Le Nigeria élit ses gouverneurs, puissants ” parrains ” d’un pays en crise

At the head of vast regions, these barons have hands on huge resources and have a great influence on appointments, both at the local and national level.

By Liza Fabbian (Lagos, Correspondence)

They are the “sponsors” of the Nigerian federal system. Governors of 28 of the 36 states that make up the most populous country in Africa must be appointed on Saturday March 18, after a ballot which promises to be delicate for the majority. A first major challenge for Bola Tinubu, the elected president of Nigeria, victorious candidate of the Congress of progressives (APC) and himself former governor of Lagos.

The head of regions as large and populated as certain countries, these local barons have hands on huge resources and have a great influence on appointments, both local and national. The practice of “sponsorship” is at the heart of the Nigerian political machine and, before winning the presidential election, Bola Tinubu was the most famous Godfather in the country.

Governor of the State of Lagos between 1999 and 2007, he worked in the election of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 and has always chosen his successors himself. Until now. Because it is Peter Obi, the popular candidate of the Labor Party (LP), who came out in the head in the State of Lagos during the presidential election.

Since then, the attention has been turned on the Labor Party candidate for governor in this region, Gbadebo Rhodes -Vivour – alias “GRV” – a 40 -year -old architect, with a dynamic pace, who promises more transparency and investments in transport, health or education. Faced with him, the outgoing governor, Babajide Sanwo-soli highlights his assessment and, of course, his proximity to the traditional chiefs and the elected president.

a completely redesigned “electoral card”

The stakes are high in a federated state which has more than 20 million inhabitants and which ranks among the first ten African economic powers in terms of GDP. This tight campaign fueled the tensions between the Yoruba – the ethnicity of Bola Tinubu – and the IGBO – the ethnic group of Peter Obi. The LP campaign director denounced Tuesday, March 14, the maneuvers of “desperate politicians”. “The truth is that more Yoruba than Igbo voted for our candidate (…) because people want better governance and release Lagos from the grip [of politicians who behave like] an organized crime union” , can we read in the press release of LP.