Nigeria Picks Bola Tinubu as President Amid Cash Shortages

Bola Tinubu has won Nigeria’s disputed presidential election as the country continues to battle crippling cash shortages and high inflation left by outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari.

Buhari’s term was plagued with nationwide anti-police brutality riots, rising inflation and in recent months, protests over cash shortages resulting from complications of a plan to swap old banknotes for new ones. Buhari could not run again, having served the maximum of two terms.

Opposition parties in the country have disputed Saturday's vote, which made Tinubu, who's from the same political party as Buhari, the leader of the West African nation.

The Central Bank of Nigeria, under Buhari’s administration, issued a digital naira in October 2021 to encourage electronic payments and rival the adoption of private cryptocurrencies in the country. Nigeria’s tech-savvy, young population made the nation one of the fastest crypto adopters in the world, despite attempts by the government to put a damper on use.

However, uptake in the eNaira use has been slow, and even with the cash shortages, people have not been turning to the digital currency, partly due to a lack of merchants accepting it as payment. However, as the value of the naira continued to fall, local demand for the U.S. dollar may have risen, as indicated by the black market exchange rates for the currency in Nigeria.

Under the Buhari administration, the central bank also prohibited local banks from offering services to crypto companies.

It’s unclear what the newcomer’s position on crypto is, but he plans to boost the country’s private sector to uplift an economy struggling with 21.8% inflation, fuel shortages, and a cash shortage.

Read more: Why Nigerians Aren't Turning to the eNaira Despite Crippling Cash Shortages