Jonathan vs Buhari: How Kwarans will vote on Saturday

Date: 2015-03-26

Come Saturday, the rescheduled presidential elections will hold across the country. In Kwara State, the exercise is expected to set the pace for next month’s gubernatorial election. Unlike the governorship election where party affiliation and local proximity with candidates are expected to play a major role, the presidential polls may be decided by factors such as religion, empathy for either of the major contestants and performances of the two Presidential candidates.  This piece examines how the councils might likely vote.

Kwara Central (Ilorin West, South, East and Asa)

Comprising of four local governments, viz Ilorin West, South, East and Asa, General Buhari is expected to coast home to victory on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC). Religious and sectional advantage coupled with APC’s formidable structure headed by Senator Bukola Saraki, according to pundits will give Buhari an edge over his opponent. Analysts are of the view that even those who are expected to vote for PDP in the Presidential race will most certainly vote for Buhari because of these factors. This calculation is also expected to favour Buhari in the few zones where the PDP deputy governorship candidate, Yinka Aluko and the Coordinator of President Goodluck Jonathan campaign, Dele Belgore hold sway.  However, the alleged intra party division within the PDP is believed to be a major setback for its presidential candidate at the polls. Unlike before, many are of the view that Buhari is contesting on the right platform which will make the pendulum swing in his favour come Saturday polls. The presidential rallies of the APC and the PDP in Ilorin recently have also been adjudged by pundits as indicationthat the APC will carry the day.


In Asa, pundits believe that Buhari will not have much trouble coasting to victory. The reason for this, they argued, is that Asa like most part of the Emirate is largely a predominantly Muslim society expected to have religious bias for Buhari’s presidential candidacy. Even at that, analysts are of the opinion that if the tour of the local government by candidates in the two parties is anything to go by, then the APC should definitely carry the day for Buhari going by the massive crowd and party supporters that trooped out enmasse to welcome the APC team.  Though the two parties have a number of political gladiators that are expected to square each other up, that is believed to play out in the gubernatorial contest.

Ilorin East

With strong grassrooters like the APC women leader, Hajia Sarat Adebayo, Special Adviser to Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed on Politics, Alhaji Bibire Ajape, and Kwara House of Assembly member, Hajia Nimota Ibrahim, the Presidential election is not expected to be different from what will be experienced in most local governments in the state. Although, there are some pockets of militating issues and strong opposition stalwarts like Tunde Akanbi Oniyo who is the present House of Reps candidate for Ilorin East/South and Alhaji LAK Jimoh, they are not expected to have much influence on voting pattern for the presidential poll. Ilorin East is also predominately Muslim area and it has even been said that some mosques in the council area have openly sold the Buhari candidacy in their Friday sermons and religious talks by scholars.

Kwara North (Moro, Edu, Patigi, Kaiama, Baruten) 

In most parts of Kwara North, pundits believe that the scenario that will play out in Kwara Central will replicate itself here in greater proportion. The reason being that in addition to influence of the traditional institutions, which the APC has to its advantage, Buhari has long enjoyed grassroots support since he contested on the platform of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC).

The PDP stalwarts like Hon Iliasu Ibrahim, the embattled House of Assembly member and Hon AbdulMumini Kaatibi, among others, are believed to be losing grip on the grassroots, which will affect fortunes of the party at the poll. The popularity of APC leaders like the Senatorial chairman for Kwara North, Isaka Oniwa, among others is expected to work in favour of the party and its presidential candidate on Saturday. 


In Patigi, the same scenario that is expected to play out in Edu is likely to be recorded in  Patigi where the strong influence of the traditional institutions will be an overriding factor that will help APC record success at the presidential poll.

Edu and Kaiama

In Kaiama, the CPC structure is now with the APC which is part of the reasons pundits believe Buhari will record overwhelming victory on Saturday. Also, there is the advantage of the Saraki dynasty. The good rapport the APC has with the traditional rulers in the domain will also give Buhari leverage at the contest in Kwara.


Save for Tsaragi and Shonga  where strong opposition forces like Ndakene and Yunusa Yahaya (Bulldozer) hold sway, other wards in the zone are expected to be won by the APC. As in most local governments in the north with strong traditional influence, the presidential election is also expected to be determined by religious sentiment for Buhari, a Muslim.         ,      

Kwara South (Ekiti, Oke-Ero, Isin, Irepodun, Offa, Oyun, Ifelodun)

Among all the local governments in Kwara State, the Kwara South axis is where analysts believed President Goodluck Jonathan could get the highest number of votes. But that, they further argued, does not however mean it will diminish the Buhari and APC hurricane which has swept most part of the country including Kwara. For one, Kwara South and Ekiti especially have two candidates working to sell President Jonathan to the electorate even though they are working at cross purposes. Simeon Ajibola and Mike Omotosho’s guber candidacy in the PDP and Labour Party respectively, many believe, will be drafted first to fight a common enemy before squaring themselves up in he guber contest billed for April 11.

Also unlike the northern axis of the state with a strong influence of traditional institutions, traditional institutions in most parts of Kwara South pundits believe do not wield so much influence. In terms of religion, this is where President Jonathan is expected to garner more votes than the other regions in the state. Recently, there had been allegation and counter allegations of alleged whipping of religion sentiment by leaders of the opposition allegedly working with a faction of the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kwara Chapter. While the leadership of the Christian body has consistently denied the allegation, there have been unconfirmed reports of the possibility of flying the religious card against the APC presidential candidate. Despite this however, strong APC controlled regions like Offa, Irepodun and Oyun among other are expected to deliver block vote for Buhari. In the final analysis, Buhari is expected to triumph in the state since the contest is about 16 LGAs not a faction.

Another impetus of General Buhari’s expected victory in Kwara is that, the polarity of the PDP is militating against its success at the polls. There is still cloud of uncertainty hovering over some PDP members on who to cast their votes for among the presidential candidates. Leaders of various factions in the PDP like Gbemisola Saraki who has been widely rumoured to likely defect to the APC, has not given  clear direction to her supporters as to whom to vote for at the presidential election on Saturday




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