19 September 2018
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has predicted that President Muhammadu Buhari will lose his bid to be re-elected in February next year. This is in line with our views at Naijiant.com about Buhari’s unmitigated failure as a president.
The EIU is the research and analysis division of the Economist magazine and provides country, risk and industry analysis, across 200 countries worldwide.
It’s assessment of Nigeria published on 17 September states in the Briefing Sheet:
Political and economic outlook
- The president, Muhammadu Buhari, is expected to lose power at the February 2019 general election. The next government will be led by the main opposition, the People’s Democratic Party, although this administration will be volatile.
- Without a party system based on shared principles and without any clear direction, there will be no way of bringing Nigeria’s multi-layered security threats under control. Instability and legislative paralysis will affect many aspects of the economic forecast.
- Policy reform will be slow as efforts to introduce market-oriented reforms and diversify the economy away from oil come up against vested interests, ideological opposition and bureaucratic inefficiency.
- Real GDP growth will accelerate from sluggish levels in 2017 but only slowly, given ongoing policy deficiencies, infrastructure gaps and political instability, which will sap confidence in the economy more generally.
- Inflation will come down from the highs recorded in early 2017, but price pressures from election spending and expected currency devaluation over 2019-21 will persist and keep average annual inflation in double digits.
- Prospects for the current account will remain largely tied to oil prices and the moderate recovery expected in import demand after two years of contraction. A current-account surplus will be recorded throughout 2018-22, but it will be well below historical highs.
The report explained why Buhari is expected to lose:
Key changes since July 3rd
- Mass defections from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and a weak response from the president means that The Economist Intelligence Unit no longer expects Mr Buhari to win a second term at the February 2019 presidential election.
- We now expect the nominated candidate of the opposition’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to form the next government, but for the administration to encounter the same problems as the outgoing one. For this reason, our economic prognoses are unchanged.
According to the EIU, the opposition also have problems they would need to surmount in order to beat Buhari:
- October 5th-6th—PDP presidential primaries: With at least 13 prominent PDP figures contending the nomination, the race will be very close. Whoever is chosen will have to lead a highly fragmented party, and will lack universal backing from the rank and file.
The major players in the race for the PDP ticket include, former vice president Atiku Abubakar, Senate President Bukola Saraki, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, Gombe State governor Ibrahim Dankwambo and others.
The EIU added: A split in the APC and a wave of defections demonstrate that momentum rests with the opposition. Most of the governors, senators and lower-house representatives who crossed the floor have joined the PDP, which is itself prone to internecine feuds (usually over leadership) and is in a particularly delicate phase ahead of primaries in October. An uneasy truce has held recently, but an influx of ambitious ex-APC politicians looking to advance their own interests stands to be a major disturbance. Even so, Mr Buhari appears weak enough for the selected PDP candidate to win power, regardless of whether they have universal backing from their party (which undoubtedly they will not).