• A professor of Political Science gives Business Insider SSA By Pulse an outlook on the 2019 presidential election.
  • The two leading candidates -- President Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar -- are equally matched.
  • Voter apathy may come to play in the 2019 elections, unlike the 2015 general elections, considering the number of PVCs still lying with the electoral umpire, INEC.

Ahead of the February 16, 2019, presidential elections in Nigeria, I talked to a professor of Political Science in one of Nigeria’s leading tertiary institutions, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) about the country’s general elections and the outlook between the two leading presidential candidates.

Professor Olugbemiga Afolabi is a senior lecturer at the Department of Political Science, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. He tells Business Insider SSA By Pulse that the 2019 election is going to be an interesting one because of the two equally matched presidential candidates.

President Muhammadu Buhari [@BashirAhmaad]

The candidates, former Vice President and candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar is from Adamawa state (Northeast) and while President Muhammadu Buhari is from Katsina (Northwest) and leader of the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC). The two leading candidates represent two strong political parties in Nigeria and a coalition of various groups and supporters across the country.

Atiku Abubakar [Twitter/@bolanle cole]

Prof. Afolabi says he sees the presidential race as too close to call because they (two leading candidates) evenly match not minding the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari holds the power of incumbency.

Here are some of his outlook as Nigeria goes to the polls on Saturday

  • For his experience and knowledge of political activities and electoral processes globally, the Professor of Political Science says the fora that brought President Buhari into power in 2015 has evaporated and this has given Atiku and the opposition party, PDP, the chance to sneak in.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu
  • The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chair, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu needs to stay strong and come out straight on his position and show signs of non-partisanship in the race.
  • He believes there will be a high rate of voter apathy resulting in low turnout because of harsh economic reality and the number of people yet to collect their permanent voters' cards.
President Muhammadu Buhari and security officials during his 76th birthday
Facebook/Femi Adesina
  • On security issues – allegations of partisan politics with the military hierarchies could also play into political interest especially when some security chiefs have overstayed their term in office.