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Presidential Election: Foreign Group Predicts Victory For Buhari

By Ayo Balogun, Lagos – A global political research organisation , the Eurasia Group has predicted that the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Gen Mohammadu Buhari has a chance of winning the March 28 election by 60% of the votes.

Africa practice head and Analyst Philippe de Pontet noted on Saturday that the electoral map did not favour the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

His words:

“The election will still be difficult to call, but our expectation of a narrow Jonathan win was predicated on several factors that are losing some saliency late in the campaign.

Gen. Mohammadu Buhari (rtd)

Gen. Mohammadu Buhari (rtd)

“Chief among them is the incumbency and financial advantages of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). While this still helps Jonathan, its impact is blunted by the intensity of support for Buhari, lackluster grassroots campaigning by the PDP, and new anti-rigging measures by the electoral commission.

“New permanent voting cards and card readers will sharply reduce the level of rigging seen in 2011, when Jonathan beat Buhari in a landslide …

“While we expected the electoral map to favour Jonathan, current trends suggest that the swing regions may side with Buhari, including the Christian-majority and heavily-populated southwest around Lagos. That could be the decisive demographic factor in the election …”

“A local think tank, the Centre for Public Policy Alternatives, gave Buhari a 58% to 32% lead in Lagos State, where Jonathan won the last election. Eurasia Group thinks Jonathan’s approval rating is below the 40% threshold under which incumbents have a hard time getting reelected.

“Despite some important military gains against [the Islamic terror group] Boko Haram in the northeast, and a partial exoneration of its oil revenue management in a recent PWC audit, [Jonathan’s] Peoples Democratic Party is starting to look desperate. … [But] it is not clear … that Buhari has a strong economic policy orientation. This uncertainty is a chief risk for investors.”

“Jonathan is likely to contest an unfavorable outcome, especially a close election, and that could mean protracted violence.

“The reason we aren’t upgrading Nigeria’s outlook to positive, however, rests in the potential for an oil disruption and the likely pushback to Buhari’s policy agenda in a highly polarized political climate. His victory is likely to unleash a resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta (Jonathan’s home region) that targets the oil sector. Former Delta militants have threatened to blow up oil pipelines, platforms, and personnel as in the past when they routinely took up to 500,000 barrels per day offline. There is likely some bluster in their threats …”

Eurasia Group is the world’s leading global political risk research and consulting firm providing information and insight on how political developments move markets and help clients anticipate and respond to instability and opportunities everywhere they do business.


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