While Nigeria has made strides in its democratic development, the 2019 elections were a step backward for Africa’s most populous country and biggest democracy. Historically low voter turnout signaled a deepening public distrust in Nigerian government and institutions. This public distrust, coupled with historical issues with electoral violence and intimidation, threatens to undermine the security and legitimacy of the democratic process and may cause reverberating consequences for other emerging democracies in Africa.

4th Republic

“4th Republic,” a new Nigerian political thriller directed by Ishaya Bako, interrogates the systemic problems at the heart of Nigeria’s democratic development. Following a fictional gubernatorial candidate who challenges the incumbent’s victory and investigates corruption allegations, the film explores the role of women in politics, the influence of patronage systems, the impacts of electoral intimidation, and the irregularity of the judicial system in Nigeria.

On November 19, USIP held a screening of “4th Republic.” As part of efforts to improve governance and address election-related violence in Nigeria, the film was preceded by remarks from keynote speakers about Nigerian democracy today and its future trajectory.

There was a reception at 5:00pm followed by remarks from Professor Attahiru Jega, former chairman of the Nigeria Independent National Electoral Commission and a member of the Nigeria Working Group on Peacebuilding and Governance, and award-winning Nigerian actress, Kate Henshaw. 

Continue the conversation on Twitter with #4thRepublic.

Related Publications

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

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

Thursday, June 22, 2023

By: Ambassador Makila James;  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.

Type: Blog

Global Policy

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.

Type: Peaceworks

Violent Extremism

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 and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

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

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

Thursday, March 9, 2023

By: James Rupert

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.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & GovernanceElectoral Violence

View All Publications