BUHARI, RIBADU, SHEKARAU UP AGAINST INCUMBENT FACTOR
Today, the die is cast and all the anxiety of who becomes the country's president in the next four years would give way within the next 48 hours, when the results would be announced. Some of the presidential candidates are seen as contestants to the throne, while some are mere pretenders. Indeed, most of them have worked hard to market themselves and their parties' manifestoes to the electorate, while others are contended with being listed as presidential candidates without holding any campaign rally.
Among the presidential candidates are President Goodluck Jonathan of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), General Muhammadu Buhari of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC); Governor Ibrahim Shekarau of the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) and Mallam Nuhu Ribadu of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). These four are seen as the contenders. Those some Nigerians consider as pretenders are Rev. Chris Okotie of Fresh Democratic Party; Bashorun Dele Momodu of the Conscience Party; Mrs. Ebiti Onoyom Ndok of the United Nigerian Democratic Party (UNDP); Alhaji Mahmud Waziri (PFDC), Dr. Chris Nwokobia, Alhaji Adeala Shitta-Bey (MPPP) and few others.
President Jonathan criss-crossed the 36 states of the federation in 37 days campaigning. His opponents, like Buhari, Ribadu and Shekarau have also campaigned across the country, although not in all the 36 states. From what is on ground, while some of the candidates are strong in some geo-political zones, Jonathan appears the only candidate that enjoy a national spread because his party, which has been in government for 12 years, controlling 27 states. The heavy media blitz, both print and electronic, embarked upon by the president has given him more notches against his competitors.
However, the voters' composition is a big factor in the election. Statistics of the voters registration show that South East has 7, 577, 212 South South has 9, 474, 427; South West has 14, 296, 163; North Central has 10, 684, 017; North East has 11, 936, 452 And North West has 19, 803, 691 Jonathan has strong support base in South South and South East, but the total votes in the zone is just 17, 015, 639. The South West, with the second largest votes, among the zones, tilts to ACN, while Jonathan is strong in North Central. The battle will be in North East and North West. North West has the largest voters and produced Buhari.
The North East is the home of the conservatives, which supports northern president.
In any case, state-by-state analysis reveals the strength and weaknesses of each candidate. Based on the analysis, it is apparent that the contest is between Jonathan and the rest. If the last National Assembly election is taken as a yardstick, Jonathan has an edge. In the last election, PDP recorded 25 percent of votes in about 31 states, which is more that the two-third (24 states) requirement to win the presidency.
ABIA: The state is a stronghold of Jonathan. He can go to sleep because no other candidate is competing with him in the state. Jonathan was in Abia to campaign. His wife also did. The fact that his wife has an affinity with Umuahia, in Abia State, makes Jonathan the favourite in the state. Again, the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), which is major contender in the state, also adopted Jonathan. At the end of the day, Jonathan will carry the day, perhaps, with 90 percent while ACN would come a distant second.
ADAMAWA: The out come of the election will be very interesting in this state, which is the home of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who lost the PDP presidential ticket to Jonathan. Instances have shown that Atiku's influence is waning in the state. First, Adamawa delegates to the PDP national convention rejected Atiku and voted for Jonathan. Also, in the last National Assembly elections PDP grabbed all the seats in Adamawa.
In the presidential election, it is no more intra-party contest. It is between PDP and others. The crisis in the party that led to the decampment of some PDP bigwigs to ACN and CPC will definitely work against the ruling party in the state. Buhari's CPC, which is spreading like hurricane fire in the North, will cut a chunk of the votes. This is also the home state of ACN candidate, Ribadu, who may not be disgraced by his people. This sentiment of the North producing the president is still an in issue. This state will be too close to call. Jonathan may have about 60 percent, while Buhari, Ribadu and Shekarau would share the remaining votes.
AKWA IBOM: This is one of the two states that gave Jonathan 100 percent of the votes during the PDP convention that threw Jonathan up as the presidential bearer. South South is the only zone that has traditionally been with PDP, except two years ago when the court voided its victory at Edo State and gave it to ACN. This loyalty the zone has for PDP has not shifted and the sentiment of the zone producing the president, for the first time since independence, is great fillip for Jonathan. At the end, he is going to get about 90 percent of votes, while Ribadu and Buhari would share the rest.
ANAMBRA: This state, ruled by the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), is behind Jonathan. APGA, which is more or less an adopted son of PDP, has already adopted Jonathan as its presidential candidate. Apart from APGA, the Accord Party in the state is also routing for Jonathan. Jonathan will carry the day by at least 85 percent of the votes, while Ribadu, with such politician as former governor of the state, Dr. Chris Ngige, may get 10 percent, leaving the rest for Buhari and others.
BAUCHI: The governor, Isa Yuguda, is fighting a battle of his life to get re-elected. The governor is the campaign director of Jonathan/ Sambo presidential campaign, in the North East. Jonathan defeated Atiku by three votes in sate, at the PDP convention. Against the contentious issue of northern presidency, which is alive in the state, Buhari could score up to 40 percent. Jonathan looks good to get about 50 percent in the state, while Shekarau and Ribadu will make do with gets the remaining votes.
BAYELSA: This is the president's home state. The Labour Party, which is the alternative party in the state, has directed its supporters to vote for Jonathan. As Chief Tony Anenih threatened, before the PDP convention, that a South southerner that cast a vote for any other aspirant other than Jonathan would be fished out and dealt with, it is like a law in the state that the president is the man. Jonathan will score 97 percent, leaving the remaining for the other candidates.
BENUE: The intra-party squabble in PDP in this state will affect the performance of Jonathan. Some of the chieftains of PDP deserted the party for other parties, which has made the state one of the volatile states. By and large, Jonathan will win with about 65 percent while Ribadu will score about 25 percent, leaving Shekarau and Buhari to share the remaining votes.
CROSS RIVER: The issue of the South South producing the president is still in the front burner. This will sway votes for Jonathan. Some other presidential candidates did not campaign in the state. This leaves the entire state for Jonathan to carry about 95 percent of the total votes, leaving the rest for the other candidates. Even though the UNPD candidate, Ebiti Onoyom Ndok, is said to come from this zone, nobody knows about her and her ambition.
DELTA: This is a core PDP state, despite the fact that the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) is showing some strength. The politics of president from Niger politics is very strong here. DPP has also adopted Jonathan. In the state, Jonathan can as well go to sleep, as he will have at least 94 percent of the votes, leaving Buhari, Ribadu, Shekarau and others to scramble for the remaining.
EBONYI: Even though the National chairman of ANPP, Dr. Ogbonna Onu, is from this state, some political pundits would want to stake their necks that he would not make the difference against the president. Onu has been in political oblivion for some time and the governor, Chief Martin Elechi, who is the campaign director of the president in South East, will not fail to deliver. APGA, which also visible in the state, is supporting Jonathan. Jonathan will win by as much as 77 percent, while ANPP will win about 20 percent and the remaining for the other candidates.
EDO: The former governor of the state, John Odigie-Oyegun, is the vice presidential candidate of ANPP. This state will be a political theatre to behold. It is going to be a test of might between the 'mighty' Tony Anenih and the 'little' Adams Oshiomhole. Oshiomhole of ACN snatched his victory from the jaws of lion at the election tribunal. This is another contest to test, between Anenih and Oshiomhole, who is the stronger in Edo politics. At the end, Jonathan will score over 65 percent because of South South and Niger Delta emotion. Ribadu will score about 20 percent, while Shekarau gets 10 percent and Buhari goes with the remaining votes.
EKITI: This is an enclave that PDP lost to ACN at the Appeal Court last year and since then, the ruling ACN is doing everything to uproot totally PDP from that state. At the end of today's exercise, Jonathan will still get about 35 percent of the votes, while Ribadu gets 40 percent, leaving the rest for Buhari and others.
ENUGU: Like in other South East states, Enugu is just for Jonathan. The other parties that are fighting to unseat the ruling party in the state are equally routing for Jonathan and to the president's advantage, the other presidential candidates did not do extensive campaigns that could sway votes to them. Jonathan will not get less then 94 percent of votes cast, while the others will fight for the remaining.
FCT: Here is the seat of power, where it is expected that Jonathan will carry the day. But it may not be so, as Buhari will cut a chunk of the votes. The battle is between Jonathan and Buhari, with the president getting about 52 percent, while Buhari gets about 47 percent, leaving the rest for the other candidates.
GOMBE:In this North East state, the governor has done well, which endears PDP to the people. However, the northern presidency sentiment is high here. At the end, Buhari will get about 40 percent votes, while Jonathan will get 45 percent, Shekarau and Ribadu will share the rest.
IMO:Jonathan will not sweat to win this state. The battle is for the governorship election. Jonathan will carry the day with as much as 85 percent votes, while Ribadu will be closest rival, perhaps, with 12 percent. The rest will go to the other candidates.
JIGAWA:Here, the northern presidency quest is high. But not minding the outcome of National Assembly election, Buhari will get 35 percent; Jonathan, 20 percent, Shekarau, 40 and Ribadu takes the rest.
KADUNA: This is the hot bed of northern politics and also the home state of the Vice President, Namadi Sambo. Voters here are in support of northern president. Buhari will carry the day, with not less than 50 percent of the votes, while Jonathan gets about 37 percent. The remaining will be shared between Ribadu and Shekarau.
KANO:: Before last Saturday's election, no political pundit gave PDP a chance in the state. The issue was Buhari, but that was proved to be false, as PDP seems to get back the state it controlled in 1999, by winning two of the three senatorial seats, leaving one to ANPP. The pattern may change in the presidential election, but as it stands, Jonathan can get above the constitutional requirement of 25 percent votes, while Buhari gets 30 percent. Shekarau would gets 40 and the remaining for Ribadu. The Intra-party crisis in CPC in the state has affected the fortune of the party.
KATSINA: This is the home of the late President Umar Yar'Adua, who was succeeded by Jonathan. One would expect that Jonathan would have his way here, as it is said that he is still running on the Yar'Adua/Jonathan ticket. That may not be the case, as the Yar'Adua family doesn't seem to have strong stake in the Jonathan presidency and has not come out openly to campaign for Jonathan. This is also the home of Buhari. Judging by the outcome of last Saturday's election, where CPC won all the senatorial seats, it will be hard for Jonathan to score up to 25 percent votes in the state. At the end, Buhari will get about 70 percent, while Shekaru and Ribadu go home with the remaining.
KEBBI: If Jonathan's performance at the PDP convention is an index to the outcome of the presidential election, then he should forget Kebbi State. But a lot of water has passed under the bridge and things have changed since then and the outcome of last Saturday's election points to the fact that Jonathan has taken the state. He will get over 55 percent of the votes, leaving the rest for Buhari, Shekarau and Ribadu to scramble for.
KOGI: This is one of the North Central states that are not so deep in the northern presidency. As it stands, it is Jonathan's fortress, as he will score over 65 percent, while Buhari gets 20 percent. Shekarau and Ribadu grab the remaining votes.
KWARA:The presidency is not in contention here. What is the issue is the governorship, as Saraki junior and Saraki senior are squaring it up. The governor, Bukola Saraki and also Chairman of Governors Forum is Jonathan's man and so will carry sway voters to line behind Jonathan. Jonathan will score about 60 percent, while CAN, which is also strong, will get 25 percent, leaving Buhari and Shekarau with the remaining votes.
LAGOS:This is a battle ground in the South West. The intra-party squabbles in PDP will be a draw back for Jonathan. This is the den of ACN and will be difficult for other parties, especially PDP, to have a foothold. Jonathan may not have got up to 25 percent but for the votes of non-indigenes, especially the Igbo, who are deeply committed to the Jonathan presidency. Therefore, he may get up to 38 percent votes, while Ribadu gets 52 percent. Buhari would make do with 10 percent.
NASARAWA: Here, the battle is between Buhari and Jonathan. CPC won one senatorial seat, with a very high margin, while PDP won two seats with narrow margins. Both Jonathan and Buhari will not score less then 40 percent votes each. The other candidates will share the remaining votes.
NIGER: The contest here is between Buhari and Jonathan. At the PDP convention, Jonathan performed very poorly in this state because of the issue of northern presidency. The influence of the governor, Babangida Aliyu, who has delivered good governance to his people and a close associate of the president, will attract votes to Jonathan. It will not be surprise if Jonathan doesn't get up to 25 percent votes. Buhari may likely get up to 65 percent, leaving the remaining for the other candidates.
OGUN: This is the home state of firebrand cleric and Buhari's running mate. PDP will pay heavily over the fight between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Governor Gbenga Daniel, with the latter moving with the soul of PDP to People Party of Nigeria (PPN), leaving the shell to Obasanjo. ACN has latched on this division and therefore, swept the entire senatorial seat last Saturday. If the fence mending being brokered by the leadership of PDP works out, Jonathan will still score about 40 percent, Ribadu, 50 percent; Buhari, 10 percent.
ONDO: This state was controlled by PDP until the court decided otherwise and gave it to Labour Party. Apart from any other thing, the Ijaw presence in the state will count for Jonathan. Jonathan will not get less than 39 percent, while Ribadu will score about 52 percent, leaving the rest for Buhari and Shekarau.
OSUN: A few months ago, the state was ruled by PDP, but the judiciary turned the tide, in favour of ACN. In the last couple of months, ACN has taken over and is running PDP out of the state, as shown in the NASS election. However, Jonathan will still run away with 30 percent of the votes, while Ribadu takes about 55 percent, leaving the rest for the other candidates.
OYO: A man can never win a war with itself. PDP in Oyo has inflicted itself severe injury, with its intra-party squabble. However, that the state is producing, perhaps, the only South West PDP senator in the emerging National Assembly, shows that the party is not finished in the state. Be it as it may, Jonathan will still score about 35 percent, leaving ACN with 60 percent vote and the rest for Buhari.
PLATEAU: The issue of northern president is not strong in the state. The Labour Party, which is on the neck of the PDP in the state, doesn't have presidential candidate. Jonathan is at home in this state and will win with about 60 percent votes, leaving other candidates to share 40 percent votes.
RIVERS: This is the heart of South South. The president's wife is from this state. It will be surprising if Jonathan gets less than 93 percent votes in this state. Everything works for him here. There isn't any serious opposition for the governor in the state. The remaining seven percent votes will be there for the other candidates.
SOKOTO: As a conservative state, Sokoto is supposed to be very emotional about the northern presidency, but that will not stop Jonathan from making his marks, by scoring about 50 percent votes. Buhari, Shekarau and Ribadu would share the rest votes.
TARABA: Here, voting maybe on religious and ethnic line. The high number of Christians in this state will queue behind Jonathan. Again the state, being ruled by PDP, will also be great fillip for the president. Jonathan may score about 65 percent, while Buhari scores about 23 percent, leaving Shekarau and Ribadu to divide the rest.
YOBE: This is the home state of the apostle of rotation and northern presidency, Alhaji Adamu Ciroma. At the PDP convention, bookmakers had anticipated that Jonathan would face his worst defeat in the state, but it turned out that he defeated his opponents, Atiku Abubakar, the product of the northern consensus arrangement, with a wide margin. Today, there will be a great difference, but not to the point of Jonathan scoring below 30 percent. Buhari will go home with 25 percent and Shekarau, 43 percent.
ZAMFARA: Before last Saturday's National Assembly election, everybody had given Buhari's CPC this state. But the out come of last Saturday elections upset many, as the battle was between ANPP and PDP. ANPP swept the three senatorial seats. Jonathan will get 30 percent, while Buhari may made do with 28 percent, leaving Shekarau with 40. Ribadu will take the rest.