The UK based Economist Magazine predicts that President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC will lose the 2019 presidential election to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the PDP.
Recall that the Economist predicted that then candidate Buhari of the APC was going to win the 2015 presidential election.
The Economist also endorsed Buhari ahead of the 2015 elections and famously referred to then President Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP as an “ineffectual buffoon”.
Jonathan would go on to lose the vote to Buhari.
"Buhari will lose power"
In a report published by its research unit which is known as the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the renowned magazine forecasts that “President, Muhammadu Buhari will lose power at the February 2019 elections. The next government will be led by Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, although his administration will be fragile”.
Analyzing how the election will play out, the EIU forecasts that “both candidates are from Northern Nigeria, where Mr. Buhari’s support base lies, presaging a fierce contest there. With the vote likely to be split in the north, Mr. Abubakar will find it easier to garner support from the country’s south, which has traditionally been a safe haven for the PDP. This gives Mr. Abubakar an edge, as does popular frustration over the rise in joblessness and poverty (two of the biggest voter concerns) on Mr. Buhari’s watch, as well as growing insecurity in central Nigeria.
“Nonetheless, strong incumbency advantages in Nigeria imply that it will be a very tight race. If Mr. Abubakar loses—a distinct downside risk to our forecast—there may be a rejection of the result by the PDP, which is convinced the election will be rigged. In this scenario, a state of national paralysis could arise with severe national security implications.”
The Economist says Atiku will handle the economy better
The EIU also praises Atiku’s “free market and reformist agenda,” while decrying Buhari’s poor management of the Nigerian economy.
“Mr. Buhari has been ideologically disposed towards state intervention in the economy, meaning there was little cause for him to overhaul the status quo. A more concerted effort to open up the economy to investment by Mr. Abubakar could produce positive results", EIU says.
The EIU also says things won’t necessarily get better in Nigeria with an Atiku presidency. “Without a party system based on shared principles, it will be difficult to overcome Nigeria’s multi-layered security threats. Instability and legislative paralysis will affect many aspects of the economic forecast”.
After Buhari loses power, the EIU forecasts, “instability will remain an insoluble challenge” for President Atiku. “Not all the ambitious politicians from the APC who have defected to the PDP, will be rewarded with places in the next government; or if they are, it will mean that pre-existing grandees within the PDP will have been sidelined. Whoever ends up feeling cheated will eventually turn on the new administration, as is happening to the APC now”.
The battle for Nigeria's number one job
71-year-old Atiku Abubakar settled for former Anambra Governor Peter Obi as his running mate ahead of the election, following a keenly contested primary vote in Port Harcourt.
The former Nigeria vice president has promised to restructure the country and steer the nation toward economic growth and prosperity; touting his business credentialsas an advantage.
75-year-old Muhammadu Buhari whose 2015 election campaign was hinged on a promise to tackle widespread corruption, has told everyone who cares to listen that returning power to the PDP—a political party which governed Nigeria for 16 years before it was unseated three years ago—will mean rolling back the anti-corruption gains and infrastructure drive that his administration has embarked upon.
According to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC),over 70 candidates will be vyingfor the Nigerian presidency in 2019.