State-by-state projection of their chances
With the presidential election just around the corner, our correspondents write that the battle, which is a straight one between President Goodluck Jonathan and General Muhammadu Buhari, may spring some surprises
As Nigerians, nay the world, wait for the March 28 presidential election and the 10 competing political parties putting finishing touches to their strategies, the actual contest, political watchers have submitted, is between the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party and Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) of the All Progressives Congress.
How would the scenario look like in the country’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, when the battle is fought, won and lost?
President Jonathan of the PDP is expected to win the presidential poll in Abia State as his party remains the dominant one there. The PDP’s strong base in the state coupled with the position of Governor Theodore Orji as the Coordinator of Jonathan’s Campaign Organisation in the South-East zone has further boosted Jonathan’s chances at the poll. Abia parades an army of people and accomplished Nigerians who are of the PDP family and they have been working assiduously to deliver their various localities to the President. Some of them include: Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Canada, Chief Ojo Maduekwe; former PDP National Chairman, Vincent Ogbulafor; former Senate President Adulphus Wabara; Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Gen. Ike Nwachukwu ( retd); among a host of others.
Jonathan’s marital tie with Abia State is also expected to boost his chances. The mother of the First Lady, Patience Jonathan, hailed from Abia and the state enjoys a very warm relationship with the First Family.
Abuja, the seat of power, should ordinarily be the star on the crown of the eventual winner of the Presidential elections. However, the territory which some refer to as a city of civil servants is likely to be almost evenly split between Jonathan and Buhari.
Senator Philip Aduda (PDP) is expected to lead other public and political office holders to mobilise votes for the President because the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed; would be required to go back to Bauchi where he hails from to join the governor and the party’s national chairman, Adamu Mua’azu to campaign for the President. Aduda, however, has to contend with a former political opponent, Adamu Sidi-Ali, who apart from contesting for a Senate seat is also mobilising support for Buhari and the APC. That Abuja is where the President has lived for six years counts for a lot but the large number of northerners in the city is also a plus for Buhari. Verdict: It’s too close to call.
It is a state of political gladiators and all of them will want to make a point. The state boasts of ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the APC; Buhari’s wife; former Chairman of the PDP, Bamanga Tukur; ex-EFCC Chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, among others.
It would have been an easy ride for the PDP, but for the Boko Haram menace that has claimed many lives.
The opinion of political analysts in the state is that despite the successes recorded in Mubi and many other towns, many indigenes are not impressed because they believe that the President launched the late war on the insurgents to score a political point.
Hence, it looks like a tight race between Buhari and Jonathan despite the fact that PDP won the state in 2011.
Both the PDP and the APC are popular in Akwa Ibom State. Each of these two political parties exercises dominance in some sections of the state.
The people of Oro ethnic nationality (the largest ethnic group in Akwa Ibom South Senatorial District with five local government areas) are mainly against the PDP.
The people, who embrace APC hold that if Oro continues to remain in the PDP, the probability for them to produce a governor in the next 40 years will be slim.
Other areas with strong support APC base are Uruan; Ibeno; Ikot Abasi; Esit Eket; Abak Federal Constituency otherwise known as Abak Five; Itu; Ini; Ikono. The party has also encroached into areas like Ikot Ekpene; Essien Udim, where the PDP has strongholds.
However, Governor Godswill Akpabio who is an ardent loyalist of Jonathan is expected to deliver the state to PDP coupled with the South-East support for Jonathan.
In 2011, President Jonathan of the PDP polled 1,145,169 million votes or 98.8 per cent of the total votes cast in Anambra State.
From the statistics, Anambra gave Jonathan the highest proportion of votes in the country. His closest rival was the Congress Progressives Congress candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, who polled 4,223 votes.
The situation on the ground shows that Jonathan still has an edge over Buhari and will very likely win the presidential election in the state.
The sentiments that worked well for Jonathan in 2011 are still very much around. But the party has lost a lot of followers, who though may not move over to vote Buhari, may remain indifferent.
The factors playing in favour of Jonathan include the incumbency factor. The party in power in the state, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, has also adopted Jonathan as its presidential candidate.
This adds to the advantage of Jonathan being the official candidate of the biggest opposition party in the state.
Jonathan is likely to win but with a diminished margin as against the result in 2011 when he scored 98 per cent of the votes.
With the National Chairman of the PDP, Adamu Mu’azu, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed and Governor Isa Yuguda, President Jonathan should expect to garner a substantial number of votes or at least 25 per cent of the votes. However, this can only happen if the three resolve their differences and decide to work together. Buhari’s popularity among the ordinary folk in the state is unlikely to wane before the March 28 election. Buhari is most likely to carry the day.
In Bayelsa, the home state of President Jonathan, it is almost a taboo to mention any other political party except the PDP.
The emergence of the rival opposition political party, the APC, has yet to change the people’s perception about the PDP. Also, the APC has yet to entrench itself as a formidable party in the state. Observers believe that in Bayelsa, the general election is fait accompli for the PDP as the party has formidable structures in the state compared to the APC and other political parties.
Here the two candidates’ chances stand at 55 per cent for Jonathan and 45 for Buhari. Though a PDP controlled state, the people of the state complain endlessly of non-payment of salaries which they say has been the bane of the government. The state is agrarian with a high dominance of civil servants in the elite class.
Having the civil servants objecting to any government spells near defeat for such administration. This is what has put the PDP on the path of declined popularity. However, Jonathan still stands slightly higher than Buhari in the reckoning of the people. Also, Senate President David Mark will want to make a good showing in his state.
In Borno, Buhari has been a political factor since the first day he declared his ambition to contest the presidency of Nigeria in 2007. He has always come first while his opponents, Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Yar’Adua and the current one, Jonathan, came a far second. He is idolised by the people of the state, it can even been said that he is more loved in the state than in his home state of Katsina because he lost there to Umaru Yar’Adua in 2007. He has never lost any election in Borno where he is seen as a role model and anyone that seeks political office has to come via him.
The love for Buhari was said to have started when he was the military governor in Maiduguri, which was the then capital of the North-East state and till date, he is still loved as if those days were moments away.
As it stands today, Buhari will get a landslide victory over Jonathan in Borno.
In Cross River State, it is obvious where the pendulum will swing in the March 28 presidential election. This is so because it is one of the few states in the South-South region that is completely controlled by the PDP.
Candidates of the ruling party won the entire senatorial and House of Representatives seats in the 2011 election. The party also produced the governor and 24 out of 25 members of the state House of Assembly. It also has in its kitty, all the 18 Local Government Area chairmen and 196 councillors.
Apart from an almost overwhelming victory for the PDP presidential candidate, votes based on ethnic sentiment might also go in favour of President Jonathan because the electorate thinks that the two-term tenure of a candidate from the region must be upheld.
In Delta, President Jonathan stands head and shoulders above his closest rival, Buhari.
A number of factors are playing in favour of the President in the state and one of them is the fact that he is from the South-South geopolitical zone. The people of Delta, would rather vote their own than support someone else from another geopolitical zone.
According to Bunor Agbomedarho, a former banker and House of Assembly aspirant, the people of Delta State will not throw away their son for whatever reason. “He is from here and we will give it to him naturally,” he said.
In addition to that, the coastal areas of the state, where block votes usually emerge from to determine eventual winners of most of the presidential and governorship elections are peopled by Jonathan’s Ijaw ethnic group.
Apart from the ethnic factor, those who now control affairs in the coastal areas, fall among the ex-Niger Delta militants that have benefitted heavily from the Federal Government under Jonathan.
Another factor that plays in favour of Jonathan is the incumbent factor in Delta where his party, the PDP, is ruling.
This is another South-East state where the PDP and its presidential candidate, Jonathan, have an edge over the opposition.
The attempt to impeach Governor Martins Elechi, who has a strong support at the grassroots, at some point threatened to undermine Jonathan’s re-election campaign in the state. There were indications that most of the governor’s supporters would have voted against the President in protest, had Elechi been impeached before the elections.
The dark cloud has, however, cleared after the Ebonyi State House of Assembly reportedly suspended the impeachment process.
Edo has a total of 1,779,738 registered voters. But the APC currently holds sway as the ruling party in Edo State, having defeated the PDP in the 2007 and 2012 governorship elections.
Like in other states in the South-South, ethnicity is considered a major factor, which would attract support for the PDP and Jonathan in the March 28 poll, as it did in 2011, when it secured the majority votes in the state, irrespective of the political parties.
Since the inception of the opposition party, Buhari has become seemingly popular across the state, compared to 2003, 2007 and 2011 presidential elections, where his campaigns were more pronounced in Auchi, an area largely dominated by Muslims. Also, Governor Adams Oshiomhole has a large following and can swing votes Buhari’s way. The Chairman of the APC, John Odigie-Oyegun, who is from the state will want to prove that he is a chairman indeed despite the political sagacity of Chief Tony Anenih who is a force to reckon with.
Events in Ekiti recently suggest a tilt in the balance between the popularity of the ruling PDP and the opposition APC. Although Governor Ayodele Fayose has continued to enjoy the support of the grassroots, it is observed these days that his large following in the state is fast depleting in ranks. This may not be unconnected with the squabbles over the primaries of the party conducted in December last year. The division in the State House of Assembly is also a minus for the PDP as the legislators who are anti-Fayose are not keen on getting their supporters to vote for Jonathan.
The opposition seems to be gathering momentum especially with the return of the governorship candidate of the Labour Party, Opeyemi Bamidele, to the APC.
Bamidele who declared support for Buhari has deployed his political platform, the Ekiti Bibire Coalition, for the mission.
The talk in town is that this general election is different from the governorship election when people mobilised and voted Fayose. It is a common trend to see people shouting ‘sai Buhari’ on the streets of Ado Ekiti.
In Enugu, President Jonathan is expected to get more votes than Buhari and other presidential candidates.
This expectation is based on the fact that, among the 36 states in the country, Enugu is arguably one of the states where the PDP has the strongest followership.
There is hardly any prominent politician that is campaigning against Jonathan in Enugu at the moment — even some ‘aggrieved’ former PDP members who joined other political parties in order to realise their political ambitions in the 2015 polls are including the President’s pictures in their campaign posters.
The politicians with the largest support bases in the state are all campaigning for Jonathan — these include Governor Sullivan Chime, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, former Senate President Ken Nnamani, and a former governor of old Anambra State, Chief Jim Nwobodo, among several others.
This is likely to be one of the most keenly contested states in the North because just as General Buhari, enjoys a large following, the state Governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo, the Minister of Transportation, Senator Idris Umar and the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the ruling PDP, Abdullahi Jalo, who are ardent supporters of President Jonathan, have a point to prove. They will be up against a former governor of the state, Senator Danjuma Goje who is a stalwart of the APC.
Like other South-East states, President Jonathan waxes strong in Imo. The fact that he has been adopted by main Igbo socio-cultural groups has made him stronger in this state. In Imo, it is Jonathan, even though Gov. Rochas Okorocha of the APC, who is the only South-East governor in the party, will want to show his might and popularity.
Here, there is an impressive followership for Buhari. Many political analysts have submitted that it would not be difficult for Buhari to coast home with victory in the state. However, Gov. Sule Lamido of the PDP will not allow himself to be put to shame.
President Jonathan is looking up to him to deliver the state and he will do everything not to disappoint the President. As a founding member of the PDP, he has a point to prove. Whether he can convince the northern electorate to vote for Jonathan remains to be seen.
This is the state of Vice-President Namadi Sambo, who the President expects to deliver the state. The Secretary of the PDP Board of Trustees, Senator Walid Jibrin, said, “It is the quality of crowd that matters in a rally.”
It was a veiled reference to the scanty crowd of supporters that greeted the PDP Presidential Campaign Train to Kaduna State on January 31,2015.
In that rally, the main bowl of the Ahmadu Bello Stadium, was half-filled, thereby sending signals that President Jonathan may find winning the 2015 presidential race, in the state difficult.
But Jibrin allayed the fears as according to him, the PDP as a party believed in a ‘quality crowd’ and not ‘quantity’ which, he argued, characterised the opposition APC presidential campaign.
However, the antagonistic disposition of the people of Northern Kaduna zone, who are pre-dominantly Muslims, will certainly work against the President and be an advantage to the APC candidate. But, Jonathan may get votes from the southern part of the state, a predominantly Christian dominated area. This area has consistently voted en bloc for the PDP since 1999. Buhari won the state with 1.3 million votes in 2011.
It is an open secret that the presidential candidate of the APC has his strongest support base in the North.
Even before the defection of Kano State governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, from the PDP to the APC, most of the eligible voters in Kano were ardent Buhari loyalists.
A lot of factors appear to be working in Buhari’s favour in the state. The PDP is yet to deal with its internal conflicts while the state governor, and a majority of members of the National Assembly members are members of the APC. The emergence of Lamido Sanusi Lamido as the Emir of Kano seemed to have sealed Jonathan’s fate. The Emir is not a fan of Jonathan and he doesn’t hide it.
It will be safe to say, Buhari will beat Goodluck Jonathan.
There is no lenghty expalanation for this. Charity, they say, begins at home. The home state of Buhari is overwhelmingly for him. Though the state is ruled by the PDP, the residents are not leaving their own unsupported.
Carved out from the old Sokoto State, this state has produced governors and members of the National Assembly from both the ruling party and the opposition. It started off as an ANPP state in 1999 but has been under the control of the PDP since 2007. The turmoil within the state chapter of the PDP is likely to cost the party and its candidates dearly. Even without such a conflict, the Buhari phenomenon which has swept most parts of the North is unlikely to change there.
In Kogi, the contest according to political observers will be a keen one.The state has been ruled by the PDP for the 16 years of the current democratic dispensation. Though there had been attempts to wrest power from the PDP in the state, such had so far proved futile making the party to record either substantial or landslide victories during elections.
But the scenario appears to be changing with the reported defection of some political juggernauts from the ruling PDP to the APC.
Also with the reported inroad of Buhari into the minds of many people in the northern states, and Kogi being a state near Abuja appears to be catching the bug.
It may not be quite easy for one to accurately predict whether Jonathan or Buhari will convincingly win in Kogi in the March 28 presidential election given the political dynamism of voting, but that Jonathan won there in 2011 is a plus.
The PDP had lost the Kwara State to the APC following the defection of former Governor Bukola Saraki and his followers. Those who defected with him to the APC included another former governor and who is also now a senator, Mr. Shaaba Lafiagi; all the members of the House of Representatives, the current state governor, Mr. Abdulfatah Ahmed and his political appointees; the Speaker, Kwara State House of Assembly and 19 other legislators.
While Saraki and his followers give the impression that the APC will trounce the PDP, it may not be that easy because of alleged federal might and the perception that Kwara residents are yearning for a change from an alleged Saraki oligarchy.
Buhari is, however, expected to coast home with about 70 per cent of the total votes cast.
The APC candidate is tipped to win the election in the state based on the fact that it is the stronghold of the major opposition party since 1999. According to political watchers, even though the ruling party, the PDP, won the presidential poll in the state in 2003 (the main opposition party did not field any presidential candidate that year), 2007 and 2011, the political dynamics had since changed.
Although Buhari is from the North, he is expected to win the state under the platform of APC also because his deputy, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is Yoruba. The choice of Osinbajo has been a hit in the South-West states. Lagos is also home to Senator Bola Tinubu, the national leader of the APC and of course Governor Babatunde Fashola one of the highest rated governors in the country.
Recently, the PDP Governors Forum at its meeting in Lagos said the party would win elections in all the states in the South including Lagos.
Overall, Buhari is expected to win Lagos on Saturday.
While many may have concluded that Nasarawa State is for Buhari, a political analyst who pleaded anonymity in an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH in Lafia, said: “The only thing that might affect the chances of the presidential candidate of Buhari, in the state is the inability of his party to handle the recent crisis that engulfed it in some part of the state in recent times.”
Though controlled by the APC, Jonathan won by 408,997 votes in 2011. The PDP has also suffered major cracks in the state that might affect its chances on March 28.
The presence of two former Heads of State, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida and Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar who are reportedly opposed to a Buhari government will make the state a tough one for APC to conquer. It is controlled by the PDP even though it is on record that President Jonathan has never won outrightly there. Also, Governor Babangida Aliyu who wants to run for President in 2019 sees this election as a litmus test. However, Buhari won Niger in 2011 and this is significant.
In Ogun, the ruling APC has engaged in robust campaigns across the 20 local government areas and the 236 wards. And the campaign has always been led by the state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.
The APC presidential candidate, Buhari, has more following than the governor, though. The emergence of Prof. Yemi Osinbajo as APC vice-presidential candidate, who is from the state has been termed a ‘technical knockout.’
The three-day warning strike by the civil servants under the Joint National Negotiating Council, has affected the rating of the governor.
However, Buhari’s touted aura, integrity and upright lifestyle are working for him in the state. The artisans, taxi drivers, and many market women are rooting for him.
With this going on, the PDP is struggling to patch up the cleavages created by the power blocs in the party. There is the Buruji Kashamu camp working in tandem with the Adebayo Dayo-led state executive of the PDP; the former Speaker Dimeji Bankole’s camp and another power bloc, Jubri Martins-Kuye.
These political cleavages had really polarised the party, and slowed down its wheel of progress.
Before the rescheduling of the election, there were obvious signs that Jonathan might lose the polls.
Jonathan, at his campaign rally, faced with the obvious facts of PDP’s house in disarray, raised the alarm, warning that the raging conflict could cost the party the much needed victory at the polls.
When he visited the state, Buhari’s change message was brief to Ondo citizens who thronged the Democracy Park and waited patiently for his arrival. Buhari’s following remains unprecedented in the history of the state since he started his quest for Aso Rock in 2003. The whirl of supporters sent jitters down the spine of the PDP, an ally of the Labour Party. But, time, seems to be turning things around for the PDP, with an additional six weeks, the party has taken the campaign to a new level, going great lengths to weigh down the opposition. Hence, Buhari and Jonathan may be in a neck-and-neck race.
The presidential election in Osun State is a straight fight between President Jonathan and Buhari but Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s stake in the poll is probably higher than that of other state governors especially in the South-West.
However, the PDP is coming up stronger with the earlier postponement of the polls and declining popularity of the APC among the civil servants and lecturers of the state due to the non-payment of their five months salaries and issues with non-remittance of their pension deductions.
The visit of Jonathan to some monarchs in the state has been described as a good strategy to sway more people’s support to his side during the presidential poll.
But, most of the notable politicians in the state are in the APC and this makes Buhari’s job very easy among voters.
With two weeks to the former date of the presidential election, the Buhari presidential campaign train hit Ibadan on January 29 with unarguably more than a million people trooping to the venue of the campaign on Mapo Hill.
But with the six weeks extension, Jonathan has succeeded in bringing all the former PDP politicians together under his fold with the help of Governor Olusegun Mimiko. The list includes another former governor in the state, Rashidi Ladoja of the Accord Party, Adebayo Alao-Akala of the labour Party and Seyi Makinde of the Social Democratic Party. They do not have to leave their new parties; all they were asked to do is to support the presidential ambition of President Jonathan while they can afterwards pursue their individual political ambitions.
It is important to note that Buhari may not poll the huge votes that he would have recorded if the election had been held on February 14, 2015.
In Plateau, though the majority of the people may want to loathe the PDP candidate, President Jonathan, they are not for his APC counterpart, Buhari, either.
The reasons may not be farfetched. Plateau has been a traditional PDP state and the people have voted overwhelmingly for the party in the 2011 presidential elections. Indeed, the PDP garnered over one million votes from Plateau then. But the reality is not so today as the party could well be struggling to get the required 25 per cent. Governor Jonah Jang, who is the leader of a faction of the PDP Govenors’ Forum, has the task of delivering the state to Jonathan. Hence, it is not clear if Buhari can pull off any magic.
It is a tough call between Jonathan and Buhari in Rivers State as both are popular and they will likely share the votes. Any of them who wins in the state will not do so with a wide margin. Analysts have, however, given it to President Jonathan though it will not be in a landslide like in 2011 when he got about two million votes. This is because the APC has gained a lot of ground in the state.
President Jonathan may win in Rivers as a result of the sentiment that the PDP presidential candidate is from the Niger Delta. Voting along ethnic and religious lines will be pronounced in the state during the presidential poll. The Patience Jonathan factor cannot be ignored. She and Governor Amaechi, who also has a large following, have drawn the battle line and many cannot wait to see the result. The popularity of the PDP governorship candidate, Nyesom Wike, will also be tested.
The seat of the caliphate as it chooses to be called is unmistakably one of the strongholds of the APC in the forthcoming presidential elections. The state started off under the control of the now defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party. So strong was its influence that the PDP had to ask its then flag bearer, Murktari Shagari, to hand his ticket over to Aliyu Wammako who was then candidate of the ANPP to stand for the 2007 elections.
During the PDP primaries of 2011, party delegates from the state voted massively for Atiku Abubakar, when he failed to get the ticket, they cast their votes for Buhari who stood on the platform of little known Congress for Progressives Change. The fact that the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd) hails from the state is unlikely to change anything.
The APC governorship candidate, Aminu Tambuwal, who is also the Speaker of the House of Representatives has a huge following in the state.
Predominantly Christian, this is another state where it’s tough to predict who will win. The christian factor will be working for Jonathan. However, the northern factor is working for Buhari as northerners feel that they must not fail to seize this opportunity to elect their own. Jonathan won here in 2011. However, PDP is not as strong as it used to be in the state.
This is one of the few states that have never fallen into the hands of the ruling party at the centre since 1999. Just like Borno, Yobe has remained the stronghold of opposition politics at all levels.
During his tenure as the military governor of the state state before he was moved to the Ministry of Petroleum in 1976, Buhari built bridges beyond his native Katsina State and perhaps that is his greatest strength today. The people of Yobe State have continuously queued behind him and no matter the strength of his opponent, they have never shifted ground. Even when the governor of the state then, Bukar Abba Ibrahim, tagged Buhari a political liability without shelf value, the people of Yobe were proud to be associated with him.
Hence, in Yobe, it is Buhari.
Zamfara, like Yobe and Borno states, has remained one of the few states in northern Nigeria which is the traditional playground of the opposition. This has remained so even when a one-time governor of the state, Mamuda Shinkafi defected from the then ANPP to join the PDP. His decision to dump the ANPP to join the PDP at the centre did not save him from electoral defeat. When it comes to the question of the presidential election, irrespective of party affiliation, the people appear united in their support for Buhari.