Daily Watch – INEC declares Adamawa & Kebbi inconclusive, Currency circulation touches 2008 lows

21st March 2023

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday declared the Adamawa and Kebbi governorship elections inconclusive. Both contests were chalked off because of the close margin of votes between the leading contenders. In Adamawa, Governor Ahmed Fintiri of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) scored 421,524 votes against the All Progressives Party (APC)’s Aishatu Dahiru with 390,275. In Kebbi, cancellations in 20 of the 21 local government areas meant the number of cancelled ballots (91,829) was more than the declared margin of votes (45,278) between the APC (388,258) and the PDP (342,980). INEC also suspended the coalition of results in Abia and Enugu. The commission blamed the invasion of its office and the hostage-taking of its staff in Obingwa Local Government Area (LGA) in Abia as well as the need to review the results from two outstanding LGAs – Nsukka and Nkanu East – in Enugu.

Currency in circulation in Nigeria has dropped to its lowest level in 14 years, five months on the back of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s currency redesign policy, according to a BusinessDay analysis. According to CBN data, currency in circulation declined by 29.2 percent to ₦982.1 billion in February 2023, the second straight month of declines and the lowest mark since October 2008. In January, it was ₦1.39 trillion. The February 2023 figures represent a 69.9 percent year-on-year from February 2022. Data from Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) show that the total volume of NIBSS Instant Payment platform (NIP) transactions rose by 45.6 percent to 787.9 million in February from 541.7 million in January.

Ghana’s Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta will travel to Beijing on Wednesday to meet Chinese officials, to discuss a proposed restructuring of Ghana’s debt. “The talks are expected to focus on ways to reduce Ghana’s debt burden and secure additional financing assurances for the country’s economic programme,” an unnamed source with knowledge of the talks told Reuters. China is Ghana’s biggest bilateral creditor with about $1.7 billion of debt. The government’s current priority is to secure IMF board approval, with the fine details of debt treatment operations to follow later, the source added. The meetings will take place on Thursday and Friday.

Somalia’s ongoing record drought killed as many as 43,000 people last year, half of them children under five, researchers said on Monday in the first attempt to estimate country-wide deaths. The research, led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, found that the crisis could prove worse than Somalia’s last major drought in 2017 and 2018. The rate of fatalities could rise in the first half of 2023, the report said, projecting total deaths for this period at between 18,100 and 34,200. “These results present a grim picture of the devastation brought on children and their families by the drought,” Wafaa Saeed, the United Nations children’s agency representative said while presenting the report in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu. The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), which sets the global standard for determining the severity of a food crisis, said last December that famine had been temporarily averted but warned the situation was getting worse.