- Voter Apathy Imminent •Religion, Ethnicity Remain Major Factor
- Election Still Too Close to Call
by AMOS ESELE with Ukandi Odey, Amos Owei, Bassey Aniekan, Udeme Utip, Tunde Omolehin, George Martins, Sampson Uhuegbe, Sunday Ogbu, Maimunatu Ibrahim & Segun Ayinde
In the first installment of this projection in our January 15-21 edition, 41 days to the upcoming presidential and National Assembly poll on February 25, 2023, we isolated clear forces already at play that would determine the fate of the contestants. These factors have not changed, seven days to the election. These factors include zoning, antecedents of the various presidential candidates, strength of parties, religion and ethnicity.
What has slightly changed is that clearly, only three candidates are in the race. Amazingly, Rabiu Kwankwanso, who had waxed strong to be considered as a formidable threat appeared to have been confined to his Kano enclave, the state he governed for two terms.
THEWILL checks in this edition of his special presidential election projection series across the states of the federation, show that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; Peter Obi of the Labour Party and the candidate of the governing All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, are in contention for the votes of 93 million registered voters composed 49. 5 million males, 44.4 million females with a high percentage of 37 million youths.
According to new, disturbing findings, another totally unexpected mix has come into play: Apathy. The economic downturn occasioned by the negative impact of the naira redesign and cashless policy which has generated violent reactions in some states across the country has raised the high possibility of voter apathy. Even the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has raised the alarm that cash crunch may hamper its operational and logistics working in the days ahead. Investigation shows that the government will provide the electoral umpire with cash in its fulfilment of its commitment to ensure the conduct of the poll.
According to THEWILL correspondents’ month-long investigation, the major contenders have narrowed to the APC, the LP and the PDP.
The NNPP is still struggling nationally and, with a week to the poll, may not perform outside Kano and two states in the North West.
There is still a strong projection as it was in the first series that the candidates of the PDP and APC have a clear path to securing at least 25 percent of the votes cast in 24 states. Even so, the projection still stands that the candidate of the LP may fall short of the 25 percent requirement in at least 24 states.
Atiku, Obi and Tinubu are still locked in a close race though the ongoing protests against hardship induced by the scarcity of fuel and cash has created a PR problem for the ruling party and appears to have robbed Tinubu of the edge he previously had in the race.
The current crisis of confidence in APC, whereby some of its state governors have launched a blistering attack against President Muhammadu Buhari over the handling of the Supreme Court ruling on the use of the old notes has confirmed our previous reporting that there are elements in the north within the party who are hell-bent on keeping power in the region.
These forces who are sympathetic to Atiku’s cause, are aggressively playing the ethnic card and mobilising their kinsmen across party lines to vote Atiku in the presidential race. Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State and his Kano counterpart have accused Buhari of working against the party’s candidate, Ahmed Tinubu and installing an Interim Government should that plan fail. This is a perfect setting of a divided house going into a major battle as the presidential poll and expecting to perform spectacularly.
In addition, our findings show that with Kwankwaso fading, the three major candidates have polarised the country along ethnic lines using their major tribes as platform to poach into their rival’s territory: Tinubu for the Yoruba, Atiku for Hausa/ Falani and Obi for Igbo/minorities.
The significant development about the current ethnic polarisation is that each candidate is favoured to reap the numbers from their region.
According to a breakdown of registered voters published by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the North-West zone leads with 22, 255, 562 out of 93, 469,088. South-West follows with 17, 958,966; North-Central with 15, 363,731; South-South with 14,440,714; North-East has 12,542,429 and South-East has 10, 907,606. This means that the North has a total of 50, 000,000 as against the South with 43,304,306.
PDP’s Path to 25% in 24 States
Lagos, Ondo, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti, Oyo, Edo, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Rivers, Benue, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Kwara, Plateau, Katsina, Sokoto, Kano, Kaduna, Zamfara, Jigawa, Adamawa, Taraba, Bauchi.
APC’s Path to 25% in 24 States
Lagos, Ondo, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti, Oyo, Edo, Delta, Bayelsa, Cross River, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Kwara, Plateau, Katsina, Sokoto, Kano, Kaduna, Zamfara, Bauchi, Yobe, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kebbi.
LP’s Path to 25% in 24 States
The LP’s path dwindled from 23 to 20 with Nasarawa, Niger and Taraba now firmly a two-way rivalry between PDP and APC, leaving Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Edo, Delta, Bayelsa, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Plateau, Rivers, Kogi, Benue, Imo, Anambra, Enugu, Abia, Ebonyi, Taraba, Kaduna and FCT for the LP.
Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe
The PDP has consolidated its strength in this zone where its candidate, Atiku and the Vice Presidential candidate of the APC, Kashim Shettima come from.
We maintain our projection that the PDP will win here. It is the home state of Atiku Abubakar and it is one of the states controlled by his party. A former APC Governor of the state, Bindow Jubrilla, has joined forces with Atiku and Governor Ahmadu Fintiri to deliver the state to the PDP.
The PDP is also projected to win here.
Our previous report that the Bauchi elite are fond of taking a collective decision to safeguard their interest played out in the decision of the LP leaders to join forces with the PDP. Considering this development and the incumbency factor – the state is under the control of the PDP – Atiku may defeat Tinubu with a wide margin.
The APC is projected to win.
Despite embarking on a door-to-door campaign in this state, the PDP is yet to make a major impact as Borno State continues to retain the status of an opposition. It is currently an APC state. Several efforts by the PDP to govern the state have failed. Its presidential outings have also been woeful. PDP’s fate in the 2023 polls may have been sealed with the emergence of Senator Kashim Shettima as VP candidate of the APC.
The APC is projected to win. Our earlier projection remains.
The state is controlled by the APC. Now that warring Senator Danjuma Goje and the incumbent governor, Alhaji Inuwa Yahaya, have reconciled their differences, the atmosphere favours Tinubu to come tops on February 25, 2023, the currency redesign challenge notwithstanding.
The state is projected to go to the PDP.
Taraba State is a stronghold of Atiku Abubakar despite the rivalry between Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, a strong chieftain of the PDP and the incumbent governor, Darius Ishaku, which the party leadership has stepped into.
We maintain that the APC will win this state. The party controls the state and it will continue to be so, simply because the opposition PDP in the state is very weak due to internal wrangling in conducting their affairs.
Kaduna, Kebbi, Jigawa, Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kano
A few changes have occurred here since the first series was published. The PDP has improved its fortunes in this region with big gains in Katsina and Zamfara.
The state remains too close to call, though leaning towards the APC.
The main attraction for LP, however, is that Kaduna is home to VP candidate, Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmad.
The insecurity in Zamfara and Katsina states and the ongoing cash scarcity has compounded the woes of the people. The currency redesign problem has worsened the image of APC as an uncaring party. At any rate, the outcome of the presidential election will be difficult to accurately predict now because the three major parties of APC, PDP and NNPP are strong in the state.
This is a projected win for the APC.
This state is one of the strongholds of the ruling APC, while the opposition parties are weaker in the state. PDP and NNPP will compete for second and third in the February 2023 presidential election in the state.
Governor Atiku Bagudu, Chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum, has a firm grip of the state and may easily swing it in favour of Tinubu if the issue of religion, currency crisis and ethnicity does not rear its head this week when the real alignments of forces would have crystalised before voting for the presidency. This makes it unrealistic to wish away an Atiku win here just yet.
We maintain that Zamfara is still too close to call.
This agrarian state is facing security challenges of banditry. Will this nemesis work against the ruling APC in the state?
The pillar of the PDP in the state is a former National Security Adviser, Gen. Aliyu Gusau, facing the APC front led by Governor Bello Matawalle, and APC war horses in the state, including ex-Governor Abdullaziz Yari and his former arch rival, Senator Kabiru Marafa.
The PDP’s growing influence was hallmarked by the defection to the party of 45 advisers to the Zamfara governor Bello Matawalle.
However, the party is currently facing an internal crisis as a result of the governorship primary that produced factional candidates.
So, for now, this election is too close to call for the two rival parties, the APC and PDP
We have moved Kano from too close to call to an outright win for the NNPP, whose candidate is from the state though we expect the election to be keenly contested.
The APC and PDP will battle for the second position in this key state.
We are changing our projection for this state from the APC to the PDP.
Though this is the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, the distrust and shadow boxing between Tinubu and the President is projected to cost Tinubu the state.
We maintain that the PDP will win the state.
The caliphate state is a PDP-controlled state with incumbent Governor Aminu Tambuwal, who also doubles as the Director-General of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council.
The sentiment in the state supports power retention in the north.
We hold our projection that this is a projected win for the PDP.
The new world state is controlled by the APC, but the 2023 Presidential election will be between the PDP and NNPP. The ruling APC will find it difficult to emerge in the forefront because of the economic hardship and lack of access to the government by the electorate.
Benue, Kwara, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau & (FCT)
We are changing our projection from the APC to the PDP.
Atiku has improved his fortunes here since our last projection, though we maintain that the election is going to be purely between the ruling APC and the PDP.
The LP is still projected to win the state.
The LP presidential candidate, Peter Obi scored a major feat with the endorsement of his candidacy by opposition state governor, Samuel Ortom of the PDP.
The APC is projected to win this state.
The election in this state is going to be between the APC, with the incumbent governor Yahaya Bello holding forth and the PDP, which still has some big wigs, having governed the state for 16 years. The outcome may likely be in favour of Tinubu with the PDP, LP and NNPP following in that order.
This state is still too close to call.
This is the home state of the APC’s National Chairman, Alhaji Abdullahi Adamu. It is also controlled by the APC. The APC and PDP are in strong contention here such that it is hard to say convincingly who will carry the day.
We are moving this state from too close to call to an outright win for the APC.
The current situation of things in this North-Central state shows that Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazak has consolidated his grip on the structures of the APC in the state after the end of the supremacy battles with loyalists of the Minister of information and Culture, Lai Mohammed. However, the PDP harvested some aggrieved APC members into its fold, which further strengthened the hand of former President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki of the PDP.
This state is leaning towards LP.
The picture of the forthcoming Presidential election has not changed from our previous research. As at press time, it is clear that the State is the real battle ground between the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar and Labour Party’s Peter Obi, with the possibility that the battle would go either way.
The APC candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is trailing, perhaps only ahead of Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria People’s Party.
In the past few days, the Director-General of the APC Presidential Campaign Council and governor of the state, Simon Lalong, has been battling as his party continues to experience the defection of its officials and members. The latest wave of defections occurred in Shendam Local Government Area, the governor’s home local government area, where the state chairman of the party left alongside thousands of others to join the Labour Party and the Peoples Democratic Party.
The LP is projected to win here.
It is a dogfight here between PDP, which showed some strength recently with the local government poll it shared three apiece with the APC, and the latter. But the religious factor has shown its face as the major Christian population, in response to the Muslim-Muslim ticket of APC, is said to be rooting for the LP candidate, Peter Obi.
Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo and Osun
Projection shows that the APC is at home in these six states though the party will face fierce competition in Lagos, Osun, Oyo and Ogun States from the PDP and LP.
The APC is projected to win easily.
The APC defeated the PDP with a wide margin and the incumbent governor, Abiodun Oyebanji, would combine with ex-governor Kayode Fayemi, to give Tinubu the lead here.
The PDP is a divided house. The party underlined that weakness when it had to expel about six of its National Assembly candidates and install a caretaker exco committee.
The APC is projected to win.
Voting is likely to follow this pattern in Ondo, where the APC has governed in the last six years. But Atiku has always made a good showing here in previous polls. Can he repeat the feat on February 25, 2023? This is highly unlikely.
We retain our projection that the APC will win here.
The APC is the dominant political party in Lagos, which Bola Tinubu, the candidate of the APC, calls his home state. We however projects that the presidential election will be fiercely contested between Tinubu and Obi because of the cosmopolitan composition of the state where the message of a viable alternative finds easy receptivity. The PDP is projected to come third in the state.
We maintained our projection that Osun is too close to call, despite the pending Appeal Court case over the ruling of the Election Petition Tribunal that awarded victory in last July’s governorship election to former governor Gboyega Oyetola of the APC. In fact, Osun will be a state to watch with the APC and PDP securing at least 25 percent of the votes there.
Governor Adeleke, who appears to be very popular, and traditional rulers have pledged their support for Atiku, whose first wife is an indigene of the state.
The APC is projected to win.
Governor Seyi Makinde’s open identification with Tinubu’s ambition during his campaign visit to Oyo State last week has strengthened the position of APC in the state, though Atiku, who defeated Buhari in the state in the 2019 presidential, polling 366,592 to 365,229, is expected to get a good number of votes in the state.
The APC is projected to win
This is a Tinubu territory, with all the chieftains of the APC, including Senator Ibikunle Amosun and Governor Dapo Abiodun, who have sunk their differences for the realisation of Tinubu’s victory, making it hard for Atiku and Obi to make any significant headway.
Generally, in all the six states, the ‘son of the soil’ factor will work for Tinubu. His henchmen are very active and strategic in making sure he retains the southwest, his home front, as a launch pad to other parts of the country. Obi and Atiku would follow as coming second and third, respectively. NNPP is yet to make any significant road in the South-West.
Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Edo, Delta, Rivers
This state remains too close to call.
With less than one week until the general election, the presidential ambition of Labour Party’s Peter Obi is increasingly gaining momentum in Cross River State.
This is largely due to the acceptance of Obi by the ordinary people in the state and the need to effect a change in the country. Besides, due to the crisis and suffering triggered by the naira redesign policy and the fuel scarcity many people in the state have resolved to vote against the present administration.
Most people interviewed in a recent vox pop have been speaking against the poor management of the PDP and the APC.
The ‘Obidient Movement’ has been gaining momentum within the state since it embarked on a house to house sensitisation exercise. This is unlike other political parties who have been relying on their respective structures to market their candidates.
So far, the movement has secured the support of a very large segment of the voting population, most of whom are not real politicians. These people, who on a normal day would not vote, may be the deciding factor in the presidential election in the state.
Atiku’s chances of winning got slimmer during the PDP’s Presidential Rally in Calabar, although he is very likely to secure 25 percent of the votes.
The rally, which took place at the UJ Esuene Stadium in Calabar, was overshadowed by the absence of the party’s candidates, state executive and other stakeholders of the party. Their decision to boycott the event was due to the ongoing division in the party, which has pitted the national leadership of the party against the G-five governors.
The development has dampened the chances of the party in the state and many of those pushing for the party in the state lack the capacity and Grass Roots support to make the party record success.
Tinubu’s chances in the state are still negligible because people associate the APC with the challenges they have been facing in the country. Besides, Governor Ben Ayade’s performance has failed to impress the majority of the voters, many of whom no longer desire to identify with him.
The LP is projected to win.
What is true for Obi in Cross River may also play out in Edo State, as earlier projected. The ruling PDP is polarised by the power tussle between Governor Godwin Obaseki and Chief Dan Obi, PDP Vice Chairman, South-South. The ‘Obident Movement,’ is boldly on the ground selling the candidature of Obi/Datti so much so that Benin City, the state capital, is completely ‘Obidient.’projection shows that Atiku and Tinubu will poll at least 25 percent of the votes cast in the state.
The PDP is projected to win marginally.
This is a traditional stronghold of the PDP and the home-state of its vice presidential candidate and incumbent governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, who is currently unpopular in the state and is fighting hard to prevent an embarrassing defeat.
PDP has dominated the state for the past 23 years, though its dominance is facing its fiercest challenge ever with the LP and Obidients looking to cause an upset in the presidential election.
The PDP is projected to score a narrow victory with the LP and APC easily polling over 25 percent of the votes in the state.
The PDP is projected to win.
Like we projected earlier, the duo of Governor Duoye Diri and his predecessor, Senator Seriake Dickson are deploying resources to ensure the PDP wins the presidential poll in the state, which had fallen to the APC in the last governorship election but for a late Supreme Court judgment which disqualified the APC and awarded victory to the PDP. The APC and the vibrant LP/‘Obidient Movement’ in the state will secure at least 25 percent of the votes.
We maintain our projection that this state is too close to call.
Although he never fulfilled his promise to openly declare his preferential candidate, Governor Nyesom Wike, who leads the anti-Atiku G-5, has shown his preference for Tinubu whose campaign team he received in Government House last Wednesday, two days after the PDP canceled its campaign due to perceived violence. Though he had earlier received Obi and Kwankwaso and promised to give them logistics support, his view that political campaigns cannot be won on social media as some candidates are doing shows he has pitched his tent with Tinubu. Even so, we projects that Obi or Atiku could win here.
This is a projected win for the PDP
This is a solid PDP state because of the exceptional performances of all the past PDP Governors -Victor Attah, Godswill Akpabio and Udom Emmanuel – who have governed the state since the beginning of the current republic. The LP is however very popular in this state, with the ‘Obident Movement’ aggressively knocking and rocking the state. Obi’s wife, Margaret, comes from the state, a sentiment that has added pep to the reception of Obi in the state. Atiku and Obi are in solid contention for the state, but we projected Atiku to emerge victorious in a tight contest.
Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo
The LP is projected to win.
In Owerri, the Imo State capital, it is easy to sense a major challenge faced by Governor Hope Uzodimma because many have lost interest in the ruling APC. The fuel and cash scarcity has caused hardship and suffering for residents.
LP is projected to win.
This is Peter Obi’s home-state, which he governed for eight years. Like other candidates, the ‘son of the soil’ syndrome would likely play in his favour in spite of the perceived opposition by Governor Charles Soludo and influential businessman Arthur Eze.
This is a projected win for the LP.
This state is governed by the PDP. The governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, is one of the G-5 governors. He is known to have thrown his support for Obi. Obi will win with Atiku coming second and Tinubu and Kwankwaso far behind.
The LP is projected to win.
Like his Abia counterpart, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuany is one of the G-5 governors of the PDP, who is opposed to an Atiku victory. He is tacitly ‘Obidient’. LP is very popular in this state. A Coalition of civil society groups and sociopolitical organisations in Enugu North Senatorial District of Enugu State, under the auspices of Nsukka Democratic Movement (NDM) last Thursday endorsed Obi for president.
The LP is projected to win.
Three leading parties, APC, LP and the PDP are pulling their weights in this state that has an APC Governor in Dave Umahi. According to our survey, Obi appears to be the most popular of the candidates amongst registered voters despite the APC’s firm control of political power in the state.