Written by Godfrey AKON

U.S. Institute faults The Economist, Says Buhari likely to win

The United States Institute of Peace, USIP, has faulted The Economist magazine forecast on the 2019 election, positing that President Muhammadu Buhari will likely defeat his main challenger, Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

The USIP said it arrived at the report based on its conversations with Nigerians from different walks of life.

The Economist Magazine had in October given the indication that Atiku Abubakar will defeat President Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, APC, next year.

“Many Nigerians feel their hopes have not been met. Some respondents suggest the electorate is sufficiently disappointed that voter apathy will be greater in 2019 than in 2015, with the unifying narrative of change that helped elect the APC in 2015 much less compelling as a factor in mobilizing the electorate, and perceptions that another defeat of the presidential incumbent is less likely to happen in 2019,” the report read.

Also, the USIP report feared that election violence will most likely occur in Adamawa, Anambra, Ekiti, Kaduna, Kano, Lagos, Plateau and Rivers state, while suggesting that other states will face varying degrees of crisis.

“Important shifts in Nigeria’s political and security context have occurred since the 2015 elections, presenting both evolving, and new, risks to the 2019 elections,” it read.

“Of all the state’s institutions, most respondents felt that peaceful elections in 2019 are contingent on the performance of Nigeria’s INEC.

“Given the relative success of the 2015 elections, they felt that INEC ought to be able to deliver credible elections again in 2019. They feared, however, that any regression from the level of performance achieved in 2015 could lead to violence because some would view the failings not as a result of incompetence but as deliberate attempts to frustrate the will of the voters.

 

“INEC should at least match the standards it set in 2015, and any regression could set the stage for violence.”

The report further said despite the projections of violence, “there are signs of hope”.

“Yet, while the potential for election violence exists, there are signs of hope. Some states have developed successful election conflict-mitigation practices. In the short amount of time remaining, INEC and the police should undertake a number of key reforms,” it said.

The report said the “United States, along with other international supporters of the electoral process, should also intensify their efforts to reinforce the work of these key Nigerian institutions.

“Beyond institutional support, rather than apply a conventional approach to electoral violence mitigation, donor programming should adapt to Nigeria’s current context, political shifts, and opportunities, and be sufficiently flexible to respond to the risks distinct in each of Nigeria’s states.

“In advance of the election, international diplomatic efforts to preempt electoral violence need to be intensified. Regional and international actors should convey their expectations that political parties effectively address their internal disputes, and be ready to put on notice politicians responsible for escalating these disputes.”

 

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