…Shows Where Atiku, Buhari May Win And Lose 2019 Presidency
Twenty years after Nigeria’s return to democractic rule, the thought of who will once again call the shot at the seat of power–Aso Rock Villa has reached a fever level among Nigerians as 72.7 million voters armed with Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) will be putting the unsettling election postponement of last weekend behind them to throng the polling units on the first day of the opening of ballot, Saturday. The two leading presidential candidates have been around for decades, holding sundry high offices in the land.
The candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), President Muhammadu Buhari is seeking a re-election. His main challenger, candidate of the opposition’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is hoping to dislodge him, having failed in three previous attempts to get the nation’s number one job.
Asides these two rivals, there are about 70 other candidates seeking different forms of political correction for the country through the elections, albeit the common denominator to all of them has been the lack of country-wide structure, adequate campaign funding and penetration among the Nigerian populace.
The New Diplomat Multi-media global team In Nigeria and North America had spent three long months to gather data, interview respondents, conduct focus group discussions and collated volumes of data to test the popularity, strength and weakness of the two main candidates. In this publication, we release our team’s findings. It is important to state that the data and findings are empirical, drawn from both qualitative and quantitative methods of data gathering. In 2015, The New Diplomat also predicted Buhari’s victory and went to town with its bombshell publication…Read on…
South East: 8.59 million Collected PVCs
Anambra has been the political headquarter of the South East region and Atiku’s decision to pick his Vice Presidential candidate, Peter Obi, from there was seen as a masterstroke. Surprisingly, the decision was met by stiff opposition from the state Governor, Willie Obiano. This became clear when the Governor condemned the endorsement of the Atiku/Obi ticket by the Pan-Igbo social-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo.
Obiano, who is nursing a presidential ambition for 2023 believes Atiku who may likely spend another 8 years if he wins, will be a stumbling block to the realization of that dream. He had since pitched his tent with Buhari.
Also, Obiano is yet to forgive his predecessor, Obi for the role he played against his re-election bid in 2018. Instead, he’s mobilizing massive grassroot support for Buhari. And the Atiku/Obi ticket has done little in stopping the state from sliding into a battle ground for both parties on voting day.
Like in Anambra, the prospect of the South East getting the 2023 presidency may affect Atiku’s chances in Enugu too, despite the fact that many pundits had already given the state away to the PDP. While PDP is favoured to win the state, it will not be a straitjacket race there. Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu is one of the optimists who are setting their eyes on the 2023 for the Igbo nation, rather than what they consider as a piecemeal which Obi as Vice President will offer. This accounts for the reason why Ekweremadu had gone into silence and not publicly seen campaigning for his party’s Presidential candidate, Atiku at rallies.
Both candidates have the equal chance of winning Imo. The infighting among APC factions in the state has set the party on a collision course and the PDP is losing no sleep to benefit from the chaos to shore up the numbers for Atiku. Being the only Governor holding forth for the APC in the South East, Rochas Okorocha had earned many admirations from party faithfuls, until his insistence to have his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu as his successor. PDP will certainly profit from the crisis that this has generated.
For months, Buhari has been courting the Ebonyi Governor, Dave Umahi to get his support for his re-election. Umahi had also openly displayed a high level of affection for the President. Would this transform to votes? The die is cast. The presidential results in Ebonyi could swing either side.
Abia is in the bag for the PDP. But the PDP party chieftains in the South East are wary of Kingsley Moghalu, the presidential candidate of the Young Progressive Party (YPP) who is from Anambra state. Should he draw sentiment votes from the entire region, every ballot cast for him will be to Buhari’s advantage without necessarily winning the popular votes in the South East.
Meanwhile, political actors are worried over the threat posed by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to disrupt polls in the region, something which could lead to voter’s apathy and deflate Atiku’s supposed base.
South South: 11.12 million Collected PVCs
Atiku will win by a landslide in Rivers and Bayelsa, but could have it rough in the other four states in the region. In Delta for instance, it will be too close to call. While Atiku will have it rosy in Delta North, the same cannot be said of Atiku in the highly populated cities and towns of Delta South and Central — Warri, Sapele, Ughelli, Uvwie, Okpe, Oleh etc. The presence of political heavyweights like former Delta Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, who is also an APC senatorial candidate in Delta South; APC guber candidate, Great Ogboru and Senator Ovie Omo-Agege in those zones is expected to swing votes in Buhari’s favour.
Controlled by the APC, Edo voters will turn up for Buhari and the influence of the APC national Chairman, Adams Oshiomole in delivering the state to his party shouldn’t be overemphasized.
The unleashing of Senator Godswill Akpabio on the Akwa Ibom PDP has given the APC huge momentum in the state and Buhari is expected to eat deep into a state which was a vote spinner for the PDP in 2015. More so, the trio of former Governors: Obong Attah, Donald Etiebet and Akpabio are too politically sophisticated for the incumbent Governor, Emmanuel Udom who is not well rooted in the grassroot politics of the state. PDP is on the course to lose Akwa Ibom both in the federal and state elections.
Buhari will get a sizeable number of votes in Cross River. This was as Governor Ben Ayade had been rumoured to be among the fifth columnists in the PDP, silently working for the re-election of President Buhari.
North Central: 11.57 million Collected PVCs
Atiku’s PDP is in pole position to clinch three states of the North Central — Benue, Plateau and Niger. And the farmers-herders clashes that have dogged the administration of President Buhari will play a key role in this. Recall APC lost two governors — Samuel Ortom of Benue and Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara to the PDP in the region, a move facilitated by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
Kwara remains a serious battle ground for both parties as APC is leaving no stone unturned to stop Saraki from having his stranglehold on the state through its derisive ‘O to ge’ movement (Enough is enough). Buhari is leading in Nassarawa, but not in Kogi. The growing unpopularity of Governor Yahaya Bello continues to erode the APC fortunes in the confluence state. Atiku has a borderline lead in the FCT, Abuja.
North West: 18.23 million Collected PVCs
As the geopolitical zone with the highest number of registered voters, Buhari’s magical numbers are expected to come from the region and any failure may cost him the presidency this time. However, he has a mountain to climb in Kano and Sokoto, thanks to Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso and Governor Aminu Tambuwal’s political sagacity which has proven handy for Atiku.
In Kaduna South, Atiku will definitely have a strong showing among the Christian population there, though Governor Nasir El Rufai will stop at nothing to deliver the state for Buhari.
North East: 10.45 million Collected PVCs
Adamawa remains dicey for Buhari as it is for Atiku, despite the fact that he hails from there and have his businesses scattered all over the state. If endorsement is anything to go by, the instruction given to residents in the state by the Lamido Adamawa to vote for Buhari, jettisoning his own palace Chief–Wazinrin Adamawa, Atiku, leaves a sour taste in the mouth for the former Vice President. It’s one of the states where the stakes are high for the duo.
Atiku has large following in Taraba and Gombe and he’s poised to outrightly win there, after all they’re PDP states. Anything less will be a shocker to everyone.
Meanwhile, Bauchi, Yobe, and Borno are in the bag for Buhari. He won by landslide in those states in 2015 and despite the Boko Haram insurgency there, Buhari is still popular among the north east locals as many beleaguered voters will be hoping he can completely neutralize the insurgents in his second term.
South West: 12.81 Million PVCs Collected
Whoever wins Southwest will get the presidency and Lagos is critical in the equation. The state has witnessed an increase in the number of registered voters in recent months and has now overtaken Kano as the highest voting population in the country. Ordinarily, the cosmopolitan nature of Lagos means it could go anywhere, but the influence of the APC national leader, Bola Tinubu might stabilise things for the ruling APC.
While younger candidates like ANN’s Fela Durotoye, AAC’s Omoyele Sowore and YPP’s Kingsley Moghalu among a pool of candidates numbering up to six dozens will cut their own pie of the cake to make a political statement — especially among young voters as a prelude to stand in future elections — Atiku will eat deep into the Lagos votes as if to upturn APC fortunes, notwithstanding, Buhari has a marginal lead.
Being the state of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Ogun may pander towards the APC, though it has highly sophisticated and unpredictable voters. And the infighting in the state’s chapter of the APC, as well as the Obasanjo-factor could hamper Buhari’s chances in the state. On the other hand, don’t forget that the PDP factions in Ogun have also been at loggerhead over who gets the guber ticket, a development which forced Atiku not to campaign in the state for fear of disruption by the rival factions as witnessed during the Buhari’s campaign rally in Abeokuta. While Atiku will get a sizeable number, the Osinbajo’s sentiment will play its role in giving Buhari a marginal lead.
Nobody should expect the stiff contest witnessed in Osun during the guber poll last year as it was a rebellion against former governor Rauf Aregbesola over his failure to pay salaries, coupled with some of his unpopular moves. APC will win there this time. Likewise, the party will also win in Oyo, Ondo and Ekiti. However, it must be unequivocally stated that anyone who underestimates what PDP could come up with in this region will be doing that at his/her own peril.
Atiku or Buhari?
Cumulatively, inferences from The New Diplomat‘s findings show that whereas both candidates will score at least one-quarter (25%) of the votes cast in 24 states (two third) of the federation, Buhari will win the popular votes in 18 states (48%); Atiku will have 8 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja (25%) to himself and his party; and 10 of the states accounting for 27% are battle ground with both candidates having their foothold on them.
According to the conditions prescribed by the Nigeria’s 1999 constitution, a person is duly elected as president, where if there are more than one candidates, he or she scores a majority of votes as well as at least one-quarter (25%) of the votes cast in each of two third of the states of the federation.
Nonetheless, it’s not done and dusted yet, Atiku could upturn Buhari’s lead with strong showing in the swing states, and the later could even go ahead to consolidate his borderline lead if the PDP’s anticipated votes drag in the 50:50 states.
Overall, as voters file out across Africa’s most populous nation and largest economy on Saturday, it will be a raree-show election either to prove history and trends right or shatter them with newly found surprises.