Photo by ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP via Getty Images

Presidential candidate for the Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism (PDNS) Mohamed Bazoum gives a speech during a campaign rallye in Diffa on December 23, 2020, ahead of Niger's December 27 presidential and legislatives elections.

Niger's Presidential Election Plagued by Increasing Violence

Niger's presidential election is set for a second race in February following the presidential candidates' failure to secure a majority vote in the recent results.

Niger has reportedly announced that the country will have to run presidential elections again in February, according to Aljazeera. This follows after Niger's election commission released provisional results this past Saturday which revealed that neither of the two presidential candidates had secured a majority vote. The country was set to start off the year with a new president after it held its presidential elections on December 27th of last year.

Read: Cameroon Commences Regional Elections Amidst Opposition Party Boycott

According to France24, Niger's 2020 presidential elections had two main contenders: former president Mahamane Ousmane and Niger's ruling party candidate Mohamed Bazoum. Niger's election requirements for a presidential win are set at 50 percent of the total vote. Bazoum received approximately 39 percent of the vote while Ousmane managed to secure approximately 17 percent. More than a third of Nigeriens were reportedly expected to vote in the elections despite rising Jihadist and Boko Haram attacks in vulnerable communities. Coincidentally, Aljazeera reports that the election result announcement was followed by an attack in various small regions in Nigeria.

The Nigerien constitutional court is reportedly set to verify the voter count and a presidential runoff between the candidates is set to take place on February 21st. This is the first presidential democratic transition for Niger which has experienced difficult presidential transitions with each preceding president having been removed by a coup. Incumbent President Mahamadou Issoufou has decided to step down after serving two five-year presidential terms. Issoufou was also Prime Minister during Ousmane's brief presidential rule between 1993 to 1996.

According to Alljazeera, political analysts have expressed fears of voter fatigue but are also optimistic for the February election. Hopes are that the incoming president will end the continued jihadist attacks which have killed hundreds of people and caused over 500 000 to become refugees, according to the United Nations.


Adekunle Gold Is Living His Best Life

We speak to the Nigerian star about how marriage and fatherhood have led him to find both newfound happiness and newfound freedom as an artist.

''I'm having the time of my life,'' says Adekunle Gold over a Zoom call while seated in his office in Lagos. ''I'm making songs that are so true to my current energy, my current vibe.'' When I got on the call with the 34-year-old artist on a Wednesday afternoon, the first thing I noticed was his hair tied up in little braids, the second was his wide smile. As we speak, the crooner laughs multiple times but it's his aura that shines through the computer screen, it lets you know better than his words that he's truly having the time of life.

Born Adekunle Kosoko, the popular Nigerian singer got married barely two years ago to fellow artist Simi. Last year, the power couple welcomed their first child. As we talk, Gold points to his journey as a father and a husband as some of the biggest inspirations at the moment not just as far as music goes but as his perspective in life and how he now approaches things.

''My [artistry] has changed a lot because being a father and being a husband has made me grow a lot and more.'' Adekunle Gold tells OkayAfrica. ''It has made me understand life a lot more too. I'm feeling more responsible for people. You know, now I have a kid to raise and I have a wife to support, to be a real man and husband and father for.'' He credits this journey with both his newfound happiness and a newfound freedom as an artist.

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