With Nigeria’s presidential elections just two days away, permutations of varying degrees are ongoing in a bid to predict our nation’s incoming president. This is especially because winning the coveted presidential seat requires gaining the highest number of votes cast and clinching at least 25% of votes cast in at least 24 of Nigeria’s 36 states. The electorate could just wait for the results of the election, but it is a known fact that the perception by both the local and international community of the election results will affect the president’s influence.
While we can assume that most States will vote in favour of the parties ruling in their State in a show of solidarity for their presidential candidates, our eyes are on six States; one from each of the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria as the States likely to determine the election results for their regions. We call them ‘Our Battleground States’.
Kogi State (North Central)
Although currently under the APC government, discontent abounds amongst the indigenes of Kogi State especially from the quarters of civil servants who are owed salaries by the State government. Also, the presence of the PDP in the Kogi senatorial space may sway a good number of the 1,646,350 votes from the registered voters away from the APC towards their biggest rivals – the PDP.
Borno State (North East)
Following massive insecurity issues that have plagued the State with a largely minimal impact by the Federal Government’s moves at combating the insurgency, eyes are on the 2,315,956 registered voters. We look to see whether they would be willing to prolong the life span of the incumbent APC government or if allegiances will shift considering that one of the two major presidential aspirants, the PDP candidate is from the North East region.
Kano State (North West)
As in 2015, Kano State still holds sway as one of the most influential States as far as deciding the fate of Nigeria’s next president is concerned with a whopping 5,457,747 registered voters – the second highest number of registered voters in the country. Kano was known to be the major stronghold of the APC government in 2015, especially as the APC presidential aspirant is from the North West region. The massive turnout of the State’s indigenes at the recent presidential rally of the PDP however piques curiosity. Will the allegiance of the Kano people take a shift in 2019?
Imo State (South East)
Compared to their counterparts from other regions of the country, the South Easterners are a less politically active people. The bulk of South-Eastern voters are concerned with a government whose economic policies allows their trade to thrive. With complaints of the effects of harsh trade conditions under the APC government and considering that after many years of political marginalization, one of them is now being fielded as PDP’s vice- presidential candidate, we predict that most Igbo voters are PDP Loyalists as far as the presidential election is concerned.
Imo State stands out in the south east as it is the APC stronghold of the eastern region. Whether or not APC’s hold is strong enough is in question as the Imo people have been largely discontented with the extant governor of the State – from the ruling APC government. The 2,272, 293 registered voters of Imo State may choose to prove their discontent by kicking out the APC government before it even has a chance to thrive in their State.
Akwa Ibom State (South South)
As the predominant oil producers of the nation, the South-Southerners are key players in Nigeria’s election process. Although Akwa-Ibom state has a significant 1,095,546 voters less than Rivers State’s 3,215,273, Akwa-Ibom State has become of interest to political observers since the defection of its former governor and former minority leader of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, from the PDP to the APC. Given the State’s propensity for election-related violence, it is curious how much influence Senator Akpabio holds to sway the majority of the 2,119,727 registered voters of Akwa-Ibom from the PDP to the APC.
Lagos State (South West)
From commerce to elections to law making, Lagos State remains numero uno among Nigerian States. With 6,570,291 registered voters, it is a no brainer that Lagos holds major influence on Nigeria’s election results. Lagos State more than any other State is also known to be haven to the APC government and although this should predict a landslide victory for the ruling party in the State, other factors exist that questions how many of these registered voters will indeed cast their votes in favour of the APC government.
For one, a good number of the elites dissatisfied with the APC government have expressed readiness to cast their votes for the PDP to protest the APC. Also, the high percentage of Lagos residents that are non-Yoruba makes it uncertain if they will be inclined to follow the dictates of the APC machinery. The Igbo residents of Lagos State also attract attention because of the emergence of one of theirs as vice-presidential aspirant and whether it would rouse those who hitherto were apolitical to go cast their votes in favour of the PDP.
In all, the 2019 election promises to be eventful and we’re all here for it.