BusinessDay

Economist Intelligence Unit predicts Tinubu’s victory

…says Atiku has more cause to worry

Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2023 general election, is expected to succeed incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has said in a new country report.

The EIU said in 2019 that Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), would win that year’s election. In 2015, it predicted victory for Muhammadu Buhari of the APC.

In its latest report ahead of the next year’s presidential election, it said the chances of Atiku in winning the poll would be significantly affected by the current internal wrangling in the PDP and the growing popularity of Peter Obi, the candidate of Labour Party (LP), in the South-East, which is traditionally the powerhouse of the PDP.

Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State, defeated several APC leaders to emerge the party’s presidential candidate in May.

Most of his opponents stepped down for him just before the commencement of the primary election, while other aspirants including Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo went ahead to test their popularity with Tinubu, but lost.

However, in recent months, Tinubu’s choice of Kashim Shettima, a former governor of Borno State and a fellow Muslim, as his running mate has continued to generate controversy in the APC and across the country ahead of next year’s election.

But the EIU said it does not appear that the same-faith ticket would affect the chances of Tinubu in the presidential election.

“We expect Tinubu to take the presidency, and recent developments have only reinforced our thinking. It does not appear that a Muslim-Muslim ticket will weigh significantly on Tinubu’s electoral chances,” it said.

Following public outcry, the former Lagos state governor justified his choice of Shettima, saying it was not based on religion or to please one community or the other but to help him govern Nigeria effectively.

“I made this choice because I believe this is the man who can help me bring the best governance to all Nigerians, period, regardless of their religious affiliation or considerations of ethnicity or region,” he said.

But his decision has received wild reactions as many observers within and outside the APC have described the development as a threat to the fragile unity and peace of Nigeria.

Some leaders and critical stakeholders in APC have not hidden their misgivings over the Muslim-Muslim ticket and have accordingly withdrawn their support for the Tinubu-Shettima president bid. Babachir Lawal, a former secretary to the government of the federation and Tinubu’s ally, described the Muslim-Muslim ticket as dead on arrival, saying it would affect the presidential candidate’s chances at the 2023 polls.

Like the APC, PDP has been plagued by internal crisis since the presidential primary was concluded.

Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers State, expressed dissatisfaction with the manner the primary was conducted.

Read also: New poll puts Obi in strong lead over Atiku, Tinubu

The issue was aggravated when Wike, who was Atiku’s closest opponent in the primary, was snubbed by Atiku as the former vice-president picked Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as his running mate.

The decision was contrary to the recommendation of Wike as running mate by the special PDP selection committee.

Wike has stated his demands for reconciliation, among which is the removal of the national chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu.

But Ayu has vowed not to resign his position, insisting that his mandate was for four years.

“Atiku has more cause to worry. Not only is Obi eating into the PDP’s South-eastern support base, but Governor Wike, who finished second in the primary, does not appear to be interested in endorsing him,” the EIU said.

The crisis rocking the PDP took a turn for the worse on Wednesday as Wike’s camp pulled out of the campaign council of Atiku.

The report said with the amendment of the Electoral Act to accommodate electronic transmission of result, the role of the establishment in influencing outcome of the presidential election would diminish significantly, leading to the most fairest and credible polls since the return to democratic rule in 1999.

The report added that despite the presence of three major political gladiators from the three major ethnic groups in the country in the presidential race, the amendment of the Electoral Act would bring less disputes about the presidential election result.

Last week, the outcome of an opinion poll by ANAP Foundation showed Obi holding a significant lead over both Tinubu and Atiku.

In the nationwide poll conducted this month, Obi stands at 21 percent while both Tinubu and Atiku are tied in second place with 13 percent each. Kwankwaso of the NNPP is at a distant fourth with only 3 percent.

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