Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, may have gained tremendous momentum in recent weeks but there is 60% probability that President Muhammadu Buhari will win next week’s presidential race , New York based global research and political risk solutions firm, Eurasia Group has declared.
In a report dated February 7, the group which undertakes investment partnerships, consultancy and risk advisory responsibilities in about one hundred countries across the world asserts that Alhaji Atiku’s new momentum is coming late while there are indications that some PDP governors’ apathy will be counter-productive while President Buhari maintains an advantage in current campaign’s final stretch .
“Opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar has regained some momentum in recent weeks, but President Muhammadu Buhari remains favored to win (a 60% probability).
“On election day, the ruling All Progressives Congress’s (APC’s) significantly greater control of local political structures and resources—it governs 23 states compared to the opposition’s 12—will boost voter mobilization and solidify Buhari’s advantage.
“Buhari’s suspension of the country’s chief justice on 25 January heightened anxiety over the possibility of a post-election crisis, but the episode does not change Eurasia Group’s view that widespread violence is unlikely.
“Positive news coverage in recent weeks, along with Buhari’s controversial move to suspend Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen over allegations of corruption, have boosted Atiku’s campaign, but it is too late to change the electoral dynamics and Buhari remains favored to win on 16 February.
“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 People’s Democratic Party (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 mobilizing 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 mobilize and sustain voter support on election day,” the Eurasia Group stated in the report.