By Miftaudeen Raji
The presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has been officially declared the President-elect and presented his certificate of return by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Tinubu polled 8,794,726 to defeat his rivals, Atiku Abubakar of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who scored 6,984, 520 and Peter Obi of the Labour Party, LP, who scored 6,101,533 votes, while Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigerian Peoples Party, NNPP, polled 1,496,687 votes.
His emergence and the entire 2023 presidential election results have been contested by the major opposition parties; the PDP and LP.
Notwithstanding the protests, one can’t ignore the key factors that shaped Tinubu’s victory in last Saturday’s 2023 presidential election.
Except for Lagos, where Tinubu could not display dominance, results from his stronghold (South-West) puts him about one million votes ahead of the pack as he swept Ogun, Oyo, Ondo and Ekiti states.
In building on the South-West votes, Tinubu also put up a good fight with Atiku in amassing enough support from the North-East and North-West to maintain the lead.
Despite the strong showing of the Labour party’s presidential candidate across most of the southern part of the country, Tinubu eventually amassed over eight million votes – as predicted by analysts – to prevent the election from heading to a run-off.
Tinubu leveraged the North to win the election with the APC northern governors, as they maintained their ground that it is the turn of the South to produce the President right from the party primaries till the last day of the election.
The progressive governors of the Northern region all queued behind Tinubu, ensuring that he emerged victorious at the primaries and, consequently, presidential election.
The northern APC governors and leaders in their resolution said: “After careful deliberation, we wish to state our firm conviction that after eight years in the office of President Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of the APC for the 2023 elections should be one of our teeming members from the southern states of Nigeria.
“It is a question of honour for the APC, an obligation that is not in any way affected by the decisions taken by another political party.
“We affirm that upholding this principle is in the interest of building a stronger, more united, and more progressive country.”
25 percent votes in 30 states
Apart from winning the majority votes, the constitutional requirement, Tinubu also met the second requirement of 25 percent of the votes in 25 states (two-thirds of Nigeria’s 36 states and Abuja).
Tinubu also won the simple majority requirement needed to be declared the winner of the presidential elections after gaining more than 25 percent of the votes in 12 states.
The states won by the Jagaban Borgu are: Niger, Benue, Kogi, Zamfara, Jigawa, Oyo, Rivers, Ogun, Ondo, Kwara, Ekiti, and Borno.
The 25% law provision explained
Section 134 of the constitution stipulates the requirements a candidate must meet to be declared the winner of a presidential election.
The section states that: “(1) A candidate for an election to the office of the President shall be deemed to have been duly elected, where, there being only two candidates for the election
“(a) he has the majority of votes cast at the election; and
“(b) he has not less than one-quarter of the votes cast at the election in each of at least two-thirds of all the States in the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.”
While interpretation of this law requirement could mean that the winner of presidential election must score 25 per cent of the votes in Abuja, majority of lawyers have also interpreted that the law suggests that Abuja is treated as the 37th state of Nigeria and thus 25 per cent in 25 states suffices.
Against this background, however, Tinubu, based on the INEC results, recorded a minimum of 25 per cent in 30 states – but his counterparts; Atiku had a minimum of 25 per cent in 21 states while Obi scored a minimum of 25 per cent in 17 states.
Good outing in battle for Northern votes
Although Muslims votes were split among Tinubu, Atiku and Kwankwaso, the regional factor played key role in voting pattern more than religion did.
People in each state of the North-East voted – on the basis of personality – for their candidate of choice.
Against all the odds, Tinubu won Jigawa and Borno states controlled by APC governors.
The final vote figures in this region gave Tinubu an enabling edge above is counterparts in winning the Saturday’s presidential election.
Altthough a measurable votes in the Northern region went primarily to Labour Party as well as the other parties, with the Social Democratic Party, SDP, showing a strong appearance in some locations in the region, Tinubu also put up a good fight against his opponents in the North.
Tinubu gallantly won in Niger, Benue, Kogi, Zamfara, Jigawa, Kwara and Borno to claim his mandate.
G5 fallout and Makinde, Wike’s delivery
The fallout among the G5 governors, the leadership of the PDP, including the party’s flag bearer, Atiku Abubakar, favoured Tinubu in no small measure with the factor of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers.
The G5 led by Wike, including Samuel Ortom (Benue); Seyi Makinde (Oyo); Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia); and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) were at war over the demand that Iyorchia Ayu steps down as PDP national chairman as a precondition for them to support Atiku’s presidential ambition.
While the G5 rift lingered, Tinubu, and his running mate, Kashim Shettima capitalised on the vacuum, and visited Wike and Makinde at the Rivers and Oyo states Government House, respectively.
Tinubu and his party supporters had earlier campaigned in Oyo and Port Harcourt before visiting Wike to seek his support ahead of the presidential election.
Consequently, the visits materialized as Wike and Makinde, two key PDP governors, overwhelmingly delivered their states for the APC presidential candidate.
The APC candidate polled a total of 231,591 votes to win in Rivers state, while the Labour Party candidate, polled 175,071 votes and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) polled 8,8468 votes as declared by the state collation officer for the presidential election in Rivers, Prof Charles Teddy Adias.
Tinubu’s victory in Rivers State, obviously, further boosted the votes he had already garnered in the South-East to cushion the effect of Obi’s dominance in the region.
He also won Oyo with 449, 884 to beat Atiku Abubakar of the PDP who polled 182, 977, just as he won in Rivers state with 231,591 from the 23 local government areas of the state.
Even as controversies surround the outcome of the election, while Atiku and Obi head to court, Tinubu’s political sagacity and ability to strategise can never be overemphasised.
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