THE 2015 presidential election is here. And pundits are looking at the factors that would determine who occupies Aso Rock Villa on May 29, 2015.
IT’S PDP OR APC
It has been acknowledged that it is a straight electoral battle between the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party and the presidential candidate of the opposition All Progressives Congress, General Muhammadu Buhari (retd).
The two frontline political parties have formidable followership across the country. They also control the National Assembly. PDP leads in the Senate, while the APC controls the House of Representatives.
CHANGE VERSUS CONTINUITY
The 2015 presidential election would be decided by two categories of voters: those rooting for change and Nigerians who want the present leadership to get a second term.
Two opposing forces with strong followership, it appears the heat is on PDP supporters.
There are six geo-political zones in Nigeria. They are the North East, North West, North Central, South West, South East and South South. In terms of block votes, the ruling PDP is expected to beat the APC in the South while the opposition would floor PDP’s Dr. Ebele Goodluck Jonathan in the North.
But a breakdown of how the states would vote would reveal an unpredictable result.
For instance, in the South West, the opposition APC would have an upper hand, while the PDP would still pocket a reasonable number of votes in some South West states to its electoral advantage.
President Jonathan might as well not sleep with both eyes closed in Rivers and Imo States, where the APC is deeply rooted.
General Buhari should not take for granted the block votes of the North with the support of core northern political elite for the incumbent president.
The North Central is also a battle ground for Buhari and Jonathan’s supporters. Though it is likely that the PDP would win the zone, it would be with a slim margin.
In all, the battle for votes in the geo-political zones would be fierce, with those voting for status quo giving a hot chase to Nigerians canvassing for change.
WHERE CORPORATE NIGERIA STANDS
The movers and shakers of the Nigerian economy always queue behind the incumbent president. And Jonathan is massively enjoying this goodwill.
From the richest man in Africa to Forbes listed billionaires, tycoons who control Nigeria’s wealth are behind the ruling PDP. Men of means who are bankrolling Buhari’s campaign do so from behind for fear of victimization, should Jonathan return to power.
There are, however, equally immensely rich Nigerians who support Buhari’s presidential project. But come Saturday, March 28, 2015, if it’s corporate Nigeria that determines who wins the election, President Goodluck Jonathan would get a second term.
Religion is not only the opium of the masses, like Karl Marx noted years back, it also controls the enlightened. And that is the situation in Nigeria, where many would be voting along religious divides.
Sadly, more Christians would be voting for Jonathan while the Muslims would most likely support Buhari. In fact, the majority of the Muslim North and South-West would support APC’s Buhari, while the Christian South would file behind Jonathan. He would also win the votes of North Central (the old Middle Belt) who are mainly Christians.
Interestingly, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and clerics from other denominations have allegedly been mobilized to woe members for Jonathan. In fact, Rivers State Governor and Director General of Buhari Campaign Organisation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi recently alleged that some pastors pocketed N6 billion to campaign for the PDP presidential candidate, Goodluck Jonathan. The General Overseer of The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye has, however, warned those who collected the bribe money to return it or be consumed by the power of the Holy Ghost.
Christians in APC are equally being reminded that the party fielded a pastor (Prof. Osinbajo) as Buhari’s running mate. This is also a plus for the opposition party, the PDP fears a lot.
In the same vein, the APC presidential candidate is also playing the religious card. Buhari is a well-known advocate of Islam, with millions of followers who can die for him.
Religious interest is thus a factor in the 2015 polls.
Electioneering campaign is a highly capital intensive project. And demanding a massive war chest, party chieftains’ quest for funds could be insatiable. It is, therefore, a fact that the presidential candidate with more financial resources to mobilize votes would win the 2015 general election.
The PDP might have spent over N200 billion so far, while the opposition APC has splashed far below that sum in Buhari.
And, if the presidency is for sale, the candidate who controls the state’s resources, financial and otherwise, would certainly have the upper hand.
Fortunes of electoral candidates the world over have a lot to do with opinion polls. Interestingly, the APC presidential candidate appears to be more popular than the incumbent President Jonathan. Poll after poll, the PDP candidate is by miles less accepted by Nigerians than APC’s Buhari.
Even efforts by the PDP to rubbish the polls have not changed the perception of the public.
The international community also has a say in who becomes Nigeria’s next president. And encouraging Abuja to conduct a free and fair election, this is in the best interest of the opposition. The perceived below average performance of the Jonathan presidency, the loss of lives to insurgents with its attendant alleged violations of human rights are not governance indices that endear an administration to the civilized world. That is why the global community might even welcome a democratic change in Nigeria.
BUHARI, JONATHAN IN HEAD-TO-HEAD RACE TO ASO ROCK
From the above analysis, the APC presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari and PDP’s President Goodluck Jonathan are in a very tight race to Aso Rock.
Popular in their various strongholds and favoured by vested interest, General Buhari and Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan are going to the 2015 election so so sure of victory. But it is up to Nigerians to decide who occupies the Presidential Villa till 2019.