Gbenga Giwa backs his support for a Southern presidential candidate in both the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party with revealing statistics
I disagree completely with the analysis of Reno Omokri in his article titled, 2023: Political Realities That Annoy And Heal, published in THISDAY of May 3, 2022, to the effect that, for PDP to win the 2023 presidential election, the party has to field a Northerner, if Tinubu emerges as APC’s candidate. Let me start with the figures Reno gave. He was wrong about the actual votes as released by INEC in 2019 for Kano State and South-east. Kano State votes was 1,891,134 not 2million as he said, while South-east polled 2,220,756, not 2.09million as he said. That’s a difference of 329,622 in favour of South-east not 90,000, as he tried to imply. Yes, the whole of North-west polled over 8million votes. 8,423,389 to be exact, which is way away from the 2.2million of South-east. But looking at the votes, APC had 5,995,651 to PDP’s 2,280,465 in North-west, a difference of over 3.7million. This vast difference can be significantly bridged in 2023, if APC fields Tinubu and PDP fields a Southerner. My reasons: 1. Buhari is not on the ballot and whatever Reno might say, Buhari’s standing army will not vote Tinubu, who as a Southern Muslim will be considered by the Northern Muslims as a counterfeit Muslim, whose wife, Senator Remi Tinubu is an ordained pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG. This is not the kind of Muslim the North will consider a serious Muslim, whose First Lady will be parading Daddy G.O, Pastor Adeboye in the ultra innermost part of Aso Rock. And as we all know, Islam plays a major role in the consideration of the Northern oligarchy on who becomes the President. That’s already a big minus for Tinubu in the North, coupled with the fact that Buhari might have endorsed Tinubu under duress, because if Tinubu was Buhari’s preferred choice, this would have shown long ago. His body language, right now does not point to Tinubu. So, if Tinubu eventually emerged as the candidate, be rest assured that Buhari would have had no choice but to endorse him. That humiliation of going against Baba’s wish will not be lost on the cabal and they will take their revenge by having a lukewarm attitude at the election. This will be in favour of the PDP candidate, whether he’s a Northerner or a Southerner. This situation will then tilt in favour of a Christian Southerner because such scenario will galvanize the Northern Christians to come out to vote, just like they did for Jonathan in 2011, when he polled 1,190,179 votes in Kaduna State, with 88% or 1,047,358 votes coming from the Christian-dominated Southern Kaduna alone. Such will reoccur with a PDP Southern candidate. Other Northern Christian areas in the North-west, like Zuru in Kebbi State would also come out in large numbers. And as being speculated, Kwankwaso will be on the ballot for NNPP. This will further deplete APC’s votes. Give and take, I would give APC 5.5million votes and PDP 4.5million, in the 2023 election for the North-west, a difference of about 1million. In the North-east, APC had 3,238,783 votes to PDP’s 1,25,357 votes in 2019. The APC won’t be able to replicate its nearly 2million votes difference of 2019 over PDP in 2023, reason being that with electronic voting, the 836,496 votes recorded for Borno State, where insurgency has been rampaging the State, even up till today, would not be possible in 2023. Also, Southern Borno with their large Christian population will be encouraged to come out and vote because PDP is fielding a Southern Christian. Taraba and Adamawa with their large Christian population is a given. And Bauchi, which traditionally is a PDP State until 2015 and with its current governor being a PDP, there will be a better delivery of votes from the zone. Consequently, the 2million votes difference will be cut down drastically to about 500,000 votes. Of course, the North-central, which voted almost 50-50 for the two parties in 2019, will significantly tilt towards PDP. In 2019, APC polled 11,700,003 votes in the entire three Northern zones, while PDP polled 5,559,591 votes. With a PDP Southern candidate, against Tinubu in 2023, as per this analysis, which even Reno cannot fault, i do not see a whopping over 6 million votes difference APC can have over PDP. Maximum 3 million votes, just like it happened in 2011 between Jonathan and Buhari. These 3million or so votes will be completely wiped out from the massive votes that will come from the South, occasioned by seeing one of their own on the PDP ballot. A little comment on South-west. One will be a fool to say Tinubu is not a colossus in South-west politics. But has anybody sat down to query why most of those he supposedly made are against him today? Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, current Minister of Interior; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State; Akinwunmi Ambode, former Governor of Lagos State; Senator Babatunde Ojudu; Senator Abayomi Afikuyomi and many other notable first class Bourdillon graduates, are supposed to be the frontliners in this Tinubu’s life ambition. But what do we have? Either they are on the war path against him or are even constituting stumbling blocks on his way to Aso Rock. If, not when, Tinubu becomes APC’s flag-bearer, you think all these APC stalwarts will fold their arms and be disgraced in South-west? Collectively, they may not be able to dislodge him from winning the zone, but they will make sure, it will not be a plain sailing for him. This scenario will be good and favourable to the PDP candidate and if he happens to be a Southerner, the sweeter for the party. Even a today’s analyst knows that South-east and South-south zones are locked down for PDP. So, it is not correct, Reno, that it’s only a PDP Northern candidate that can win 2023 Presidential election if Tinubu is APC’s candidate.
2. Reno presents Tinubu as if Tinubu will be contesting as an independent candidate. Having failed in three previous occasions of 2003, 2007 and 2011, Tinubu came to Buhari’s rescue and massively helped to install him in 2015 and repeated it in 2019. Now, which sector in Buhari’s administration, will Tinubu campaign on? Economy?, Security?, Education?, Infrastructure?, or even Entertainment? None. Nigerians are tired and they want APC out, no matter who the candidate is. We are back in 2014, where nothing you tell Nigerians about the stupidity of voting Buhari over Jonathan, will make any sense to them. All the statistics of good governance of Jonathan fell on deaf ears. Anybody but Jonathan, Nigerians chorused. That is where we are back now. Only that this time, it is a stark reality. Nobody is saying, anybody but Buhari. What Nigerians are saying is, it has never been this bad. It is not only on economy as was the case with Jonathan, but on all facets of the Nigerian nation: economy, region, religion, name it. The country has never been this polarised and a complete departure from APC in 2023, is the only way forward, if we are to remain one nation. Reno believes this is a sentiment that will not sway votes in PDP’s direction. This is a wrong assumption. Sentiment is a major factor in people reaching a resolution. And majority of Nigerians have resolved to throw APC out in 2023.
3. Majority of the rank and file of PDP members as well as ‘the owners of Nigeria’, queued behind and supported Atiku in 2019. But the dynamics have since changed. The clamour for Nigeria president in 2023 to be one of Southern extraction, is too deafening. Even the North is sympathetic to this call. With all due respect to Reno, his postulation that only a Northern candidate can win it for PDP in 2023 if Tinubu is APC’s candidate, is completely off the mark. His faulty analysis will only reinforce the belief of the North that we Southerners don’t cooperate and agree amongst ourselves. If we miss this opportunity of fielding Southern candidates in the two major parties, especially in the PDP for the 2023 presidential election, we should not blame the North but ourselves.