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Opinions of Friday, 22 April 2022

Columnist: Rufai Oseni

EUREKA: How viable is the Northern vote?

Northern Nigeria Northern Nigeria

There is a need for data and empirical analysis in our elections. I was shocked one somebody once said sentiments rule elections not data.

I must state categorically that data rules everything in fact I tell people “In God, I trust the rest is data”.

The arguments recently and the position of certain political parties can only win with a northern candidate is terribly flawed. I ask if the north brought in all the vote President Buhari will have been president in 2011. This idea of the north largest vote block calls for further interrogation, the North brings about 40 million votes while the south brings in 38 million registered voters.

Voter apathy has also increased and be rest assured it’s less that 32 per cent of that number will turn up. That is why the margin of win is always about 3 million in every election since 2015. In the North, the three key states are the KKK, kaduna, katsina and kano.

If you check President Buhari won all these states and to win the presidential elections you must either win or reduce your margin of loss in those states. In the 2011 elections President Jonathan split the kaduna votes, he had over 1 million votes although President Buhari won kaduna.

The key battleground is always kaduna as the kano pattern has not changed since 1979. In 79, kano voted Aminu kano with 76%, and in 2011, 2015 and 2019 votes President Buhari with heavy margins.

Katsina will also naturally go the way of the APC. Kaduna is a swing state I argue because of its cosmopolitan nature and the religious spread, anyone that targets kaduna could win it in the next elections, Apart from the key kkk states in the north states like Bauchi and Kebbi can give you the numbers but not like the kkk states.

In the south states like Lagos, Rivers and Delta can pull in big numbers but with voter apathy, the numbers will be reduced but those states being won with big margins can give you 3million votes, my benchmark for this argument is the 2015 elections.

The recent decision by some parties to think that the north can pull out all the numbers is ill-informed and not empirical. Whoever will win needs to win big numbers in the North and in the south. The candidate must do well in Lagos, Rivers, Delta, Kaduna, Kano and Katsina, as a big showing in these states can put 6 million votes in the bag for any candidate, then it is incumbent to consolidate on other states.

Empirically, it is projected that voter turnout will be low and rigging will also be made difficult but the new measure put in place by INEC and the new electoral laws.

The mood of the nation

It has to be said the mood of the nation matters a great deal, there is a push for power to go to the south east and that is a prominent factor. Any attempt to keep power away from that region could affect about 3 million votes that could come out of the South East. So political players must understand the time. The north will still support any candidate so let’s stop the argument about the north not voting for a southern candidate.

The North voted Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan and I am sure they will not any other good candidate in this election. If both parties present a southeastern candidate hypothetically the north will still vote.

I must say I respect the North’s political maturity. Let’s not forget in a hurry the North voted an MKO Abiola over a Tofa their own son because they saw a viable candidate in MKO.

What Nigeria needs now is a vibrant and patriotic leader that can help grow our nation and bring it out of its challenges. We must get it right in Nigeria.