The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), which is the research unit of The Economist magazine, has predicted that the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, will defeat his main opponent President Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
What You Need to Know: The EIU made the latest prediction in its country report on Nigeria, dated October 17.
It made the following predictions:
- President, Muhammadu Buhari will lose power at the February 2019 elections and the next government will be led by Atiku Abubakar of the PDP
- Atiku’s administration will be fragile.
- Votes will likely be split in the North, however, Atiku will find it easier to garner support from the south
- The rise in joblessness and poverty (two of the biggest voter concerns) under Buhari’s government will provide Atiku the necessary edge he needs to defeat Buhari
- Nonetheless, as incumbent, Buhari has advantages which will make the election a close one.
- If Atiku loses, there is likely to be a rejection of the result by the PDP, which is already convinced that election will be rigged.
- A loss for the PDP will likely lead to a state of national paralysis which could, in turn, affect national security.
The EIU also anticipates that Atiku’s policy will be based on pro-market measures and diversification of the economy away from oil. However, this is likely to be hampered by vested interests, ideological opposition, and bureaucratic inefficiency.
Why it Matters: The report adds to the growing feeling of momentum in the Atiku camp. Weeks before the general elections in 2015, The Economist published a report in which they established they said the probability of a Muhammadu Buhari win over the former president, Goodluck Jonathan, was high. Accusing them of bias, which is the government’s default response, will not be credible.
That has not stopped the APC-led federal government from trying to question the credibility of The Economist, whose report it cheered in 2015.
Response: Lai Mohammed, minister of information. said this when the prediction of The Economist was first announced: “… International publications that used to feed fat on questionable supplements paid for by the Federal Government have seen a drastic reduction in such patronage, as the Administration cuts down on frivolous spending that was the order of the day in the past. Therefore, it is natural that these institutions and publications would not wish to see another term for this Administration.”