By Yusuf Goje
The Kaduna State 2023 gubernatorial election goes down in history as the most intense and keenly contested. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) despite winning 13 LGAs, lost to the All Progressive Congress (APC), which won 10 LGAs, according to the results announced by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
There was low voter turnout, as out of the 4,335,208 registered voters only 1,581,662 were accredited to vote, which is 36.5%. This is lower than the voter turnout of 46% in 2019 and 50.9% in 2015. However, it is still higher than the voter turnout of 1,341,181, that is 31%, for the Presidential election.
The APC candidate got 730,002 votes to defeat his closest rival of the PDP who got 719,196, followed by the candidates of the Labor Party (LP) and New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) that polled 58,283 and 21,405 votes respectively. The APC won ahead of the PDP with a margin of 10,806.
Despite the fact that the party has been in power since 2015 there is an evident trend of rapid decline in popularity with every election. The party won with a margin of 231,259 in 2019 and 631,802 in 2015. Also, the APC lost in some LGAs it won in 2019 and 2015 such as Makarfi, Soba, Lere etc.
In the Senatorial Districts, the APC got 311,793 votes in Zone One, a reduction from the 457,502 it got in 2019; 289,597 in Zone Two, shortfall from the 420,128 in 2019; and 128,612 in Zone Three, also short of the 157, 797 in 2019.
While on the other hand, the PDP got 262,520 votes in Zone One, higher than the 215,480 it got in 2019; 278,299 in Zone Two, an increase from the 258,686 in 2019; and 178,814 in Zone Three, far lower than the 343,992 gotten in 2019. Evidently, in the 2023 gubernatorial election, the APC defeated PDP in Zone One and Two, while PDP only won in Zone Three.
Surprisingly, despite LP’s low votes, the party had spread across the State, picking votes in each of the 23 LGAs. Contrary to popular sentiments that the candidate did not have reach beyond Zone Three, it polled 8,883 votes in Zone One; 11,313 votes in Zone Two; and 38,067 in Zone Three. With more push, consistency and early preparation the LP may be the emerging third force in the State.
From all indications, the opposition parties are preparing to head for the courts with claims of irregularities and non-substantial compliance to the Electoral Act, among others. Interestingly, the IReV portal that should provide the needed evidence, so far has about 94% results uploaded, that is 7563 out of the 8,012 polling units in the State.
Interestingly, despite the influence of the Muslim Muslim Ticket and deployment of huge financial war-chest – other factors that gave the APC advantage was the real time deployment of data science in strategy execution (with a technology driven situation room) and better structural coordination.
The opposition parties must learn that elections have gone beyond a popularity contest to a game of realtime data-driven strategy. Without data it is difficult to accurately plan and effectively carry out targeted and timely execution.
All said, the ball will be in the court of the courts.
Lets engage, ask the right questions and hold the government accountable.