Lagos State stood still on Saturday during the political rally of the All Progressive Congress (APC) flag bearer, Ashiwaju Bola Ahmed Tenubu.
In the run-up to the 2023 general elections, the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, is counting on his cooperation with certain outgoing northern governors to garner votes in the region.
During a rally on Saturday at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos State, Tinubu boasted that his alliance with the governors of Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Kebbi, Kwara, and Plateau will deliver him the majority of the votes he needs to outwit his main opponents, including Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), and Rabiu Kwankwaso (NNPP).
Tinubu’s remarks came five months after around ten northern governors endorsed his candidacy in a hotly contested primary in June.
“Can you see Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Kebbi, Kwara, and Plateau governors?” On Saturday, Tinubu urged a gathering of APC supporters decked out in party garb.
“We are not going to lose any of the states.” We shall govern this country as a team. “They’ve come to offer their support for me,” he added in Yoruba.
The former governor of Lagos from 1999 to 2007 also asked party members to obtain Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) and vote for him in the February elections.
APC National Chairman Abdullahi Adamu, Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila, Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat, and other APC stalwarts attended the rally.
Historically, the northern region of the country has had the highest voter turnout at presidential elections since the country’s return to democracy in 1999, and the top contenders for Aso Rock’s top job in 2023 have since pitched their tents to win over most of the region’s 19 states.
Kano, for example, received approximately 1.8 million total votes, the most of any state in the 2019 presidential election. Lately, the state has had some of the highest defections from the PDP, NNPP, and APC. Kano is home to Tinubu ally Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, Atiku supporter Ibrahim Shekarau, and Kwankwaso, who relies on his base and socio-political movement, Kwankwasiyya, to garner votes in the north.
During the 2019 presidential election, Kastina and Kaduna both received 1.5 million votes, Plateau received over 1 million votes, Kebbi received 650,000 votes, and Kwara received just over 400,000 votes – all of which were split between the APC’s Muhammadu Buhari and the PDP’s Atiku Abubakar. Other states with high voter turnout based on previous elections include Jigawa and Bauchi, among others.
Buhari, who was born in Kastina, won 19 states, many of which were northern APC states, whereas Atiku, who was born in Adamawa, won 18 states, with a total of 15 million votes to 11 million votes.
A presidential candidate can only be declared the winner if he or she “has the majority of votes cast at the election; and has not less than one-quarter of the votes cast at the election in at least two-thirds of all the States in the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja,” according to Section 34 of the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections. To win a presidential election, a candidate must receive 25% of the vote in 24 states across the Federation.
With the exception of Osun, which will become a PDP state on Sunday, November 27, 2022, when Ademola Adeleke is sworn in, the APC now controls 21 states. Similarly, as of press time, the PDP controls 13 states, while the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) controls Anambra State.
However, Tinubu has a big challenge because he chose Kashim Shettima, a former governor of Borno State and fellow Muslim, as his running partner, a decision that has been condemned by Christian organisations and leaders.
There are also concerns that the intra-party squabbles between the G5 led by Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike and Atiku for the chairmanship of Iyorchia Ayu could harm the PDP presidential candidate’s chances next February. Adams Oshiomhole, a former APC national chairman, has stated that the G5’s neutrality is beneficial to Tinubu’s chances.
Tinubu, on the other side, is up against a new opponent in the form of Obi, a new wife and the darling of many Nigerian youngsters tired of the two dominating parties, the PDP and the APC.
Obi and his running mate, Datti Baba-Ahmed, have promised to drive the APC out of Aso Rock. “Whoever believes that the Labour Party, the Obi-dient Movement, or Peter Obi as an individual are not welcome in the north is mistaken,” Baba-Ahmed stated.
Although at least three surveys have placed Obi ahead of the other candidates, only time will tell who will win the presidential election on February 25, 2023.