By Umar Sa’ad Hassan.
INEC has put the final number of registered voters for the 2019 general election at 84 million with the North West leading the pack as usual with 20.2 million, followed by the South West with 16.3 million registered voters.
The thumb-print columns on the ballot-papers have been compressed further by INEC to accommodate the very many parties duly registered and what that means in essence, is that there will be many more invalid votes than usual. We may witness a very high rate of rerun elections this year.
Considering previous election turn-out, voter enthusiasm and current political climate in the 36 states, this is what is expected to happen in this Saturday’s Presidential election subject to it being free and fair.
President Buhari will clinch the majority of votes in this region.Atiku will take it down to the wire in Kaduna. Asides the secured votes in the Christian-dominated southern part of the state, he will also grab a handful in other places due to the quite decent PDP structure on ground. While Kano ranks alongside Kebbi and Katsina as states Buhari is guaranteed a clear win, Atiku should get close to 30% of the votes cast due to the Kwankwasiyya machinery working in his favour. Despite the killings in Zamfara, Buhari will surprise many by pulling more than half of the probable 600,000 votes on Saturday. The PDP is totally in control of neighbouring Sokoto state however and Atiku will conveniently pull about 500,000 of the 800,000 votes likely to be cast.
The under-whelming performance of the incumbent Jigawa state governor has allowed Sule Lamido and the PDP to endear themselves to the people and though this is highly debatable, Atiku will win Jigawa narrowly.
Verdict: Buhari 6m, Atiku 3.7m
The South-Western electorate is the most liberal and open-minded in Nigeria. Whether we like it or not, we have not out-grown politics of ethnicity and religion. The major thing Buhari has going for him in the core northern states is an unerasable belief that he is a honourable man while every other person, being Muslim regardless, is a ‘worldly’ fellow.
The South West have no such problem. Tinubu has lost some degree of respect outside Lagos and the APC can no longer bank on his influence across the whole region. It will be a close contest in most of the states except of course Lagos; the capital of Tinubu’s crumbling empire where Buhari should enjoy a comfortable victory. The APC presidential campaign team were stoned in Ogun just days ago. With Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Kashamu Buruji and none other than President Obasanjo all working for an Atiku victory, it is already in the bag. The PDP will win Ekiti, Osun and Ondo by slim margins but feelers indicate they will lose Gov. Ajimobi’s Oyo state.
After all said and done in the South West, the PDP are likely to get about 3 million votes in total while the APC should get about 500,000 less.
Verdict: Atiku 3m, Buhari 2.5m
The average person in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa doesn’t care whether or not the Buhari government has entered into an agreement with Boko Haram to release school girls or cease activities for a while, they just know the insurgents haven’t been half as active as they were before President Buhari came into office. Add the fact that there is virtually no PDP structure in Borno and Yobe and you have why Buhari should take home roughly 400,000 votes of the total number of 600,000 votes in Borno and more than half of the 500,000 votes in Yobe. The APC has a formidable structure in Atiku’s home state of Adamawa with almost all the relevant political figures united in their love for Buhari. Of the 700,000 votes expected to be cast, Buhari should win by a margin of about 100,000. Everyone expects Atiku to win Gombe because of the strong PDP presence there but Buhari is still very much loved by the masses there and he should win. Bauchi has the largest number of voters in the North East and in addition to the people being dissatisfied with the state governor’s performance, they are also the most enlightened in the region. They understand fully well that the question at this juncture is whether or not Nigerians deserve better. The state has a history of impressive voter turn-out and we may just see half of the registered 2 million plus voters cast their ballot. Of that million, Atiku’s victory should be by a margin of about roughly 200,000.The biggest Atiku margin in this region should come from Taraba. The former Minister of Women Affairs, Aisha Jummai Alhassan, was the APC in the state and she migrated with all the party excos in the 169 wards in the state to the UDP. She is the first minister in recent memory to openly endorse her President’s rival before vacating office when she said she was for Atiku in 2019. It would surprise a lot of people if Buhari gets more than 100,000 of the likely 600,000 expected to turn up.
Verdict: Buhari 2.3m, Atiku 1.5m
The APC has tried gaining a foothold in the South South and South East by enlisting some big names in the region but it really won’t count. These people were always going to vote against a man who promised delivering dividends according to how he was voted after his last victory. Talk more one who has performed worse than any President we have ever had.
The Vice-Presidential candidate of the PDP, Peter Obi is an Ibo and at the very least, 5 million of the 10 million registered voters in the South East are expected to cast their votes this weekend. Of that 5 million, it would take a miracle for Buhari to get 400,000 votes.
Verdict: Atiku 4.7m, Buhari 300,000
Despite the APC having presence in some South South states notably Rotimi Amaechi’s Rivers and Senator Godswill Akpabio’s Akwa Ibom, Atiku is expected to get about a million votes while his opponent will struggle to get past the 100,000 mark and in Akwa Ibom, the PDP should conveniently secure above 900,000 of the about 1 million expected to be cast.
Verdict: Atiku 6.6m, Buhari 400,000
The North-Central has the 3rd largest voters registered and it is more or less the region that erases all doubts as to an Atiku victory in a free and fair contest. Of the over 1.6 million registered voters in Kogi, 600,000 are expected to turn out and more than half of that number will vote the PDP. Adducable to not just Buhari’s non-performance but the unpopularity of Gov. Yahaya Bello outside his Ebira tribe in Kogi state. Plateau is expected to hand over 800,000 of about 1 million votes cast on Saturday to Atiku and about 500,000 of the 600,000 likely to vote in Benue will do so for Atiku as well. The state underwent its worst security crisis in recent memory under President Buhari and his administration has been widely accused of being insensitive to their predicament. Nasarawa has about 1.6 million registered voters and about half that numbers are expected to turn out. It will be tight but the PDP should win it by a narrow margin. About 600,000 voters are likely to turn out on election day based on antecedents in Senate President Bukola Saraki’s Kwara state and the PDP are expected to win it by a 50,000-100,000 margin. Niger is really close and could go to any of the 2 parties but it appears the APC will clinch majority of the 700,000 votes cast on that day.
Verdict: Atiku 2.7m, Buhari 1.5m
Final Verdict: Atiku: 25.3m, Buhari:10m
Umar Sa’ad Hassan is a lawyer based in Kano.