How APC Changed Outcome Of 2015 Presidential Election
Esomnofu Arinze, as Legit.ng guest author from Anambra state, in his contribution tries to explain the howling success the APC had in the states considered loyal to the PDP at the 2015 presidential election.
Many things in life are done according to some patterns. Fashion designers follow patterns, shapes in geometry come in patterns as well as many other life’s variables.
In voting there is also a clear and visible pattern the electorate follow knowingly or unknowingly in determining who to vote for or against. In the United States of America, a clearly visible voting pattern is dividing the states into “blue” and “red”. “Red states” are those which residents predominantly vote for the Republican Party, while the majority of those from the “blue states” vote for the Democratic Party.
Core "red states" that have not voted for the Democrats for years are Virginia, North Carolina and Indiana. Even Barack Obama did not win in these states at the last presidential election in the US.
Voting patterns have a great impact on the election outcome, but there are some certain factors determining what voting pattern will be used by the electorate. In the United States, for instance, the key factors influencing the voting pattern are race, ideology (liberal, moderate and conservative) and party affiliation. As for Nigeria’s polity, the major factors influencing the voting pattern here are tribe, party affiliation and religion, other variables are not essential.
Before the commencement of March 28 presidential election, political analysts were trying to predict what states would vote for the APC, the PDP, and in what states the battle would be stiff, according to the already established voting pattern of the Nigerian electorate.
It was suggested that the APC would win massively in the northwest and northeast, the central northern states would be a place of stiff battle for both parties, and the PDP would win in the southern and southeastern states. It was also suggested that the battle for the southwest would be tough taking into account that President Jonathan won in all southwestern states except Lagos at 2011 presidential election. However, the political analysts have got it all wrong that time. The APC has won in all southwestern states except Ekiti where Governor Fayose stood for the PDP against all odds.
READ ALSO: Which States Have Changed Their GEJ-GMB Preferences
The APC presidential candidate and now the president-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, would have never won Nigeria’s presidential election on his own. That’s why three previous attempts on different parties’ platforms have ended up as failures. However, on February 6, 2013, came the merger of Nigeria's three biggest opposition parties – the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) – to take over the PDP.
At the just concluded presidential poll, the APC has come up with a professional and distinct political plan which has been carefully dispensed to all its unit agents. They all understood their roles clearly especially those in the southeast. The plan has included:
- Campaigning in all geopolitical zones of the federation;
- Gathering massive votes from Buhari’s strongholds;
- Gathering massive votes in the southwest which is the stronghold of the defunct ACN;
- Making sure the PDP would not gather the same amount of votes from the southeast as it did at 2011 presidential election.
The above plan has worked like wildfire and, as a result, the APC is the ruling party today while the PDP is the opposition. Power has changed hands.
READ ALSO: OPINION: Persistency Is The Middle Name Of Muhammadu Buhari
On the day of the presidential election, the APC agent at the unit where I served as a presiding officer was Mr Chijioke. Born in the village where the unit was located, Mr Chijioke was fully aware that his people preferred President Jonathan to Muhammadu Buhari. However, he came that day prepared to do his job requiring strong determination and commitment. Mr Chijioke did his job so well that I thought he should be specially rewarded by the APC.
At my unit, there were 755 registered voters, but only around 300 were accredited. At the end of voting the electorate there started pleading me to allow the people having come back from the north to vote. Some people even said I should give them more ballot papers to vote for their brother (President Jonathan) so that he could win. I understood they were not joking, however, the APC agent stood his ground against the will of his own people. They called him betrayer, traitor and all sorts of names, but he stuck to the game plan of his party, the APC, against the will of his people. One would definitely see from the results from the entire southeast that there were many Mr Chijioke in most units spread across the region.
During 2011 presidential election the PDP has gathered 4,985,246 votes from southeast. This time it has got only 2,464,906. More than 2 million votes have gone because of the brilliant game plan of the opposition APC.
READ ALSO: 2011 vs 2015: Which States Have Changed Their Buhari-Jonathan Preferences
We all know that the southeast preferred President Jonathan to president-elect Muhammadu Buhari. Buhari’s camp was definitely aware of this, and so was the people's General himself. However, would you claim the Igbos hate president-elect Muhammadu Buhari? My answer is no.
It was pretty clear that either the PDP was politically clueless or it just wanted to relinquish power to the opposition because there were many things the PDP had not done, so it had to pay the price for the lackadaisical attitudes. I hope the PDP will perform its role as the opposition professionally to the benefit of Nigerians, because every balanced democracy needs a vibrant opposition.
READ ALSO: Ndi Igbo: Paying The Cost Of Putting All Eggs In One Basket
During President Jonathan's administration, Goodluck Jonathan knew clearly that he was not favoured by the northeasterners and north westerners. However, that did not stop him from carrying out large-scale federal projects in the north and appointing northerners to different positions in his cabinet.
My friend Cornelius Aguiyi from Anambra state has always emphasized his loyalty to the people's General during the electioneering brouhaha among the followers of two major political parties. And so have some distinguished people from the southeast. Will their dream candidate Muhammadu Buhari neglect their region because of the voting pattern? I don't think so.
Deep within I am convinced our president-elect loves the Igbos. That's why he has accepted the name "Okechukwu" given to him in Owerri.
I call on our amiable president-elect Muhammadu Okechukwu Buhari to neglect the voting pattern of the southeast at the just concluded presidential election and be the father of the Federal Republic of Nigeria come May 29.
This article expresses the author’s opinion only. The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Legit.ng or its editors.