Home » Goodluck Jonathan (2010-present), Headlines, Presidency » 120 hrs to go: Jonathan, Atiku, Jibril in last minute rush for delegates

120 hrs to go: Jonathan, Atiku, Jibril in last minute rush for delegates

It is 120 hours to the PDP presidential primaries and the heat is already descending on Abuja, the venue of the all-important contest.

The three contenders that would be on the ballot are President Jonathan Goodluck, former Vice President, Alh. Atiku Abubakar and Mrs. Sarah Jibril. This is first time either man will be on the ballot for the presidential ticket of the party, but second for Mrs. Jibril.

Atiku was, however, a serious contender for the presidential ticekt of the Social Democratic Party, SDP in 1993.

Oyo State will be taking the highest number of delegates to the convention floor with 160 delegates followed by Kano State with 154 delegates. The FCT is expected to have the lowest number of delegates.

Kano which ordinarily should have had the highest number of delegates because of its superior number of local governments lost its ranking position because it is controlled by the All Nigeria Peoples Party, and hence is deprived of a substantial number of statutory delegates that ordinarily would have come from the pack of state and local government officials elected on the platform of the party.

The North West Zone and the  South South Zone have the highest number of delegates by zone, with 719 and 639 respectively.

How delegates may votes zone by zone

North East Zone Total number of Delegates 492

The only presidential contender from the zone is Atiku Abubakar. Atiku’s influence on the politics of the zone is, however, limited especially among the class of Governors none of whom he helped in winning in 2007. His opposition to their gubernatorial bid nevertheless, Atiku’s influence in the politics of the zone is shaped in the form of personal alliances he forged over his 20 plus years in politics.

Despite the zone’s suppressed cries of marginalization at the presidential level, the presidential contest in the zone will be largely influenced by the Governors all of whom are in battle for political survival. As the Governors including the outgoing Governor of Borno and Gombe States would be interested in political accommodation after the 2011 elections their best bets would be to embrace President Goodluck Jonathan.

However, that factor would be seriously challenged by the popular sentiments in favour of zoning which Atiku represents.

North West Zone Total Number of Delegates 719

The Northwest is at the centre of the crave for power shift having felt short-changed by the death of President Umaru Yar‘Adua in office last year.

The feeling among the zone is that the Northwest geopolitical zone should have been allowed to produce a replacement for the late President in the 2011 presidential elections and that push was articulately canvassed by some of the zone’s most notable leaders within and outside the PDP.

The national deputy chairman of the PDP, Dr. Haliru Bello Mohammed was one of the most notable canvassers of power shift.

However, the zone’s agitation has been seriously countered by agitations from other zones which pointed at the Northwest’s overwhelming role in the top leadership of the country since independence. The zone produced five of the 13 or so military and civilian rulers to have led the nation since independence.

However, the agitation for zoning has been seriously undermined by the proclivity towards political survival by the governors. Some of the governors are determined to sustain the status quo as concerning themselves and will as a result be largely inclined towards the President.
Atiku could muster up to 40% of the votes of the delegates.

North Central: 607 Delegates

Abubakar Atiku is expected to have a sway with votes from Nasarawa, Kwara and Niger States’ delegates.

The North-Central geopolitical zone with its three former Heads of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida and Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar may have between them held the longest reign of any geopolitical zone on the affairs of the nation.

But the lack of unity in the zone may be a blessing in disguise for the political aspiration of the sitting President, Dr. Jonathan.

The political direction of the zone would largely be dependent on the serving Governors all of whom with the notable exception of Governors Bukola Saraki of Kwara and Aliyu Babangida of Niger are known proponents of the Jonathan candidacy.

Benue where support for Dr. Jonathan in the zone is being coordinated from itself promises to be a spectacle following the renewed alliance by some of the State’s most notable politicians against Governor Gabriel Suswam.

Atiku may also reap from the Northern Consensus arrangement in Kwara State and Niger State. But, Plateau, Benue, Kogi and the FCT are all poised for Jonathan.

South East 497 Delegates

The shape of politics in the Southeast is currently blurred by the seeming lack of focus and unity by the zone’s political leaders as concerning the presidency. The highest socio-cultural group in the zone, that is Ohaneze Ndigbo has to the surprise and amazement of agitators of a Nigerian President from the South East glowingly endorsed President Jonathan. Whether out of solidarity with a southerner or not, the endorsement if it helps Jonathan win the presidential election, could inevitably imperil the crave for a Nigerian President from the region within the next 12 years.

It is perhaps out of their desire to realize the dream of an Ndigbo President of Nigeria that Senator Ken Nnamani, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, Prof. Alphonsus Nwosu, Senator Ben Obi among other regional leaders from the zone have been very supportive of the consensus presidential bid of Atiku Abuabakar. The promise of Atiku of doing one term and handing over to an Igbo man, some say, may have emboldened the quartet of Nnamani, Soludo, Nwosu, Obi and any of the other vice-presidential materials hopeful of benefiting from such a promise.

However, the battle for survival and political relevance by the Governors is a direct affront to the aspiration of the agitators of an Ndigbo President of Nigeria.

The Governors’ determination to push through President Jonathan’s candidacy to their benefit and the contrary agitation of their local traducers to overturn the dominance of the Governors would play a central factor in the political direction of the Southeast in 2011. That scenario is still evolving.

South South: 639 Delegates

The South-South geopolitical zone is largely the fort of President Jonathan. It is remarkable that former foes of the President including his home Governor, Timipire Sylva are all falling in line to outdo one another in voicing their support for the home boy.

Nevertheless, the support for the President must not be overstretched as Dr. Jonathan is still liable to the survivalist schemes of some of the region’s political heavyweights.

One possible problem ahead for Dr. Jonathan in the coming election is the collateral damage on him arising from the war of attrition between some of his avid supporters and some of the regional Governors.

In Bayelsa and Delta States that scenario is even more clear. The recent gubernatorial declaration by former presidential aide Mr. Timi Alaibe is bound to affect the balance of powers in the year ahead. Is President Jonathan going to back Mr. Alaibe against Governor Sylva? Or would he play a neutral role?

South West : 622 Delegates

Twice delegates of this zone have met and twice they have endorsed President Jonathan.
The Southwest had, until recently been considered as a sure banker for President Jonathan. However, recent gubernatorial reverses for the PDP have put the states in the region into play in the presidential sweepstakes. The advantage of President Jonathan was circumscribed within the capacity of the sitting Governors to heed the instruction of former President Obasanjo to deliver the delegates to President Jonathan at the PDP convention.

The reverses for the PDP are undoubtedly to the advantage of Atiku in the PDP as was seemingly echoed by his campaign team following Obasanjo’s “I dey laugh” mockery of Atiku last month. When the Court of Appeal sacked Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, the Atiku campaign team issued a statement with the title, “We too dey laugh o”

Atiku’s advantage in the Southwest is anchored on his long standing political relationship with some of the region’s most prominent political figures. But given Obasanjo’s continued influence in the region, he would still have a hard time scaling through.


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Posted by on Jan 7 2011. Filed under Goodluck Jonathan (2010-present), Headlines, Presidency. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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