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Friday, March 24, 2023

Fitch: A Tinubu Presidency will Increase Social Instability in Nigeria

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A Fitch Solutions Country Risk and Industry Research report released on Thursday has predicted victory for the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, in the 2023 presidential election.

However, the report on the Nigerian presidential election, done by a subsidiary of international credit rating firm, Fitch Ratings’, projected that the victory will lead to protests and social instability in the country because of the Muslim-Muslim ticket and the expectations of the followers of Labour Party’s candidate, Peter Obi, that will be dashed.

It stated that notwithstanding some polls putting Obi ahead of other contestants, Tinubu will still emerge winner in the February contest.

The report 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 APC.

The report predicted further that “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.”

The Fitch Solutions Country Risk report stated additionally that Tinubu’s victory would usher in social unrest based on several factors like religion, owing to the Muslim-Muslim ticket under which Tinubu would emerge and the reaction of Obi’s supporters who are mainly youths.

The report states: “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. A win for Tinubu would break with this unwritten tradition and likely fuel sentiment of perceived marginalisation among Christians.

“In addition, Obi’s supporters – mostly young, urban voters – are likely to question the fairness of the electoral process, especially after recent polls have predicted a win for Obi. These dynamics are likely to engender political unrest following the February vote.

“As a result, we have revised down the Social Stability component of our proprietary Short-Term Political Risk Index (STPRI) from 30.0 to 25.0 previously (scores out of 100; lower score implies higher risk). This brings Nigeria’s overall STPRI score from 46.3 to 45.0. Social Stability Remains.”

“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. 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,” it projected.

The report said that though Tinubu promised to end the petrol subsidy regime sapping the economy, it doubted he could implement it due to what it called the appetite of the ruling APC for the free money that accrues from the subsidy.

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