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Poll: Ex-US Ambassador predicts violence, Jonathan victory

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A former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, has warned that Nigeria is likely to experience large scale violence as a result of the upcoming general elections.

He also predicts that President Goodluck Jonathan is likely to beat his strongest opponent, Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the polls.

Campbell stated these in a report titled ‘Nigeria’s 2015 Presidential Election: Contingency Planning Memorandum Update,’ which was published and released by the US Council on Foreign Relations.

Campbell was ambassador of Nigerian from 2004 to 2007 and in 2010 authored a book about the country titled “Nigeria: Dancing on the Brink”.

He said, “The upcoming elections are a rematch of the 2011 elections between the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan (a southern Christian) and Muhammadu Buhari (a northern Muslim and a former military chief). Tension between Washington and Abuja is higher than in 2011, largely over how to respond to the radical Islamist insurgent group, Boko Haram, which is steadily gaining strength in northeast Nigeria,” the report read.

“The APC is stronger than its predecessors (Action Congress of Nigeria and Congress for Progressives Change) and reflects a splintering of the political classes. The government’s inability to defeat Boko Haram, the economic hardships brought on by falling oil prices, and a growing public perception that the Jonathan administration is weak have fueled support for the All Progressives Congress. Though the APC’s voter base is in the North, it enjoys support all over the country, unlike the opposition in 2011,” it continues.

Campbell however notes that Jonathan is at an advantage due to the fact that he “is at the centre of extensive patronage networks; he has access to the government’s oil revenue; and he and his party largely control the election machinery and ballot-counting infrastructure.

“It is uncertain whether any provisions will be made for voters in the three northern states placed under a state of emergency because of Boko Haram, as well as the estimated one million people displaced by the insurgency. These displaced voters would likely support Buhari and the APC; their exclusion would benefit Jonathan and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Thus despite the strength of the opposition, Jonathan remains the likely—but not certain—winner,” Campbell stated.

The former Ambassador also warned that the elections could “precipitate violence that could destabilize Nigeria.”

-Ripples

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  1. Don Lucassi

    February 16, 2015 at 9:30 am

    Exactly what Ive been saying, only difference is I think despite “his party largely control the election machinery and ballot-counting infrastructure”, i still believe GEJ will lose, though marginally

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