How The West Was Lost (Pt 1)

 

“I can authoritatively reveal that he (Tinubu) sealed the deal with President Jonathan, after which he called a meeting of controlling leaders of the ACN to make them buy into the deal Tinubu struck with President Jonathan,” – Muhammadu Buhari

 

Did Bola Tinubu strike a deal with President Jonathan to ‘throw’ the elections in the south west? My instincts are that he didn’t.

But if it turns out that Tinubu actually got something in exchange for the President’s victory in the South West in Saturday’s elections, then I will advise the President to immediately demand a refund.

 

Let’s tour the 6 south West to see what exactly Tinubu did or didn’t do. Or to put it another way, what exactly could Tinubu have done in Yoruba land?

I will be using the results of the senatorial elections on the 9th of April as a guide for this analysis.

Ondo

This is a Labour Party state hands down. Tinubu has no influence here whatsoever. Governor Abdurrahman Olusegun Mimiko is fully in control of the political machinery here and he endorsed President Jonathan many months ago and campaigned for him openly.

In the Senatorial elections held in this state in Ondo North and Ondo Central, the ACN actually came third behind the LP and PDP getting a combined 47,600 votes (13% of total votes cast) compared to the LP’s 197,582 votes.

In the Presidential elections, Nuhu Ribadu and the ACN scored 74,253 votes which translate to 15% of the total votes cast. Believe it or not, the ACN’s performance improved here but given that elections were only held in 2 senatorial districts a week before, it is hard to tell if there would have been an increase or decrease in turnout.

As an Ondo man of Lisa Alujannu extraction, it pains me to no end to see my people, formerly known as progressives, hand 80% of their votes to the PDP.

To put it in the Ondo way of saying WTF; me’gho?

 

Ekiti

There were no NASS elections here on the 9th so we can’t really compare. But given that this state was PDP held from 2003 until October 2010, it’s safe to say the PDP is still very formidable here.

In the end it was nearly a photo finish with President Jonathan scoring 52% of the votes compared to Mallam Ribadu’s 47%.

Going by the above, I can predict that the PDP will take at least one senate seat when the NASS elections are held in Ekiti on the 26th of April as well as a fair chunk of the House of Rep seats.

Ogun

Now this is the fun bit. We all recall how the PDP got splintered in this state over the whole zoning agreement and how former President Obasanjo eventually prevailed over Governor Gbenga Daniel.

This caused Alhaji Gboyega Isiaka and his band of co-travellers to jump ship and form the PPN. Instantly the party became a force to be reckoned with in Ogun state.

Now adding up the total senatorial votes in Ogun state across the 3 districts, we get the following

ACN     240,314 (43%)

PDP      168,874 (30%)

PPN      118,577 (21%)

You can clearly see what’s happened here. When you add the PPN and PDP votes together, you see that more people voted against the ACN than those who voted for it.

Now given that PPN and PDP were always going to vote for Mr Jonathan in the presidential elections, it is not at all surprising that the PDP would win this state.

Probing the figures further, the ACN’s best share of the vote (53%) was in Ogun Central, the only senatorial district where it was able to score more votes than its opponents in the PDP and PPN combined.

And who was the PDP candidate in this district? Ah, Mrs Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, daughter of the widely reviled former President. This wasn’t so much a vote against her, but against her father who in the eyes of the voter is the symbol of everything wrong with the PDP.

There was a slightly lower turnout for the presidential election (-3%) and in the end the ACN scored 37% of the vote with the PDP getting 57%. Unlike what happened in Ondo state, this was a deterioration in performance for Mallam Ribadu.

It’s also important to note that the ACN is an opposition party in this state which has been PDP controlled since 2003.

In politics nothing is as much a gift as a division in the camp of your opponent.

Oyo

This state is very similar to Ogun in the dynamics that played out on the 9th and the 16th. Three strong parties contested the NASS elections and the results were as below for the senatorial elections

ACN                 328,562 (36%)

PDP                  304,145 (33%)

Accord             238,696 (26%)

Just like in Ogun state, it’s easy to see how Mr Jonathan would easily win this state given that Accord has endorsed him and was campaigning for him.

In the presidential elections here, there was a large drop of about 100k voters from the NASS elections of a week before.

Mr Jonathan ended up winning with 56% (485k) of the vote compared to Mallam Ribadu’s 29% (252k).

A simple crunching of the numbers shows that it was the ACN who lost more voters compared to the previous week which accounts for the 7% drop in their share of the vote.

Tiroo no be make up

Shoulder pad no be confidence

Red eye no be cigarette lighter

3 way race no be the same as 2 way race.

Etcetera etcetera.

Just like in Ogun state, the ACN’s powers were overhyped here.

Osun

In the NASS elections here there was no disruptive 3rd party; it was a straight fight between the PDP and the ACN. It’s safe to say that given the antecedents of men like Senator Iyiola Omisore and Gov Oyinlola, the anti-PDP sentiment in this state is probably the highest in the South West.

The senatorial elections delivered the following results on the 9th

ACN     371,350 (64%)

PDP      177,406 (31%)

Here we see clearly that the PDP is no match for the ACN owing largely to the excellent grassroots campaigner that is Gov Raouf Aregbesola. The man is clearly trusted by his people.

It is therefore not surprising that Mallam Ribadu won this state with 58% (300k) compared with Mr Jonathan’s 37% (188k). The turnout in this election was lower than the week before and again it’s clear to see who has suffered for it. Perhaps voters were thinking the ACN’s victory was a foregone conclusion and thus decided to stay at home?

I think this also proves that Mr Aregbesola must have clearly won the 2007 guber elections that was determined by the courts to have been stolen from him by the former Gov Oyinlola.

So tell me, when will politicians start going to jail for blatantly stealing mandates from their opponents?

Lagos

 

Now this is an interesting one. Let’s start by looking at the turnout figures.

NASS                1,434,866

Presidential     1,945,044

This completely bucks the south west trend with a 36%! increase in turnout. Straightaway it is clear that some people stayed at home on the 9th polishing their thumbs in readiness to press it on the ‘umblerra’ on the 16th. Reports of instant celebrations breaking out at polling units once the PDP had been declared the winner lends credence to this.

Lagos is also the most sophisticated voting market in Nigeria. If Mallam Ribadu suffered anywhere for his performance in the debates, his association with Bola Tinubu and the whole fiasco of the alliance talks, it would have been in Lagos. In other words, the Lagos voter has almost perfect information on all the candidates.

Thus in the presidential elections, Mr Jonathan was able to forcefully collect the broom and sweep Lagos with 66% of the vote leaving Mallam Ribadu with 22%.

Given the ethnic sentiments that trailed the voting patterns in the presidential elections, this raises the question; what exactly is the ethnic composition of the residents of Lagos? Isn’t it now possible that a strong Ndigbo candidate for instance will be able to win a governorship election in the state if it came down to an ethnic vote split?

This is of course not to say that Yoruba people in Lagos didn’t vote for Mr Jonathan, I certainly know quite a few who did. He also bombarded Lagos with a lot of advertising so he would have been the most familiar candidate to the voters there.

There is a lesson for future political strategists and campaign managers here; Lagos is to be treated very differently in a presidential campaign. Off the top of my head, I would say 30% of a campaign budget should be targeted at Lagos if a candidate is desirous of winning the state in a presidential election. It is almost now a different country….a veritable smorgasbord of ethnic nationalities.

And in a state where Mr Jonathan is a stronger brand than the PDP and Mallam Ribadu a weaker brand than the ACN, the results are not at all surprising.

 

 From the above, I think it’s pretty clear to see that Mr Tinubu was in no position to deliver to Mr Jonathan what he never had in the first place.

The strength of the ACN in the South West was exaggerated due to a combination of factors and I admit I was one of those who made this mistake.

The reality is that the South West is still suffering from the effects of 8 years of an abusive relationship with the PDP which began in 2003 and it is only just beginning the process of weaning itself from that party having now found an alternative in the ACN. But the hydra headed monster that is the PDP is not easily defeated and overcoming it would take a lot of hard work.

There were rumours of a meeting in Aso Rock where Mr Tinubu reportedly flew to in a presidential jet (these rumours have since been denied and it does appear that Mr Tinubu was in fact already in Abuja at the time he was supposed to be on the jet).

But if they did meet and struck a deal, then perhaps the Asiwaju is an even cleverer man than he is given credit for, for he would have managed to sell to Mr Jonathan, an elaborate bridge to nowhere.

So what would the alliance have done if it had been struck in time for the elections? The answer is not much. But it would have given Mr Buhari 25% of the votes in 5 southern states, something he didn’t come close to achieving anywhere. His best performance in the south was in Oyo state where he came away with just under 11% of the votes.

A run off was always the best hope for such a hastily arranged marriage.

Hindsight…what a wonderful thing eh?

 

In Part 2, I will try to discuss why I think Mr Buhari lost this election. Do I think he could have won it? I would say he had a 49% chance of winning i.e. the odds were always stacked against him.