APC/PDP Primaries: How Many Nigerian Non-Party Members Will Vote Buhari Or Atiku In 2019?

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President Muhammadu Buhari (right) with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar
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THE two top political parties in Nigeria, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) had their congresses on Saturday, October 8, 2018. Both have elected President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as the respective candidates for the 2019 Presidential Election.

While the APC returned Buhari as its presidential candidate with 14,842,072 votes representing the number of APC members who directly approved his candidature across 36 states of Nigeria, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, the PDP, through indirect votes of 1,532 delegates, elected former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as its candidate.

Looking at the numerical submission of both parties, APC and PDP, in Nigeria, a candidate does not need more than 15 million votes to be elected President of Nigeria, taking a cue from the 2015 Presidential Election where Buhari polled 15,426,921 votes to defeat former President Goodluck Jonathan who polled 12,853,162 votes.

With the votes of party men alone, that is, card-carrying members of the APC, Buhari had already secured 14.8 million votes (without the involvement of the rest of Nigerians who are not APC members).

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Now, comparing figures, at the 2015 Presidential Election, Buhari polled 15,426,921 votes against Jonathan’s 12,853,162 votes, both figures represent the general participation of all Nigerian voters, (not direct votes of APC or PDP members alone). So, let’s assume in 2019, if every Nigerian now participate in the election, we should expect that Nigerian voters generally should be more than double the number of party members. Then, we can reason out what the figure may be.

However, now being mathematical, again, assuming the 14,842,072 APC members were part of the people who voted for Buhari in 2015, then subtracting the figure from 15,426,921 which was the total number of votes that gave him victory, that is, 15,426,921 – 14,842,072 = 584,849.

It means only 584,849 non-party men participated in the 2015 Presidental Election, and it may be more than this if we check and also subtract the number of PDP members who also voted for Jonathan from his 12,853,162 votes.

What does this amount to in 2019? One of it is that if only 14,842,072 party men who voted for Buhari on Saturday, vote again in 2019, how many votes will he need again to emerge victoriously?

We don’t know yet how many party members the PDP can also boast of across Nigeria’s 36 states including the FCT, Abuja, but from the available figures, came this mathematical approach to the 2019 Presidential Election. We can’t conclude yet, as things are currently happening. But the questions being asked here is, “How many Nigerians who are not card-carrying members of political parties participate in elections?”

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We should begin to ask ourselves this question. Most card-carrying members of political parties are ardent and fanatical supporters of their candidates. All those intellectual issues we always raise are not their concern. They don’t care! We saw this live in Ede, the hometown of Senator Ademola Adeleke, the PDP governorship candidate during the last governorship election in Osun State.

All the issues raised against Adeleke concerning his educational qualifications were not the primary concerns of PDP members and loyalists. It was not even in their thinking! Whether he had F9 parallel, whether he was a dullard or a “shameless public dancer” didn’t bother them!

As they came out to vote on Saturday, September 22, the Ede people rolled out drums, in a carnival mood, hailing their son, Adeleke, and singing aloud: “Àwa náà fé olódò, Adeleke, l’Abere…” meaning, “We also prefer a dullard, Adeleke, in Abere… (Abere is the seat of government in Osun State. Abere is what the area where the Governor’s Office is situated in Osogbo is called).

So, if the election is left for party members and loyalists alone, results may not tally with agitations and complaints. Party members and loyalists are not “reasonable,” once a candidate is picked and they, the party members still remain in that party, and their loyalists still remain with them, they don’t go back to review the candidates’ characters, they don’t go back to review their credentials, they don’t go back to check their past records, good or bad, and so on, their primary interest is just how their candidates win elections.

This is why in most cases you wonder, “How can someone be this unreasonable when you engage them in intellectual discussions concerning a candidate of their choice!” They won’t reason along with you, even if the person is a “Professor of Reason,” for his or her bias towards the candidate, the person will never reason along with you! So, don’t waste your time!

Most of these die-hard party members are not on the social media or necessarily own Facebook or Twitter accounts. The real card-carrying members who dare all impossibilities on election day to vote are the ones being referred to here, not those “conditional loyalists” who only become visible and respond to arguments on the social media and trend “anything” for different reasons. Most of those in this category don’t even have PVCs! And unfortunately, INEC won’t convert the number of “likes” and “retweets” of followers on Facebook and Twitter to votes on Election Day!

In essence, whether Buhari has performed or not; whether he stays in Nigeria of lives abroad; whether he is fighting corruption, or he is shielding corrupt people which are the usual arguments to credit or discredit him may not reduce his votes from APC members and loyalists.

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The same goes for Atiku, whether he is on the wanted list in the United States for corrupt practices or not; whether he is corrupt or not; whether Nigeria will be more corrupt under him or not, which are the issues being raised to credit him or discredit him, may not count among party members and loyalists.

What will count and will determine the results of the 2019 Presidential Election if Nigerians want continuity of Buhari administration or enthronement of Atiku administration is, “How many Nigerians who are not APC or PDP members will participate in the election and will be ready to outwit the dedicated votes of ‘clever’ and ‘unreasonable’ party members?”

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