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The 2023 Presidential election is still some months away, though what is clear to all became clearer after the APC and PDP presidential primary elections.

The PDP and the APC were unsure of, from which region of the country to field their presidential candidates, the urge to also win the 2023 election also trumped all other consideration.

While the strongest APC aspirants were from the south, the PDP’s strongest aspirants were mostly from the north. Just exactly a reversal of role between PDP and APC in 2015, the only constant there is that the larger chunk of the votes are domiciled in the north, all parties have their eyes on it as against what some people called consideration for justice and equity or fairness.

What most people still find hard to believe is that Zoning is dead, it was killed and buried by President Goodluck Jonathan, and even if zoning were to still be alive, the most equitable zone to produce the next President under PDP was the North; in the north it should be North-east or North-central. The North-west has already produced Yar’adua in PDP and Buhari in APC. Of the 16 years of PDP Obasanjo from the South had Presidency for 8 years, Goodluck Jonathan hard it for  5 years another southerner, totaling 13 years while the north had it for just 2 years and a few months. Jonathan insisted on vying for a second term against Zoning and lost to Buhari of the APC.

That said, the major political parties now have their candidates, PDP has Atiku Abubakar from the Northeast while APC has Bola Ahmed Tinubu from the Southwest. The two presidential candidates are more similar than they are different,  both are Muslims, both were elected Governors, both are stupendously rich, both have fought for democracy, both have being around for almost 40years, both are old men and both Muslims and that is where Tinubu’s problems starts, who will be his Vice Presidential candidate? Atiku from Muslim majority north is sure to settle for a Christian Southerner, Tinubu does not enjoy such luxury, the current Buhari administration has further widen the religious and regional divide after Jonathan made it obvious. 

Some are quick to refer to Abiola-Kingibe ticket; a Muslim-Muslim ticket, they forget that Nigeria has descended deeper down the religious intolerance and bigotry pit ever since then. The clerics have also not helped at all, they fan the embers of intolerance, fanaticism and extremism, how did Shekau emerge? IPOB? and even Igboho’s Odua noise? now people are first to identify with tribe, religion or region before identifying as Nigerians, this is a bad development which whoever becomes the next President must work hard to reverse. For now, it is a big issue that could mar Tinubu’s presidential dream. A northern Christian Vice will never bring any reasonable votes and a northern Muslim Vice will scare away most Christian voters from north and south. Tinubu and APC are in a fix.

The choice of a southern Christian Vice will bring in more votes for an Atiku Presidency, especially from south south, I personally prefer Wike, the current Governor of Rivers, Rivers has the second largest number of voters after Lagos from the South. The choice of a south easterner as Atiku’s Vice will not make much difference in the south East except he picks Peter Obi who seems to enjoy the regional support of his kinsmen.

On the state by state or region by region breakdown, the Southwest will most likely vote for Tinubu even though the last election showed the Tinubu’s dominance of Lagos is gradually whittling, the gap between Atiku and Tinubu’s Buhari was a paltry 10,000 votes for a state with over 5 million registered voters. Several people were even blocked from voting, the people are more determined to vote now than ever before.

Oyo state in the Southwest will also witness a sharp split, Governor Sheyi Makinde is in the PDP and will work to get a National influence, he is young with a burning urge for National recognition, a Tinubu Presidency will completely bury Sheyi’s political future and Sheyi will never want that so Atiku is his sure bet.

Ogun, Ekiti, Osun will most likely go the Tinubu way, but Atiku will likely get the 25%  votes from at least 2 of the states.

Southeast will go for Peter Obi and Obi will not get the votes to become President, except he is lucky to pick the Atiku’s vice presidential ticket, he will still not win, no single region can produce a President alone without an alliance, the south East is PDP traditional zone, Obi will surely split the votes but Atiku will still manage to get the 25% from most of the states.

Southsouth is not inclined to any individual, though traditionally PDP strong hold, If Wike gets the Atiku’s Vice Presidential ticket then it will be a double bonus for PDP and Atiku, Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwaibom, Cross River, Delta and Edo will most likely support one of their own Wike which is coming as a bonus after Jonathan from Bayelsa got 5 years as President.

North Central, except Tinubu picks his Vice from the Zone, the north central is going Atiku way, Niger Atiku, Kwara is Atiku, with a very few for Tinubu, Benue is going Atiku, Plateau will go Atiku wholly but if Governor Lalong gets the Vice Presidential ticket to Tinubu then it will split, Kogi is surely going Atiku. Governor Yahaya Bello could not even secure the whole of his delegates from the state in his Presidential bid.

Northeast! Atiku’s region desperately wants the Presidency unlike the North central that had Generals Babangida, Gowon and Abdulsalami who cumulatively spent  18 years as President or Heads of state, the Northeast has never tasted the position and Atiku presents such opportunities, already Governor Zullum despite his street credibility has faced a backlash when he tried to advertise Tinubu, Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Bauchi, Taraba, Gombe will give Atiku a near 100% of its votes. Not even a Tinubu Vice Presidential slot will dissuade the zone from giving Atiku its votes. 

Northwest; Katsina, Kaduna will go Atiku way, Tinubu can’t come out with anything from there, Kano will be sharply divided between Kwankwaso’s NNPP, APC and PDP, unlike Peter Obi who has a majority of southeast supporting him, Kwankwaso has only a split of Kano, infact in 2019 Atiku only got 21% of the votes despite Kwankwaso been in PDP, Atiku’s Percentage will increase this time because Buhari is not on the ballot and Tinubu is not even an issue in kano but Ganduje will fight to prove some points.

Still in the Northwest, Zamfara, Sokoto are fully “Atikulated” Tinubu can’t pull out anything tangible from those states, Kebbi has just gone into the umbrella wholly. 

In whole, Head or tail, Atiku seems to have greater chances of becoming the next Nigerian President, even though you cannot waive away the “Nigerian factor” in elections; power of incumbency, Independent Electoral Commission and Security agencies.

Yahaya Mohammed Usman,

Twitter: @boyemdee

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