The Presidential election result in Kaduna State provides insight into how the gubernatorial election will play out. The PDP won by garnering 41% of the votes, followed by the APC with 30%, LP with 23%, NNPP with 6% and the remaining 14 political parties combined having less than 1%. The PDP seems to have an edge from the above data. Aside winning the three Senatorial seats, the PDP won two senatorial zones, while the LP won one in the Presidential election.
The PDP got the highest valid votes of 49% and 38% in senatorial zone one and two respectively, and 34% the second highest in zone three. Meanwhile, the APC got the second highest valid votes of 35% and 33% in zone one and two respectively, and 21% third highest in zone three. The LP got 6%, the fourth highest valid votes in zone one, 21% the third highest votes in zone two and 42% the highest votes in zone three.
The NNPP got 10%, the third highest valid votes in zone one, 7% the fourth highest votes in zone two and 2% the fourth highest votes in zone three. The remaining 14 parties got less than 1% of the valid votes in the three zones. Also, these 15 political parties, including the NNPP, did not get up to 20% of the valid votes in any of the 23 LGAs.
The PDP failed to get 25% in just one LGA, which is Kaura where they got 22% of the votes, while getting it in the remaining 22 LGAs. On the other hand, the APC got 25% in 17 LGAs, while only getting 5% in Kaura, 8% in Chikun, 12% in Zangon Kataf, 13% in Kajuru and 14% in Jaba LGAs. The LP failed to get 25% in 14 LGAs, only getting it in 9 LGAs that includes: Zangon Kataf – 46%, Sanga – 32%, Kaura – 72%, Kachia – 37%, Kagarko – 33%, Jema’a – 49%, Jaba – 45%, Kajuru – 51%, Chikun – 61%.
Evidently, in the Presidential election, ethno-religious card played a major role in zone one and two, with the candidate of the PDP being a northern and a more recognized Muslim as against the APC southern candidate, the genuineness of whose faith was called to question. While the LP also benefitted largely from the ethno-religious sentiments in zone three and parts of zone two, as well as a dissatisfied critical mass of excited young voters who are tired of the status quo.
However, this time around the PDP will be contesting with an APC gubernatorial candidate from the same ethnicity and religion, more so, who is vying on a Muslim-Muslim ticket. This will surely divide the PDP vote in zone one and two, especially that the APC candidate is coming with a huge financial war chest. The incumbent factor is also going to be a major advantage, as the sitting governor will want someone that will sustain his influence and legacy in the State.
It will not be all rosy for the APC, as their civil service reforms, urban renewal projects coupled with insecurity have inflicted incalculable pain on many residents. Also, zone three will be a hard sell being a traditional voting enclave of the PDP as well as the frosty relationship between the Governor and the political elites/communities. Many of whom will want to get back at the party during the polls.
Nonetheless, the APC had shown in the 2019 that election is not a popularity contest but a game of data-driven and effective strategy execution. Also, the PDP and LP should be worried that the APC got up to 21% of the votes from zone three, which is their stronghold.
It is not clear if the Peter Obi effect driven by the Obedient Movement will have the same influence on the gubernatorial aspiration of the LP candidate. As the statistics show, the Peter Obi tsunami had no significant effect in zone one, an area dominated by the Muslim Hausa-Fulani. While in zone two, they had a good showing in only two LGAs, mostly in Christian dominated areas with a lot of resident Southerners.
The PDP is currently poaching from the support base of the LP in its stronghold, as the former is hinging their strategy on getting block votes from zone three. While the APC is banking on the alliance between the two not to materialize in order to divide their votes. Recently, about nine parties had forged an alliance with the PDP, but from the performance of these parties at the Presidential election, this might not have a major impact.
The beautiful bride for the PDP and APC are the NNPP and the undecided Obidient supporters who are yet to make up their mind on the LP gubernatorial candidate. Also, out of desperation, the parties have hired some religious leaders to mobilize votes. The divisive impact of which will go beyond the elections. Money is also currently playing a major role in winning over influential stakeholders.
In all of this, the race is open for the party with the most effective strategy to carry the day. Unless the LP pulls a strategic upset, pundits believe the APC and PDP have better chances of winning the race. Regardless of whoever emerges as the winner, he will have a myriad of developmental challenges to contend with. I really do not envy the winner.
Lets engage, ask the right questions and hold the government accountable.
Yusuf Ishaku Goje