GOING by the February 7 report of New York-based global research and political risk solutions firm Eurasia Group, President Muhammadu Buhari will win Saturday’s election by 60 per cent.
The group, which undertakes investment partnerships, consultancy and risk advisory responsibilities in about 100 countries, said the odds against Buhari’s main challenger, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), have positioned the incumbent to retain his seat.
It identified the odds as the divided support being enjoyed by the former vice president from key elements in the rival party.
Such elements, according to the Eurasia Group, would rather exert their energies and resources on the battle to retain their seats in their various constituencies.
The group listed such actors as the governors in the PDP-controlled states and the Director-General of the Atiku Presidential Campaign Organisation, Senator Bukola Saraki, who is battling to retain his seat in the upper chamber as the representative of the Kwara Central Senatorial Zone.
The report said: “As we have previously noted, key actors in Atiku’s camp – including his campaign’s Director -General Bukola Saraki, key powerbroker Governor Nyesom Wike of the oil-rich Rivers State, and Southeast governors from his PDP – had been disengaged from his election campaign.
“Wike was annoyed by Atiku’s failure to consult him on key decisions, Saraki remains distracted by a tough Senate reelection battle in Kwara State, and the Southeast governors are hampered by many conflicting motivations, including their own lack of political clout (which makes them reluctant to overtly challenge the federal government) and their wariness of Atiku’s running mate Peter Obi, a former governor of the southeastern Anambra State who they view as a political outsider.
“The lack of enthusiasm on the part of some PDP governors is a problem for Atiku because these officials control significant discretionary funds at the state level (known as “security votes”) that are easier to access without triggering graft concerns.
“They can also leverage strong relationships with security, judicial, and election officers in their respective states. Governors are thus critical to mobilising voter turnout on Election Day.
“With 23 in office compared to the PDP’s 12, the APC already has an edge; unmotivated PDP governors will only reinforce that advantage by making it harder for the opposition to mobilise and sustain voter support on Election Day.”
Two APC governors, Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto) and Benue State counterpart Samuel Ortom, defected to the PDP last year. But the governors are battling to win their states for their new parties.
On the edge the incumbent has over Atiku, the Eurasia Group said President Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) has a widespread political structure to boost voter mobilisation and solidify Buhari’s advantage.
The group noted that the heightened anxiety triggered by the suspension of Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Walter Onnoghen by President Buhari was not enough to turn the table against the incumbent.
CJN Onnoghen was suspended by the President on January 25 following allegations on false declaration of assets against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB). The CCB has since charged the CJN before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
Justice Onnoghen is expected to submit his response to the charges against him to the National Judicial Council (NJC) today.
The group ruled out the possibility of protests against Buhari’s victory.
It said: “These trends support our view that widespread violence is unlikely following the 16 February vote. We have repeatedly argued that Atiku’s voters do not match Buhari’s in passion and are unlikely to risk their lives on the streets for him.
“Though Buhari’s decision to suspend the Chief Justice triggered widespread criticism and stoked passions (along with fears about a more Buhari second term), many voters blame the judiciary for not moving quickly to force CJN Onnoghen’s resignation after he admitted he had violated rules regarding declaration of assets.
Thus should Atiku lose, as we expect, there will be few motivated stakeholders to encourage or instigate serious violence. Instead, we expect PDP governors to quickly turn their attention to fighting to retain their own jobs in the state elections on March 2.”
Author: Our Reporter