The unfolding events in the political heat presently pervading the robust air of the Nigeria, the most populous black nation in the world and the unchallenged Giant of Africa, all indices point to one conspicuous facts that the candidate of the ruling party (APC) Bola Ahmed Tinubu is set to coast to victory come February 25 of the country’s presidential election baring any last minute political intrigue or change of climate.
Though some polls carried out by various independent organisations in the country do signal otherwise but the signs are glaringly there for an unsentimental political analyst to glimpse through and conclude on the reality on ground.
Late in 2022, the outcome of an opinion poll by ANAP Foundation showed Obi holding a significant lead over both Tinubu and Atiku.
While the Economist Intelligent Unit-EIU in its own report same period showed Tinubu winning the election with Atiku and Peter Obi coming second and third respectively. The same EUI had predicted victory for Atiku in 2019 against President Buhari. It should be noted that such polls may not define the real political situation in Nigeria with a population of over 200 million devoid of a proper data base, demographic collation, voters apathy technical, logistic, educational and cultural reasons, it becomes definitely near impossible to carry out a proper scientific opinion poll such as they do in Europe and other developed spheres
The salient fact as correctly stated by EIU In its latest report ahead of next month’s general election, indicated the chances of “Atiku in winning the poll would be significantly affected by the current internal wrangling in the PDP and the growing popularity of Peter Obi, the candidate of Labour Party (LP), in the South-East, which is traditionally the powerhouse of the PDP.”.
The most favourable factor for the All Progressive Congress (APC) presidential candidates Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the seemingly inability of the main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party’s to reconcile with its five aggrieved governors led by the Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike.
PDP, the main opposition party has been plagued by internal crisis since the presidential primary and less than a month to the presidential election, a scenario that also played out in 2015 leading the then opposition party, APC to wrestle power from PDP had held on to power for 16 years since the country’s transformations to democratic rule from the military.
Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers State, expressed dissatisfaction with the manner the primary was conducted, which placed him behind Atiku who clinched the coveted position.
The issue became more aggravated when Wike, who was Atiku’s closest opponent in the primary, was bypassed by Atiku as the former vice-president picked the governor of oil rich Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa as his running mate.
The decision was contrary to the recommendation by the special PDP selection committee that Wike should be picked as running mate.
Wike stated his demands for reconciliation, chiefly among which is the resignation of the national chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu. But Ayu has vowed not to resign his position, insisting that his mandate was for four years.
Atiku has more cause to worry. Not only is Obi eating into the PDP’s South-eastern support base, but Governor Wike and his G5 camp have officially distanced themselves from Atiku’s campaign rallies both in their various states and across the country.
So many factors are politically favourable to Bola Tinubu, the APC presidential candidates in the forthcoming election which are seemingly intellectually conspicuous to a detailed and unbiased analyst.
Aside many other factors, one of the stringent instrument that will contribute to the victory of Tinubu in the upcoming election is the power of incumbency
APC’s control of the Federal Government is a sure plus for the party and its presidential candidate come February. Apart from the 1999 election which was supervised by a military government, we have had five other presidential elections in this Republic and the party in control of the Federal Government won four of them, a predictive factor of 80%. On three occasions, the winners were incumbents, in all cases with weak records, flooded with many irregularities, electoral fraud and judicial manipulations. While on one occasion, the ruling party managed to persevere with a weak candidate.
Control of the Federal Government is an important factor because it guarantees flow of money from public and private sources, guarantees access to government-controlled media, and also guarantees the [hidden] cooperation of security agencies. Besides, an incumbent government can switch policies, grant favours, manipulate counted votes, and deter opposition agents and voters through the use of thugs and miscreants during the voting process.
Despite the presence of three major political gladiators from the three major ethnic groups in the country, there are some fabrics of confidence in the recent amendment of the Electoral Act with the introduction of BVAC which many observers see as a welcome development that would bring bout less fraud in the election process. But with a thorough understanding of how things are easily manipulated in Nigeria, will it really be allowed to work?
The second most important calculation for Tinubu is the voting history of some core states in the country such as Borno, Yobe and Lagos have never voted for PDP in any election. Others such as Ogun, Ondo and Ekiti voted for PDP only once in governorship and twice in presidential elections. On the other hand, states such as Rivers, Delta, Cross River, Enugu, Ebonyi and Taraba have always voted for PDP in presidential and governorship polls. Bayelsa voted against a PDP governorship candidate only once. All the other states have a mixed record of cross party voting, but in the last two election cycles, majority of them voted for APC.
Another factor, also a very significant one at that is that the three front runners cut across the major different regional demography. A factor that has always played an important role in the election process, except probably in 2011 which many still saw as a rigged one by the ruling People’s Democratic Party-PDP. Even at that, the other region that would have countered such balance, the South West didn’t really have a joint candidate; hence majority went with the incumbent Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP. With the bulk votes from the 11 states in his south south and south east he was able to counter the Northern candidate Muhammadu Buhari of the then CPC.
With Tinubu, a South West political leader is a different ball game entirely and no doubt the regional factor will definitely play a very big score come February.
PDP governors in Oyo and Osun states notwithstanding, majority of the electorates are set to pick their own irrespective of political affiliation. In fact, at Tinubu’s visit to the leader of the Pan Yoruba political organization Pa Famoroti late last year in Ondo State. The PDP governor Engr. Seyi Makinde, one of the members of Wike’s dissident governors (G5) through his deputy officially endorsed Tinubu of the APC as the wish of the entire Yoruba political group in the coming presidential election.
Definitely, it’s a general consensus among the two other regions that the northerners where Atiku of the PDP hails from have had its own share of the presidency, hence the turn of another region. Definitely, a Yoruba man from the South West would rather cast his vote for a Yoruba than a Peter Obi of the South East. A region that in all elections held so far has never voted for the Yoruba region’s candidate. Meanwhile the South West region has six (6) states with four strongly controlled by APC.
The South-West states put together has 18.3 million registered voters, with regards to the Independent Electoral Commission-INEC latest data. The zone comprises Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Ekiti and Ondo.
As against Peter Obi of the Labour Party, who hails from the South East region most of the political leaders in that region are openly against his presidential pursuit. Anambra state, his state of origin has an All People’s Grand Alliance-APGA as the governor and APGA has its own presidential candidate. APGA is the Pan Igbo political group which has at various times held the state solemnly against incursion of the PDP which for long has been the traditional party of the people of south east.
In fact, Peter Obi himself came in as Governor in 2007 under APGA before he decamped to PDP during his second term as governor. He recently moved to LP when he realised that the possibility clinching the presidential was not clear in PDP.
APC governors in Ebonyi, Imo and Cross River would definitely give all it takes to deliver their states to Tinubu although this is unlikely, given the Obi factor in the South East as well as South-South voters’ near-solid record for voting PDP in all previous elections. Hence that region is a bit complex between Obi and Atiku.
South-East, is the smallest geopolitical zone, and consists of five states– Ebonyi, Enugu, Abia, Anambra and Imo – with 11.49 million voters while the South-South which comprises Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Cross River, Bayelsa, Edo and Delta states and has a total of 15.2 million registered voters.
Peter Obi who has so far tactically applied the Christian factor to his political appeal is a Catholic, a traditional denomination of the South eastern people and some sizeable parts of the South-South though greatly avoided by most South-South natives unlike in the south east. Given the possibility of incurring major supports of its adherents, South east could be 60% for him while both APC/ PDP struggle for the remaining 40%.
The insecurity that has engulfed the five states should not also be down-played as it could deter most eligible voters from coming to perform their civic duty as IPOB had always threatened that no election will hold within the self-acclaimed states of Biafra.
Whichever way things pans out in the South-East and South-South, the votes are sure to be divided among the three major parties It’s a sure bet that Peter Obi unlike Tinubu could not be expecting a bloc vote from his region and lesser votes from south-south states as could be deduced from his recent near to empty stadiums in some states there. Port Harcourt still remains a bitter experience for him and his Labour Party
All these states from south-south are surely between Atiku’s PDP and Tinubu’s APC, Peter Obi of LP is sure to come out a distant third. The facts are there not only through their various campaign crowds but intellectual communal/leaders’ political engagement in the process. Both PDP and APC as parties have stronger grassroots’ outreach in those south-south states than Peter Obi and his Labour Party. The records are there.
There has been a lot of political engagements and activities by senators and house of reps of the two leading parties, most especially Tinubu and his camp who has transversed all the nooks and crannies of that region to meet with traditional rulers and former war lords of the creeks as against that of the Labour Party.
The December opening of the newly constructed second Niger Bridge by President Buhari is a plus as well for the APC candidate
The North-Central which is made up of Nasarawa, Kogi, Benue, Niger, Kwara, Plateau and Federal Capital Territory has 15.6 million registered voters while the North-East which is made up of Yobe, Borno, Taraba, Adamawa, Bauchi and Gombe, has 12.8 million registered voters. These states all have APC governors except Ortom of Benue State who is a dissident member of Wike’s G5 camp.
No doubt, presidential votes is likely be divided between Atiku and Tinubu with Obi coming third but the issue of Atiku leading Tinubu in those region is near to impossible, though Adamawa state is the state of origin and PDP controls all three senators in Benue state there is no doubt that the north east and north central majorly are for Tinubu.
The North-West geopolitical zone, which comprises the seven states of Sokoto, Zamfara, Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi and Jigawa, with a total of 22.67 million registered voters and the remaining northern states put together which makes it 19 states are the main bloc that could swing the political pendulum and change every other political narratives if they decide to deliver a bloc vote for a particular candidate.
Bola Ahmed Tinubu being the political juggernaut and an incontestable astute strategist that he is, a well-seasoned, tested and trusted political permutator, a man aptly referred to as a political General by the former president, General (Rtd) Olusegun Obasanjo himself saw the saw the power of the those 7 North-West states plus the rest that makes the 19 northern states votes in general a voluminous baggage not to be truncated hence his surprising choice of a Muslim-Muslim ticket against all expectations. Anything otherwise would have no doubt given Atiku a bloc votes of those 19 states irrespective of APC controlling majority of those states.
You might wonder why so? The north has a dynamic religious politically default settings, you have to understand it to accept it. The Northern political mentality is somehow factory fitted that way irrespective of the Christians amongst them.
This realization is the main reason for Tinubu’s choice of the Muslim-Muslim ticket, for which he received a lot of bashing from the Christian Association of Nigeria and some concerned political leaders even with the ruling party. As usual and typical of the political strategist Tinubu is, after engaging directly with CAN and other stakeholders on his reasons, they finally saw the political strategy in his choice. Tinubu will not be so confident of a win in the North against Atiku without a Muslim-Muslim ticket, and Shettima with a track record of diplomatic leadership sure remains the sure bet for their strategy.
Though the Northern voters’ appetite for one of their own as president has considerably evaporated in recent times, at least partly due to the Buhari Administration’s less than smashing performance record, many Northerners are resigned to rotating power to the South and in their minds, a Yoruba man is the most acceptable among the Southern tribes, especially a Muslim even if by name.
And Tinubu does not only fit these criteria he has always been a friend to the north long before now. He has befriended and made lots of eminent personalities both in politics and business, hence their natural preference for him against even their own.
They can only show him appreciation by paying him back for helping fulfilling the general wish of the common northerner for a Buhari presidency which was only made possible by the efforts/strategy of Tinubu after Buhari had tried and failed consecutively on three different occasions.
Some are still drunk on an unforeseen recurrence of the 1993 Abiola’s stolen mandate that the north will later turn around to betray Tinubu and the Yorubas in general by voting their own come February. That’s nothing but an intellectually bereaved mental conjunction. Even if not for political posterity and religious fairness, the north has no choice than to rotate the presidency of that entity called Nigeria. They cannot afford to do otherwise at least to curtail the various agitations by separationist movements springing up all over the county. IPOB, ESN, and recently the Yoruba Nation agitators came out because of the perceived dominance of the Northern/Fulani rulership over the helms of affairs of over 290 tribes that make up the country. The natural candidate among the front runners is nobody than Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the APC of the ruling party.
I remember the report of Mahmud Jega on his visit to one of the great political leader in the north, Late Liman Ciroma on supporting Dr. Alex Ekwueme as against Obasanjo in the build up to the 1999 election when the elder statesman complained that Yoruba newspaper writers were still attacking the North despite its pledge to support Obasanjo. I quietly remarked that Northerners could support Dr. Alex Ekwueme instead. Malam Liman however said, “No. It is only Yoruba that we can trust to manage a diverse polity, because their ancestors built diverse kingdoms.” Remember that he was a trained archeologist and a top flight Federal civil servant.
The above is the average thought of a northern political leader which is doctrinally enshrined to their various followers when it’s time to shift their political hold just like they did in 1993 against their very own Tofa, a Muslim who hails from the traditional and religious empire of the northerners Kano. Tofa even lost in his polling unit in that election. That is just the political dynamisms of the Northerners.
Meanwhile, most appointed chairmen of some northern states of the Labour Party have been tendering their resignation letters and quitting from the party due Peter Obis selection of majorly Igbos from the South-East to take some selected campaign position in the north. According to them it’s a sign that Obi will no doubt occupy all major positions to his fellow Igbo brothers if he eventually becomes the president. These and the absconding of campaign funds by some support group leaders across the country. No doubt most have come to realize the futility in his aspiration hence their resolve to help themselves rather than wasting such needed money.
It is needless here to start listing Atiku’s antecedents that would definitely make his dream a pipe one in this country called Nigeria. A desire he has been in pursuit of since 1992 which was clinched by Abiola (MKO) before it was annulled by the then military Head of State, Ibrahim Badamosi (IBB).
No doubt the victory that played out then is bound to repeat itself come 11th of March, the only difference is that Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT) will be sworn in come May 29, 2023.
- Two Nigerian Billionaires “smoke peace pipe” as Billionaire businessman, Femi Otedola exits stakes in Transnational Corporation Plc (Transcorp)…Tony Elumelu pays a 400 Percent premium on Transcorp’s closing price. - May 8, 2023
- Camara Laye! The African Child - April 9, 2023
- Remembering Agu, The Little Boy In “Beasts of No Nation” - April 9, 2023