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Why PMB Will Defeat Atiku In February Presidential Poll

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Take it or leave it, President Mohammadu Buhari (PMB) has a victory assured election come February 2019. This assertion is based on obvious facts that are out there for any discerning observer of our polity. Any careful observation of our electoral politics since independence to date will undoubtedly reveal a clear voting pattern largely informed and driven by ethno-religious considerations. This pattern has remained consistent and will continue for some time. It is not about to change in 2019. For a candidate to win, that candidate must go into political alliances with other sections of the country in political horse-trading to get their support and votes in the election. The votes from the other parts of the country are expected to compliment the votes coming from the candidate’s geo-political base or stronghold to give the candidate a competitive edge in the election. This is the fundamental assumption underpinning our national election strategies, which will certainly play out in this particular election.

It is against this background that I intend to examine the two main candidates: PMB and Atiku Abubakar (Atiku) in terms of viz; political base and political alliance with other parts of the country. PMB comes from the North West with a voter population of about 18 million, the highest in the North and the highest in the whole country. Atiku on the other hand, comes from the North East with about 9 million voter population. PMB’s running mate, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (PYO) is from the South West with a voter population of about 14 million, the highest in the southern part of the country and second in the whole country. Atiku’s running mate, Peter Obi is from the South East that has about 8 million voter population.

What this means, is that while PMB/PYO ticket is coming to this electoral contest with the backing of about 32 million prospective voters, Atiku/Obi ticket is coming to face them backed by only 17 million prospective voters, leaving them with a shortfall of about 15 million voters already.

The North East owes PMB a huge debt of gratitude for greatly reversing the fortunes of the Boko Haram insurgency in the zone. The zone is today witnessing massive reconstruction and rebuilding of public infrastructure and provision of resettlement homes on a scale never seen before. The people see PMB as their saviour from the scourge of terrorism and responsible for the remarkable progress made in their lives, a far cry from the dark days when Boko Haram insurgency was at the peak of their violent and horrendous campaign, inflicting unimaginable destruction to life and property.

The North West, which is PMB’s base, is totally a forbidden territory for Atiku and the PDP. PMB has erected (with his overwhelming grassroots mass followership) what in American political lexicon is called electoral firewalls around the North West Zone. The firewalls make the zone an impregnable fortress for any opposition. All the seven states in the North West with the exception of Sokoto are under APC governors. These include Kaduna, Kastina, Kano, Zamfara, Kebbi and Jigawa whose governors are all ardent supporters of PMB and will leave nothing to chance to ensure his victory and also use it as a launching pad for their guber election victory in March.  Sokoto is not left out in the victory equation for PMB given the fact that it became a PDP state by the defection of the governor. APC remains very strong and it’s the party to beat because of the massive political grassroots structure and support of Senator Wamako, a former governor and former political godfather of Governor Tambuwal.

PMB has a rock solid political partnership with the South West having offered the position of VP to the zone in return for their massive votes for him in 2015. Going into his election, the South West has the incumbent VP in the person of PYO, an energetic, indefatigable erudite scholar/lawyer, serving his country with passion and enjoying the absolute confidence and trust of his principal (PMB) with whom he shares the toga of integrity and incorruptibility.

To further strengthen and cement this working political alliance with the zone, PMB (in a political master stroke) finally rested the ghost of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election as the federal government officially acknowledged their son, late Chief MKO Abiola as the winner of the election, awarded him (posthumously) the nation’s highest honor of GCFR (Grand Commander of Federal Republic) and adopted June 12 instead of May 29 as the real Democracy Day in honour of late Chief MKO Abiola. The South West certainly owes him a debt of gratitude for doing the needful, which their own son, Obasanjo failed to do throughout his 8 years in power. All the six states have sitting APC governors who will no doubt deploy all the resources in their power to galvanize their people to vote for PMB as a prelude to guber election victory in March.

Atiku by picking his running mate from another zone, has technically and unwittingly conceded the South West to PMB as he has nothing on his political plate for them.

Elections are won by deliberate, methodical and diligent effort by a candidate and his/her campaign team to mobilise and maximise the number of votes in the areas where the candidate has high electoral value. It is the ability of a candidate to optimize the votes coming from the voter demographics of that candidate’s political base that wins the election. This base can be by geo-political location, party affiliation, working political partnership, ethnic affiliation, religious affiliation, business association etc. This is the strategy that gave Obama victory in his second term, Trump in his first term, PMB in his first term, and will give him victory again in February.

– Agbachi is an Abuja-based public affairs analyst..


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