… ‘polls giving Obi victory overstating his popularity’
UK-based Fitch Solutions Groups says the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is the most likely to win the 2023 presidential election.
The group, in a report ahead of the election slated for February next year, said many factors pointed towards a Tinubu victory at the polls.
“Indeed, we maintain our view that the ruling party’s Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the candidate most likely to win the presidential election as a split opposition vote will favour the All Progressives Congress,” FSG said.
Among what the group said would grant a Tinubu victory is his performance as governor of Lagos State, the choice of his running mate and the party, APC.
“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,” the report stated.
On recent polls which have been giving victory to Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, the group said the polls were overstating his popularity.
It further added that the polls were skewed towards the urban few.
The report said, “At Fitch Solutions, we believe that recent polls are significantly overstating support for Peter Obi, the Labour Party candidate running in Nigeria’s February 2023 presidential election. Surveys showing that Obi is ahead of his opponents Bola Tinubu (All Progressives Congress; APC) and Atiku Abubakar (People’s Democratic Party; PDP) were mostly based on responses gathered online. 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.”
It further added that it would be difficult for the LP flagbearer to get significant number of votes in the North.
“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,” the FSG added.
The report also stated that PDP candidate Atiku Abubakar would feel the impact of the support wave Obi is getting, which will be an advantage for Tinubu.
“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 South South and South East.
“However, given Obi’s popularity in the south – especially the South South and South East – we believe it is unlikely the main opposition party will be able to gain more votes in these parts of the country,” the report added.