The United States Institute of Peace (USIP) has denied widespread reports of predicting a victory for President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 presidential election.
A few Nigerian newspapers had reported as much because of a part of the report that read: “Many Nigerians feel their hopes have not been met. Some respondents suggest the electorate is sufficiently disappointed that voter apathy will be greater in 2019 than it was in 2015, with the unifying narrative of change that helped elect the APC in 2015 much less compelling as a factor in mobilising the electorate, and perceptions that another defeat of the presidential incumbent is less likely to happen in 2019.”
However, in a clarification issued very late on Tuesday night, USIP said it made no prediction at all about the outcome of the presidential election, but only presented the thoughts of the Nigerians it interviewed.
“A few Nigerian newspapers reported erroneously this week that the U.S. Institute of Peace has made a prediction about the possible outcome of Nigeria’s 2019 presidential election,” it said in the statement.
“USIP never makes predictions about election outcomes and has not done so in this case. The Institute’s work on elections is confined to helping nations avoid electoral violence.
“The erroneous news accounts misrepresent USIP’s recent 20-page report on the risks to a peaceful 2019 election in Nigeria. This study is based on interviews across the country with more than 200 Nigerian respondents—election administrators, political party representatives, security officials, civil society and youth groups, the media, traditional and religious leaders, prominent community figures, business people, academics and others.
“The USIP report noted that, in the interviews, “some respondents” discussed their own views of Nigerian public perceptions about an election outcome. A Nigerian news account mis-reported this passage as a USIP prediction of the outcome, and other Nigerian news organizations repeated the error. As USIP is a strictly nonpartisan institution, its work on elections focuses entirely on preventing violence.”