Nigeria 2019: The Dilemma of Predictions – The Economist (Atiku) Vs US Institute (Buhari)

Alao Abiodun
20% Complete
 06-Nov-2018

Ahead of the 2019 elections, there have been series of permutations, endorsement and even notably ‘predictions’ ahead of the challenge ahead. This however visibly shows that the auguries of the election is already garnering momentum. While we have heard about some spiritual predictions by clerics, the brewing controversy for weeks now has been centered on predictions as forecasted by two reputable organizations who have been articulate and consistent over the years irrespective of whose ox might be gored.

Over the years, the trend of electioneering campaigns in Nigeria has always been characterized by intrigues and empty promises filled with mere rhetoric to cajole the public all in the bid to carve a niche for themselves. The Nigerian masses will soon be presented with two hard choices between continuing with the present administration or forging ahead with the lesser evil.

As we approach the 2019 elections, both sides need to win the undecided voters or the swing states. It is now accepted wisdom that a candidate must obtain support from beyond his ethno-religious base. Two things will decide how the ‘undecided’ will make up their minds — One is about the agenda, while the other is changing the support base.

While the 2019 general elections, particularly, the presidential election will be the most keenly contested in the nation. So as expected, Nigerians will be inundated with all sorts of gimmicks, propagandas, electioneering issues and other designed agendas, all geared towards swaying the electorate to back one candidate or the other. Also at the center of the drama on another hand, are men of God and spiritual leaders busy deploring all arsenals at their disposal to gain relevance with their predictions — validating the physical predictions alongside spiritual forecasting.

Like Atiku, President Buhari was an unrelenting chaser of the office of president. He ran for the office three times before being elected on his fourth attempt. Beyond the spiritual predictions and physical predictions, what really matters in the context of Nigeria’s election is how popular the candidate is — measured by the power of incumbency. While the economy statistics has only minimal direct effects on influencing the dictates of the election.

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Weeks ago, The Economist, London which is a very reputable English language news magazine, established by James Wilson in 1843, known for its matter-of-fact policy, attitude and approach, predicted victory for Atiku saying his pledge to curtail joblessness and revive the economy gives him an edge over President Buhari with a few months to the elections.

The London-based magazine made the prediction in its latest country report on Nigeria. This is coming less than two months after it had predicted that Buhari would lose the election. The EIU, which gave different reasons for its prediction, also noted that without a party system based on shared principles, it would be difficult to overcome Nigeria’s multi-layered security threats. It added that instability and legislative paralysis would affect many aspects of the economic forecast.

Interestingly, the fact that Atiku Abubakar has already picked Mr Peter Obi as his running mate, speaks volume of some level of preparedness and determination to further save nation of its the economic comatose and gruesome security challenges the government has recklessly thrown Nigeria into. Atiku’s precedence in successful business management and fair-play will ensure that a formidable opposition. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the research unit of The Economist Magazine, says Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will defeat President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.

Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s minister of information, in response to the prediction of The Economist Magazine said: “… 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.”

However, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) has also predicted that President Muhammadu Buhari will win the 2019 election. The organization made this known in a report it released on the forthcoming general election saying its report is based on its interactions with Nigerians from different sectors. USIP said though many Nigerians feel that the current administration has not met their expectations, this is not likely to cost the All Progressives Congress and its flag bearer.

When it comes to explaining both pre and post-election activities, different perspectives offer different insights. In another plot twist, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) has also predicted that President Muhammadu Buhari will win the 2019 election. The organization made this known in a report it released on the forthcoming general election saying its report is based on its interactions with Nigerians from different sectors. USIP said though many Nigerians feel that the current administration has not met their expectations, this is not likely to cost the All Progressives Congress and its flag bearer.

The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) is an American federal institution tasked with promoting conflict resolution and prevention worldwide. It provides research, analysis, and training to individuals in diplomacy, mediation, and other peace-building measures. The Institute said this in a report on the forthcoming general election, which it claimed was based on its interactions with Nigerians from different sectors. The USIP report contradicted the two predictions by The Economist magazine, which stated that Buhari would be defeated in the February poll.

“Many Nigerians feel their hopes have not been met. Some respondents suggest the electorate is sufficiently disappointed that voter apathy will be greater in 2019 than in 2015, with the unifying narrative of change that helped elect the APC in 2015 much less compelling as a factor in mobilising the electorate, and perceptions that another defeat of the presidential incumbent is less likely to happen in 2019,” the report read.

Irrespective of the predictions, it’s necessary to posit that in spite of a seemingly voters’ antipathy to the two parties in the upcoming 2019 general elections, they both have fair chances to calling the shots but this is Nigeria and predictions are dangerous.

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