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Nigeria 2023: EIU forecasts smooth transition of power

Nigeria 2023: EIU forecasts smooth transition of power

The Economist Intelligence Unit, EIU says the use of electronic voting and the planned instant transmission of results could be key pillars to deliver a smooth transmission of power next year.

The EIU forecasts that “electronic voting and results transmission is still expected to be a new feature of the 2023 elections. Fewer opportunities for fraud are supportive of our forecast that there will be a smooth transition of power to the opposition, although this depends greatly on who the candidates are.”

In its latest report on Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, the EIU said it expects the amended electoral law to contain key adjustments despite the failure of the president to assent to the bill.

According to analysts at EIU, “in mid-December 2021 Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, withheld assent to the amended Electoral Act, which, if signed, will allow the electronic transmission of election results, as well as compulsory direct primaries by political parties. “The speaker of the House of Representatives has said that some parts of the bill might be reviewed.

“Amendments to the electoral law to allow for the electronic transmission of election results and compulsory direct primaries by political parties were passed in mid-October.

Read also: 2023 Election: Senator calls for equity

“Mr Buhari withheld assent to the new electoral law two months later, owing to potential cost and security complications from making direct primaries compulsory for political parties. Mr Buhari argues that it would be a significant additional financial and logistical burden for the Independent National Electoral Commission to monitor direct primaries across the country’s more than 8,000 wards for all political parties and then go on to conduct general elections in February 2023.

“Mr Buhari’s reservations have nonetheless exposed divisions within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party, which controls the legislature. APC legislators back direct primaries as a way of cutting the influence that state governors have on their political prospects.

“With direct primaries, politicians can appeal directly to party members for votes. Governors can have huge sway over indirect primaries, as they often select the delegates that eventually elect candidates.

“The main opposition group, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), also opposes compulsory direct primaries, preferring that political parties choose how to nominate candidates themselves. However, influential PDP figures, such as the governor of oil-rich Rivers State in the Niger Delta region, Nyesom Wike, argue that Mr Buhari could have signed the amended Electoral Act into law, despite his misgivings, and then asked for an amendment to remove the provision for compulsory direct primaries.

“Even so, there is bipartisan support for Mr Buhari’s caution on the matter, and a bill that removes the provision for compulsory direct party primaries, when parliament resumes in mid-January, would be far more likely to gain executive assent. Widely popular elements of the bill, such as replacing fraud-prone manual collation of election results with electronic tallying, can then be approved.”