The Economist Magazine is not credible, says Buhari’s spokesman
President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman, Femi Adesina has taken a swipe at renowned platform, The Economist Magazine, saying the international media outlet does not have credibility.
The Magazine’s Intelligence Unit (EIU), the research unit of The Economist Magazine predicted that the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, will defeat incumbent Buhari of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 presidential election.
The Magazine also predicted that Buhari will defeat Goodluck Jonathan in 2015, calling Jonathan ineffectual buffoon, and the prediction came to pass.
But Adesina in an interview with Channels Television on Sunday said The Economist lacked credibility, alluding that “the same Economist Magazine predicted that Hillary Clinton will defeat Donald Trump in the US election. But Clinton did not win”.
The Economist’s forecast came less than two months after it had earlier predicted that Buhari would lose the election.
The EIU made the latest prediction in its country report on Nigeria, dated October 17.
The London based magazine said, “The Economist Intelligence Unit expects that the President, Muhammadu Buhari, will lose power at the February 2019 elections and that the next government will be led by Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, although his administration will be fragile.
“Mr. Buhari is the APC’s presidential candidate and his main challenger is Mr. Abubakar, who was recently nominated PDP’s candidate with overwhelming backing from the party.
“Abubakar’s pledge is to reinvigorate the economy with pro-market reforms. Both candidates are from the northern Nigeria, where Buhari’s support base lies, presaging a fierce contest there.
“With the vote likely to be split in the North, Abubakar will find it easier to garner support from the country’s south, which has traditionally been a safe haven for the PDP.
“This gives Abubakar an edge, as does popular frustration over the rise in joblessness and poverty (two of the biggest voter concerns) on Mr. Buhari’s watch, as well as growing insecurity in central Nigeria.
“Nonetheless, strong incumbency advantages in Nigeria imply that it will be a tight race.
“If Abubakar loses – a distinct downside risk to our forecast – there may be a rejection of the result by the PDP, which is convinced that election will be rigged.
“In this scenario, a state of national paralysis could arise with severe national security implication.”
“The election period itself will be a time of high risk; as a recent election in Osun demonstrated, small scale violence at the polls is highly likely, as is disputation of the results.
“Parliamentary rift will remain the main problem and this applies no matter who is in charge, given competing priorities between representatives from different regions and the absence of common ideology within parties.
“Without a collective resolve, it would prove impossible to bring permanent peace to the large parts of Nigeria hit variously by an insurgency in the north, ethno-nationalism tensions and disputes over land access across the centre of the country.
“It will prove to be hard to build a more effective security apparatus while also creating economic opportunities for local population; poverty lies at the root of much of the instability.
“Our central forecast is, however, that the 2019 elections will be completed without a widespread breakdown of stability – with Nigeria’s democracy proving once again to be robust enough to endure.
“Given the severe risks to stability, speculation over the threat of a military coup or a civil war is likely to surface periodically.”
Continuing, the EIU stated: “Nevertheless, as the country’s leadership struggles to shift Nigeria into a more sustainable path to economic development, the risks to stability will intensify as more Nigerians question what they have to lose from pushing for violent change.”
In terms of its medium term outlook for Nigeria’s fiscal policy, it projected that it would centre on attempt to diversify the country’s sources of revenue away from oil while directing more expenditure to pro-poor activities and infrastructure investments. Non-oil revenue will rise because of efforts to widen tax coverage and collect overdue taxes, but from a low base and over a longer time period than projected by the government, it added.
“Although higher oil prices will give some reprieve, longer-term public sustainability will remain in doubt. Monetary policy will also concentrate on bolstering economic recovery while limiting inflation and maintaining currency stability.
“However, this will generate contradictory pressure in the early part of the forecast period. The private sector is desperate for cheaper credit to spur growth, but inflation will be running higher than the targeted upper limit of nine per set by the Central Bank of Nigeria and monetary tightening in the US will threaten to put pressure on the naira if a looser stance is adopted.
“On balance, interest rates will not move much in 2019, but they will dip in 2020 as the wider global economy slows and monetary authorities attempt to stimulate, with Nigeria following suit.
“The economy will for the most part be mired in a low-growth cycle, although there will be improvements over time.
“In 2019, what are expected to be fiercely contested elections in February will hold back business and consumer confidence that year, and although markets are likely to approve of Mr. Abubakar’s economic reform agenda – meaning the disruption is likely to be short-lived- we forecast a growth rate of 1.9 per cent – the lowest rate of growth in our five-year outlook period,” it added.