2019: Again, The Economist predicts Atiku will unseat Buhari

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The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the research unit of The Economist Magazine, has predicted that the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, will defeat President Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 presidential election.
This prediction is coming as the Governor of Kogi State, Mr. Yahaya Bello, on Wednesday night in Abuja, told President Buhari and the APC that the PDP “will not be a push over” in the general elections.
The Economist’s forecast came less than two months after it had earlier predicted that Buhari would lose the election.
The EIU made the latest prediction in its country report on Nigeria, dated October 17, which was obtained yesterday.
The London based magazine said, “The Economist Intelligence Unit expects that the President, Muhammadu Buhari, will lose power at the February 2019 elections and that the next government will be led by Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, although his administration will be fragile.
“Mr. Buhari is the APC’s presidential candidate and his main challenger is Mr. Abubakar, who was recently nominated PDP’s candidate with overwhelming backing from the party.
“Abubakar’s pledge is to reinvigorate the economy with pro-market reforms. Both candidates are from the northern Nigeria, where Buhari’s support base lies, presaging a fierce contest there.
“With the vote likely to be split in the North, 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 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 tight race.
“If Abubakar loses – a distinct downside risk to our forecast – there may be a rejection of the result by the PDP, which is convinced that election will be rigged.
“In this scenario, a state of national paralysis could arise with severe national security implication.”
The EIU, which gave an array of 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.
EIU anticipated that the policy reform of the predicted winner would be based on pro-market measures and diversification of the economy away from oil.
However, it stressed that progress in this area would be hampered by vested interests, ideological opposition and bureaucratic inefficiency.

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