Updated: February 27, 2021
The Economist Intelligence Unit Africa insisted on Friday that Atiku Abubakar, Nigeria’s main opposition candidate will win the February 16 presidential election.
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party will defeat President Muhammadu Buhari, EIU Africa said, adding that although the margin of victory was getting narrower as the election approaches, Atiku and his political party will win the historic election.
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“#NigeriaDecides2019: Less than 2 weeks before #Nigeria‘s presidential election. Abubakar has floated idea of corruption amnesty. It is arguably an impolitic time for such a delicate proposal,” EIU Africa tweeted.
“Abubakar is hard-pressed to convince voters that he is a clean politician, having been on the receiving end of numerous graft allegations in the past.
“We retain out forecast for #Abubakar to win, but expected margin of victory is narrowing as the poll approaches.”
In Washington D.C. last January, Mr Abubakar told this newspaper that he was better qualified than Mr Buhari to create job, decrease unemployment and bolster the economy.
In 2015, the magazine correctly predicted victory for Muhammadu Buhari over then-incumbent Goodluck Jonathan.
Back then, it said Buhari was “the least awful choice,” which would be chosen “with a heavy heart”.
“Voters have ample cause to send Mr Jonathan packing. In a country where power has often changed through the barrel of a gun, the opposition All Progressives Congress has a real chance of winning through the ballot box,” The Economist said in 2015.
The research unit of London-based The Economist Magazine had said in 2018 that the PDP will win the 2019 election.
“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,” EIU had said.
“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.”
Lai Mohammed, minister for information and culture, had said The Economist’s prediction was nothing but fake news.
“We have all read that the intelligence unit of The Economist said the PDP will defeat the ruling APC in 2019,” he had said.
“We have also read that the international financial institution HSBC said Nigeria’s economic development will be stunted if President Buhari gets a second term.
“Let me state clearly that these reports are based on fake premises and, therefore, qualify as fake news. It is a psychological warfare by those who have been badly hit by our policies.”