlled by Sharia Law.

The organization has kidnapped children and murdered Christians across the country. Nigeria is regarded as Africa’s country with the highest unemployment rate. As a means of surviving, many unemployed adolescents have turned to internet frauds. Corruption has been a big issue in Nigeria for quite some time. Political leaders have a history of engaging in corrupt practices.

Diseases like HIV/AIDS have also been a major problem that has cost the government billions of dollars to address. Currently, 3% of the population is between the ages of 15 and 64.

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Table of Contents

Major Problems Facing Nigeria

1. Economic crisis: Nigeria’s economic situation has deteriorated significantly. The country’s purchasing and selling situation are dire and depressing. The country’s annual profits have decreased, significantly impacting the country’s population. Inflation is a significant issue in the country.

Major problems of Nigeria and Solutions

Inflation is defined as a rise in the overall level of prices for goods and services, resulting in a decrease in the buying power of the currency. Workers’ incomes are no longer sufficient to purchase physical goods from marketplaces. It poses a serious threat to many people’s lives, which is one of the reasons why many workers are requesting pay raises.

Nigeria’s annual inflation rate rose to 11.23 percent in August 2018, up from 11.14 percent in July, which was higher than the market’s forecast of 11.11 percent. It was the first time the inflation rate has risen since it began to fall in January 2017, when it hit a 12-year high of 18.7%. (Trading Economics 2018).

Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been growing at a slow pace in recent years. The gross domestic product (GDP) is one of the most important indices of a country’s economic health. In addition, the GDP has decreased during the last few months. In the first quarter of 2016, it fell by -13.98 percent. In addition, the country’s GDP fell by -13.4 percent in the first quarter of 2018.

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2. Ethnicity: Nigeria, Africa’s colossus, is the world’s most populated black country. Nigeria has a population of around 180 million people. The country’s population is diverse, with over 250 ethnic groups represented. Nigeria’s multi-ethnic character has many advantages as well as disadvantages – ethnicity issues in Nigeria.

Problems hindering the economy development of Nigeria

Naturally, when it comes to ethnicity, Nigerians are extremely sensitive, with tempers frequently flaring and occasionally resorting to violence. Below are some of the difficulties impacting ethnicity in Nigeria, as well as proposed.

3. The problem of Amalgamation: The British colonial authorities constructed Nigeria as a geographical place to make administration easier. Despite being neighbors, the mostly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south were never united until 1914. Some of the current conflicts in the country may be traced back to this forced union.

Challenges faced by Nigeria today

Even though the country has been together for almost a century, it has failed to fully integrate. Northerners continue to be suspicious of their southern counterparts, and vice versa. There is a lot of debate about the “ Northern agenda ” and the “ Southern agenda ,” but not much about the “ Nigerian agenda .”

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4. Inequality : This is due to the government’s and its agencies’ apparent favoring of people or regions belonging to one tribe over another. There is an unspoken belief that ethnic majority dominate the affairs of the country, which makes minorities feel like second-class citizens in their own country, not for any fault of their own, but just because they are few.

Factors hindering the development of Nigeria

This frequently causes a sense of perceived unfairness by the government and its agents towards these communities.

5. The problem of Internal Land Conflicts: Land ownership disputes have frequently caused conflicts among Nigerians. Border settlement inside the country is still a work in progress. Many lives have been sacrificed as a result of land ownership disputes, and many more are likely to be lost until these concerns are resolved once and for all.

What are the economic problems that Nigeria is facing

Also see: Countries with the best justice system in the world 2023

6. Resource Management: Tensions frequently arise when it comes to the control of the country’s natural resources. Across the country, groups have emerged to compete for control of resources located on their land. The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta is a good example (MEND).

Political problems in Nigeria

This organization has filed a lawsuit against the government for control of money derived from the sale of crude oil produced in their territory. They claim that, despite being the golden egg-laying chicken, their territory is severely undeveloped. Members of the Niger-Delta militants have reintroduced the use of weaponry in expressing their grievances.

In their pursuit, they have damaged oil pipelines and abducted oil employees. Even if they have suspended operations for the time being, their actions have drastically reduced crude oil output in the country.

7. Corruption : Many of Nigeria’s issues are caused by corruption. Corruption manifests itself in a variety of ways and infiltrates all political and economic organizations. It is heartbreaking to learn that the government, which was established to strengthen the country and combat corruption, is taking from its citizens.

Problems in Nigeria and Solutions

The government officials tasked with combating corruption are unconcerned about what is expected of them. Non-governing citizens are also judged guilty, even though they are supposed to be free of corruption. Power abuse may be found in practically every branch of the federal government. The present ruling administration is not fulfilling its promises, and officials are more concerned with stuffing their wallets than with properly governing.

Nigeria was ranked 144th out of 177 countries on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index in 2013 , making it one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Nigeria was the 33rd most corrupt country in 2013, mathematically.

In Nigeria, election tampering is not uncommon. Nigerians are tired of going to the polls on election day only to discover that their ballots haven’t been counted. In the year preceding up the 2007 elections, a Foreign Affairs study found about 700 election-related violent actions, including two killings.

International monitors witnessed widespread vote box theft in 2007, and while the situation improved in 2011, ballot-rigging remained widespread. Nigerians and foreign watchdog groups describe accounts of candidates using thugs to steal ballot boxes and threaten voters during elections. Many of these assailants are disgruntled and jobless teenagers.

Also see: Why is Nigeria so corrupt? See Reasons

8. Terrorism: Terrorism is a major concern in Nigeria daily. The daily massacres, kidnappings, bombings, and rape carried out by Boko Haram throughout the country are quite concerning. Nigeria was rated fourth in the world with the most international war deaths in 2016, according to the Global Peace Index.

Solutions to the problems of Nigerian economy

In Nigeria, Boko Haram is known as a destroyer, and the northern section of the nation has been so badly damaged that even students are unable to complete their studies In Nigeria, Boko Haram is a well-known terrorist organization. Even if you don’t live in Nigeria, you’ve probably heard of Boko Haram’s kidnappings of hundreds of children, predominantly girls, from schools and communities in northern Nigeria in 2014.

Boko Haram kidnapped roughly 276 Chibok schoolgirls on the night of the 14th and 15th of April in 2014. According to a source, the females were between the ages of 17 and 18. They were pupils of Government Secondary School in Chibok, Nigeria’s Borno State.

9. Unemployment: In Nigeria, unemployment is spreading like a virus. Due to the economic recession, there has been a high rate of unemployment; no jobs are available for the youths; 24 percent of Nigerians are unemployed; now, let’s move on to the youths; there is no rating I can give you for that because there are so many jobless youths on the street; however, based on some facts, I can estimate that 8% of youths under the age of 24 are unemployed. 500,000 job hopefuls were in a rush to apply for roughly 5,000 openings in Nigeria’s immigration agency in 2014, and 16 people were murdered in a melee. Unemployment is also one of the key causes of social vices in the country; even graduates have difficulty finding work.

Problems in Nigeria and Solutions

Students who attend tertiary education institutes frequently leave with no employment and low morale. Nigerian education has a significant difficulty. Many Nigerian graduates did not acquire useful skills during their education. They were too preoccupied with reading textbooks to understand how to apply what they had learned. They apply for employment but are not recruited due to a lack of qualifications.

Contemporary Social Problems in Nigeria

Graduates frequently have to stay in their parents’ houses for an extended period, leading to dissatisfaction and pessimism. This negativity is one of the main reasons for crime among Nigerian youth; they turn to illegal activities since they have nothing better to do with their time or money. 200,000 students graduate from colleges each year, yet many struggles to find work and others resort to less-than-honorable ways of subsistence.

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10. Education system: Students who attend tertiary education institutions are usually unemployed and depressed. Education in Nigeria is a major challenge. During their schooling, many Nigerian graduates did not learn practical skills. They were too absorbed with reading textbooks to see how what they had learned might be applied. They apply for jobs, but owing to a lack of credentials, they are not hired.

What are the problems of development in Nigeria

Graduates are usually required to live with their parents for lengthy periods, which can lead to discontent and pessimism. One of the biggest causes of crime among Nigerian young is negativity; they turn to unlawful activities since they have nothing better to do with their time or money. Every year, 200,000 students graduate from college, but many struggles to find jobs and turn to less-than-honorable means of sustenance.

Another issue in Nigerian schools nowadays is political meddling; politics is the most powerful factor in the Nigerian educational system. Many educational institutions are now founded and administered on political grounds in many states; entrance to universities, colleges, and polytechnics, particularly universities, is sometimes influenced by politicians rather than academic merit.

Today’s parents utilize their political clout or influence to affect their children’s education. Malpractices and a lack of preparation Test malpractices have been identified by education experts, with poor examination preparation by pupils being another setback in the educational system. Due to the escalating costs of education ( school fees, enrolment fees, the cost of books and other materials), students and even their parents will not want to be held behind by any type of deficit or failure in any of the needed topics, and would thus go to any length to avoid being held back.

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11. Infrastructure : Following other issues such as Boko Haram, infrastructure may appear to be a minor concern, but how can a country advance without a steady power supply? The power sector is crooked and mismanaged, and many personnel in the energy industry lack the necessary skills and training. Domestic output suffers as a result of these conditions, but frequent power outages also make it impossible for many international enterprises to do business in Nigeria. Nigeria is a third-world country year after year due to this issue.

Challenges faced by Nigeria currently

Without a reliable road system, business suffers. Roads are in disrepair due to corruption and misappropriation of public monies Only 67 percent of paved roads and 33 percent of unpaved roads were in good or fair condition in 2011, according to the World Bank. Between 2001 and 2006, just $50 million of the $240 million needed for road repairs was paid.

Water resources and railways have similar problems with insufficiency and corruption. Nigeria must address its infrastructure challenges by providing adequate financing and clamping down on the misappropriation of public monies intended for infrastructure. Any engineer or contractor who does not complete his work properly should be held accountable.

Nigeria’s environmental and health standards are deplorable. According to Amnesty International, hundreds of oil leaks occur each year in Nigeria’s Niger Delta, owing to pipe degradation, sabotage, and carelessness on the part of oil firms. Oil spills deplete soil microorganisms and nutrients, which impacts Delta fishing and farming communities as well as the broader economy. In Nigeria, litter is strewn across the highways and streets. The spread of illness is aided by improperly dumped waste.

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12. Lack of skilled personnel’s: Brain drain has become a common phenomenon today, as our highly skilled professionals are now relocating to countries where there are quality infrastructures to work, great standard of living, and a good pay to match.

Problems of Nigerian government

This issue of lack of highly skilled personnel and sufficient manpower has led to reduced productivity in most sectors of our economy, and as such has limited our economic development and growth.

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13. Inconsistent economic policies: In Nigeria, every Government comes into office in with their own economic policies which often differ from the policies of the previous administration, hence the previous policies suffer fatally from poor implementation because before it is fully implemented to produce maximum result in our economy, the tenure of the initiator will elapse, and the policies will not be implemented further by the proceeding administration, so therefore resulting in a situation of an ever changing and poorly implemented economic policies which does no good to the growth of our economy.

What are the development issues in Nigeria?

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14. Electoral malpractice: Election malpractice is corruption defined. It has become a disturbing menace in Nigeria that elections are hardly conducted freely and fairly. The 2023 election was an eye-opener for everyone. Regardless of the various measures that were put in place to curtail election malpractice, all were to no avail. The good news, however, is that the recent innovations in the electoral law, policy and practice made the electoral irregularities very obvious.

What are the problems with the economy of Nigeria?

15. The removal of fuel subsidy: After the current president Tinubu was sworn in, his opening statement included the intention to remove fuel subsidy. Nigerians know exactly what this entails. This led to the abrupt outrageous increase in price of fuel in Nigeria. This is the worse Nigeria has recorded so far from the history. The president later on, made a statement, stating that nothing can be done to remedy the situation. Recall that the announcement for the intended removal of fuel subsidy was made without any single measure being put in place to remedy the impact of the removal of fuel subsidy.

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Solutions to the Problems in Nigeria

a . Nigerians must come to embrace the truth that, despite the fact that the country was founded by the British, we are all one people.

b. Those who advocate for one tribe’s supremacy over others should be warned and potentially sanctioned. This will contribute to the country’s unity and build greater trust among all tribes.

c . All tribes and areas should be treated equally by the government. The Principle of Federal Character, which stipulates that all states are represented in the federal government, was included in the constitution to address this issue.

d . Resource management should be prioritized so that groups like MEND can no longer exist in our country.

e . Land disputes, many of which have been dragging on for years, should be resolved as soon as possible to avoid further loss of life and property.

f. The educational sector should receive enough funding. The Nigerian government requires a rebirth. Especially for all of the promises they made on education. As stated in the Nigerian constitution of 1999, basic and secondary education would be free. Every kid has the right to an education in a safe and healthy setting.

g . Since we are all aware of our economy’s job dilemma, everyone should strive for a “ back up plan .” If there are no jobs in the economy, try to create some. This can be accomplished by learning one or two different trades. Attending school provides you with extra information, allowing you to become an educated tailor, baker, or shoemaker, for example. Being your own boss pays better than anything else.

Also see: Advantages and Disadvantages of the Internet

h. Finding a remedy to corruption has proven to be a dead end throughout the years. This is because corruption affects practically all Nigerians on a daily basis, not only crooked politicians. It might be by bribery or connections, or by attempting to force someone who lacks quality into a position he does not belong. Corruption must be combated as a team effort. We must all take a stance to expose corruption and tell the truth about issues that affect our environment.

I. The use of violence to combat violence is unlikely to succeed in eliminating terrorism since it will result in the deaths of many innocent people. According to studies, the most effective approach to terrorism is effective security and dialogue with terrorists to tackle issues related to the source of terrorism, and the government must prioritize the benefits of the people. The government is responsible for this discourse, which must be conducted in order to keep the country secure.

j . To begin, the government should put in place policies that have already been developed, such as a gender policy that aspires to achieve gender equality. The administration has also pledged an equitable transfer of wealth to the people, which should be implemented.

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The use of violence to combat violence is unlikely to succeed in eliminating terrorism since it will result in the deaths of many innocent people. According to studies, the most effective approach to terrorism is effective security and dialogue with terrorists to tackle issues related to the source of terrorism, and the government must prioritize the benefits of the people.

The government is responsible for this discourse, which must be conducted in order to keep the country secure. The government should put in place policies that have already been developed, such as a gender policy that aspires to achieve gender equality. The administration has also pledged an equitable transfer of wealth to the people, which should be implemented.

ways of solving political problems in nigeria

Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka, ACMC, is a lawyer and a certified mediator/conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a developer with knowledge in various programming languages. Samuel is determined to leverage his skills in technology, SEO, and legal practice to revolutionize the legal profession worldwide by creating web and mobile applications that simplify legal research. Sam is also passionate about educating and providing valuable information to people.

This Post Has 7 Comments

ways of solving political problems in nigeria

Mr question is that, all this solution you’ve have written down, have once ever secretly or openly impacted at least one of it to solve one part of the problems?

ways of solving political problems in nigeria

These vague and two-line solutions proffered to the mountain of problems are insufficient to shed light on the way forward, they {solutions} seem better said than done!

ways of solving political problems in nigeria

Hmmmmmm true talk, may the Lord restore our country and guides our leaders to lead us well

ways of solving political problems in nigeria

Our story is not as bleak as presented here. That this report is coming from a Nigerian saddens my heart. The tone here is so negative! If we scored ourselves so low like this, how can we be rated any better by foreigners? I admit that things are bad but not as bad as we are made to believe here!

ways of solving political problems in nigeria

I what to know the genesis of thi s Nigeria problem

ways of solving political problems in nigeria

Thanks so much, I love the way you broke things down and not just that. You also gave solutions. Nice one!

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How a Supreme Court Immunity Ruling Could Affect Trump’s Election Case

In arguments on Thursday, the justices appeared to signal two ways they could help Donald Trump as he fights charges that he plotted to overturn the 2020 election.

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ways of solving political problems in nigeria

By Alan Feuer

If the Supreme Court’s hearing on Thursday about former President Donald J. Trump’s claims of executive immunity is any indication of how the court might ultimately rule, the justices could end up helping Mr. Trump in two ways.

The justices signaled that their ruling, when it comes, could lead to some allegations being stripped from the federal indictment charging Mr. Trump with plotting to overturn the 2020 election.

And because the process of determining which accusations to keep and which to throw away could take several months, it would all but kill the chance of Mr. Trump standing trial on charges that he tried to subvert the last election before voters get to decide whether to choose him again in this one.

Near the end of the arguments, however, Justice Amy Coney Barrett abruptly floated a way that prosecutors could maneuver around that time-consuming morass. If the special counsel, Jack Smith, wanted to move more quickly, she said, and avoid the ordeal of lower courts reviewing his indictment line by line, deciding what should stay and what should go, he could always do the job himself.

That suggestion, which Mr. Smith’s team seemed to grudgingly accept as a possibility, hinted at the ways in which the hearing on Thursday focused not only on lofty issues of presidential power and constitutional law, but also touched on more practical elements of how Mr. Trump’s criminal case could proceed after the court’s decision.

However the justices rule on the question of granting presidents a degree of immunity from criminal prosecution, the result will have a direct and immediate effect on the election interference case, one of the most important prosecutions Mr. Trump faces.

When Mr. Smith filed his indictment in Washington last summer, it placed Mr. Trump at the center of an intersecting web of criminal conspiracies, all of them devised to reverse the results of the election in several key swing states.

The charges detailed dozens of individual steps that Mr. Trump took to achieve his goals. They described, among other things, how he sought to enlist the Justice Department in validating his claims that the results of the election had been marred by fraud. And they set out evidence of his pressuring state lawmakers to draft false slates of electors saying he had won in states he actually lost.

Executive immunity was the first defense that Mr. Trump raised against these charges, and when his lawyers initially advanced the claim six months ago , the approach they took was audacious.

Flipping the script of Mr. Smith’s indictment, the lawyers argued that Mr. Trump was completely shielded from the prosecution because he had been acting in a protected role as president to defend the “integrity” of the election, not, as prosecutors claimed, in his private role as a candidate seeking to undermine it.

While the Supreme Court did not appear to buy these sweeping claims altogether, the court’s conservative justices did seem interested in the idea that presidents should enjoy some form of criminal immunity. Over and over, they circled around the notion that presidents were probably protected from prosecution for official actions central to their jobs, but could still face charges for conduct that was private.

If the court issues a ruling adopting that standard, some of the specific allegations that Mr. Smith has made might have to be tossed out. While the case would still survive and make its way toward trial, prosecutors might not be able to tell the jury every chapter of the sprawling story they have crafted.

An early glimpse of the process of winnowing the charges by separating official acts from private ones emerged on Thursday during some back-and-forth discussions between two of the justices and D. John Sauer, the lawyer who argued on behalf of Mr. Trump.

Speaking to Justice Elena Kagan, for example, Mr. Sauer said that Mr. Trump had been acting in his official role as president when he sought to install a loyal Justice Department official, Jeffrey Clark, as the acting attorney general in his waning days in office. Mr. Sauer portrayed that move as the sort of personnel decision that fell under the purview of the president, even though prosecutors say Mr. Trump sought to elevate Mr. Clark for a very different reason: because he had promised to advance claims of election fraud.

In a similar fashion, Mr. Sauer argued that Mr. Trump had simply been exercising his presidential duties when he asked Rusty Bowers , the speaker of the Arizona House, to call the State Legislature into session in late 2020 to hold a hearing on election fraud.

“We have taken the position that that is official,” Mr. Sauer said, adding that the request to Mr. Bowers had been made “to defend the integrity of a federal election.”

But if Mr. Sauer sought to define some actions in Mr. Trump’s indictment as official — and thus off limits to the prosecution’s case — he acknowledged that others appeared to be private, suggesting they would remain fair game for Mr. Smith’s team.

When Justice Barrett noted that Mr. Trump turned to “a private attorney” — an apparent reference to Rudolph W. Giuliani — “to spearhead his challenges to the election results,” Mr. Sauer conceded that he was not acting in his capacity as president.

“That sounds private to me,” Mr. Sauer said.

Justice Barrett got a similar response when she pressed Mr. Sauer on Mr. Trump’s involvement in the now-famous scheme to create fake slates of electors. When Justice Barrett reminded Mr. Sauer that the indictment claimed that Mr. Trump was joined in the scheme by personal lawyers and an outside political consultant, Mr. Sauer said, “That’s private.”

But these admissions could be read as a tactical retreat meant to secure a larger strategic victory. Indeed, it seemed at times as if Mr. Trump’s legal team was giving up its maximalist position — that immunity extended to all of the indictment — in order to invite the court to explore in detail the more minute distinctions between official acts and private ones.

If the justices do that, they could order a federal appeals court or the trial court in Washington to undertake the job. It is possible the court could issue a narrow ruling giving the trial judge, Tanya S. Chutkan, the power to make those decisions on her own and limit Mr. Trump’s ability to appeal them until after a conviction.

But it is also possible the court’s decision could result in extended arguments about dozens of accusations — and possible appeals of those decisions — which could easily take months to complete and could push the trial into 2025.

While some of the conservative justices in particular did not appear to be in any hurry to move the case toward trial, Justice Barrett at least acknowledged the tensions over timing. At one point, she told Michael R. Dreeben, who argued on behalf of Mr. Smith, that “the special counsel has expressed some concern for speed and wanting to move forward.”

It was then that she weighed in with her surprising plan to speed the case up.

Her suggestion?

The special counsel could, in essence, edit his own indictment and “proceed based on the private conduct and drop the official conduct.”

Alan Feuer covers extremism and political violence for The Times, focusing on the criminal cases involving the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and against former President Donald J. Trump.  More about Alan Feuer

Our Coverage of the 2024 Election

Presidential Race

At a rally in Wildwood, N.J., former President Donald Trump declared that his campaign would “officially play” in a state he has lost twice by double digits .

Paul Manafort, who was the chairman of Trump’s 2016 campaign and also served time in prison, abruptly stepped aside from an unpaid role  advising Republican officials on the nominating convention.

Barron Trump, the former president’s youngest son, will not serve as one of Florida’s delegates  to the Republican National Convention, the office of Melania Trump announced.

Dodging the Question:  Leading Republicans, including several of Trump’s potential running mates, have refused to say flatly that they will accept the outcome of the election .

West Virginia Senate Race:  Gov. Jim Justice’s companies have long had a reputation for not paying their debts. But that may be catching up to them  as Justice campaigns for a seat in the Senate.

Ohio Senate Race:  Bernie Moreno, the Republican challenging Senator Sherrod Brown, tells a riches-to-rags-to-riches tale. But the reality isn’t so tidy .

Maryland Senate Race:  The Democratic Senate primary between Angela Alsobrooks, the Prince George’s County executive, and Representative David Trone has grown tighter  as they vie to take on Larry Hogan, the popular former two-term Republican governor.


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