Following the recent prediction by Fitch Solutions Country Risk and Industry Research that the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, may win the 2023 presidential election, the APC, Labour Party and the Peoples Democratic Party have disagreed over the matter.
While the APC agreed that Tinubu would win the presidential election slated for February 2023 and expressed the need for the losers to congratulate the winner after, the PDP and the LP disagreed with the prediction.
Fitch Solutions Country Risk and Industry Research, the subsidiary of Fitch, a global rating company, in its report, said the APC candidate had a higher possibility of winning, adding that Nigeria might, however, experience political unrest following Tinubu’s winning.
The agency also warned that if Tinubu emerged victorious, it would likely trigger protests, social discontent and perceived marginalisation sentiments among Christians while supporters of his opponents may take to the streets to question the fairness of the electoral process.
But the chief spokesperson for All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council, Festus Keyamo, warned that presidential candidates of all political parties must be willing to congratulate the winner of the 2023 elections if the country hoped to avert the imminent political unrest predicted by Fitch Ratings.
He said, “We have always known the demography they (agencies) use. That is our own calculation. We always knew Asiwaju is the candidate to beat and we also know that all these projections by some other groups are not realistic.
“But I am saying this with all sense of humility that Asiwaju is a massive unifier. I just want to say that the talks of unrests and perceived marginalization are what Asiwaju will work on. He will make every single part of this country; every tribe and religion feel wanted. We have absolutely no fear about this at all.”
On the perceived skirmishes and fear of post-election violence, the Minister of State for Labour tasked the Nigerian media on the need to enlighten the masses and further put pressure on parties to concede to the victor ahead of the 2023 presidential election.
“I think the press should begin to educate all actors in the field of play on what they call the sportsman-like behaviour. This is the time to dedicate to our supporters on the need to behave like sportsmen by ensuring that we congratulate those who win and for the losers to join hands with those who have won for nation-building. That’s all.
“But we need the press to play down that incendiary comment and other ones that seem to divide us and set the nation ablaze.”
However, the chief spokesperson for Labour Party Presidential Campaign Council, Dr Yunusa Tanko, also frowned on Fitch Ratings’ prediction on violence, saying, “The country cannot afford to have bloodshed in the process of choosing a credible leader.”
Tanko disclosed this to one of our correspondents in a separate interview on Saturday.
While playing down the authenticity of Fitch electoral projection, the LP campaign spokesman expressed confidence that the LP presidential flag bearer, Peter Obi, would sweep the votes at the poll.
He said, “The Fitch Ratings cannot obviously be a reflection of what will go down in the 2023 presidential election. This is because we have the momentum of the Nigerian youths. At the same time, we are not anticipating any form of unrest as long as the Nigerian youths will be the ones to vote for Peter Obi. The process has been on.
“I think people making this particular rating need to find reasonable questions to add to their rating standard. And, of course, they are sending a very negative signal that there will be a kind of unrest in Nigeria. We are not praying for that. What we pray for good leader based on a credible election by the Nigerian people and we strongly believe the masses will vote for Peter Obi in large numbers.”
Asked if he was anticipating violence or social unrest from the party supporters should his principal lose, Tanko said Obi’s movement was not known for violence.
Speaking on the prediction by Fitch Ratings, the spokesman for the PDP, Debo Ologunagba Peoples Democratic Party refused to accept the prediction by the Fitch Ratings.
Ologunagba said, “What Nigeria needs today and in the years to come, is a leader who feels the pulse of the people, not an arrogant man who tells them to shut up when they raise their voices to speak against the ills in the land.”
He said, “We don’t work with rhetoric, we don’t work with polls; the PDP works with the people. But the polls have even said it all that the man, Tinubu cannot be a good president.
“What we need today is a man who feels the pulse of the people, not an arrogant man. Insecurity is worsening and embassies are evacuating their people. That is the shame Tinubu and his co-travellers have brought upon us.”