By The New Diplomat Poll Tracking Desk
Though the 2023 Presidential election is still far away, speculations about the likely shape of the electoral battle is already generating riveting puzzle. While consultations are discreetly on-going among political gladiators, the political demographics of North-South dynamics are beginning to play out in many quarters. Already, there are animated as well as mumbled, muttered conversations about statistical calculus as to the numerical years that both the North and South have occupied the Presidency since 1999 respectively. This has expectedly triggered an unexpected political algorithm in many quarters, especially with unfolding data that may precisely define the 2023 political paradigm.
- The unfolding calculations
In precise terms, there are three schools of thought which lie on the very heart of where the power pendulum swings in 2023. The first School of thought insists that since the South has statistically reigned for 13 years in contrast to North’s 11 years ( by 2023 when President Buhari tenure would come to an end), parity and equity demand that North should have a shot at the presidency in 2023 for one term. The second school of thought argues strongly that irrespective of that statistical fact, there is need to have power shift from North to South in line with an unwritten gentleman’s pact. And, a third group says whatever traditional power-shift understanding that existed between North and South was truncated, quashed in 2011 when President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, a Southerner, backed by Obasanjo, contested and won that year’s presidential elections, thus altering the power oscillation protocol. Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe, a chieftain of the APC and an avid supporter of a former governor of Lagos State and a national leaders of the APC, Ashiwaju Bola Tinubu avers that it’s the turn of the South West geo-political zone to produce the next president in 2023. Alhaji Yerima Shettima, President of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum faults Ogunlewe’s thesis. Shettima asserts the North won’t succumb to blackmails on 2023, stressing that the North be allowed to produce the next president to make up for statistical deficit. The trend since 1999: 1.Olusegun Obasanjo (1999-2003: South(S\West)) 2. Olusegun Obasanjo (2003-2007:South(S |West)3. Umaru Yar’Adua (2007-2010: North(N|West) 4. Goodluck Jonathan (2010-2011:South(S|South )5. Goodluck Jonathan (2011-2015:South(S|South) 6.Muhammadu Buhari (2015-2019:North(N|West) 7. Muhammadu Buhari (2019-2023:North(N|West).
- The emerging horse-trading, jostling, questions
These are whispering discussions that may get highly vocalized as the nation cruises towards 2023. According to political analysts, these conversations and sentiments might ultimately define the shape and scenarios of the next presidential contest. With the coast already clear following last Wednesday’s Supreme Court unanimous dismissal of Atiku Abubakar, (PDP Presidential Candidate)’ appeal against President Muhammadu Buhari, the horse-trading and joggling toward 2023 would certainly get more heightened in the days ahead. However, unlike 2019 when Buhari’s impressive victory over Atiku was widely expected given the President’s cult-like, overwhelming support, especially across the North, the political permutations are likely to be different in the case of the 2023 Presidential contest. The New Diplomat’s checks indicate that the biggest question, so far, among political watchers and keen participants of the evolving power intrigues still revolves around how the contentious question of parity and equity in the power balance between North and South would be addressed by all political parties. The APC won 2015 presidential elections and subsequent 2019 elections because of Buhari, not in-spite of him. The party is therefore beholden to him, and whoever he endorses in 2023, would most likely sweep the North as well, say analysts who have been keen followers of political developments.
How then would APC, PDP and other fringe political parties navigate the political landscape in 2023? And how would they steer the lingering unresolved power parity question between the North and South? So far, as at last count, those being speculated to be indicating interest in succeeding Buhari in 2023 include the following: Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, a Professor of Law and Senor Advocate of Nigeria(SAN), Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, (Chairman, Nigeria Governors Forum) Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a national leader of the APC and former Lagos State governor, Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State(former FCT minister under President Obasanjo), Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State,(former Speaker of the House of Representatives), Pastor Tunde Bakare, fiery Lagos Pastor and running mate to President Buhari in 2011, Prof Attahiru Jega, former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) and Chief Peter Obi, former Anambra State Governor and running mate to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in 2019 presidential polls. There are also strong indications from the camp of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar that the PDP may field alongside a South-South running mate in 2023. This is because, to many of his followers, Atiku may have given up in 2019 but not his fight for the Presidency in 2023.
The New Diplomat decided to go to town across the 36 States of the country including the FCT to gauge the feelings, voices and responses of Nigerians. Here are six likely, possible political scenarios or permutations which The New Diplomat put across to respondents to make their hard choices in an on-going poll survey. The questions put across to respondents centered around the following six likely scenarios that might shape the political dynamics of 2023 Presidency.
APC: Northern Presidential Candidate with a Southern Running Mate…
APC: Southern Presidential candidate with a Northern Running Mate…
PDP: Northern Presidential Candidate with a Southern Running Mate…
PDP: Southern Presidential Candidate with a Northern Running Mate.
Third Force: A ramping up of aggrieved members of PDP, APC and smaller political parties to create a middle ground coalition or alliance to share power at the Federal level on equal, concurrent terms.
A re-enactment of the 1979 NPN model which saw power sharing arrangement in the following sequence: North (President), South East (Vice President), South South(Senate President), South-West(Chief Justice of the Federation), North Central(Deputy Senate President), South East(Speaker),(Minister of Justice and Attorney General(South West ):
+NB: The New Diplomat Inc’s Poll Tracking team will aggregate all field data from across all the 36 States of the Federation including the FCT, and the officially released polling data by INEC, including number of registered voters across the country in 2019, voters with PVCs in 2019, population figures by both NPC and NBS, voting strength of various geo-political zones, States, etc. Our Poll Tracking Team will subsequently develop and design a Hybrid Poll tracking methodology that would combine different survey methods to arrive at our verdict. The Hybrid approach would include sampled respondents, focus groups interviews, coding, field questionnaires, telephone interviews, reputation audit, etc., to be conducted between November , 2019 to January 2020.