In less than three weeks Nigerians will go to the polls to elect a new president. As the race becomes more intense a complex mix of factors in different states would shape the eventual outcome. In this piece, Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation, Sam Egburonu, Associate Editor, Dare Odufowokan, Assistant Editor and Sunday Oguntola, present a status report as the race enters the home stretch.
More than at any other period in the history of the Fourth Republic, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is on the edge. It is fighting tooth and nail to cling to power in a tight race. There?s no one better qualified to confirm this than National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd), who said in London on Thursday that ?the emergence of a seemingly viable opposition, as well as the closeness of the race is a clear demonstration of our maturing democracy??
Investigations by our reporters in various states of the federation indicate that the votes haul from three zones in the North as well as the outcome in the South-West could be pivotal determining the race. In the South-South-South and South-East, the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan retains strong support. However, in-fighting in the PDP in Ebonyi, Imo, Akwa Ibom and even in the president?s home state, Bayelsa, could lead to a significant drop in his share of votes cast.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd) is expectedly to perform markedly better in aforementioned two zones than he did in 2011 ? benefitting from the bitter fallout of the PDP squabbles and the stronger platform on which he?s running this time around.
If the elections were held today, these are the projected outcome as put together by our editorial team tracking the contest from state to state.
The PDP has lost more ground to the opposition in the last three weeks. Just a few days ago, a member of the PDP Board of Trustees, Sen. Mohammed Magoro, defected to APC in looks like a political development that has broken the camel?s back.
The tumultuous crowd which heralded Buhari?s visit to Birnin Kebbi signposts an advantage for APC. With ex-Governor Adamu Aliero and other stalwarts of PDP now in APC, a 60-40 victory might be imminent for the opposition in Kebbi.
In spite of the drafting of Senate President, David Mark, Plateau State Governor Jonah Jang and Federal Capital Territory Minister, Sen. Bala Mohammed to lend a helping hand to the embattled Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, things are falling apart for PDP in the state.
The climax of PDP?s misfortunes was the defection of Deputy Governor Ahmed Musa Ibeto to APC with 300 others. The defection suggested an undertone of backing by some kingmakers in the state because it came shortly after ex-President Ibrahim Babangida declared support for Buhari.
Apparently hitting back at one of the godfathers, an angry Governor Aliyu said: ?They said I went to IBB over those who defected. I have passed the stage of begging anybody?? A 70-30 race advantage for APC is likely here.
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