Predicting the 2019 Nigerian General Elections

The 2019 presidential Elections are around the corner, and candidates have begun to flag off their respective campaigns. This time around, the number of interested parties and candidates vying for the nation’s top office have reached an all time high. Asides the ruling party, APC, and their age-long rivals, PDP, many other parties have also fielded strong candidates ahead of the polls. The likes of Oby Ezekwesili, Fela Durotoye, Kingsley Moghaly, a certain Sowore, and a few others have vigorously traveled the length and breadth of social media, amassing supporters to aid their cause. Nonetheless, preliminary analysis of their chances looks far from positive.

In attempting to predict the outcome of the elections, we must consider three key factors. They are: the incumbent party, the strength of the main opposition, and the chances of the new opponents.

There is so much power in incumbency. Like it or not, an incumbent leader has the power to infuence electoral proceedings. The country’s incumbent leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, is the presidential candidate for the All Progressives Congress. His decision to run for second term was greeted with mixed reactions from all Nigerians. Firstly, it was argued that his election to power in 2015 ocassioned the worst overall living experience Nigerians have ever faced – in the economy, in healthcare, in security, in education, and other sectors. Even with his so-called fight against corruption, Nigerians are yet to see how imprisonment of corrupt past leaders will put food on their tables.

For this reason, the fact is that not many Nigerians are inclined towards voting for the APC, come February 2019.

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Speaking about the main opposition party, PDP, the case is a little complicated. The party has been rocked by a massive wave of defections of key players to the APC. Also, with former vice president Atiku Abubakar as their flag bearer at the elections, many questions about his integrity are yet unanswered. He has defected back and forth from the APC and PDP a number of times in the past few years, and to many Nigerians, such inexplicable mobility is testament to be absence of values, integrity, and political stability.

In the past, Atiku has also been indicted in corruption allegations – though he has never been charged for any crime. Nonetheless, he may still stand a chance. Nigerians may be more inclined towards voting solutions over personalities, and that is where Atiku’s strength lies. His greatest strength going into the elections is his proficiency in economic matters. He is a successful economist and businessman, and it is believed that he may indeed have what it takes to turn the country’s economy around for better.

Speaking about the new candidates on the platforms of other parties, one would only wonder what their chances are in a system as corrupt as Nigeria’s. Even with their intelligence and competence in solving problems, sadly, their personal integrity makes them no match for the corruption in the system. Nonetheless, a coalition of forces may be strong enough. It just might!

That said, our honest prediction is that, while the PDP and APC have internal party issues, and the other contestants delay in forming a strong coalition to wrest power from the current holders, come February 2019, we may see the ruling party, APC, retain power for the next four years, due to the power of incumbency that they wield.

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