Who will emerge victorious on 14 February? Will it be a Valentine’s Day massacre at the polls for Goodluck or for Buhari? One thing is certain, there will be lots of violence, whichever way it goes, especially in the North – if Buhari loses.
We all know the drill in Nigerian (s)elections – no matter how you slice and dice it, no matter how ineffective, no matter the stench of corruption, no matter the level of despair across the land, an incumbent president just does not lose. Like former PDP senator Arthur Nzeribe allegedly said to his opponent, “if you beat me in the voting, you will not beat me in the counting.”
If I were a betting man, my money would be on a Goodluck “win”.
But there are signs that Buhari could pull off the biggest upset since David killed Goliath. A couple of ruling party PDP bigwigs complained about electoral commission (INEC) boss Attahiru Jega being a Buhari supporter. By all indicators of Naija politricks, Jega should be in the president’s pocket. The “golden rule” in Naija is that he who has the gold makes the rules. And the presidency has more gold at their disposal than Fort Knox.
So if Jega indeed is a Buhari supporter, that is bad luck for Goodluck because it means the electoral commission, or at least its top man, may not sign up the magic accounting needed to boost the president’s vote count.
Now, if, and I mean a big “if”, electoral fraud is reduced to the barest minimum, it is bad news for Goodluck. Not because Buhari is a viable candidate with nationwide appeal, but because Goodluck has failed on practically every measure of performance. There is just too much insecurity, too many power cuts, too much corruption, for any rational Nigerian to believe Goodluck deserves an extra day in office.
However, regardless of whose side Jega is on, regardless of how Nigerians vote, the outcome of the (s)election still rests on the scheming of state governors and the RECs (Resident Electoral Commissioners) in each state. The RECs manage the (s)elections for each state. Each state governor usually “looks after” his state’s REC more than they cater for the needs of the people of that state. Which kinda makes sense considering Nzeribe’s alleged comments about the counting of the votes.
With 21 PDP governors backing Goodluck and just 14 from Buhari’s APC, there should be no surprises when Goodluck pulls out, from his “resource control” fedora hat, “wins” in 21 states to Buhari’s 14. Anambra State is run by APGA and their governor is also backing Goodluck. That makes it 22 “lucky” states for the president in the (s)election.