Nigeria’s presidential election scheduled for February 25 appears so delicately poised with even senior chieftains of the leading candidates now quietly admitting that an outright winner might not emerge in the first ballot scheduled to hold on February 25.
Our reporters learnt that the polling being done by the leading parties present different data about who has the lead but they all seem to agree on one thing – with only six weeks to election day, none of the three leading presidential candidates have enough votes to win in the first ballot.
While the ANAP foundation poll conducted last month by NOI Polls had put the candidate of the Labour Party ahead, the ruling APC and opposition PDP also claim that their candidates are the frontrunners.
Even then, that NOI poll also showed the huge challenge that Labour is having in the northern states where its candidate needs to do well enough to turn its favourable rating into an election victory on February 25.
According to a chieftain in one of the leading parties, “we think we have the momentum but so far the polling we have done suggest that we remain short of the requirement to secure 25 per cent of the votes in at least 24 states and the FCT.”
One political strategist who would not want his name in the media told our reporter that the ranking of the parties has not changed much in the last one month.
The expected earthquake from the mind games by the G5 state governors of PDP has not happened and while the Labour party is making some gains in the middle belt, APC is consolidating in its south-west base.
One element that could be decisive but is as yet unclear is how the major northern blocs will vote on election day. Some analysts say any major shift away from the APC in the north is likely to benefit the opposition PDP but a chieftain of the ruling party told our reporter at the weekend that “APC is having to contest not just against the opposition but also against itself because of the frustration that many Nigerians have against the government’s performance or lack of it.”
If a winner does not emerge after the elections next month, it will be the first time that a presidential election in Nigeria will go into a run-off.