Experts give forecasts on VAT, elections, economy, civil and separatist unrest

As Nigeria kicks off the year 2022 amid the ongoing fight against the global contagion, COVID-19, experts weighed in on the outlook for the year as the country faces constant insecurity, economic hardship growing and off-cycle elections in Osun and Ekiti states

Predictably, the forecast is grim, with protests, secessionist agitations and more value-added tax controversies on the horizon ahead of the 2023 election.

Experts believe that the low turnout and logistical difficulties faced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) during the Anambra elections of 2021, indicate that the electorate is not ready for the next elections of 2022.

As the Anambra elections approached, there was a combination of violent attacks by members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as well as sit-at-homes in the southeast, raising fears that the elections do not take place.

That aside, President Muhammadu Buhari’s declining assent to the electoral amendment bill for the second time since coming to power in 2015, has disappointingly ended 2021.

Political activist and analyst Ariyo-Dare Atoye says the ripple effect of the president’s decision will continue into 2022 as the 2023 campaign begins.

“The executive’s veto on the amended electoral law and the inability of the National Assembly to override the president means that 2022 will start with the clamor for the electoral bill to become law,” Atoye told Peoples Gazette.

“Civil society and spirited Nigerians pledged to do everything democratically possible to have a new electoral act, bearing in mind that the internal politics of the ruling CPA could consume the whole of the process if it is not concluded by the first month of 2022, “he said. added.

Lagos-based political intelligence firm SB Morgen, in its report “The Year Ahead 2022: Out of the Rubble,” notes that the “elections in Osun and Ekiti states will be the real start of the elections of 2023 in Ekiti, the governor will not be on the ballot.

In its forecast for 2022, the intelligence firm expects the All Progressive Congress (APC) to lose at the polls in Ekiti state to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). In Osun State, however, the company predicts a “bitter battle due to internal political struggles within the state’s APC structure.” But we expect the APC to win the day. “

Mr Atoye told The Gazette that “in Ekiti, a former state governor, Chief Segun Oni, is strongly positioned to choose the PDP ticket. At the same time, the former secretary of the state government, Biodun Oyebanji, who enjoys the support of Governor Kayode Fayemi, is more likely to be the APC flag bearer.

Additionally, Zaid Ayodeji Kolawole, a public policy analyst, told The Gazette that Guber’s elections will be “very busy because both parties, especially the Tinubu and Makinde / Fayose factions, would like to assert their hold in the South. Where is”.

Speaking on the internal struggle within the APC and how it will affect the political year, Mr. Atoye said: role of mediator.

At the same time, Gov Buni’s interim committee seems insincere and reluctant to leave until the elective presidential convention, “he said, adding that” the APC left the election too late. of a new working committee of the party “.

When it comes to civic space, SBM predicts that there will be a rejuvenation of civil society as the elections draw closer. The company is also planning a number of group protests against socio-economic hardships related to inflation and the cost of living.

Already, the NLC threatened to strike on January 27 against the planned removal of fuel subsidies. Buhari’s regime said in November that plans were underway to swap the fuel subsidies for a monthly transport allowance of 5,000 naira for “deserving” Nigerians.

Previous union protests, including the Lagos and Ogun branches, have been made over the deplorable state of Nigeria’s roads, among other issues.

On the detention of the leader of the IPOB, and the unrest in Biafra in the South-East, Mr. Kolawole sees more postponements for the trial of Nnamdi Kanu, while SBM predicts his release before or during the third quarter, on the basis of a political compromise.

Regarding the tension in the region, Kolawole predicts an increase in unrest “when the two big parties do not give their presidential tickets to an Ibo man.”

Mr. Atoye believes the PDP has been better organized than the APC in the way it has handled the zoning of his position as National President. However, he expects the party’s electoral prospects in 2023 to be tested by how it deals with the zoning turmoil.

“The PDP, on the other hand, appears to be better organized due to its successful convention and unity of goals among governors, but the party’s prospect of victory in 2023 will be tested by the way it manages it. zoning turmoil which will become intense in 2022. “

Ahead of the 2023 election cycle, SBM predicts that the Buhari-led regime will lift the ban on the microblogging site Twitter in time for the start of the election campaign.

The Gazette covered the last 200 days of the suspension of Twitter by the Buhari regime, which imposed conditions to restore free access to the site in Nigeria to include physical registration as a business entity in the country, payment of taxes and an agreement to block threatening content. national security and cohesion on its platform.

Twitter has become popular among major political actors and stakeholders as a political tool. For example, in 2015 the PDP, APC and their candidates used the site to dominate political discourse and campaign for voters. Federal, state and local officials also use the platform to interact with their constituents and to communicate with the public.

This social media platform was also used to monitor the elections. Citizens are known to use their phones to broadcast and retweet voting activity, movement of election materials and personnel, security situations at polling centers, and polling station results.

Studies show that these technologies played a critical role in improving the credibility and transparency of the 2015 general elections that brought the Buhari regime to power.

On the controversy surrounding value-added tax rebates to the federal government, Kolawole predicts a Supreme Court ruling later this year, stressing that the Buhari regime’s handling of the case will shape the campaign before 2023.

However, SBM predicts that states and the federal government will reach a political settlement of the VAT controversy, stating that while states will receive more of what they currently generate, the federal government will continue to collect remittances.

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