The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) has predicted that President Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) will win the 2019 election.
USIP made this known in a report it said is based on its interactions with Nigerians from different walks of life.
“Many Nigerians feel their hopes have not been met,” the USIP report says.
“Some respondents suggest the electorate is sufficiently disappointed that voter apathy will be greater in 2019 than in 2015, with the unifying narrative of change that helped elect the APC in 2015 much less compelling as a factor in mobilising the electorate, and perceptions that another defeat of the presidential incumbent is less likely to happen in 2019.
“Important shifts in Nigeria’s political and security context have occurred since the 2015 elections, presenting both evolving, and new, risks to the 2019 elections.
“Of all the state’s institutions, most respondents felt that peaceful elections in 2019 are contingent on the performance of Nigeria’s INEC.
“Given the relative success of the 2015 elections, they felt that INEC ought to be able to deliver credible elections again in 2019.
“They feared, however, that any regression from the level of performance achieved in 2015 could lead to violence because some would view the failings not as a result of incompetence but as deliberate attempts to frustrate the will of the voters.
“INEC should at least match the standards it set in 2015, and any regression could set the stage for violence.
“Yet, while the potential for election violence exists, there are signs of hope. Some states have developed successful election conflict-mitigation practices. In the short amount of time remaining, INEC and the police should undertake a number of key reforms.
“The United States, along with other international supporters of the electoral process, should also intensify their efforts to reinforce the work of these key Nigerian institutions.
“Beyond institutional support, rather than apply a conventional approach to electoral violence mitigation, donor programming should adapt to Nigeria’s current context, political shifts, and opportunities, and be sufficiently flexible to respond to the risks distinct in each of Nigeria’s states.
“In advance of the election, international diplomatic efforts to preempt electoral violence need to be intensified.
“Regional and international actors should convey their expectations that political parties effectively address their internal disputes, and be ready to put on notice politicians responsible for escalating these disputes,” USIP says.