There is a need for empirical data and analysis in our elections. I was shocked when someone once said that feelings rule elections, not data. I must state categorically that data rules everything.

The argument that only certain political parties can only win with a candidate from the North is terribly wrong. I argued that if the North had gotten all the votes, Muhammadu Buhari would have been President in 2011. The assumption that the North has a mass vote calls for further questioning. The North contributes about 40 million votes while the South contributes 38 million registered voters. Voter apathy has also increased and rest assured that less than 32% of that number will turn out to vote.

In the North, the three key states are Kaduna, Katsina and Kano. President Buhari has won all these states and to win the presidential election a candidate must either win or reduce the margin of loss in these states. In the 2011 election, President Goodluck Jonathan split Kaduna’s votes; he had over a million votes although President Buhari won Kaduna.

The key battleground is still Kaduna, as Kano’s model has not changed since 1979. In 1979, Kano voted Aminu Kano with 76%. In 2015 and 2019, Kano elected President Buhari by a wide margin. Katsina will also naturally follow the path of the APC. Kaduna is a swing state I support due to its cosmopolitan nature and religious spread so anyone targeting Kaduna can win it in the next election apart from the key northern states Bauchi and Kebbi can give the numbers but not like the Kaduna, Kano and Kebbi states,

In the south, Lagos, Rivers and Delta can attract large numbers, but with voter apathy the numbers will be reduced, but states won by large margins can give a candidate three million votes. My benchmark for this argument is the 2015 general election. The recent decision by some parties to think the North can pull out all the numbers is ill-informed and not empirical. Whoever wins must win big numbers in the North and South. The candidate must do well in Lagos, Rivers, Delta, Kaduna, Kano and Katsina because a great performance in these states can put six million votes in the bag for any candidate and then it behooves to consolidate on other States.

Empirically, voter turnout is expected to be low and rigging will also be made difficult by the new measures put in place by INEC and the new electoral laws.

Rufai Oseni, [email protected]

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