• The Eurasia Group’s Top Risks for 2019, forecasts the political risks that are most likely to play out over the course of the year.
  • Eurasia sees a runoff between the two main leading candidates - incumbent Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar.
  • The consultancy firm says a runoff could trigger a political crisis.

Nigeria's 2019 presidential poll is one of the global risks for 2019, according to a new report by Eurasia Group, an international political risk consultancy firm.

The report, titled Eurasia Group’s Top Risks for 2019, forecasts the political risks that are most likely to play out over the course of the year.

Published on Monday, January 7, 2019, Eurasia sees a runoff in the power struggle between the two main leading candidates - incumbent Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar. The consultancy firm says a runoff could trigger a political crisis.

PDP Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar and incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari
PDP Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar and incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari

The election will be close, and a challenged or inconclusive result is possible.

“Then there's a dangerous wildcard outcome. The election will be close, and a challenged or inconclusive result is possible. That, in turn, could trigger a political crisis in which neither candidate has a legitimate claim to power. If the vote is close enough to trigger a runoff, Nigeria's constitution requires the second round of voting to occur within seven days of the first, a tough timeline to meet given the complexity of organising national elections in the country. This could be a recipe for severe uncertainty in Africa's most important market,” the report states.

Other events listed by Eurasia Group include:

1. Bad seeds

The geopolitical dangers taking shape around the world will bear fruit in years to come.

2. US-China fiasco

Something fundamental has broken in the relationship between Washington and Beijing that can't be put back together, regardless of what happens to their economic ties.

3. Cyber attacks

Hackers have grown more sophisticated, societies have become heavily dependent on digital services, and efforts to agree on basic rules of the road for cyber conflict have gone nowhere.

4. European populism

2019 will show that populists and protest movements are stronger than ever.

5. The US and President Donald Trump’s presidency

While the odds of Trump being impeached and removed from office remain extremely low, political volatility will be exceptionally high.

6. Innovation winter

We're heading for a global innovation winter—a politically driven reduction in the financial and human capital available to drive the next generation of emerging technologies.

7. A coalition of the unwilling

The US-led global order has been eroding for a couple of decades now, but we are now seeing the growing ranks of a coalition of world leaders unwilling to uphold the global liberal order, with some even bent on bringing it down.

8. Activities in Mexico over the new president

The country's new president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, begins his term with a degree of power and control over the political system not seen in Mexico since the early 1990s, and domestic risk factors loom large.

9. Putin and the new war of 2019

November's clash in the Kerch Strait was a taste of coming tensions. Putin continues to see Ukraine as vital to Russia's sphere of influence.