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THEWILL 2023 Presidential Poll Projection Series I

Tinubu, Atiku in Tight Race

Kwankwaso Falters

•Obi’s Path to 25% in 24 States Uncertain

•Runoff Unlikely

THEWILL APP ADS 2

AMOS ESELE with Ukandi Odey, Amos Owei, Bassey Aniekan, George Martins, Sampson Uhuegbe, Sunday Ogbu, Maimunatu Ibrahim & Segun Ayinde

For the 18 presidential candidates on the ballot for the February 25, 2023 election, clear forces are already at play to separate the pretenders from the contenders, 41 days to the election. Factors such as zoning, political stand of each state and geo-political zone, antecedents of the various presidential candidates, strength of parties, religion and ethnicity have become major determinants of the fate of the candidates according to THEWILL checks in this special presidential election projection series across the states of the federation.

How the 49. 5 million males, 44.4 million females, 37 million youths among the 93 million voters will follow this pattern is what THEWILL correspondents outlined in this week’s long investigation. For now, the major contenders remain the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party (LP). The campaign of Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) has been struggling nationally and hasn’t gained traction outside the North West. In fact, with elections just 6 weeks away, the name Kwankwaso is not popular amongst eligible voters nationally.

THEWILL also projects that the candidates of the PDP and APC have a clear path to securing at least 25 percent of the votes cast in 24 states as mandated by the constitution including securing the plurality of votes to win the election.

Both Tinubu and Atiku are locked in a close race, Tinubu has an edge, according to our projection. From our findings, there are elements in the north who are hellbent on keeping power in the region. These forces who are sympathetic to Atiku’s cause, are aggressively playing the ethnic card and mobilising their kinsmen across party lines to vote Atiku in the presidential race. The impact of this mobilisation on the race will become clearer as we approach election day.

However, the candidate of the LP may fall short of the 25 percent requirement in at least 24 states, according to our checks and we also project that Obi is unlikely to poll the plurality of votes nationally on February 25, 2023. Because of these factors, we do not foresee a runoff.

NORTH EAST

Adamawa – PDP

Taraba – PDP

Bauchi – PDP

Borno – APC

Yobe – APC

Gombe– APC

NORTH WEST

Katsina – APC

Kebbi – APC

Kaduna – Too close to call

Sokoto – PDP

Jigawa – PDP

Zamfara – Too close to call

Kano – Too close to call

NORTH CENTRAL

FCT – LP

Benue – LP

Plateau – Leaning LP

Kogi – APC

Kwara – APC

Niger – APC

Nasarawa – Too close to call

SOUTH SOUTH

Akwa Ibom – PDP

Bayelsa – PDP

Delta – PDP

Edo – LP

Cross River – Too close to call

Rivers – LP

SOUTH EAST

Abia – LP

Anambra – LP

Enugu – LP

Imo – LP

Ebonyi – LP

SOUTH WEST

Lagos – APC

Ogun – APC

Oyo – APC

Ekiti – APC

Ondo – APC

Osun – Too close to call

PDP’s Path to 25% in 24 States

Lagos, Ondo, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti, Oyo, Edo, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Rivers, Benue, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Kwara, Plateau, Katsina, Sokoto, Kano, Kaduna, Zamfara, Jigawa, Adamawa, Taraba, Bauchi.

APC’s Path to 25% in 24 States

Lagos, Ondo, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti, Oyo, Edo, Delta, Bayelsa, Cross River, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Kwara, Plateau, Katsina, Sokoto, Kano, Kaduna, Zamfara, Bauchi, Yobe, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kebbi.

LP’s Path to 25% in 24 States

Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Edo, Delta, Bayelsa, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau, Benue, Imo, Anambra, Enugu, Abia, Ebonyi, Taraba, Kaduna, FCT.

NORTH EAST: Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe

The north-eastern zone comprises six states with a large Hausa and Fulani ethnic group co-existing with a sizable number of minority population, all governed by traditional habits and Muslim, Christian and animist religious beliefs. Borno state has Kanuris as majority.

Adamawa – PDP Projected to Win

Adamawa is a home state of the PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and it is one of the states controlled by his party, the PDP,

The decision by former APC Governor, Bindow Jubrilla, to align forces with Atiku and Governor Ahmadu Fintiri, has significantly improved the chances of the former vice president in Adamawa. He will handily win his home state.

Bauchi – PDP Projected to Win

The state is unique in the landscape of the North East because of its high number of ethnic minority groups, therefore, it’s always unpredictable to say which party has dominance, particularly between the two major political parties, APC and PDP.

Also, Bauchi natives and residents are famous for their progressive politics, particularly among the elite. They are fond of taking a collective decision to safeguard their interest.

Therefore, it is worth noting that Tinubu’s decision to pick Kashim Shettima as his running mate has upset calculations here as the Christian political leaders in the North East, especially the likes of the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, have pitched their tents with the PDP. Besides, Senators from the state have defected to the PDP.

Considering this development and the incumbency factor – the state control under the control of the PDP – Atiku may defeat Tinubu with a wide margin. NNPP has a strong followership in Bauchi but it is yet to make a headway to be considered a major threat.

Borno – APC Projected to Win

Right from the beginning of the fourth republic in 1999, Borno state continues to remain in opposition to the PDP. It is currently an APC state. Several efforts by the PDP to govern the state have failed. Its presidential outings have also been woeful. PDP’s fate in the 2023 polls may have been sealed with the emergence of Senator Kashim Shettima as VP candidate of the APC.

Gombe – APC Projected to Win

The state is controlled by the APC. Now that warring Senator Danjuma Goje and the incumbent governor, Alhaji Inuwa Yahaya, have reconciled their differences, the atmosphere favours Tinubu to come tops on February 25 2023.

Gombe state was once a state controlled by the PDP when Alhaji Ibrahim Dankwambo governed the state, but for the presidential election, APC will be in the front, beating PDP to the second position in the upcoming presidential polls.

Taraba – PDP Projected to Win

Taraba State is a stronghold of Atiku Abubakar but rivalry exists between Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, a strong chieftain of the PDP and the incumbent governor, Darius Ishaku, so this poised a great setback to the party in the state.

Earlier in August 2022, the ‘Obidient Movement’ successfully conducted a million man march in Jalingo to the astonishment of many. Taraba, being a Christian dominated state, the factor of religion is paving the way for Peter Obi, who is trying to poach the votes of the ruling PDP in the state. This will adversely affect Atiku if Obi succeeds apart from the internal crisis rocking APC and PDP in the state.

PDP is projected to take this state despite the strong challenge from Obi.

Yobe – APC Projected to Win

Yobe State is controlled by APC and it will continue to be so, simply because the opposition PDP in the state is very weak due to internal wrangling in conducting their affairs.

NORTHWEST: Jigawa, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kano

These seven states of the Northwest zones are populated mainly by Hausa and Fulani ethnic groups who are mainly Muslims, with other notable groups in places like southern Kaduna and Zuru in Kebbi States. The seven Northwest states are now a battleground between the governing APC party, which controls all but one state, and the opposition PDP and NNPP as the incumbency factor which may likely not matter.

As the zone with a large chunk of registered voters, APC, NNPP and PDP are in fierce battle for control and triumph.

According to a breakdown of registered voters published by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, North-West zone leads with 22, 255, 562 out of 93, 469,088. South-West follows with 17, 958,966; North-Central has 15, 363,731; South-South has 14,440,714; North-East has 12,542,429 and South-East has 10, 907,606.

Kaduna – Too Close to Call, Leaning APC

The main attraction for LP, however, is that Kaduna is where VP candidate, Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmad, comes from.

Kaduna is one of the interesting states in northern Nigeria with diverse people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds.

Besides, the southern part of the state has become a killing field owing to prolonged insecurity there as it is in Zamfara and Katsina states. These tormented people have made up their minds to revolt against the APC. The PDP, NNPP and LP are waiting in the wings to harvest the protest votes. At any rate, the outcome of the presidential election will be difficult to accurately project now because the three major parties of APC, PDP and NNPP are strong in the state.

Kebbi – APC Projected to Win

This state is one of the strongholds of the ruling APC, while the opposition parties are weaker in the state. PDP and NNPP will compete for second and third in the February 2023 presidential election in the state.

Governor Atiku Bagudu, Chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum, has a firm grip of the state and may easily swing it in favour of Tinubu if the issue of religion and ethnicity does not rear its head in the coming weeks when the real alignments of forces would have crystalised before voting for the presidency. This makes it unrealistic to wish away an Atiku win here just yet.

Like in Zamfara, the PDP is weak because of the supremacy battle between former governor Adamu Aliero, who defected from APC to the PDP when he failed to get his former party’s ticket to return as Senator and Mallam Kabiru Turaki, erstwhile Minister of Special Duties.

Zamfara – Too Close to Call

This agrarian state is facing security challenges of banditry. Will this nemesis work against the ruling APC in the state?

The pillar of the PDP in the state is a former National Security Adviser, Gen. Aliyu Gusau, facing the APC front led by Governor Bello Matawalle, and APC war horses in the state, including ex-Governor Abdullaziz Yari and his former arch rival, Senator Kabiru Marafa.

PDP is currently facing an internal crisis as a result of the governorship primary that produced factional candidates. Zamfara is one of the four states in the zone bleeding from the negative impact of insecurity which may mar the outcome of the poll.

So, for now, this election is too close to call for the two rival parties, the APC and PDP, given the recent alarm raised by the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, over the threat posed by insecurity to the conduct of the polls.

Kano – Very Tight. Too Close to Call

The 2023 general election is not going to be business as usual in Kano state due to the emergence of many presidential candidates that have array of commanders in the epic centre of political activities in northern Nigeria.

The Bola Tinubu campaign crusade is being spearheaded by the ruling party in the state under watchful eyes of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje who constantly bragged that the state will provide the highest vote for Mr Tinubu in the coming few weeks’ general election.

The APC being the party in control of the state has 44 local government areas and majority members of the state and National Assembly members who have devoted themselves to the movement under the watchful eyes of Governor Ganduje, who is the chief crusader of the party’s presidential candidate in the state.

The APC Presidential candidate may likely get higher votes in Kano going by the number of political positions being influenced by the party in the state with three serving senatorial and ministerial niche, including other appointments by the President Muhammadu Buhari, who are indigenes of the state and may have influence in their various locations among the people of the state.

The Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, is not so popular among Kano voters compared with their familiarity with Tinubu, Atiku and Kwankwaso.

His popularity is mostly among the educated people and those living in an area populated by non-indigenes called Sabon Gari.

The Labour Party is not so strong and acceptable in the minds of typical voters in the 44 local government areas of the state, but political observers guess that the non-indigenes may likely support him with their votes.

Atiku, the former Vice President, is believed to be a household name among the electorate in the state, but his albatross is that he lacks foot soldiers who would work and ensure his victory in the February election.

Again, the in-fighting between the Aminu Wali faction and the Shehu Wada Sagagi faction of the PDP in the state will not help Atiku, as followers of the two groups are deeply polarised thus eroding the chances of the presidential candidate and the party itself in the forthcoming polls.

However, the defection of Senator Malam Ibrahim Shekarau from the APC to the PDP could improve the stakes for Atiku as the former Governor of Kano State came in with large followership that might get thousands of votes for the PDP presidential candidate. Politicians like the former speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghali Umar Na’Abba, will make the election for interesting for Atiku, while the former commissioner of Agriculture during the Kwankwaso administration, Hajia Baraka Sani, will attract more votes from the women side due to her resourcefulness and being a good mobiliser in the state.

Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso is a well known name among the entire citizens of the state, because he served as the governor of the state for two terms and was also a senator for Kano Central senatorial district. Kwankwaso is the leader of the popular Kwankwasiyya Movement which has enabled him to retain control over a major part of the political elite in the state and his array of followers across the 44 local government areas, majority of whom consider him as messiah of the common man.

Analysts therefore believe that with the uncertainty attached to every election, Kano’s outcome will see Atiku, Tinubu and Kwankwaso splitting the votes, securing at least 25 percent of the total votes cast with a winner emerging with a marginal victory.

Katsina – APC Projected to Win

This home state of President Muhammadu Buhari and incumbency will work there, even though some APC big wigs and their supporters defected to the opposition PDP. With President Buhari now hitting the campaign trail to help Tinubu and the party’s candidates, especially in the north, the APC could keep Katsina in its column.

NNPP is also getting stronger in the state, but the majority of the votes we project would be shared between the APC and the PDP in the state, with the APC coming on tops.

Sokoto – PDP Projected to Win

The caliphate state is a PDP controlled state. The next few weeks’ election will be a tough one among the PDP, the APC and the NNPP. Incumbent governor Aminu Tambuwal, who is also the Director General of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council, narrowly won the election for a second term. The major leaders of the APC in the state who did not defect with him to the PDP, still control a large part of the state. Even so, the PDP is projected to triumph over the APC.

Jigawa – PDP Projected to Win

The new world state is a state controlled by the APC but the 2023 Presidential election will be between the PDP and NNPP. The ruling APC will find it difficult to emerge in the forefront because of the economic hardship and lack of access to the government by the electorate.

NORTH CENTRAL STATES: Benue, Kwara, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau & (FCT)

This zone is characterised by its diversity of ethnicity and religion. This flexibility has allowed the LP to make some inroads in this zone, particularly in Plateau and Benue (as well as the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja), where Christian religionists have been swayed by arguments against the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC.

Niger State – APC Projected to Win

The election is going to be purely between the ruling APC and the PDP. Atiku is very strong in the state but the incumbency factor may work against him in the coming election and make him take second place to Tinubu with the NNPP and LP coming third and fourth, respectively.

Benue – LP Projected to Win

The food basket of the country under the administration of the PDP is going to support the candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, who is very strong in the state against the APC candidate, Tinubu. The Labour Party however is in serious contention here.

In Benue state, one of the most celebrated candidates is Peter Obi of the LP who has made several visits as his part of his campaign, where he donated funds to the displaced.

From all indications, Obi has endeared himself to Benue indigenes and voters. In one of the outings, Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom, one of the G-5 governors, declared that if he were not a member of the PDP, he would have led the Obi campaign across the country.

Just last week, Ortom commended former president Olusegun Obasanjo for endorsing Obi’s candidacy. Checks within the state revealed that Obi is ahead of other presidential candidates and poised to win in Benue with at least 40 percent of vote cast, followed by Atiku, who has henchmen in the state like National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu; former Senate President, David Mark and former Governor, Gabriel Suswan.

For Tinubu, apart from consultation, he is yet to launch his campaign in the state. His decision to pick governorship candidate, Revd Fr Hyacinth Alia as his coordinator has brought apathy to APC leadership in the state.

Apart from when he visited the state for consultation, Kwankwaso and his party, NNPP, are hardly heard about in the state even with Professor Bem Angwe as the governorship candidate.

Kogi – APC Projected to Win

The election in this state is going to be between the APC with its incumbent governor, Yahaya Bello, holding forth and PDP, which still has some big wigs having governed the state for 16 years. The outcome may likely be in favour of Tinubu with PDP, LP and NNPP following in that order.

Nasarawa – Too Close to Call

This is the home state of the APC national chairman, Alhaji Abdullahi Adamu. It is also controlled by the APC. The APC, PDP and NNPP in that order, are in strong contention here that it is hard to say convincingly who will carry the day. Only the electorate will determine the outcome of the results in the state.

Kwara – Too close to call

It is a straight fight between forces loyal to Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazak of the APC and former President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, of the PDP. Riddled by a two-year crisis fueled by supremacy battle between groups loyal to the governor and Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, which forced many members to defect to the Young Peoples Party, YYP and the Social Democratic Party, SDP, in the state, the APC has lost some grounds to the PDP.

The Obi Volunteer Network, a group within the ‘Obidient Movement’ has been roaring in the state to the extent that Ilorin, the state capital, is one of the first in the country to have a giant Obi/Datti billboard located on Ibrahim Taiwo road. APC, PDP and LP are in contention in this state.

Plateau – Leaning LP

In Plateau State – which is the capital or melting pot of politics in the Middle Belt otherwise referred to as the North Central zone, the stakes are high just as the curve of voter enthusiasm and awareness are on the upward.

There is very little talk or consideration for the New Nigeria Peoples Party here because the race generally is being dominated by the trio of the PDP, the LP, and the APC.

In the build up to the elections next month, the opposition parties are waxing strong and enjoying rave reviews as the electorate consider them as veritable platforms to punish the ruling APC for subjecting Nigerians to the agony of bad governance and hopelessness for almost a decade.

Blighted by internal strife and strands of acrimony and lack of cohesion, the APC in the State is already being wished away, meaning it cannot harness any incumbency advantage. Realistic party members have admitted that the State APC is not on ground as it was in 2015 and 2019; and that this bad situation degenerated and worsened intra-party fraternity following the mismanagement of the details of Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s presidential campaign flag off in the State on November 9, last year.

Many in its rungs have departed the party, with a huge prospect that many more will leave just before the polls.

In spite of apparent revamp of the electoral value of the PDP in the state, and the amiable appeal and popular acceptability of its gubernatorial candidate, Caleb Mutfwang, Director General of the Party’s governorship campaign, Latep Dabang, said the LP is more a problem than the APC.

Haunted initially by the governorship ticket crisis, the LP got its electoral impetus refurbished by a court judgment last December which upheld Dr Patrick Dakum and Edward Pwajok as governorship and deputy governorship candidates respectively.

However, the PDP is well ahead, with the Labour Party braving to put up an impressive showing.

Although the records and history favour the PDP, a lot still has to be done, especially in the presidential election as there is a thickening preference by many to vote LP in the presidential, and vote the PDP in the governorship. Since 1999, the PDP has always won Plateau State in the presidential election.

For Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his APC, he is expected to poll at least 25 percent of the total ballot at the end of voting next month. Unlike the PDP and LP candidates, he is not popularly discussed in the state.

FCT – LP

It is a dog fight here between PDP, which showed some strength recently with the Local Government Poll which it shared three apiece with the APC. But the religious factor has shown its face as the major Christian population, in response to the Muslim-Muslim ticket of APC, is said to be rooting for the LP candidate Obi. The PDP has always won the polls in the administrative center of power even when the incumbent president Buhari had achieved some nation-wide popularity close to the 2019 poll: Atiku won the election in the FCT with 259,997 votes against 152, 224 for Buhari. With Obi’s growing popularity, the poll here is too close to call for the three parties though the LP maintains an edge. But there is no gainsaying that the PDP, APC and LP would secure the minimum 25 per cent votes.

SOUTHWEST STATES: Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo and Osun.

This zone is dominated by Yorubas with a healthy mix of Christian, Muslim and indigenous religionist cohabiting with discerning politicians. Besides, the ‘son of the soil’ would count in many of the states, particularly in the four states controlled by the party. The APC is the ruling party in four of the six states Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, and Ondo, while the PDP controls Oyo and Osun.

However, THEWILL projects that the PDP will do well in this region by securing at least 25 percent of the votes across the six states, while we project that the LP will get at least 25 percent of the votes cast in Lagos, Ogun and Oyo. The LP will struggle in Ekiti, Ondo and Osun States.

Ekiti – APC Projected to Win

The APC defeated the PDP with a wide margin and the incumbent governor, Abiodun Oyebanji, would combine with ex-governor Kayode Fayemi, to give Tinubu the lead here. The PDP is a divided house.

Ondo – APC Projected to Win

Voting is likely to follow this pattern in Ondo, where the APC has governed the state for the past six years. But Atiku has always made a good showing here in previous polls. Can he repeat the feat on February 25, 2023? Highly unlikely.

Lagos – APC Projected to Win in Close Finish

The APC is the dominant political party in Lagos which Bola Tinubu, the candidate of the APC call his home state, which we project he will win in February. THEWILL however projects that the presidential election will be fiercely battled between Tinubu and Peter Obi of the Labour Party because of the cosmopolitan composition of the state where the message of a viable alternative finds easy receptivity. The PDP is projected to come third in the state.

Osun – Too Close to Call

THEWILL projects Osun State as too close to call because of the outcome of the last governorship election in the state which the then incumbent, Gboyega Oyetola of the APC lost to the PDP’s Ademola Adeleke despite Tinubu’s active participation in the poll to ensure Oyetola, his cousin retained the state. In fact, Tinubu, who is speculated to be originally from this state, committed a lot of resources and virtually relocated to the state for that election and still lost. Osun will be a state to watch with the APC and PDP securing at least 25 percent of the votes there.

Governor Adeleke, who appears to be very popular and traditional rulers have pledged their support for Atiku, whose first wife is Titi, an indigene of the state.

Oyo – APC Projected to Win

The move by Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo, one of the G-5 governors to launch anti-Atiku campaign in Ibadan alongside his allies backfired when the crowd protested by heckling him and other G-5 governors at the campaign launch. In the 2019 poll, Atiku defeated Buhari in Oyo state, polling 366,592 to 365,229. With Tinubu, the case is expected to be different. The PDP is expected to get a good number of votes in the state.

Ogun – APC Projected to Win

This is a Tinubu territory, with all the chieftains of the APC, including Senator Ibikunle Amosun and Governor Dapo Abiodun, who have sunk their differences for the realisation of Tinubu’s victory, making it hard for Atiku and Obi to make any significant headway.

Generally, in all the six states, the ‘son of the soil’ factor will work for Tinubu. His henchmen are very active and strategic in making sure he retains the southwest, his home front, as a launch pad to other parts of the country. Obi and Atiku would follow as coming second and third, respectively. NNPP is yet to make any significant road in the southwest.

SOUTH SOUTH STATES: Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Edo, Delta, Rivers

The South-South is inhabited by ethnic minorities except Bayelsa which has a homogenous population composed of 95 per cent Ezon/Ijaw, holding Christian and indigenous religious beliefs. The PDP has dominated this zone for the past 23 years even with the recent defection of Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River state to the APC. But the PDP’s dominance is being boldly challenged by Peter Obi and his ‘Obidient’ Movement

Cross River – Too Close to Call

In Cross River State, the three leading presidential candidates, Peter Obi, Atiku Abubakar and Rabiu Kwankwaso have been making subtle moves to woo the electorate to their side.

While Peter Obi and Rabiu Kwankwaso have visited the state to engage the electorate, Atiku Abubakar is yet to visit the state but his associates have been engaging the electorate on his behalf.

As it stands, the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, seems to be well placed to win the state in next month’s elections.

This is courtesy of the groundswell of people who have resolved to cue behind him based on his track record and the need to ensure the country gets it right.

Several associations in the state like Traders union, ASUU, professional associations, and students groups have been mobilising people to vote for Obi.

Another thing going for Obi within the state is that people are resolved to work for him as volunteers and even spend their hard earned resources to ensure he emerges as the next president.

This is not limited to the urban centres as in remote villages across the state, his support base is quite visible.

Though his popularity and strength has yet to be tested in the field, no politician in the state is taking him for granted.

Besides the Labour Party winning hearts and minds across the state, the crisis within the state chapter of the PDP is playing into the hands of the ‘Obidient Movement’.

The state chapter of the party has been divided between the Atiku Camp which is spearheaded by former governor of the state, Liyel Imoke alongside Senator Gershom Bassey with Professor Sandy Onor, the PDP governorship candidate in the state and a strong ally of Nyesom Wike, the Rivers State Governor, who has openly vowed to work for the defeat of Atiku in February.

Both camps have been holding separate rallies and there are fears they may undermine each other during the elections.

Though it governs the state, the APC does not stand on solid ground within the state as it concerns the presidential elections.

This is fuelled by the economic deprivations within the state which is attributable to incompetence by the national leadership as well as the spectacular failure of the incumbent governor of the state.

For the NNPP’s Rabiu Kwankwaso, his support base revolves around the Hausa/Fulani settlements within the state as well as his Kwankwasiya movement which has a presence within the state. Yet he is yet to make the required impact to be considered any threat. THEWILL projects a tight race in Cross River between Atiku, Obi and Tinubu though Atiku may eke out a win at the end.

Edo – LP Projected to Win

What is true for Obi in Cross River is true may also play out in Edo State, where the ruling PDP is polarized by the power tussle between Governor Godwin Obaseki and Chief Dan Obi, PDP Vice Chairman, South-South. The ‘Obident Movement,’ is boldly on the ground selling the candidature of Obi/Datti candidacy so much so that Benin City, the state capital, is completely ‘Obidient.’ THEWILL projects that Atiku and Tinubu will poll at least 25 percent of the votes cast in the state.

Delta State – PDP Projected to Win in Close Finish

This is the home state of the VP candidate of the PDP, and incumbent governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, who is very unpopular in the state and fighting hard to stall an embarrassing defeat.

Delta is usually a slam dunk for the PDP but its 23 years dominance in the state is facing its fiercest challenge ever with the LP and Obidients looking to cause an upset in the presidential election and the APC laser focused on the governor’s mansion in the March guber poll. Okowa will heave a huge sigh of relief if he ekes a 40% win. The LP and APC will easily poll 25 percent of the votes in the state.

Bayelsa – PDP Projected to Win

The duo of Governor Duoye Diri and his predecessor, Senator Seriake Dickson are deploying resources to ensure the PDP wins the presidential vote in the state, which had fallen to the APC in the last governorship election but for a late Supreme Court judgment which disqualified the APC and awarded victory to the PDP. The APC and the vibrant LP/‘Obidient Movement’ in the state will secure at least 25 percent of the votes though THEWILL projects Atiku will win.

Rivers – LP Projected to Win in Close Finish

Though he is yet to openly declare his preferential candidate, Governor Nyesom Wike, who leads an anti-Atiku G-5 camp of governors is doing all he can to stall an Atiku win in this state where the PDP usually does very well. Because of the division in the party, the LP and the ‘Obidient Movement’ have gained a lot of sympathy and pushed Obi as the leading candidate in the state at least at this time. THEWILL projects that Atiku will poll at least 25 percent of the votes.

Akwa Ibom – PDP Projected to Win in Close Finish

This is a solid PDP state because of the exceptional performances of all the PDP Governors -Victor Attah, Godswill Akpabio and Udom Emmanuel – who have governed the state since this republic. The LP is however very popular in this state with the ‘Obident Movement’ aggressively knocking and rocking the state. Obi’s wife, Margaret, comes from the state, a sentiment that has added pep to the reception of Obi in the state. Atiku and Obi are in solid contention for the state but THEWILL projects Atiku to emerge victorious in a tight contest.

SOUTHEAST: Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo

Igbos are the major ethnic group in the southeast zone. They are republican in nature and mainly Christians with a sprinkling of indigenous religious believers. The ethnic sentiments, propelled by wide spread support for Peter Obi’s candidacy as a viable alternative to the stifling status quo coupled with the general clamour for power shift to the Southeast, has worked in his favour in the geo-political zone.

Imo – LP Projected to Win

Supporters of the presidential candidates of the APC, PDP, and LP are convinced they will win the presidential election in the state.

However Imo is presently governed by the APC courtesy of a controversial Supreme Court ruling which awarded the governorship election to the APC. The PDP has a solid presence here by virtue of having governed the state longer than any other party.

Obi has however garnered more support from people in the State than candidates of the two major parties – the APC and PDP – even though Governor Hope Uzodinma and his predecessor, Emeka Ihedioha, are working hard for their principals, Tinubu and Atiku, respectively.

Anambra – LP Projected to Win

This is the home state of Obi, where he was governor for two terms. Like other candidates, the ‘son of the soil,’ would likely play in his favour in spite of the perceived opposition by Governor Charles Soludo and businessman, Arthur Eze.

Abia – LP Projected to Win

This state is governed by the PDP. The governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, is one of the feuding G-5 governors of his party. He is known to be ‘Obidient’. Obi will win with Atiku coming second and Tinubu and Kwankwaso far behind.

Enugu – LP Projected to Win

Like his Abia counterpart, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuany is one of the G-5 governors of the PDP, who is opposed to an Atiku win and is tacitly ‘Obidient’. LP is very popular in this state.

Ebonyi – LP Projected to Win

Three leading parties, APC, LP and the PDP are pulling their weights in this state that has an APC Governor in Dave Umahi. According to our survey, Obi appears to be the most popular of the candidates amongst registered voters despite the APC’s firm control of political power in the state.