2023: Fitch Predicts Tinubu Win

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu (Left) with PDP Presidential Candidate for the 2023 election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar

The Fitch Solutions Country Risk & Industry Research has rated the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, much higher than his closest rivals, saying he is more likely to win the 2023 presidential election.

The subsidiary of Fitch Ratings, a global rating company, in its report stated that the APC candidate had higher chances of winning.

It however warned that the country may experience political upheaval following Tinubu’s winning.

The report further shows that a win by the APC candidate will likely trigger sentiments of perceived marginalisation among Christians while supporters of his opponents may take to the streets to protest the outcome of the election.

On recent polls which gave the Labour Party presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, the agency said they only capture that small fraction of Nigerians, have overstated support for Obi.

It said, “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. Protests and social discontent are likely to ramp up in the aftermath of a Tinubu win since this would end the recent trend of the presidency alternating between Muslims and Christians.

“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) and Atiku Abubakar (Peoples Democratic Party) 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.”

According to the report, Obi’s lack of support in Nigeria’s Muslim-majority North will make it difficult for him to win next year’s election.

The global rating company also said it did not expect significant policy changes under a Tinubu presidency, especially regarding removing fuel subsidy.

It added, “While Tinubu has stated that he would phase out Nigeria’s costly fuel subsidy, we are sceptical this will happen in the short term. There appears to be limited appetite within the APC to remove the subsidy, and with inflation remaining elevated in 2023 – due to high food prices – the cancellation of the subsidy would negatively affect the new president’s popularity. Indeed, the PDP tried to remove the subsidy in 2012, but had to back down after large-scale protests.

“In addition, we believe that Tinubu’s aim to raise oil production is unfeasible in the short term. Crude production has declined significantly to 1.1mn barrels per day in September – a multidecade low – due to rising oil theft and previous underinvestment. Given the country’s weak fiscal position, we believe that there will be limited room for more security and social spending to combat oil theft and attract more investment.”

The agency also said that if public concerns around Tinubu’s health persisted, this would likely reduce Tinubu’s chance of winning.

On Atiku, the report states that the votes for the opposition PDP might experience a split at the expense of its standard bearer. This, it said, would be as a result of the popularity of Obi as a relevant third party candidate after the APC and the PDP.

“…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,” the report added.

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