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Thursday, April 14, 2011

2011 Elections: Between Blind Passion and Clear Thought 2. (Plus...Predictions For The Elections)

I came across an article written by my friend on facebook and i think its worth the read, moreover some of his prediction are coming true

Read....... 

Last week, I identified two reasons why I think the opposition’s quest to wrest power from the PDP at the federal level would end up being nothing more than a pipe-dream. These were: 1. A miscalculation of geo-political considerations which have led to three opposition candidates from one part of the country facing an incumbent from another part of the country (there are speculations that this will be taken care of after the legislative elections tomorrow, with ACN’s Ribadu and hopefully, ANPP’s Shekarau stepping down for CPC’s Buhari. But the question is, if true, why must it be an eleventh-hour maneuver? Why wasn’t the alliance consummated long before now, so that momentum is built? Like most last-minute moves, it’s likely to be too little, too late), and 2. A seeming lack of energy, drive, charisma, and, most importantly, cash, in the opposition camp to enable an effective prosecution of their campaign; getting out their message and building structures, while on the other hand funding and oiling an effective propaganda machinery to bring to the fore all of PDP’s supposed failures in government for twelve years.

Today, I will deal with another factor sabotaging’the opposition's quest for the presidency:
  • The fickle nature of opposition politicians/ the near absence of mid-level and grassroots opposition politicians across the country/ the ease with which PDP decimates the opposition.
What do I mean? Now, if it is asked, apart from the arrowheads of the opposition mainly in the core north and south-west geo-political zones as represented by Buhari (who has been very steadfast and has my admiration for that) and Shekarau (representing the north), and Tinubu and his fellow ACN oligarchs (representing the south-west), who else, or where else are the opposition politicians across the country? Sadly for the opposition (and happily For PDP), you are going to invariably end up pointing at PDP fellows who--having lost out in the power-play in PDP, mainly by losing in their primary bid—hurriedly pitched their tents with the opposition, solely with the aim of winning elections. Their hearts are usually still with PDP. If, or when they win the elections, at most within a year, they de-decamp back to PDP with the party throwing a huge bash for their prodigal sons. Ditto if they lose, for they know that their daily-bread is most assured of being baked if they return to the “ruling party”, and so they scamper back with their tails between their legs. 

The examples are plethora. Starting from my state, in the three senatorial zones, the flag bearers of the ACN are disgruntled PDP politicos who lost (or were denied) the senatorial tickets in PDP. Same for the gubernatorial flag bearer; he was a PDP senator who along the line fell-out with the PDP leadership and quickly decamped. Funnily, adverts by the state chapter of PDP asking these decampees to return their PDP membership cards and being threatened with punishment for “anti-party-activities” were constantly being aired.

Look through most of the states and see if you don’t have the same scenario playing out: In Akwa Ibom, the embattled ACN candidate, Senator Udoedehe is a dye-in-the-wool PDP big-wig; in Bayelsa, the Labour Party candidate, Timi Alaibe is a well known PDP bigwig and is widely known as the president’s man; in Rivers state, the ACN candidate, Abiye Sekibo is a well-known PDP henchman and former minister. Even in the north, the story is the same: the Adamawa state CPC candiadate, Gen Buba Marwa, is a well known acolyte of the President Jonathan; same for Plateau state where the LP candidate and former deputy governor, Pauline Tallen is contesting against her principal. The story is the same every where; I doubt if there is a state where you don’t have at least three PDP men (or women) flying another party’s flag.
This unfortunate tendency to use a party’s platform solely to win elections and thereafter decamp after having gotten into office (either as governor, representative or senator) would have been checked if the constitutional amendment seeking that such office-holders lose their seats had gone through. But—correct me if I’m wrong—that particular amendment did not sail through. So the tendency definitely will continue. And which party mainly benefits from cross-carpeting? Which party has the overwhelming majority in the National Assembly? Your guess is as good as mine as to why the amendment didn’t scale through.

Of course we can cast our minds back to understand why this rash of defections took place, at least at the gubernatorial level: the PDP governors held the president firmly by his balls and swore that if he didn’t create a situation in which the party guaranteed their return-tickets (for those of them in their first terms), and for those who are rounding-off their second terms to install their successors, they were going to mess his presidential ambition up big-time. The president buckled; all the governors had automatic return tickets—including those that are acknowledged to have been monumental failures; those on their way out foisted their favoured aspirants as candidates; and those with ambitions, many of who are more popular than the governors—as we hear—were encouraged one way or the other by the president, or his men, to decamp to opposition parties to fulfill their ambitions as long as THEY REMEMBER WHERE THEY ARE COMING FROM, AND KNOW WHO TO SUPPORT—USING THEIR STRUCTURES—AT THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.

So is it any wonder that across a good number of states, mainly in the south and the middle-belt--including those that are likely to fall into opposition hands (if the elections are fairly free and fair)--there seems to be an “understanding” that while a candidate of an opposition party would be voted for, or “supported with structures” in the gubernatorial elections or senatorial (or House of Reps) elections, the president would be voted for or “supported with structures” at the presidential level. While this arrangement is mainly in the south, you have a few states in the north (mainly middle-belt) with this understanding. This, therefore, makes the opposition presidential candidates’ work much harder.

Having said all these, I dare to make some election predictions, starting with today's elections, before rounding off by proffering some suggestions on some steps the opposition can take that will all but guarantee their taking over the presidency in 2015.

These predictions I make are based on the elections being fairly free and fair and a representation of majority voters in the states. I have stated earlier that anyone expecting a totally free and fair election had better wake up from slumber; the best we can hope for--which I believe we will get--is that the results, no matter how flawed to a degree or the other, shall represent the wishes of the majority. Anything on the scale of what happened in 2007 will be a disaster for this country.

My prediction for tomorrow’s legislative elections:

At the last count, of the one hundred and nine (109) senators, about eighty-five percent are in PDP, bringing their number to ninety-five (95) (except a few more have decamped to PDP). After tomorrow’s election, looking at the various indices: the opposition spread in the country—mainly in the north and the south-west, the number of PDP members in other parts of the country running on other parties’ platforms (taking into consideration their political structures and financial might), the seeming disenchantment with the performance of PDP so far, but also considering the structures of PDP senators, I imagine that PDP’s number in the senate will drop to not more than sixty (60) members. This comes to fifty-five percent of the total senators.
For the House of Reps, of the total of three hundred and sixty members (360) comprising of more than eighty percent PDP members, I imagine we will have not more than two-hundred and fifty (250) PDP members which comes to about seventy percent of the total number.

My prediction of the gubernatorial elections of upper week:

First of all, the question has been asked, why doesn’t the gubernatorial elections come after the National Assembly elections, which seems the logical sequence, rather than National Assembly, presidential, and gubernatorial. For those discerning enough, it was made that way by the PDP government and it simply serves two purposes:

1. It’s supposed to psychologically commit the PDP governors—who are mainly the controllers of the “structures” at the state level—to “deliver” the president before facing their own elections a week later. If they fail to “deliver”, the president may be obliged to commit the remainder of his tenure to making their lives a misery, using tools like the EFCC, or to—in turn—use the state’s vast resources in messing the governors up at their own election.

2. Psychologically too, since it is almost a given in any African country (and in all elections so far in the country since 1960) that it is near-impossible for an incumbent to lose his re-election bid considering the resources of state at his disposal to skew the balance in his favour, it is taken for granted that any incumbent will be reelected. (Please remind me of any incumbent African president that has lost—either by hook or crook—his reelection. The first and only person I know of, Gbagbo, is still clinging). Now there is something called the “bandwagon effect”. When the president wins his reelection, the candidates of his party in subsequent elections (in this case the governorship elections) become beneficiaries because naturally, most people want to be identified with a winner and will usually align with the winning party, and momentum builds in the party’s favour.

Of thirty-six states, PDP presently controls twenty eight (28). I imagine that PDP controlled states will reduce drastically to at most sixteen (16) after the elections. This is if the elections are held in all states including the five states (Cross River, Bayelsa, Adamawa, Sokoto and Kogi) the Federal High Court ruled INEC shouldn’t conduct elections in. (I’m not aware that a counter judgement has been given stating that elections should proceed in those states.)

The states I’m almost sure PDP will be stripped of are: Katsina (CPC), Benue (ANPP, or is it ACN?), Kwara aka Oloye Saraki’s estate (ACPN-Gbemisola Saraki), Imo (APGA-Rochas), Adamawa (CPC-Marwa).

These PDP states are too close to call; they can swing either PDP’s way or the major opposition’s way: Akwa Ibom (Udoedehe ACN) Bayelsa (Alaibe LP), Delta (Ogboru DPP), Ogun (OGD’s new party… PPC? Or ACN) Abia (PPA)

I’m not so much aware of what’s happening in most northern PDP states like Yobe, Zamfara, Jigawa, Kebbi, Sokoto, Bauchi, Taraba, Plateau and Nassarawa, but based on feelers that CPC is more on ground in the north, I imagine that the party should get a few of these states, particularly those in the far-north, while PDP will likely retain a state ors two based on the strength and performance of its incumbent governors.

The states that will most likely remain in PDP’s control are: Cross River, Rivers, Enugu, Ebonyi, Niger, Kogi, Kaduna, Gombe and Oyo.

Of course Lagos will still go to Fashola (ACN). No elections in Osun (ACN), Ondo (LP), Ekiti (ACN), Anambra (APGA… but as good as PDP), and Edo (ACN)

Kano and Bornu states which are in ANPP’s hands are likely to remain that way or switch to CPC… but not PDP.

My prediction for next week’s presidential election:

Now, for the presidential election next Saturday, based on all the foregoing from both last week’s article and this week’s, I take it for granted that PDP’s Jonathan will be easily reelected. If the speculated alliance between ACN and CPP had gone through a long time back, with a possible joining-in by ANPP, then, in a fairly free and fair election, Jonathan MAY NOT have gotten the required two-thirds of Nigeria (making twenty-five states, including the FCT) to be declared winner at the first round. As I earlier said, even if after the legislative election of tomorrow, there is an alliance, it’s going to be too late for any momentum to be built. The time-span for effective marketing of the alliance to be done will be too short to produce the desired results. In fact, such a last-minute alliance stands the risk of putting-off a lot of supporters of either of the parties due to the lack of decisiveness of the party leaders. Having said these, this is my predicted breakdown of each presidential candidate and the states he’s likely to have a majority in:

Jonathan WILL WIN clearly in twenty three states (23): The six south-south states: (Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Rivers, Edo, Delta); The five south-east states: (Anambra, Abia, Enugu, Imo, Ebonyi); Six of the seven north-central states: (Plateau, Kwara, Kogi, Benue, Nassarawa, Kaduna); Four of the six south-west states: (Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo); One of the three North-east state: (Taraba); and the Federal Capital territory, Abuja. So that is twenty three states (plus Abuja).

Ribadu is not going to have a clear win in any state, not even in his state Adamawa. Osun state and Ekiti state are, for me,  swing states between Ribadu and Jonathan, with Jonathan likely to carry the day, even if slightly.

It’s a bit tricky to distinguish broadly between the states Buhari and Shekarau will win. Clearly Buhari is more popular in the core-north; Shekarau unfortunately doesn’t seem to have marketed himself well-enough in the north, not to talk of the whole country, even if for me, he seems a better candidate than Buhari—particularly after having seen him perform in the two debates he appeared in, and heard of his achievements in Kano. But I’ll try:

Buhari WILL WIN clearly in : Katsina, Zamfara, Kebbi, Sokoto.

Jigawa, Bornu, Yobe and Bauchi states are likely to be split between Buhari and Shekarau with Buhari having an advantage.

I will give Shekarau the advantage in Kano state being the governor there and the first and only governor to have won re-election since the state’s inception (meaning he either is very popular, or has solid structures, or both). However it’s unlikely to be a clear win as Buhari also has a following in Kano, particularly with CPC’s gubernatorial candidate being Mohammed Abacha. (The Abacha name still works magic there). Kano is the state with the largest population, as per census figures, so it’s expected that candidates will scramble for votes there. But Jonathan can totally forget Kano; it’s a straight fight between Shekarau and Buhari.

Adamawa, Gombe and Niger states, for me, are up for grabs for Buhari or Jonathan and can swing either way.

So, at the end of the day, even if all the opposition’s votes are collapsed under Buhari, GEJ is going to win clearly in twenty-three states, Buhari will win clearly in nine states, and five states will be up for grabs.

A lot has been said about the “north” being made to vote en-bloc for Buhari as punishment to PDP for ditching the zoning arrangement. Well, as seen during the PDP presidential primaries, that only happens in the textbooks; it just isn’t possible in reality. There is no such thing as a monolithic north with one mind and one sentiment. That ended in the first republic. Now, there isn’t any one “garrison commander” to command the whole nineteen states of the “north” to go one way and all the states sheepishly go. Apart from the fact that with more enlightenment, more people can choose independently which path to toe, for those still open to be led, there are  several “commanders” made-up mainly of the governors with their varied and disparate interests which may not align with a Buhari presidency (or whoever else the northen oligarchs decide to support). Moreover, having travelled a bit through the north, I can state confidently that most middle-belters (those from the north-central states) are less comfortable being aligned with the interests of the core-north than they are being aligned with the interests of the south.

What can the opposition do to guaranty a routing of PDP and the delivery of the presidency in 2015?

Last part next weekend...

Culled from facebook
written by Esien Ekpe-Ita 
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