As soon as the day begins, a crowd of customers gather in front of the First Bank in Kano in northern Nigeria to withdraw the maximum amount allowed in the financial chaos that is currently in the country, namely ten thousand naira (about twenty euros). Bank branches in the city have been besieged since dawn by crowds of people in need of cash, which has been dwindling since the authorities announced the replacement of banknotes with new-generation coins.
At the crossroads of major trade routes in northern Nigeria, hundreds of cars, motorcycles and taxis have also been besieging gas stations since early morning, hoping to solve another problem: fuel shortages.
Two weeks before elections due on Feb. 25 to choose a president to succeed Muhammad Buhari, which is likely to see fierce competition, shortages in many commodities are affecting Africa’s largest economy, fueling public anger and eclipsing the election campaign.
Disappointment on the street led to clashes last week when Buhari visited Kano, one of his strongholds and one of his main polling stations.
The two main parties clash due to lack of materials. The People’s Democratic Party accuses its main rival, the President’s Party, the All Progressive Congress, of accelerating the currency change in order to drain the financial resources of its rivals before the elections and buy votes.
For its part, the president’s party accuses its rival, the People’s Democratic Party, of aggravating the deficit in order to distort the image of the current government.