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2023 Election: Why Presidential Run off is Increasingly Likely

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With the changing realities in next year’s electoral permutations, there is an increasing likelihood that the first ballot at the February 25 presidential election may not produce a clear winner.

By implication, there may be a run-off in the presidential bout before a clear winner is returned by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Although, with their current standing, the presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, can still boast 21 states, where he is certain to get 25 per cent, while his All Progressives Congress (APC) rival, Bola Tinubu, is confident of 20 states, where he can also pull his weight.

The candidates of Labour Party, Peter Obi, and New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Rabiu Kwankwaso, follow as third and fourth in that order with insignificant postings in many states to satisfy the constitutional requirement of 25 per cent of votes cast in 24 states.
This latest development follow a recent THISDAY poll – The Explainer – released by the THISDAY 2023 Election Centre, where a breakdown of the new realities is advanced, with implications for each candidate.

Some of the factors responsible for the new realities include the presence of the candidates in each of the states, their structures and support base, capacity to mobilise, the contents of their respective manifestos, ethnic sentiments, their popularity and name recognition, as well as financial war chest.
While the factors function differently from zone to zone, those responsible for the state-by-state analysis also differ in many respects, with the political parties playing defining roles as well.

NORTH-CENTRAL
In the North-central, there is a mixed bag of factors responsible for candidates’ stand, which is almost defying the previous extrapolation.

Plateau State:
A traditional PDP state currently under the control of the ruling APC, there is a battle to take back the state from APC, even though the ruling party is leaving nothing to chance. Yet, LP is encroaching and making a significant inroad. Here, according to The Explainer, Tinubu is at the moment on 20 per cent, Atiku 35 per cent, Obi 35 per cent, Kwankwaso five per cent, and the others/undecided, five per cent each.

Benue State:
Benue’s situation is close to Plateau, but the candidates stand differently. While Tinubu is struggling with 20 per cent, Atiku is slightly with an edge at 25 per cent, but Obi pushes up to 30 per cent, while Kwankwaso is at 10 and the others/undecided stands at 15 per cent each. The LP advantage may not be unconnected with the position of the governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, who has publicly declared support for Obi.

Nasarawa State:
Although an APC state, the current realities do not show such advantage. Here, Tinubu is at 30 per cent, Atiku 25 per cent, but Obi is also 25 per cent, Kwankwaso 10 per cent, while the others/undecided 10 percent.

Niger State:
This is one North-central state that has remained largely unpredictable in terms of its behaviour ahead of 2023, even though it is at the moment controlled by APC. Tinubu and Atiku are at 35 per cent each, while Obi, Kwankwaso and others/undecided stay at 10 per cent each.

Kogi State:
For the ruling APC, Kogi is one of those unreliable states as far as 2023 is concerned. Nonetheless, Tinubu and Atiku are at 35 per cent each, Obi boasts 15 per cent, Kwankwaso is at five per cent, and the others/undecided are at 10 per cent.

Kwara State:
Since the journey to 2023 began, Kwara is one North-central state that has remained consistent with PDP and where the party can hedge its bet. With the incumbency factor at play, Tinubu is at 35 per cent, while Atiku is at 40 per cent. But Obi and Kwankwaso are at 10 per cent each, while the others/undecided are at five per cent.

NORTH-EAST
Though, bogged down by insecurity, the North-east comes to the 2023 race with huge strength. The presidential candidate of PDP, Atiku, is from the zone, while the vice-presidential candidate of APC, Kashim Shettima, is also from the same area. This interesting situation also makes the zone somewhat impenetrable for the others.

Borno State:
With the Shettima factor and home zone advantage, Tinubu is at 40 per cent here, Atiku 35 per cent, Obi’s score is infinitesimal, Kwankwaso 15 per cent, while the others/undecided are on five per cent.

Yobe State:
Yobe offers a serious struggle between APC and PDP, with an insignificant impact of the others. Tinubu is at 40 per cent here, Atiku is on 35 per cent, Obi five per cent, Kwankwaso 15 per cent, and the others/undecided are 15 per cent.

Adamawa State:
More than any other time and in addition to the incumbency factor in the state, coupled with the home advantage, Atiku’s influence continues to be on the rise here. Thus, while Tinubu is struggling with 20 per cent, Atiku boasts a comfortable 60 per cent, Obi is at 10 per cent, Kwankwaso five per cent and, the others/undecided share five per cent.

Taraba State
With an extended influence of the PDP candidate to Taraba, Tinubu is taking with him 10 per cent, Atiku has 40 per cent, Obi 20 per cent, Kwankwaso 20 per cent, and the others/undecided make do with 10 per cent.

Gombe State:
The zone advantage is still at play for the PDP candidate, where the people would rather choose their son for the number one position than their other son, who is number two. Tinubu has 20 per cent here, Atiku has 40 per cent, Obi 15 per cent, Kwankwaso five per cent, and the others/undecided have 20 per cent.

Bauchi State:
A PDP state, Bauchi is putting its all into the election and giving its candidate his best chance possible. Tinubu is at 20 per cent here, Atiku has 40 per cent, Obi five per cent, Kwankwaso 15 per cent, and the others/undecided are at 20 per cent.

NORTH-WEST
The North-west is about the most important in the equation in terms of votes return. Unfortunately, Tinubu is losing steam here while Atiku and Kwankwaso are gaining ground. This is because APC has put its campaign on the back of governors in the zone, whereas the governors themselves are not that strong, with the planning of their retirement. Importantly, too, the governors are afraid of what happened to former President Goodluck Jonathan, who had 23 governors and eight of the governors lost their states. Above all, the North-west governors are not happy with Tinubu, as he promised a majority of them the ticket to pair with him, but chose Shettima, a Kanuri, instead. That even looks like the most important factor.

Kano State:
With the interplay of interests as the north headquarters, Tinubu is doing 30 per cent here, despite the fact that it is an APC state. Atiku is at 20 per cent, Obi five per cent, while Kwankwaso is at 40 per cent. The others/undecided share five per cent.

Kaduna State:
In Kaduna, Tinubu is doing 30 per cent, Atiku 25 per cent, Obi 20 per cent, Kwankwaso 20 per cent, and the others/undecided five per cent.

Katsina State:
The home state of President Muhammadu Buhari with an APC governor is showing a rather interesting result. In spite of the many advantages, Tinubu is at 30 per cent, Atiku 40 per cent, Obi is not in play, Kwankwaso is 25 per cent and the others/undecided are five per cent.

Jigawa State:
This is an APC state, but PDP is doing well here. Tinubu is at 25 per cent, Atiku 35 per cent, Obi does not seem visible here, Kwankwaso is at 25 per cent, while the others/undecided have 10 per cent.

Sokoto State:
Sokoto promises a close race, with Tinubu doing 35 per cent and Atiku 40 per cent. Not unexpectedly, Obi is also not in play here, but Kwankwaso is at 15 per cent while the others/undecided are at 10 per cent.

Kebbi State:
The race here is similar to Sokoto’s, albeit propelled by dissimilar factors. Tinubu boasts 35 per cent here, Atiku 35 per cent, Obi is non-existent, Kwankwaso is at 20 per cent, while the others/undecided are 10 per cent.

Zamfara State:
Tinubu is doing well here because of Governor Bello Matawalle, who is campaigning seriously for him. In addition, APC has tried to use the court to hold down and remove the PDP candidate, Dauda Lawan-Dare. However, if Lawan-Dare, a former First Bank Executive Director, survives the court battle, Atiku might win Zamfara, with Gen. Aliyu Gasau also fighting for him. But Tinubu is currently doing 40 per cent, Atiku 35 per cent, Obi is out of equation, Kwankwaso is at 20 per cent and the others/undecided, five per cent.

SOUTH-EAST
The South-east is a zone of interest in the 2023 general election. This is because in spite of the multi-faceted security situation in the place, it is looking like a clean sweep for Obi, while the other candidates struggle to get some paltry recognition.

Anambra State:
As a South-east state, Anambra is solidly behind Obi and this is in spite of a recent comment by Governor Chukwuma Soludo. Obi is pitching for a landslide. This is because the average Igbo man just wants to make a statement with Obi’s candidacy. For many here, it is not about Obi winning or not winning. Here, Tinubu is on five per cent, Atiku 10 per cent, Obi 70 per cent, Kwankwaso is not in play, while the others/undecided are at 15 per cent.

Abia State:
The ethnic sentiment is also prevalent here and this sees Tinubu doing 10 per cent, Atiku doing 15 per cent, Obi comfortably on 60 per cent, Kwankwaso is non-existent, and the others/undecided are 15 per cent.

Ebonyi State:
Tinubu and Atiku are at 15 per cent each, Obi is at 60 per cent, Kwankwaso is not visible here, while the others/undecided are 10 per cent.

Enugu State:
In Enugu, Tinubu is doing 10 per cent, Atiku 15 per cent, Obi 60 per cent, Kwankwaso is not in play but the others/undecided are 15 per cent.

Imo State:
The permutations in Imo are slightly different, combined with its peculiar security situation and in spite of the incumbency factor. Nevertheless, Tinubu is at 15 per cent, Atiku 20 per cent, Obi 60 per cent, Kwankwaso is not reckoned, and the others/undecided are five per cent.

SOUTH-SOUTH
Delta State:
The PDP presidential running mate and incumbent governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, has upped the PDP chances in the state. But the opposition still gives a good fight. In Delta Central where Omo Agege comes from, it’s divided between Omo Agege, Ogboru and Ibori, while Delta South and Delta North are essentially PDP strong hold, but very recently, Peter Obi has been making inroads into the north. Here, Tinubu is doing 15 per cent, Atiku is on 40 per cent, Obi 35 per cent, Kwankwaso is not in play, and the others/undecided are 10 per cent.

Edo State:
Although the PDP has always done well in its presidential postings in the state, the game this time is slightly different. Tinubu is on 15 per cent, Atiku and Obi are doing 35 per cent each, Kwankwaso is not in play, while the others/undecided are 15 per cent.

Akwa Ibom State:
A PDP terrain, the governor of the state, Udom Emmanuel, is the chairman of the presidential campaign council. The party looks comfortable here. Tinubu is on 15 per cent, Atiku 40 per cent, Obi 35 per cent, Kwankwaso is not reckoned, and the others/undecided, 10 per cent.

Bayelsa State:
A traditional PDP stronghold, Bayelsa remains loyal to the opposition party, but with strong contest by the others. Tinubu is at 20 per cent, Atiku 40 per cent, Obi 30 per cent, Kwankwaso is out of the equation, and the others/undecided are 10 per cent.

Cross River:
Cross River has a different play, which has defied many guesses and extrapolations. Tinubu is at 25 per cent, Atiku is playing at 20 per cent, Obi 35 per cent, Kwankwaso is not in the equation and the others/undecided are 15 per cent.

Rivers State:
Rivers is going to be one of the most interesting states to watch. There is the possibility that the Wike factor will work against PDP. Wike has not decided yet. He said he would decide in the coming days and he is likely to support Obi, taking after Ortom. So far, Tinubu is on 10 per cent, Atiku 15 per cent, Obi 35 per cent, Kwankwaso is not in contention, and the others/undecided are at 40 per cent.

SOUTH-WEST
Of all the zones, South-west is about the most cosmopolitan with electoral choices, and also tolerant of others, irrespective of their ethnic leanings. This is evident in their pattern of voting.

Lagos State:
This is Tinubu’s base, where he is like a “god” over everything that breathes and non-living. Yet, the threat posed by the opposition is real. With the incumbency factor and home advantage, Tinubu is comfortably doing 45 per cent, Atiku 20 per cent, Obi 25 per cent, Kwankwaso five per cent and the others/undecided are five per cent.

Ogun State:
In Ogun, despite the incumbency factor and fractionalisation in the party, Tinubu is still doing 45 per cent, Atiku 20 per cent, Obi 10 per cent, Kwankwaso 15 per cent, and the others/undecided are at 15 per cent.

Ondo State:
PDP has always done well in the presidential elections in Ondo, the sentiment that Tinubu is Yoruba might have tainted the pattern. Therefore, Tinubu is at 45 per cent, Atiku is at 20 per cent, Obi is 10 per cent, Kwankwaso 10 per cent, and the others/undecided are15 per cent.

Ekiti State:
Recent developments have shown that PDP in Ekiti State has begun to close ranks and work for the success of its candidate. But the newly elected government of APC also has relative control in the state. So far, Tinubu is doing 45 per cent, Atiku is on 20 per cent, Obi 15 per cent, Kwankwaso is not in play, and the others/undecided are 15 per cent.

Oyo State:
The capital of South-west politics, Oyo is also looking in the way of Tinubu and this much the governor, Makinde, hinted at during a radio interview some time ago. Tinubu is on 40 per cent, Atiku 20 per cent, Obi 15 per cent, Kwankwaso 15 per cent, and the others/undecided are also 15 per cent.

Osun State:
Of all the states in the South-west zone, Osun chose to differ a bit by not weighing too much on Tinubu’s side, unlike the others. With a PDP governor, who is not revolting against the party leadership, it is no wonder that the party is comfortable in the state. Yet, there is a Yoruba movement that wants Tinubu. Here, Tinubu is at 35 per cent, Atiku 35 per cent, Obi is at 5 per cent, Kwankwaso is 5 per cent, while the others/undecided are 20 per cent.

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