The victory of President Bola Tinubu would not be overturned at the Supreme Court, analysts at the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has predicted in their recent country report on Nigeria.
“Bola Tinubu, the candidate of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress, won the February presidential election with only 36.6 percent of the vote. The result is being contested in court, but EIU does not expect it to be overturned.
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It is not hard to see how this decision was reached, since 1999, the Nigerian Supreme Court has not upturned a presidential vote, not even the 2007 general elections that was so flawed even late President Umaru Musa Yaradua, the key beneficiary admitted the votes were rigged.
The analysts noted that “frustration with the two-party system was made evident by support for Peter Obi of the fringe Labour Party in the presidential election.
“Backed by unions, he will undoubtedly build the party’s profile and become a more formidable force ahead of the next election, in 2027,” they said.
The report acknowledges that Tinubu has shrugged off low popularity to begin a campaign of market reform on a scale and intensity that is virtually unparalleled in Nigerian history but expects as the president’s low level of political capital erodes, his reform agenda will lose momentum.
Tinubu upon inauguration announced deep reforms including fixing Nigeria’s multiple exchange rate problem and removing wasteful fuel subsidies, policies that “could deliver a stronger economy in the medium to long term but that means short-term pain for consumers,” the report said.
According to the EIU, the capacity to shield households from rising prices is limited owing to a tiny fiscal footprint.
“In a country already grappling with multiple security crises that are fuelled by high unemployment (a third of the workforce in 2020, the most recent official data) and widespread poverty, the potential for mass unrest is a major risk to both the smooth implementation of reforms and the ability of the government to survive its first term,” the report said.
Analysing Tinubu’s path to the presidency, the analysts note that as a southern Yoruba Muslim, Tinubu had a degree of cross-regional appeal, both to southerners and to northern Muslims.
“However, his selection of a Muslim running mate, Kashim Shettima, showed he prioritised winning the vote-rich Muslim north, alienating him from the Christian-majority south, where calls for secession will grow louder.
They also acknowledged that Nigeria’s politics is fluid, with party allegiances often more about political convenience than ideology.