The Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar, has described the recent “endorsement” by The Economist of London, of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) party, Muhammadu Buhari, in the coming election as scandalous and partisan.
In one of its recent reports, The Economist of London had predicted that President Muhammadu Buhari will win next year’s election.
According to The Economist in its latest edition, “The World in 2019”, there is little hope that Islamist insurgency in the Northeast will end.
In a country appraisal for Nigeria under “The world in numbers”, the magazine said: “The president, Muhammadu Buhari, will win re-election in February, as a new opposition coalition may collapse before the vote.
However, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communication, Mr. Phrank Shaibu, Atiku described “as a poorly-executed hatchet job, the prediction by The Economist of London, in which the magazine put on the garb of a partisan and made no pretenses to professionalism while predicting that President Muhammadu Buhari will win next year’s poll.”
He said, on Monday, that “with the tacit endorsement of President Muhammadu Buhari for a second term, in its current edition, the erstwhile influential news magazine has hit a new low by throwing all pretenses to the wind to take up the job of presidential spokespersons.”
“It is common knowledge that the Economist’s fortunes have taken a nosedive in recent months with its flip-flop on issues especially as it pertains the upcoming presidential election in Nigeria. But the magazine hit a new low in its current edition, ‘The World in 2019,’ where it made projections of issues and events that will shape the year 2019 across many countries including Nigeria,” Shaibu said.
Shaibu said “even if the All Progressives Congress (APC) or President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokespersons had written that story, it could not have been so recklessly partisan and so devoid of any shred of professionalism.”
According to him, “the so-called story which says, ‘the president, Muhammadu Buhari, will win re-election in February, as a new opposition coalition may collapse before the vote’ fails to meet the attributes of objectivity, balance and fairness.”
The Atiku spokesperson said “it was scandalous that the magazine went ahead to predict a victory for the APC candidate even when it said a Buhari’s second coming portends disaster for Nigeria.”
Shaibu said “it was sad that The Economist went on to endorse a failed president even when it admitted that ‘a Buhari’s second term would mean continuing political weakness, little prospect of progress in the fight against islamist insurgency in the north, nationalism in the oil-producing Delta and secessionism in Biafra.”
He said “it was equally strange that the same magazine whose Intelligence Unit predicted that PDP candidate, Atiku Abubakar, will lead the new government come 2019 has now made a u-turn to endorse President Buhari even when his performance in office is now at an all-time low.”
“But we hasten to say that with or without the endorsement of The Economist or any news medium for that matter, we will defeat Buhari fair and square,” he said.
He said that “the PDP Presidential Candidate was aware that when fake news materials are planted in big news outlets, they often help to lay the groundwork for rigging in elections.”
Atiku, however, warned that members of the opposition party and their supporters will resist the rigging of next year’s elections.