Few days to the rescheduled presidential election coming up on Saturday, February 23, there are still heated arguments, debates, prophecies and forecasts/predictions on who will emerge as Nigeria’s next president.
The two leading candidates are President Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
A collection of eight predictions by international analysts, published by Bloomberg, shows that the 2019 presidential election will be keenly contested by the two leading candidates as the election has “split analysts down the middle”.
Out of the eight forecasts by eight analysts, four predicted President Buhari will win a second term while the remaining four also predicted a victory for Atiku
Four predictions in favour of President Buhari
1. Control Risks
Bloomberg reports that Control Risks, a London-based company, predicted that President Buhari will win by a small margin due to the divisions within the PDP, Atiku’s party, and its lacklustre campaigning.
2. Eurasia Group
According to Eurasia Group’s forecast, President Buhari has a 60% chance of winning. The New York risk firm said it predicted victory for Buhari because his cause has been helped by some key PDP politicians, including Senate president Bukola Saraki and governors in the southeast, who didn’t allegedly give active support to Atiku’s campaign.
3. NKC African Economics
Jared Jeffery, an analyst at NKC African Economics, a research house based in Paarl, South Africa, said though President Buhari’s approval ratings have plunged since he became president four years ago, incumbent presidents in Africa win around 85% of the elections they contest.
He added that Buhari is from the northwest, which is the region with the most voters, and he’s maintained an “image of incorruptibility.”
4. Capital Economics
John Ashbourne, an economist at the London-based research group, said: “The advantages of incumbency will help President Buhari clinch a narrow win”.
Four predictions in favour of Atiku Abubakar
1. Fitch Solutions
Fitch Solutions predicted that Atiku has the edge given how Buhari “struggled to fulfill key election pledges’’ made when he came to office in 2015. The London-based research house also said Atiku may be able to take a large chunk of votes in the north, a region Buhari dominated last time when he was facing former President Goodluck Jonathan.
2. Songhai Advisory
Songhai Advisory in its forecast said Atiku will benefit from the support of key powerbrokers, including ex-army chiefs and former heads of state such as Ibrahim Babangida and Olusegun Obasanjo. It specifically highlighted Obasanjo’s endorsement of Atiku, saying the latter “continues to sway election outcomes’’ and since he left office in 2007.
3. Teneo Intelligence
Teneo Intelligence predicted that Atiku will get up to 57% of the votes, against 42% for Buhari if the election is free and fair.
4. Verisk Maplecroft
Ed Hobey-Hamsher, an Africa analyst at the Bath, UK-based firm predicted that Buhari has just 41% chance of victory. It said that President Buhari’s chances have been damaged, in part, by recent military setbacks against Boko Haram and other militants affiliated to Islamic State in the northeast.
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Meanwhile, ahead of the Saturday, February 23 presidential and National Assembly elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it has deployed 90% of materials needed for the conduct of the exercise.
The disclosure was reportedly made by a top official of the electoral commission.
Legit.ng gathers that the undisclosed source said that as at 4pm on Monday, February 18, the electoral commission had achieved over 90% success rate of deployment.
Besides the reconfiguration of card readers and alleged sabotage, INEC had cited logistical challenges as reasons for its postponement of the elections.
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