A leading global rating company in the world, Fitch has predicted that the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, will emerge winner of the 2023 general elections.
In a report by the global company, Fitch stated that earlier surveys tipping the presidential flagbearer of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi was ahead of his opponents, Bola Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), were mostly based on online responses.
While stating that Obi is unlikely to win next year’s election, the report maintained that Tinubu is the candidate most likely to win the presidential election as a split opposition vote will favour the ruling party’s candidate.
According to the report, since only 36.0% of Nigerians use the internet (World Bank, 2020), “we believe that these results are skewed towards urban, affluent voters who are most likely to support Obi. We also highlight that these polls suggest that a large share of voters remain undecided.
“Even if these surveys were accurate at a national level, Obi’s lack of support in Nigeria’s Muslim-majority North would make it difficult for him to win next year’s election. Indeed, the North is home to the majority of all voters and turnout in this part of the country tends to be relatively high, underscoring the importance of the Northern electorate.
“According to Nigeria’s 1999 constitution, a candidate can only be elected if they both receive the majority of overall votes and over 25.0% of votes in at least 24 of the country’s 36 states. Given that Obi’s Labour Party has limited infrastructure in the North, he will struggle to meet this second voting requirement.
“Indeed, the Labour Party is not even running candidates for the Senate and House of Representatives in many northern constituencies. Furthermore, the northern electorate historically tends to vote for presidential candidates from their region. With Obi being a Christian from the South (Anambra State), increasing his voter share in the North will prove challenging.”
It said, “While we believe Obi is unlikely to win the election, he will probably do well for a third-party candidate. Indeed, a third-party candidate has never reached more than 7.5% of votes in Nigeria. However, due to his frugal reputation and large social media following, we expect Obi to get a higher share of the vote than previous third-party candidates.
“As such, we believe that Obi’s popularity will most likely split the opposition vote, at the expense of the PDP. The PDP’s candidate (Atiku Abubakar) is a Northerner and we believe that the party’s only route to victory is expanding its vote in the South West and North Central states while retaining large majorities in the Southsouth and Southeast.
“However, given Obi’s popularity in the south – especially the Southsouth and Southeast – we believe it is unlikely the main opposition party will be able to gain more votes in these parts of the country.
“Indeed, we maintain our view that the APC’s Tinubu is best placed to win the presidential election. We expect that the party, which has nominated a Muslim-Muslim ticket, will repeat its strong performance in the North. Given that Tinubu is a former governor of Lagos, the party is also likely to improve on its performance in the South West. Furthermore, we expect Tinubu to benefit from incumbency advantages, with the APC having been in power since 2015.
“Protests and social discontent are likely to increase in the aftermath of a Tinubu win. Since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999, there has been an informal agreement that resulted in the presidency alternating between Northern and Southern states as well as between Christians and Muslims.”