Sunday, 13 October 2013
Why the Anambra 2013 Gubernatorial election may end up in a run-off
The November 16th Anambra gubernatorial election is heating up and will likely be the most keenly contested gubernatorial election in recent times in Nigeria. From all indications the parties that will define the election are the All Progressives Congress, All Progressives Grand Alliance, Labour Party and the People’s Democratic Party. Each of these four parties have selected its flagbearer for the election namely: Senator Chris Ngige (APC), Chief Willie Obiano (APGA), Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah (LP) and Mr Nicholas Ukachukwu (PDP). In the last edition of Election Monitor Newsletter we took an in-depth look at the Anambra Guber race and what it will portend for the 2015 presidential race. One of the key observations from that write-up is that each of the four parties mentioned above have a serious and urgent need to win the November 16th gubernatorial election. It is a rather unusual situation but this is how the situation currently presents itself.
This is the foundation for my argument that the race may just end up in a run-off. This article will attempt to prove this.
It is important to note that Anambra State has 21 Local Government Areas, which are equally distributed in all the three senatorial districts. Chief Willie Obiano hails from the North Senatorial District while Senator Chris Ngige hails from the Central Senatorial District and Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah and Mr Nicholas Ukachukwu hail from the South Senatorial District. This information is crucial because in Nigeria home LGAs and Senatorial districts offer a lot of support to their candidates. For this reason it is not unreasonable to expect that candidates will poll strongly in their senatorial zones.
Election results based on senatorial districts in the Ondo State 2012 Gubernatorial Election
This was typified in the last gubernatorial election to have been conducted in Nigeria, which was in October 2012 in Ondo State. As can be seen from the table in the previous page, the Labour Party candidate won 63% of the votes in his senatorial district (Central) while the PDP candidate won 41% of the total votes cast in his senatorial district as well (South). Even the ACN candidate won 35% (the second highest number of votes) in his senatorial district (North). Were it not for the incumbency factor of the Labour Party Candidate, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, it is very likely that the ACN would have won the North Senatorial district as well. It should be noted that the ACN won two of the LGAs in the Northern Senatorial District emphatically. The essence of this flashback is to empirically prove that choice of senatorial district does play a role (but it is not the only factor) in winning a gubernatorial election.
Coming back to Anambra State, it is clear that Senator Chris Ngige and Chief Willie Obiano are the major candidates in their senatorial districts. However in the case of Chris Ngige, the situation is a bit different. The State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi is also from the Central Senatorial District. The fact is that he is a popular governor. This now presents a scenario where the senatorial district will be torn between Senator Ngige who is their ticket to another four years in power or Governor Obi who will use his influence, incumbency and structures to mobilise as much votes as possible for his party’s candidate Chief Willie Obiano. What this means is that the votes in the district may be largely divided between these two candidates primarily with Senator Ngige having the edge. Certainly the other two major candidates will also attract a significant number of votes form the district. A possible scenario can be depicted in the pie chart below.
The North Senatorial District is home to the APGA candidate. In addition Governor Peter Obi has advocated that the North should produce the Governor, as it has not ruled the state since its creation in 1991. Based on 2011 figures, the district also has the highest number of registered voters. It should not also be forgotten that APGA is the ruling party. The APC candidate however is very popular amongst traders in the commercial hub of Onitsha (which is in the North) while the LP and PDP candidates are likely to poll quite impressively as well. The pie chart below shows a hypothetical outcome in the North Senatorial District.
The South Senatorial district is a very interesting one and might prove quite surprising on Election Day. The district has the lowest voter population and is home to Dr Ifeanyi Ubah and Mr Nicholas Ukachukwu. It is important to note that Ifeanyi Ubah is a very popular candidate and his ability to provide citizens with kerosene at fifty naira per litre has won the hearts of many people especially amongst the masses. He is the man to beat in Nnewi North but is not so dominant in other southern LGAs.the primaries that produced Hon. Nwoye as the authentic process. This has however lead to a series of court cases.
The PDP in the state has been in a quagmire, which peaked when there were two parallel primaries held by the party in Anambra State on August 24. Senator Andy Uba and Honourable Tony Nwoye came out victorious respectively. The PDP National Secretariat however recognizedAlthough it is expected that the PDP will resolve its differences with its chieftains before the November 16th general election, there is no guarantee that this will happen. If the situation remains the same, the PDP may suffer heavily in the South Senatorial district, as it may not receive the support of the Uba family to help deliver the zone. Even though there are many notable PDP politicians from the zone, the Uba brothers are amongst the most prominent. It should also be remembered that Mr. Ukachukwu is in court contesting the senatorial seat currently being occupied by Mr Andy Uba. This is important because this should be the one senatorial district where the PDP should expect majority votes. The internal wrangling in the party has lead INEC to rely on a court order to select Mr Nicholas Ukachukwu to represent the PDP. Of the four leading candidates, the PDP candidate is the last to start his campaign. Gone are the days when PDP will win elections because it is PDP. Now the political terrain has changed and the party must get its act together to stand any chance of winning the election.Dr Ngige is very popular in the south as well especially in places like Ukpor, Orumba North and South etc. APGA as the ruling party will deliver quality votes as well. A hypothetical outcome taking this into consideration can be seen in the adjacent pie- chart.
The Independent National Electoral Commission commenced its Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise in Anambra State on Monday 19th August 2013. As a result of this exercise it is not possible to accurately discern the exact number of voters in each Local Government Area until the new voter registration figures are publicly released.
However taking a look at the 2011 voters’ register, it is clear that the North Senatorial district is the most populous closely followed by the Central and then the South. The new voter registration figures are likely to also follow this pattern, although it may not necessarily be so. The pie chart below shows approximate percentages of the voter registration spread between the senatorial districts.
It is important to have an idea of the voter spread across the senatorial districts as this will have a direct impact on the likely overall outcome of the election.
Looking at the likely voter spread, it is clear that the race will be keenly contested. From the hypothetical analysis in this article, it is most likely that APC or the ruling APGA wins the majority of total votes cast with probably a margin of less than 10%. The challenge is that neither the APC nor the APGA will probably be able to receive up to 25% of the votes in at least 14 LGAs seeing how competitive each LGA and senatorial district will be. However APC and APGA should be able to achieve this in at least ten to twelve LGAs but will possibly just fall short of the legal requirements for winning in the first round.
The Labour Party and the PDP will also be unlikely to achieve 25% of total votes cast in 14 LGAs in the first round of voting. The first and second positions will likely be between the APC and APGA while the third and fourth positions should be between the LP and the PDP.
A lot of assumptions have been used in coming to the conclusion that the Anambra 2013 Gubernatorial election will likely end in a run-off. Several circumstances could occur which could render some of these assumptions invalid. Even if the election is won in the first round, there is every possibility that it will be a hard-fought close election. It will be difficult for any party to win with a landslide, especially in the first round of voting. As of the time of writing, parties and their candidates are still getting into full campaigning. The race should even out more as the election draws nearer.