On Saturday, Nigerians [went] to the polls to choose their president. The race pits an incumbent with an imperfect record against a former military dictator who has flirted with Islamism.
As with the recent election in Israel, alumni of Obama are aiding the challenger — and not because he would make the region safer.
The decision Nigerians will make this weekend matters greatly, both for themselves and the West. Nigeria has Africa’s largest economy, with a gross domestic product of about $500 billion. It is a major energy producer and exporter, but also a political and cultural bellwether: the nation of 177 million is divided almost equally between Christians and Muslims.
Nigeria’s problems are serious, ranging from endemic corruption to a spiraling jihadist insurgency. The economy is growing but the unemployment rate exceeds 20 percent. Transparency International, which ranks nations by the absence of corruption, places Nigeria at an undesirable 136th out of 175.
Far more concerning, Boko Haram, the foremost jihadist group in Nigeria, has waged a bloody Islamist insurgency. This month, the group’s leader pledged allegiance to ISIS, whose own reach now includes parts of North Africa.