Every election season in Nigeria comes with the challenges of trust, elite irresponsibility, identity politics, ethnicity, religion, and fake news, even as political parties conspire against the law.
There are seven (7) parametric ingredients that underpin election victory at the presidential level in Nigeria. And there is evidence that a presidential candidate’s likelihood of victory is often x-rayed from his or her apparent score in at least four of these ingredients.
The ingredients are:
- Party formidability (PF)
- Candidate Marketability (CM)
- Deep Pocket (DP)
- Candidate’s Political Reach (CR)
- Incumbency Leverage (IL)
- Fundamental Opportunism (FO)
- Ethno-Religious Feeling (ER)
The Nigeria’s presidential election behaviour since 1999 can simply be modelled in quantitative form as follows:
|NPE = a + bPF + cCM + dDP + eCR +fIL +gFO + hER + U|
NPE=Nigeria’s Presidential Election, given a,b,c,d,e,f,g h as quantitative explainers of the different positions of the candidates, measured on the performance scale depicted in the model.
The level of voter awareness, mass illiteracy and other less significant electoral victory-based variables are conveniently put in one bag called ‘U’ as shown in the model.
We are glad the Electoral Act 2020 (as amended) explicitly grants legal authority to the election management body, INEC, to use advance technology as it deems necessary to conduct elections in Nigeria. INEC has expressed some readiness to deploy in full the BIVAS technology for the 2023 presidential election. INEC says there will be no room for shortcut as the use of the notorious incident-form arrangement has been eliminated by the Electoral Act.
Whether we want to admit it or not President Muhammadu Buhari must be given credit for restoring confidence in our electoral framework, management and attitude. His body language has so far spoken volume of a neutral character in our elections. Not the kind of demagoguery, imposition, open-rigging and ballot box desecration that characterized the PDP suzerainty. We have seen how every candidate is self-satisfied of imminent victory on the grounds of the one-man-one-vote possibility made achievable by the president’s disposition towards electoral democracy.
The history of election victory, demographical responses in the internet age, new legal reality, interviews of a large sample of adult Nigerians, all previous and present opinion polls (both local and foreign), national development scrutiny of the party in power, and questionnaires administered on informed number of adult politicians about election victory parameters are the main sources of my data from which generated the following estimation.
|NPE = 0.04 + 0.3PF + 0.1CM + 0.2DP + 0.3CR +0.01IL +0.02FO + 0.03ER|
This model would apply to the serious candidates, the quartet of Bola Tinubu, Atiku Abubakar, Peter Obi and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso. There is no intention to undermine the candidates of other political parties; I just want to be reasonably realistic in framing compact model.
Each candidate will be scored based on numerical weight attached to each of the ingredients. There is also the concern about the performance of the party (APC) in power. The consensus is that, both the APC and the PDP, two parties that had ruled Nigeria since 1999, have performed below par but with the APC having an edge in terms of critical infrastructure upgrade and electoral reform. The Labor Party has not been a relevant competitor, save for the emergence of its Presidential flagbearer, Mr. Peter obi whose carriage has put the LP on the front burner.
Bola Ahmed Tinubu (APC)
Total score = 230
The result shows that the candidate of the All progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu has some advantage of his party being in power, personal wealth to prosecute the election, and his intimidating political network of allies across the country.
Though, the issues of his health-status, Muslim-Muslim ticket and academic qualification are being pushed by the online warriors, these are not issues of significant political stimulus. His score of 80 out of 100 in political reach suggests someone who has had a mission to become president in the future and began to mobilize political fraternity and building bridges across social divides.
Atiku Abubakar (PDP)
Total Score = 165
The candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has some advantage in terms of deep pocket and relative political network but will battle with intraparty issues of zoning and poor public image. The Northern conservative establishment may root for Atiku’s emergence but his integrity quotient seems very poor in the eyes of the ordinary Northerner.
The polar politics of being the turn of the South will rob his victory while the Buhari’s integrity stuff will never cast Atiku as an alternative.
Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (NNPP)
Total Score = 78
The NNPP candidate doesn’t secure good score in the model except his scale of marketability of 25 out of 100 due mainly to his sectional irredentism.
His Kwankwasiyya political movement is somewhat attractive in the North West but whether this would translate to aggregate presidential victory is yet to be seen.
Of course, Nigerians are lamenting about bad governance under the PDP and APC but Kwankwaso’s candidacy cannot be said to be a detachment from the old order since he was an active personality of the government of these two political parties.
Peter Obi (LP)
Total Score = 105
The emergence of Peter Obi as the LP presidential candidate is said to be an answer to the Igbo political marginalization. His candidacy is being propelled online and offline by youth who are grossly disenchanted and filled with hatred for the status-quo.
However, his score of 30 out of 100 in marketability quotient lays credence to the incredible efficiency of the social media to turning black to white. Mr Obi is considered an ethnic-backed candidate, lacking national acceptability beyond the opaque online narratives.
His score of 25 out of 100 in Ethno-Religious parameter makes him look like a candidate of ethnic-Igbo, through whom the region is poised to regain practical relevance in the political quest for the Nigerian presidency. Whether his online campaigns and chains of street rallies would translate to election victory is a matter of probabilistic concern.
The marginalization of Ndi Igbo cannot be an electoral asset of any guise because virtually every community in Nigeria cries for marginalization of different guise. No doubt, Peter Obi is a good candidate whose emergence would surely demystify the strength of the APC and the PDP, mostly in the South
Some analysts opined that the 2023 presidential election has same character as 1979 presidential election. Their reason is that the major contenders hail from different ethno-regional components of Nigeria. They concluded that the voting pattern in 2023 will so much reflect the ethnic affiliation of the candidates. I beg to disagree. As at 1979 the ethnic overlords and their political lieutenants had monopoly of political information so whatever they told us were considered to be sacrosanct.
This era of globalization has redefined the spread and interpretation of our political conversation. For instance, Atiku Abubakar can send a message about the dream of his candidacy through the social media and the voter at a remote village in Warri will get it and make voting decision about it. This was not the case in 1979 as whatever Awolowo or Azikiwe or Shagari told their people was regarded as a political fact.
The 2023 election is very much predictable unless we want to massage our sentiment. The APC looks good to fly again beyond the PDP and others but the LP can expand its political reach, not relying on the online youth movement, greater percentage of whom is poor and reactionary.