From high inflation to deadly attacks by gunmen against innocent civilians, the seven-year rule of outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari has seen Nigeria face various crises.
His supporters say he has done his best and highlight achievements, such as his work on infrastructure projects and attempts to combat violent extremism. But even his own wife, Aisha Buhari, has apologised to the Nigerian people for falling short of their expectations.
So whoever wins the election will not have an easy job.
It is due to take place on Saturday 25 February 2023. If there is no clear winner, a second round will be held within three weeks. There will also be elections for the country’s powerful state governors on Saturday 11 March.
The head of the election commission has dismissed suggestions that the vote could be delayed because of insecurity.
A total of 18 candidates are campaigning for the top job, but only three have a realistic chance of winning, according to opinion polls.
Bola Ahmed Tinubu, 70, is standing for the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) party. Known as a political godfather in the south-west region, he wields a huge amount of influence but has been dogged by allegations of corruption over the years and poor health, both of which he denies. Some say his campaign slogan Emi Lokan, which means “it’s my turn [to be president]” in the Yoruba language, shows a sense of entitlement.
Atiku Abubakar, 76, is running on behalf of the main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP). He has run for the presidency five times before – all of which he has lost. Most of his career has been in the corridors of power, having worked as a top civil servant, vice-president under Olusegun Obasanjo and a prominent businessman. Just like Mr Tinubu, he has been accused of corruption and cronyism, which he denies.
Peter Obi, 61, is hoping to break up the two-party system which has dominated Nigeria since the end of military rule in 1999 and is running for the little known Labour Party. Although he was in the PDP until last year, he is seen as a relatively fresh face and enjoys fervent support on social media and amongst Nigeria’s youth. The wealthy businessman served as governor of the south-eastern Anambra State from 2006 to 2014. His backers, known as the “OBIdients” say he is the only candidate with integrity, but his critics argue that a vote for Obi is wasted as he is unlikely to win.
Convention suggests a candidate from one of the two main parties will win – Mr Atiku or Mr Tinubu. But Mr Obi’s supporters are hoping he can spring a surprise if they can mobilise the large youth vote to back him.
In order to win, a candidate has to obtain the highest number of votes nationwide, and more than a quarter of ballots cast in at least two-thirds of Nigeria’s states.
If none of the candidates manage this, there will be a second round, or a run-off, within 21 days between the top two candidates.
Reducing insecurity is one of the key concerns of voters, in a country which is currently experiencing a kidnapping-for-ransom crisis and battling a militant Islamist insurgency in parts of the north.
Two of the most shocking cases last year were a mass shooting at a Catholic Church in Owo and the storming by gunmen of a passenger train in which dozens of people were killed or kidnapped.