Saturday, February 16, 2019
Nigeria's 2019 Elections: Voting Factoids As Polls Open Within 24hours - Its A Young Voters' Election!
Some Quick Country Facts:
-- Population stats on Nigeria can be wide ranging, but no doubt it is the Africa Region's most populated nation with research numbers ranging from 190-195 million people in 2019.* Since Nigeria has not had an official census since 2006, for a number of political and ethnic reasons, the most recent research figures on the country falls within this range, although the 200 million figure was recently reported by media, but as of yet, no research source that supports that figure as of today (February 15, 2018);
-- Nigeria is politically and economically zoned into "Six Geo-Political Regions" - Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, Southeast, and South-South, and along with these is the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). These regional breakdowns are important because of where certain ethnic and political allegiances might lie and the respective size of their the regional populations. But in this election, this breakdown is even more important because it will be key to examine the following: where the largest number of registered voters as well as the largest block of young people are; where the difficult human indicators (meaning poverty indicators) are; and, where and how these figures might effect the outcome of this election. President Buhari, of the All Peoples Congress Party (APC) is 76 years of age, and the main opposition presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar is 72. Their platforms to boost jobs, cut corruption, encourage foreign investment, address problems with infrastructure, power, energy, etc., and improve security are not that different from each other, although the former has a current record which can be examined, and the other a historical one from having served as the country's vice president from 1999-2007. Here are some answers to the above questions on why regional breakdowns are going to be key**:
-- Northwest (where current incumbent, President Buhari hails) has greatest number of registered voters for this election with over 21 million;
-- Southwest (where the current vice president, Oluyemi Osinbajo is from) follows with 16 million registered voters;
-- Northeast (where the leading opposition candidate from the People Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar is from) has one of the smallest number of registered voters with slightly over 11 million;
-- Southeast (where the opposition vice presidential candidate, Peter Obi, is from) has 10 million registered voters
-- South-South has 12 million registered voters;
-- North-Central has 13 million registered voters; and
-- Federal Capital Territory (FCT), location of Nigeria's capital, Abuja, has 1.3 million registered voters.
Despite the large number of registered voters - some 84 million of which more than 42 million are between the ages of 18-35 years, and with the Independent Nigeria Election Commission (INEC) establishing 176,996 polling places (including for IDP's), the mood in the country among older voters appears to have turned more apathetic in the last six months, on top of some being worried about security in their areas, particularly in both the Northeast and Northwest regions, albeit, for different reasons. In the Northeast, it is gang and militia-related, and in the Northwest it is Boko Haram-connected. There are security concerns in the South-South and Southeast linked to various Niger Delta groups, or peri-groups, but not to the extent that security issues persist in the Northern areas. Voter turnout will be paramount, critically by young voters, as Nigerian election law calls for a candidate to win at least 25 percent of votes cast in two-thirds of the states. Equally important, this will be a young voters election.
So where are most of these young voters concentrated? Yes, you guessed it -- in the Northeast and Southwest -- where the largest number of registered voters exist. This election -- despite the political rhetoric and platforms -- will come down to arithmetic and arithmetic by region based on the young voter, and young voter turnout. Whomever wins, will have won as a result of their turnout numbers, their desire to see their country move forward more in every social, political, and economic aspect, and their reasoning as to which candidate can do it -- not only better, but faster.
FEEEDS Series BlogSpot
** CGTN Africa Live, Ddeji Bades, February 15, 2019, 1p.m.
**numbers rounded to nearest million