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Presidential poll: The swing states

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The die is cast, the battle line drawn between four presidential candidates, President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Major Gen Muhammadu Buhari of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN’s) Malam Nuhu Ribadu, and Malam Ibrahim Shekarau fielded by the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP).There are other presidential candidates from other parties but it is either their parties are too obscure to mention or their candidates had not taken their campaigns too seriously to attract the attention of Nigerians.



However,   after voting in the yesterday’s election, Nigerians are eagerly waiting to know who becomes their president in the next four years. Judging from the results of the National Assembly elections, it is not difficult to know where the pendulum is swinging to as the Peoples Democratic Party maintained a comfortable lead that can give it victory if all the electorates followed a similar voting pattern in yesterday’s election. But as is the case, there is no specific empirical formula to predict voters’ behavior to determine which of the four candidates the majority of Nigerians have likely favoured in their voting.

 Even at that, observers have said that this big one has been reduced to a two-man race. From their analysis, the duel is between the incumbent President Jonathan, a southerner from the Ijaw speaking tribe of Bayelsa state and Buhari, from Daura in Katsina, a retired General, who has made two appearances in the previous presidential elections. In the two appearances, Buhari had an impressive showing, though he and his supporters strongly believed he won the elections but the courts said otherwise.  Nonetheless, his supporters have continued to swell in their numbers across the country especially in the North where they where his party the CPC, though new, won many of the seats in the National Assembly election. So Buhari is not a pushover.   According to political analysts, he would give the president a good run for his money and going by the permutations of those who would wish corruption in the country is bid a final farewell, the Daura born general might even come tops in the election. 

Across the states of the federation, Nigerians have busied themselves making predictions as to who will finally proceed to Aso Rock come May 29, this year, the official handover date.  In the FCT, judging by the result of the national Assembly election, President Jonathan is likely to pull the stunt as the only Senate seat was won the a PDP, Hon Philip Aduda. But a retrospective look at previous elections in the FCT indicate that the PDP did not fare so well as both the senatorial seats and some of the House of Representatives seats were won by Buhari’s party, then in the ANPP. A former member of the PDP disclosed that any time Buhari is contesting election in the FCT; it is very difficult for any other party to win election in the city due to Buhari’s popularity.  However, with the avalanche of goodwill that Dr Jonathan has garnered not only in Abuja but across the entire country, it is not clear whether Buhari’s popularity especially with reference to this presidential contest is still intact. It is only suffice to say that in the territory, it is a dicey until the results begin to emerge.

In the south east, it is a different ball game; both the Ohaneze Ndigbo and Governors of that zone have come out to tell their people to vote for the president. The people are likely to comply with this order because even in the national assembly election, among the opposition, only All Progressive Grand Alliance APGA won a senatorial seat in Imo. The rest were won by the PDP. It is therefore clear that Gen Buhari and his party may not perform well in the zone to give the CPC the much needed victory.  The South-South may be the worst hit for the incorruptible general because it is the zone where the president hails from and may score overwhelming majority in the area.   

Plateau state

But in Plateau state the race is going to be tough between the PDP and the CPC, because by all indications they are the only parties that are in the political mainstream of the state. Furthermore, the candidate of the PDP is having the upper hand in Plateau state, because yesterday’s election, definitely showed how people voted candidates and not even the party, like it happened during the election of the National Assembly where people voted candidates rather than their parties.

According to our correspondent, both Jonathan and Buhari have substantial support in Plateau state who notwithstanding their party leanings would vote them on the basis of who they are rather than the party they represent as they did in the national assembly elections.

Speaking on the issue, a Publisher and a Political Commentator, Prince Valentine Adese observed that people will still witness the pattern of voting equal to what happened during the National Assembly election, where the voting was conducted based on arrangement and alignment across the parties. “In Langtang North and Langtang South there was an agreement between the Labour Party to vote for the incumbent Reps member, Honourable Beni Lar of the PDP, because the way she performed and assisted the Tarok People as well as the influence of her father, Chief Solomon Lar”.

While in Wase he said people including Labour Party agreed to vote for the ACN candidate the incumbent Honourable Ahmed Idris, even in Mangu/Bukkos federal constituency electorates in Labour Party supported the PDP candidate in order to have its own candidate for the senate, the former governor, chief Joshua Chibi Dariye elected by both Labour and the PDP supporters in Mangu.

“People are looking at these candidates of political parties, what do they stand for, what are their pedigrees and antecedence, they  are not looking at the party’s on which they are standing on, because they knew these parties existed, but the candidates, what they want to present to Nigerians at the end of the day”, he said.

Prince Adese added, “In Plateau state there are two major religions, the Christianity and the Islam and the few traditionalists, I think that is what is going to be the divide when it comes to voting on Saturday’s Presidential election, we have seen all these during their campaigns, and how people attended the campaign rallies, what they were saying about each candidate, so these are the very good factors to predetermine”.

He however regretted “Unfortunately, people have allowed religion to be part of their politic, it is condemnable for having religion as a platform for deciding those who governs us and we observe very well religion have led a lot of countries astray for taken it to be their platforms”, he lamented.

“Any nation that bent on using religion to elect those who will lead them, who will defined their futures, defined their destiny, who lead their young ones, it is very uncalled for and quite unfortunate and condemnable, we better be looking at what a candidate have for his people and his country, that will be better for us”, he concluded.


It is the people versus the state. Results from last week’s National Assembly election in Nasarawa state has so far shown that the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is fast losing its popularity among the people of the state, with the electorates rooting for the new but fast growing Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and looking up to it to bring about the much desired change.

From the results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), with the CPC winning a senatorial seat and two federal house of representative seats, the people, according to former governor Abdullahi Adamu, “have spoken and there is the need for the PDP to go back to the drawing board”.

This scenario becomes apparent considering the level of animosity from the electorates against the ruling party, with Abdullahi Maikano, a staunch CPC supporter, described the voting trend thus; “This time around, the people voted for personalities. There is a general agreement among the people that for the national assembly election, there is no much significance attached to parties but for the rest of the elections, this may not be so as we are all resolved to vote for our various parties.”

Peoples Daily Weekend investigations reveal that the ground swell of support the CPC enjoys among the electorates, does not go down well with the ruling PDP which is seeking a re-election at both governorship and the presidency and also garner support for the success of president Goodluck Jonathan in the presidential election.

Nasarawa is the zonal headquarters of the Goodluck/Sambo campaign organisation, with Governor Akwe Doma combining his campaign with that of the president, a move which our correspondent gathered does not go down well with a majority of the people who felt short changed as a result of the discarding of the zoning arrangement.

Thus, and mostly due to machinations of the political elite, the electorates realign themselves into camps that could be said to be not so democratic but rather a display of sentimentality, the decision by many to vote “for their own.”

The trend among the electorates in the north central and Nasarawa in particular, with a few exception though, is that party affiliation does not matter in the coming presidential election as electorates wrongly or not consider the election to be between the predominantly Muslim north, with General Mohammadu Buhari of the CPC as candidate, and the predominantly Christian south, with president Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP as candidate.

However, for the governorship election, the people of the state, our correspondent further gathered, are resolved on voting out the PDP, such that at a recent function hosted by the party for the governor to meet with the people, held at the City Hall in Lafia, a supporter shouted to the hearing of everyone, “just give us the money and we will go and vote Taal!”

So far, the political scope in Nasarawa and as unfolding events hint, the ruling PDP is set to counter this heightened animosity against its candidate, and to try to turn thing around even as the people remain determined in seeing the end of its rule in the state.



It is a three horse race in Katsina. Arguably,

                the presidential poll is bound to be a clash

                between the three relatively dominant political parties of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, and, the oppositions Congress for progressive Change and Action Congress of Nigeria. As things stands out, these three political parties appeared to be the only dominant parties in the state judging by the number of support and followership they wielded among the state’s over one million voters.

President Goodluck Jonathan and his ruling PDP are basking on the euphoria of government machinery at its disposal and the renewed determination of its members not to allow a repeat of what happened at the national assembly polls where the party was severely thrashed by the opposition CPC is one thing that will surely affect the outcome of the polls.

Although Nuhu Ribadu and his ACN could not secure a single seat in the seventeen contested national assembly seats, the party could not be ruled out of the race because of its conspicuous presence as typifies by its gubernatorial candidate, Dr Usman Bugaje. Like other fifteen presidential candidates, ANPP’s Governor Ibrahim Shekarau has virtually no chance of securing reasonable votes in the state.

For the CPC and its presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari who has continued to receive the massive support and sympathy of the electorates, the struggle for the state’s vote is a fait accompli. This is because the party has appeared to have literally captured the state. The result of the national assembly polls has shown that in Katsina, the people are gearing up for change and this change appears to be tilting towards voting CPC whose leader symbolizes justice, fair play and good governance.

There are clear indications that the main contenders in Katsina as far as the presidential election is concerned would be CPC’s General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) and PDP’s President Goodluck Jonathan as both members of opposition CPC and the ruling PDP have continually engaged in high stake politicking to curry favour for their candidates.

Only recently, a senior member of the Katsina emirate council, the Sain Katsina, Alhaji Ahmadu Nafuntua, while addressing youths from the state, urged them to vote for president Goodluck Jonathan whom he said had been brought by late president Yaradua and who has never betrayed the people of Katsina. Although the emirate member might not have spoken the mind of the emirate council, views are being expressed that the council is supportive of Goodluck Jonathan’s candidacy.

However, findings by our correspondent reveal that General Muhammadu Buhari of the opposition CPC has an edge over both Goodluck Jonathan and Nuhu Ribadu as there are indications that peoples would vote candidates and not parties. To lend credence to this, the member of PDP board of trustee, Alhaji Lawal Kaita, in a press conference less than 48 hours to the election, declared that the north would vote for General Buhari.

Kaita who is seen as one of the backbones of the ruling PDP in the state urged voters to vote for General Buhari and insisted that “every well meaning citizen of the north must vote for Buhari.”

Essentially, the mass support for Muhammadu Buhari in Katsina state and indeed, the aggressive showing of the opposition CPC in the National Assembly election are both pointers that the General will have the day. Voters in Katsina, findings revealed, would be guided by their insistence on zoning, the belief that general Buhari is more credible than other northern candidates and importantly, the perception that he alone could change the decay in the country.

It is an open secret that party affiliation will play little or no role in the presidential election across the state as a cross section of voters who spoke to our correspondent confirmed that their votes would be for General Buhari.  Speaking to our correspondent, a PDP youth leader in Dabaibawa ward of Batagarawa local government, Abu Sani Maiatampa said they had resolved to vote for General Buhari during the presidential polls insisting that “we will put party aside and take it up after we might have casted our votes for General Buhari.”



In Sokoto, President Goodluck Jonathan

                appears to be coasting home to victory in

                the April 16 presidential election in the state judging from the outcome of National Assembly where the   standard bearer had swept all the 11 federal constituency seats and two of its senatorial districts.

With this outcome Peoples Weekend investigation indicated that the two main opposition parties, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) appeared to have slipped themselves to defeat in the forthcoming presidential election in the state.

The NASS poll results also put to doubt, series of discourses brought to glance on the position of the PDP presidential delegates from the state voting pattern which reflected their position in the controversial zoning matter.

Although, some religion leaders in the state were reported to have been enlightened their followers on the need not to support the ruling PDP and jettison the zoning arrangement in the party.  

But, if the factors that determined the voting pattern in the NASS election remain the same, Jonathan is poised to win the presidential election.  Nevertheless, the CPC presidential candidate, General Muhammudu Buhari (rtd) might still win sizeable votes in the state but it will not be appreciable to give the state to CPC.

However, politicians in the state are also drumming support for Jonathan. The group led by the former Publicity Secretary of the ACN, Alhaji Dahiru Umar Aliyu, under the aegis of Amalgamated Forum of Former CPC, ACN, and DPP are working to ensure victory for the PDP in the state.  Candidates in an interview with our correspondent in the state said the group with about 5,000 supporters was mobilizing support for Jonathan ahead of the presidential elation.

According to him, their main objective was to inform the Sokoto voters of the need to avoid religious sentiment in choosing a president for Nigeria come Saturday.

He said that as concerned patriots championing the cause of a better Nigeria, they were astonished by the way and manner some leaders of their former parties “without any iota of patriotism, engage the services of Islamic clerics to go to rural areas to cajole voters not to vote for a particular candidate because of his religious background. This is sad as it portends danger to our nascent democracy.”

He pointed out that being a secular state; Nigeria gives the opportunity to citizens of different faith to lead the country at different times. He, however, called on the people of the state to reject any alliance based on ethno-religious grounds.

Also speaking, the campaign coordinator of Goodluck/Sambo ticket in the state, Alhaji Muhammad Arzika Tureta told Peoples Weekend that the outcome of the last parliamentary elections in the state was a testimony that Sokoto people were in support of Goodluck/Sambo presidential ticket.


Taraba state

The people of Taraba State whose views

                were sampled at the eve of the

                Presidential elections about who the cap fits most responded with mixed feelings. But majority pointed to President Goodluck Jonathan as the man Nigeria needs to carry it to the next level. They responded to the question, who among the three leading Presidential hopefuls: Jonathan, Buhari and Ribadu, would ultimately carry the day?

Dr. (Mrs) Mary Paninga said it was not because she was a PDP member but according to her “talking on situational analysis and what is obtainable, what Jonathan has done so far gives us the confidence that if given the mandate he will perform credibly”. Therefore, she was confident that Jonathan would get the victory in the first ballot with 75% votes, an overwhelming majority, because Nigerians are yearning for change and want  one who would advance them in the three phases which are economic, political and social. As to whether Jonathan would not be able to bend those around him to do the right things his way, she replied that by the party structure he needed to work with people but he must be independent-minded if he wants to succeed. Dr. Paninga maintained that both the party and the individual candidates remain the selling points in the election.

According to Engr. Sanusi Abwage, a former commissioner of Information in Taraba State, “Among them all Jonathan has the upper hand because Nigerians have seen how he has been carrying on and he practices what he says. That is the leader Nigerians want”. He believes as the president, he should regard all those working with him as his subordinates irrespective of age and, therefore, get them to obey him no matter what, pointing out: “If you appoint people under you and you don’t supervise them well, your administration will fail”. Engr Abwage, however, said he was certain that Jonathan was after succeeding and in doing appointments he should set aside sentiments to get the round pegs in the round holes.

The Special Assistant on Media and publicity to the governor, Mr. Emmanuel Bello, feels strongly that Jonathan would emerge as president on the first ballot. Tending to be laconic, he contended that nobody could disregard Jonathan as president because the issue is about the office and not the person. He strongly believed that PDP as the party is preferred to the individual candidate.

But his colleague, Chief Press Secretary to the governor of Taraba, Alhaji Hassan Mijinyawa disagrees. He argues that people are inclined to vote for individuals rather than parties because they like the individuals.



Although Borno state had been

                governed by the All Nigeria Peoples

                Party (ANPP) for the past 12 years, however, the contest of presidential election in the state is mainly between the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), President Goodluck Jonathan and that of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), General Muhammadu Buhari.

However, there are clear indications that voters would go for personality rather than parties. Peoples Daily Weekend recalled that in 2003 and 2007, General Buhari got the highest votes during the presidential election in the state when he contested under the platform of the ANPP. In is likely to repeat same tomorrow under the platform of CPC.

Normally, Borno being one of the three ANPP-controlled states, it is expected its presidential candidate, Governor Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano state would gather overwhelming votes, but this looks unlikely because his campaign machineries were almost absent.


General Buhari is likely to win support across party lines, given what many people told our correspondent.

Buhari’s likely good showing will be despite the fact that CPC had a dismal outing during the Apil 9 National Assembly election which it failed to win a single sect.







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