Monday, 30 July 2018

'Buhari's Victory In 2019 Will Be Landslide, Defections Can't Halt His Victory

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President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday boasted that he will win the 2019 presidential election by a landslide despite recent defections of some chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). 

The president, who gave a state-by-state analysis of how he will win the election, said despite all the noise by PDP, he expects his soaring popularity to be reflected in the 2019 elections. “In the final analyses, despite all the noise from our ‘noisy neighbours,’ we may be in for a landslide victory in 2019,” he said.

Buhari noted that he had, in the past, won elections in the states where the defectors hail from, even when they were controlled by opposition political parties. He particularly said the defection of Senate President, Bukola Saraki, former governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso; Benue State Governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom and Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State will not stop him from winning the election. 

Buhari, who spoke through a statement by the Director of Strategic Communications of his campaign organisation, Festus Keyamo (SAN), further said that no matter the impatience some Nigerians have shown with him, they will not want to go back to PDP, given the damage the party did to the nation during its 16-year reign.

The statement, titled: “Why the defections will not affect President Buhari’s election at the 2019 polls,” read in part: “The latest defections by some National Assembly members and the governor of Benue State will not harm the re-election of President Buhari in the 2019 general elections. This would even be so if the much-rumoured two more governors – Abdufatah Ahmed (Kwara) and Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto) also defect from APC.

“The president won with large margins in the past in some states without the support of majority of the politicians from those states who moved recently to join the opposition party. Also, we are all witnessing the significant gains Mr. President is making in several places where he lost in the past, notably in the South-South and South- East.”

The Muhammadu Buhari 2019 Presidential Campaign said PDP may claim that the figures count for nothing and that the president has been tested in the last three years and found wanting, but it should be mindful that Nigerians are conscious of the damage inflicted on the country during its 16-year reign.

“PDP may claim that these figures count for nothing and that the president has been tested in the last three years and found wanting. However, in the last three years, what has been more exposed and Nigerians have seen is the extent of damage inflicted on the country in the 16 years of PDP, the damage the president and his team are working tirelessly to fix.

No matter the impatience some Nigerians have shown with Buhari, they just don’t want to go back to PDP. 

That is why PDP has lost all the critical electoral contests since 2015 (Kogi, Edo, Anambra, Ekiti and Ondo states).” In a state-by-state analysis of how the president will win the election, the campaign organisation said from demographics, historic figures and the present realities, the defections, especially in the 12 states of the North, which the president has continually won since 2011, will have little or no impact on the chances of the president’s re-election.

It added that the president’s popularity in the affected states has increased due to the fight against Boko Haram, which has been largely successful. These feats, according to the Buhari campaign organisation, means that Buhari should expect more votes from these strongholds.
“The following 12 states, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Yobe and Niger, with over 30 million registered voters, are states the president had consistently won with considerable large margins in past elections, especially in 2011 and 2015. 

This was achieved despite the fact that most of those states were being controlled by political parties other than his own. “In 2011, when the president was in Congress for Progressives Change (CPC), despite being states with sitting opposition governors, national assembly members, state assembly members and local government chairmen, the president posted close to 11 million votes against all odds, defeating all his rivals in the 12 states mentioned above.

“In 2015, despite the majority of these states being in opposition after the merger that formed APC, the president posted close to 11 million votes again in these states with PDP not scoring up to 20 per cent of the votes in most of these states. It is instructive that in these election cycles, there were presidential candidates of northern extraction (e.g. Ibrahim Shekarau and Nuhu Ribadu in 2011).

Besides, Kaduna had a sitting vice president in both elections. “As we can see, any defection within these states would have little or no consequence on President Buhari’s chances as he had always won those states, irrespective of the party in power in those states.

“For example, in the much-touted Kano, in the 2011 presidential election, President Buhari scored 1,624,543 votes as CPC candidate, while in 2015, he had 1,903,999 votes as APC candidate. The vote difference of about 280,000 may be attributed to elements of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), negligible Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and Senator Kwakwanso,then governor of the state that came into APC,” the campaign organisation explained. 

On effects of the defections on the nine states the president lost in 2011, but won in 2015, the campaign organisation said: “The following nine states: Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Kwara, Kogi, Adamawa and Benue are states the president lost in 2011, but won in 2015. The five South Western states have registered voters’ strength of more than 14 million out of the about 20 million voters in these nine states. Today, those five states are being controlled by the APC.

Ekiti will join before the 2019 election after governorelect, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, is sworn for a second term in office. “All the political gladiators in those South Western states that helped to tilt the election in favour of the president in 2015 are still solidly with him and more have joined. 

The entire defunct ACN structures that moved into APC are solidly behind the president. In terms of defections in the western states, the party has gained more than it has lost. “Adamawa, Kwara, Kogi and Benue states, with over six million registered voters all had governors from other parties in 2011, with Senator Bukola Saraki being the PDP governor of Kwara State.

In the four states, as the presidential candidate of CPC, the president posted 670,080 votes, while ACN, the other legacy party of APC, posted 314,741 votes, making a total of 984,741 votes when combined. In 2015, with only one APC governor among the four states, the president posted total votes of 1,315,659 in the four states, gaining over 330,000 votes.

“Today, with APC in charge of three out of the four states, especially with Senator Gbemi Saraki and Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information, leading the efforts in Kwara State and the APC structure in Benue State still firmly in the hands of Senator George Akume (the same structure on which Governor Ortom rode to victory) the defection of the senators from these states will have little or no effect on the difference gained.” The campaign organisation also x-rayed effects of the defections on the 15 states Buhari lost in 2015, saying:
“The president lost 15 states (comprising 11 states of the South-East and South-South and Plateau, Taraba, Nassarawa and Ekiti states) in the 2015 elections, despite his overall victory. 

“Apart from having governors in Edo and Imo states, the exemplary work of the president in the South-East and South-South, especially in terms of infrastructural developments, like the Second Niger Bridge and a whole lot of road constructions, APC is on the rise in these states and this momentum will surely rub off on the electoral fortunes of the president. This can be seen in the high-level defections to APC in the last three years in these states and more are coming.

“The recent election in Anambra State is also a testimony to the rising profile of the party in the South- East. In 2015, the president scored 17,926 votes in Anambra. The most recent governorship election saw APC come second with over 98,000 votes, defeating PDP in the process.

This is a pattern we expect in the 2019 elections throughout the South-East and South-South as compared to the last elections. The president can only amass more votes from these regions and not less than 2015. “In the remaining four states of Ekiti, Plateau, Taraba and Nassarawa, where the president lost in the 2015 election with a margin of 260,000, all the states had sitting opposition governors, except Nassarawa. 

Ekiti and Plateau states will have sitting APC governors in February 2019 to help sell his candidacy and we have also seen the defection of some serving and past senators from Ekiti State to APC. With this, we expect a reduction in the margin or an outright victory.

“Even if there are going to be defections from APC in these four states, we don’t see the margin of loss expanding beyond the 260,000, given that the states had majority opposition governors at the point the president suffered these losses.” The Buhari campaign organisation also reminded the opposition that the president is going into the 2019 election as an incumbent, enjoying the support of a lot more governors, senators, House of Representative members, House of Assembly members and local government chairmen than he ever had. Keyamo added that while PDP’s harvest of defections is gradually winding down, that of APC is about to begin.

He hinged the assumption on the fallout of the absorption and recognition of the structures of the incoming defectors by the national bodies of the various opposition parties; dissatisfied members whose aspirations are thwarted because of automatic tickets were given to the defectors. “They are talking to us already; disgruntled elements from the fallout of the primaries of the parties, especially the main opposition party,” he said.

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