Buhari, Atiku fight over 16m Igbo votes in North and SE
By Ogbuefi Ndigbo
AHEAD of the February 16 general elections, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress, APC and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have intensified efforts to grab the about seven million votes of Ndigbo in the northern part of the country.
7million Igbo votes in the north, and 9m Igbo votes in the South East. That’s 16m Igbo votes in the North and the South East alone.
That is without counting Igbo votesin Lagos, South West, and South South.
It is evident that the SE and SS are for the Atiku/Obi ticket. But their challenge is how to convert that anger with the Buhari administration into electoral votes in a region with historical voter’s apathy.
For the 2019 elections, the south-south has 12,841,279 registered voters (15.29%), while the South-East has 10,057,130 voters (11.97%). That’s a total of 22,898,409.
Now See the pattern of voting in the 2015 presidential election.
1. Abia 13,394 (Buhari)/368,303 (Jonathan)
2. Anambra 17,926/660,762
3. Ebonyi 19,518/323,653
4. Enugu 14,157/553,003
5. Imo 133,253/559,185
Total: 198,248 (Buhari) 2,464,906 (Jonathan)
6. Akwa Ibom 58,411 / 953,304
7. Bayelsa 5,194/361,209
8. Cross River 28,368 /414,863
9. Delta 48,910 /1,211,405
10. Edo 208,469 /286,869
11. Rivers 69,238 /1,487,075
Nationwide, Muhammadu Buhari of the APC won the election by 15,424,921- 53.96%.
While Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP got 12,853,162- 44.96%.
A difference of 2,571,759 (Note that in 2011, PDP got 22,616,416, CPC 12,250,853 , ACN 2,079,151 and ANPP 911,455 votes)
Interestingly, in the 2011 presidential elections, Jonathan got the following number of votes:
Now compare this with the number of votes Jonathan got from S-east states in 2015, which is 2,464,906, a whopping difference of 2,520,540.
In other words, if the South east had been mobilised to vote in 2015, the way they were mobilised to vote in 2011, the result of the 2015 elections might have gone the other way.
I was in the S-east in 2015 and noticed the massive disgruntlement with the way Jonathan took the S’east votes for granted. Thus on the Election Day, many Anambrarians who were confident that “Jonathan will win” confessed to me they did not vote. The result is that while the south south votes for Jonathan remained just about the same in 2011 and 2015, the South east votes was halved because they failed to vote.
Now, how do PDP make sure that history does not repeat itself in 2019? How do they mobilise the 22,898,409 voters in the South south and the South East, and particularly, the 10,057,130 voters in the south east to vote on February 16, 2019?
This calls for concerted effort by all: PDP, the churches, schools, radio and television, must be mobilised, just the same way Northerners mobilise in the Mosques.
Peter Obi must encourage Igbo friends and families to go out and vote and remain at the polling unit to see the vote counted and recorded.
We need details of registered voters in the South East from the PDP. This has been released to them by INEC.
To do this mobilisation effectively we need at least one million naira.
Ohanaeze should lead the campaign to persuade Ndigbo not to travel home during the election but to stay back and cast their votes.
Even if they should travel let each vote first and then travel the next day.
Election violence even where it occurs doesn’t happen on the election day, but afterwards.