Jonathan and the margin of 3 million votes

If the 2011 elections were held today, the majority of tossed up votes will go from the president’s corner.


PDP RallyThe stage is now set for the 2015 presidential elections. President Goodluck Jonathan has emerged as the presidential candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) while the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) has Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari as its candidate. Clearly, this is a repeat of the 2011 presidential elections, which was widely adjudged to be free and fair and won by President Jonathan. It is not out of place, therefore, to analyse the data from the 2011 election in order to look forward to the forthcoming 2015 presidential elections.

According to INEC figures, there were 73,528,040 registered voters in 2011 out of which 38,199,219 of them voted in the presidential election of April 29, 2011 representing a 51.95% voter turnout. From that number, 22,495,187 voted for President Jonathan of the Peoples’ Democratic Party while 15,704,032 voted for his opponents i.e. Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari of the Congress for Progressive Change (12,214,853), Alhaji Ibrahim Shekarau of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (2,067,301), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu of the Action Congress of Nigeria (917,012) and others (504,866).

Today, the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) have merged to form the All Progressive Congress. As stated earlier, Maj. Gen. Buhari is now their presidential candidate while Alhaji Shekarau and Mallam Ribadu have defected to the PDP. Shekarau is a Minister and Ribadu is a governorship candidate. As soon as APC became a reality in 2013, I crunched the numbers and the president’s vulnerability in a 2015 re-election project was laid bare. I knew instantly that any re-election bid for President Jonathan was in jeopardy. I will now analyse those numbers, which are even scarier now for the president now that Buhari is the APC presidential candidate.

For the purposes of this analysis and given the local conditions at the moment, the 2011 votes of CPC, ANPP and ACN will be grouped as APC votes. To this extent, it is safe to postulate that APC got 15,199,166 votes in 2011. A zone by zone study of the 2011 votes reveal that 5,547,150 votes were cast in the North Central zone from the 11,627,490 registered voters representing a 47.71% turn-out in the zone which comprises Niger, Benue, Kwara, Plateau, Nassarawa and Kogi States with the Federal Capital Territory. PDP secured 3,376,570 votes against APC’s 1,857,902 votes. PDP won in Benue, Kwara, Plateau, Nassarawa and Kogi States (all controlled by the PDP at the time) as well as the Federal Capital Territory while APC won in Niger State which is a PDP-controlled state. PDP got 60% of the votes leaving APC with 34%. Given that Kwara and Nassarawa States are now controlled by the APC, they can now be described as toss-up states. If the votes cast in those states are taken out of the summary, PDP will be left with 2,699,330 votes while APC will be left with 1,495,909 votes leaving a net loss of 677,240 votes for the PDP and 361,993 votes for the APC.

In the North East zone comprising Gombe, Taraba, Yobe, Borno, Adamawa and Bauchi States, a total of 5,826,645 votes were cast from the 10,749,059 registered voters representing a voter turnout of 54.21%. Only Yobe and Borno States were under APC control at the time while Gombe, Taraba, Adamawa and Bauchi States were PDP states. Nothing has changed in terms of party control of these states. In that election, PDP got 1,832,622 votes while APC got 3,768,098 votes. PDP won in Gombe and Taraba States. PDP had 32% of the votes and APC secured 66%. With the uncertain security situation in the 3 states of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa States they are now battleground states and if those votes are tossed out of the summary, PDP will be left with 1,000,105 votes while APC will be left with 2,033,093 votes. This represents a net loss of 832,517 votes for PDP and 1,735,005 votes for APC.

The North West zone is made up of Kebbi, Jigawa, Katsina, Zamfara, Kano, Kaduna and Sokoto States and 10,800,075 votes were cast out of the 19,803,689 registered voters. This represents a voter turnout of 54.54%. All the states were controlled by PDP governors in 2011 with the exception of Kano State. The PDP secured 3,395,724 votes while APC got 6,979,747 votes. This tally gave PDP 31% of the votes and APC got 65%. Today, Zamfara and Sokoto States have APC governors. The North West zone is and will always be Buhari country, to that extent, the best case scenario is that the votes remain the same. So, no net loss for either party.

The President’s South South zone comprising Cross River, Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa, Edo and Akwa Ibom States had 9,474,427 registered voters in 2011 out of which 6,339,316 voters cast their votes representing a 66.91% turnout. At the time, the only state without a PDP governor was Comrade Adams Oshiomole’s Edo State. The PDP had 6,118,608 votes and APC had 69,688 votes. PDP won 97% of the votes and APC got 2.21%. In Edo State, PDP secured 87.28% of the votes while the ruling ACN got 8.73%! On its part, Rivers State gave PDP 98% of votes cast. As these lines are written, Rivers State has an APC governor that is leading the presidential campaign of their party. The party is also resurgent in Edo State. If those votes were cast today, I believe that PDP will still win in Rivers State but, clearly both states are toss up states and if their 2011 votes are tossed up, PDP will have 3,758,673 votes while APC gets 69,688. This will be a net loss of 2,359,935 votes for PDP and just 70,624 votes for APC.

Enter the South East zone which has Abia, Ebonyi, Imo, Anambra and Enugu States. In 2011, the total number of registered voters in the zone was 7,577,212 (almost the same as Kano and Jigawa States alone!). Out of that number, 5,072,321 voted representing a 67% voter turnout with four states controlled by PDP governors while Anambra’s APGA governor was very pro-PDP. At the end of voting, PDP secured 4,985,246 votes while APC got 41,485 votes. This means that PDP won 98% of the votes leaving APC with 0.81%. Even though Imo State is now in the toss up column, the numbers can remain the way they were, so no net loss for either party.

Finally, the South West zone. This is the zone that won it for PDP in 2011. It comprises Oyo, Ekiti, Lagos, Osun, Ondo and Ogun States. In 2011, the zone had 14,296,163 registered voters but only 4,613,712 voters turned up on that Election Day. This represents a miserly 32.27% voter turnout. Lagos, Osun and Ekiti were controlled by ACN governors, Ondo State had a Labour Party (pro-PDP) governor, Ogun State had a former PDP governor who had just defected to Progressive Party of Nigeria and Oyo State was controlled by a PDP governor. 2,786,417 people voted for PDP while 1,369,943 voted for APC (read ACN). PDP won in all the states except Osun State and had 60% of the votes while APC had 35%. Today, Lagos, Osun, Ogun and Oyo States are controlled by APC governors while Ondo and Ekiti States have PDP governors. The APC calls the South West their home and this highly sophisticated zone is now very much interested in the presidential race to the extent that if the elections were held today, they would turn out more than 32.27% registered voters. For that reason, it is the ultimate battleground zone and when their 2011 votes are tossed up it will result in a net loss of 2,786,417 votes for the PDP and 1,369,943 votes for the APC.

What do these numbers mean? If the 2011 elections were repeated today with the same voter numbers but different realities on the ground, 10,193,674 votes will be up in the air with 6,656,109 of them flying from the PDP column and 3,537,565 from APC. If the votes cancel out, 3,118,544 will remain. We now have 68,833,476 registered voters, a 6.4% downwards adjustment, if that is applied to the 3,118,544 votes, we will have 2,918,957 votes which might be the margin of defeat for the president in such an election. Prior to 2011, the other presidential election with worldwide acclaim was the June 12, 1993 election. On that day, the average voter turnout was 42%. Now Nigerians know that it is possible to achieve not only a 67% turnout but also, in some instances, 98% votes cast for one candidate. For the Jonathan camp, the best effort should be geared towards ensuring that Buhari does not increase the 12,214,853 votes he received without much help in 2011 but now adjusted downwards by 6.4% to 11,433,102 votes. But more importantly, it should be to recover his portion of the tossed-up votes and then add to it so that the margin of 2,918,957 votes will not come to pass.