Centre for Democratic Research and Intelligence (CDRI) has dismissed the prediction by the Economist Intelligence Unit Africa (EIU) that People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar will win the February 16 presidential election while describing the prediction as a poorly articulated work of fiction intended to sway undecided voters.
Director General of CDRI, Dr. Ochepa Ochepa, in reaction to the EIU reaction in London, noted that it is time worn gimmick of shock and awe in which the organization throws around the name of the ‘The Economist’ to pressure people into voting for a candidate they had otherwise decided as unfit to lead. He said the trick is to use the prediction to blackmail undecided voters into believing they are supporting a guaranteed winner.
Dr Ochepa explained that EIU is mischievously cashing in on the penchant of Nigerians to believe in anything foreign in addition to the ready availability of writers and opinion leaders that do not conduct research before celebrating what they are told.
He said basic fact checking would have informed those celebrating the prediction that the Economist Intelligence Unit Africa is at best a subsidiary of the Economist and its prediction is not known to be fifty percent accurate especially the most recent one that has failed to factor in the serial gaffes that Atiku Abubakar has been committing in the past few weeks.
According to CDRI boss, “EIU underplayed the serial gaffes that Atiku Abubakar has committed in recent weeks like confessing he will sell national assets to his friends, which Nigerians interpreted to include his immediate family. He followed this horror confession with another one about granting amnesty to thieves in a country where citizens are eager to see looters of public treasury punished. He equally demonstrated in the same interval that he is the kind of leader that would be tele-guided by other countries.
“The EIU admitted much of these by tweeting that ‘Abubakar has floated idea of corruption amnesty. It is arguably an impolitic time for such a delicate proposal,’ which makes the prediction insulting to the Nigerian voters that are made to appear as people who will still go ahead to vote someone that has so far indicated he plans to make corruption mainstream and an acceptable way of life. It is possible that this is the way things work in the United Kingdom where EIU Africa Team operates from but things certainly do not work that way there in Nigeria anymore.
“What we have learnt is that representatives of the Economist Intelligence Unit Africa (EIU) were part of Atiku’s strategy meeting in Dubai, at which they were paid in advance for the prediction they have now made. They basically used the insider information garnered from that strategy meeting as part of the basis for their prediction. It is unfortunate for them and their preferred candidate that too many fundamentals have been altered since that meeting finalized Atiku Abubakar’s strategy,” he pointed out.
He argued that the things Atiku’s team were counting on based on the strategy they are implementing have changed so irredeemably that he may now be battling to retain the third position at the polls when the results are announced.
The Director General of CDRI listed that “The funds the Atiku’s campaign would have used for voter inducement are largely trapped offshore, which has taken effective vote buying off the table for him. The judicial shortcut is off the table following the exposure and subsequent suspension of his ally on the Nigerian bench, which his team is still smarting from. Perhaps the greatest factor that will cause Atiku’s defeat is the way the leading candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was able to implement a surprise revamp of his campaign to dwell on what he has achieved in his first term, which has convinced even officials of PDP campaigns to defect to his side.
“So, passing off an endorsement by the EIU appear as if it came from The Economist is not going to sway votes in favour of Mr. Atiku as it did for candidates that got such endorsement in the past. Atiku might as well get the endorsement of a town union and claim an entire ethnic group has endorsed him, it will not do much in this instance,” he stated.