Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Nigeria: #NigeriaDecides Election Review IX - Analysing the Presidential Results

Where we are

There is every need to conduct a thorough analysis of the distribution of votes for the 2011 Presidential Elections held in Nigeria on Saturday, the 16th of April, 2011.

In about 48 hours after the elections the Independent National Electoral Commission had fully collated the results and announced a winner, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of the ruling PDP party.

Now, the ruling party has been in power since 1999 and for the previous elections there have been irregularities bordering on the abominable that left Nigeria in shame, voiceless and disgraced as unable to conduct credible elections, talk less of them being free and fair.

Credible enough

With these elections, they are acceptably free, generally fair and credible enough according to many observers and though the opposition parties appear to have their misgivings, those will need to be tested in court if they are to shift any of the results in any considerable direction.

As the numbers came through, the situation was hijacked by different interests and used to promote agendas inimical to the well-being of Nigeria and Nigerians. People were ready to purvey all sorts of assumptions about tribalism, religion, region and every differentiating element that gives substance that atrocious idea of some Sovereign National Conference.

Nigeria will endure beyond us

In 2014, Nigeria as an entity will be 100 years old, there are few Nigerian living that saw that day, as an independent country, it has existed for 50 years apart from the years of the civil war between 1967 and 1970; we are now 41 years beyond that time with a majority of our estimated 150 million citizens being under the age of 41.

In essence, we need to find ways to unite, co-exist, collaborate and band together as the nation that preceded many of us and make it work as the entity known as Nigeria and assume with pride the identity of Nigerian.

As far as the elections are concerned, we need to debunk a number of fallacies before they take root and destroy our common purpose as we resolve to make Nigeria great and progress towards achieving its potential.

Arbitrary Nigerian Divisions

I have used source material from the Nigeria Election Coalition website [1] and worked on it to present the data that I discuss in this blog. The graphic beneath this blog supports my analysis.

I will first deal with the notion that the Nigeria was split in half with a North-South divide in terms of votes between PDP and CPC.

Nigeria is divided into 6 geo-political regions [2] namely, North-Central (NC), North-East (NE), North-West (NW), South-East (SE), South-South (SS) and South-West (SW).

Majorities and thresholds

In terms of majorities per state, CPC took 12 states concentrated in the NC, NE and NW regions, ACN took 2 states in the SW region and PDP took 23 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in 5 regions except the NW.

However, in terms if exceeding the constitutional requirement for over 25% of the votes cast in the states, CPC got 17 states including the FCT in 3 regions where they already have their majorities, ACN got 4 states in the SW region and PDP took 33 states including the FCT in all 6 regions.

In the NE region where the PDP had 3 states under 25%, the PDP still made an average of 34.54% for that region compared to CPC’s 57.63, in the NW where PDP was always beaten into second place; PDP came away with 32.13% compared to CPC’s 60.26%.

When the whole northern regions of NC, NE and NW are taken together, PDP takes 42.66% of the vote to CPC’s 49.61% where they are supposedly strong.

Between regions and nations

According the Machiavellian psephologists, the south is probably the PDP’s stronghold with PDP taking the over 94% in the SE and SW regions of 11 states except Edo State where they bucked the trend with 87.28% and this was the odd state where CPC managed a rather high 2.86%.

CPC had no showing in the South with 0.37, 0.89% and 4.76% for the SE, SS and SW regions respectively and this compares quite unfavourably with PDP’s 98.00%, 95.97% and 57.80% in the same regions. ACN which apparently has the SW region as its stronghold only managed 34.38%.

It goes without saying that CPC is a stronger regional party in the NE and NW geo-political regions but it does not leave PDP far behind in the North as it does not even make a respectable appearance in the South.

One can conclude that PDP offers the promise of a united Nigeria than any of its rivals as it has a good national spread with trouncing majorities in its strongholds of the South.

The warped notion of a divided Nigeria does not pass the muster if viewed through the prism of PDP and it means ACN and CPC have a lot of work to do make inroads in regions outside their strongholds.

What religious divide?

Whilst the traditional Muslim north is concentrated in the NE and NW regions the CPC takes 58.95% of the vote to 33.34% for the PDP – maybe a beating in political terms but PDP is quite visible without doubt.

So, there again, we find that the religious divide when viewed from the CPC perspective is there but not as stark as to make it a case for Nigeria’s division along religious lines.

I would suggest that Nigeria is probably more united than we ever thought it was under one party and it shows what other parties need to do, they need to seek a common platform, merge, consolidate, compromise and work on a consensus or the ruling party will forever rule Nigeria in perpetuity.

Whether there are Nigerians in opposition parties able to put country before self remains to be seen but there is evidence to the contrary.

Enthusiasm and apathy abound

The highest number of voters came out in the NW region with 10,800,075 people representing a 53.75% turnout, the highest percentage turnout was in the SS region with 67.96% representing 6,339,316 voters.

The SW seems to be the most apathy-ridden with just 32.90% voter turnout adding up to 4,613,712 voters and a classic case of the SW abdicating its civic responsibility in a matter of national importance.

All other regions had over a 50% voter turnout apart from the NC region with 46.28%. The state with the most registered voters was Lagos State with 6,108,069 people but only 1,945,044 bothered to get up, the most voters came from Kano State with 2,673,228 voting out of a registered 5,027,297 voters.

The state most excited about this tranche of Nigeria Decides was Bayelsa State, from where the incumbent President hails with a 86.61% voter turnout compared to 28.01% from Ogun State which has suffered the throes of despicable megalomania in the hands of an ex-President, a departing governor and the Speaker of the House of Representatives – the melee must have turned people completely off politics and that is a shame.

Understandable grievances

When you look at the kind of turnouts across the states and especially in the North where the numbers were higher but hardly reflected in the same inclinations of the South, the voters might well be aggrieved if the numbers across the nation do not go their way when you consider their enthusiasm, their willingness and readiness to participate in electing a new leader.

If the bulk of voters were in the North, they would have expected their votes to make the majority for whoever takes the spoils for the Presidency but their patron never crossed the rivers to the south and so the fault lies with that party rather than the people.

The ruling party is ready to rule

People might have all sorts of opinions about the ruling party and it is not one that I have found much inclination to support but the reality in Nigeria is no other party is making inroads across the nation to give the ruling party a real run for their money.

The opposition parties were ill-prepared, poorly managed and lacking in national purpose, the best they could hope for is reduce the regional footprints of the ruling party, it was a rather big ask to expect any of the opposition parties to unseat the ruling party in a presidential contest in 2011.

If others must rule

I would hope the opposition parties work to seize a number of gubernatorial seats from the ruling party, dominate a few more State Assemblies to bring them closer to the people and take the bigger share of the remaining 19 Senate and 48 House of Representative seats to be contested on the 26th of April, 2011.

In closing, the results show a nation that is one and whole, strong and united, sound and able to choose a leader that we hope will really use the mandate he has received in credible elections to change Nigeria for the better.

I believe in a place called Nigeria, what say you?

Sources

[1] Presidential Election Results: Nigeria Election Coalition:

[2] Answers.com - List of Nigeria geo political zones




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