Nigeria has seen a wave of youth civil and political engagement ahead of its upcoming presidential elections in February. However, the specter of political violence and upheaval loom over the polls as Nigerian society faces renewed instability from organized crime and violent extremism. Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission, discusses how his team is working to ensure free, fair and credible elections — as well as why the support of young people and political leaders is crucial for maintaining the longest period of uninterrupted democratic governance in the Nigeria’s history.

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To Help Stabilize West Africa, Bolster a Key Partner: Nigeria

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Monday, April 15, 2024

By: Rachel Yeboah Boakye;  Chris Kwaja;  Matthew Reitman

Continued violence in West Africa is sharpening America’s critical challenge to reduce extremism and violence, particularly in the Sahel. Violent deaths in three western Sahel nations surged by 38% last year and Niger’s coup has complicated the U.S. military role in the region. The violence is likely to spread further this year into coastal West Africa, a region five times more populous, with commensurately greater security implications for Africa, the United States and the world. A vital partner in stabilizing both regions is Nigeria, and U.S. institutions should consider several priorities for helping it do so.

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The Latest: Three Things to Know About the U.S.-Africa Security Partnership

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Thursday, June 22, 2023

By: Oluwafemi Gbadebo;  Stanley Makgohlo

USIP’s African Diplomat Seminar offers newly arrived diplomats a chance to connect with the U.S. policymakers, agencies and departments working on advancing U.S.-Africa policy. Stanley Makgohlo, political counselor at the South African Embassy, and Oluwafemi Gbadebo, minister in the Nigerian Embassy, discuss how the seminar has helped their work at the nexus of peace and development and how the growing U.S.-Africa partnership can help address the challenges facing their country.

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Disengaging and Reintegrating Violent Extremists in Conflict Zones

Disengaging and Reintegrating Violent Extremists in Conflict Zones

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

By: Andrew Glazzard

Dealing with people who leave violent extremist groups has become one of the most pressing security issues of our time. Drawing on new primary research conducted by the author in Iraq, Syria, and Nigeria, and existing research on disengagement and reintegration, this report underscores the challenges of administering rehabilitation programs in conditions of chronic insecurity—and of doing so at a scale sufficient to make a difference to hundreds or even thousands of people in short order.

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After Nigeria’s Elections: Nurturing the Seeds of Better Democracy

After Nigeria’s Elections: Nurturing the Seeds of Better Democracy

Thursday, April 13, 2023

By: Chris Kwaja

Nigeria’s latest elections heighten the country’s need for a reset of its democracy. Nigeria’s two dominant parties abandoned an informal pact that has rotated power between north and south, papering over the deeper, wider problem of ensuring real political inclusion among Nigeria’s disparate regions and communities. The recent national and state-level votes failed to deliver anguished Nigerians the promise of wider voter participation and transparent election results. Still, the campaigns and voting contained seeds for critical change that now must be cultivated by Nigeria’s newly elected government; its courageous, pro-democracy civil society; its vast, energized youth population; and its partners.

Type: Analysis

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