POLITICS: APC Presidential Primary: Who’s For Whom? –  A Pundit’s Analysis


After all said and done, the projected result of the APC presidential primary will look like this: Tinubu—1,237 votes (53.3%), Amaechi—192 votes (8.2%), Osinbajo—144 votes (6.1%), Badaru—147 votes (6.3%), Lawan—128 votes (5.5%), Akpabio—93 votes (4.0%), Mokelu—63 votes (2.7%), Bello—60 votes (2.6%), Fayemi—56 votes (2.4%), Ayade—54 votes (2.3%), Nnamani—51 votes (2.2%), Umahi—39 votes (1.7%), Onu—26 votes (1.1%), Okorocha—16 votes (0.7%) and Nwajiuba—16 votes (0.7%).

*Frontline presidential aspirant & APC leader, Jagaban Bola Ahmed Tinubu


Given the last-mile days to the primary and the multitude of aspirants, it’s apposite to assess which aspirant has which states in the bag given the state of political play and ongoing groundwork by aspirants, the undecided/swing States and conclude with a projection of the winner. A total of 2,322 Delegates from 774 LGA in the country will decide the presidential candidate of APC.

The use of only non-statutory delegates will only put the governors in full and very firm control of voting patterns across the States. For the 13 states where APC has no governor, the party leaders, and highest-ranking political office holders in those States will influence and control the voting patterns of delegates but not as effective as a governor.

*Prof. Yemi Osinbajo

23 APC presidential aspirants in the race. From the political activities and efforts put into their campaigns to woo delegates since their declaration to contest at the primary, I have categorized them into six (6) Buckets namely;
Joker aspirants,
Non-serious aspirants
Pretender aspirants
Negotiator aspirants
Tricky aspirants
Serious aspirants

*Pastor Tunde Bakare

*The joker aspirants* is an aspirant who brought, filled and submitted the presidential form and went home to sleep with the intention of appearing on May 29, 2022, at the convention venue and expectation of being crowned presidential candidate of APC just like that. They are 4 namely: Pastor Tunde Bakare, Chief Ikeobasi Mokelu, Mrs Uju Ohanenye and Pastor Nicholas Nwagbo.

*The non-serious aspirants* is an aspirant who submitted the form but has no viable path whatsoever to clinching the party’s ticket. The only effort the non-serious aspirant and his kinsmen make towards clinching the party’s ticket is to call for their region to be given the ticket on a platter of gold. They are 3 namely: Chief Ogbonnaya Onu, Emeka Nwajiuba and Chief Ken Nnamani.

*Senator Ken Nnamani

*The pretender aspirants* is an aspirant who is skilled in camouflage. The aspirant appears to mimic the more serious contender but a careful assessment of his political activities in the last few weeks will reveal that the political bear a strong semblance to being on motion without movement. A few of these pretenders have visited a handful of states while some have only been on TV granting interviews. They are 7 namely: Senator Rochas Okorocha, Tein Jack-Rich, Senator Sani Yerima, Senator Ajayi Borrofice, Governor Yahaya Bello, Governor David Umahi and Rt. Hon Dimeji Bankole.

*The negotiator aspirants* is an aspirant who knows too well he has no path to clinching the party’s ticket and is not even in the eye of the party hierarchy, just to display clout, attract attention, revive his almost vanishing political relevance and secure a seat at the negotiating table either the highest bidder or strategically preparing the ground to position himself in the administration of the next government. They are 3 namely: Senator Goodwill Akpabio, Governor Ben Ayade and Senator Ibikunle Amosun.

*Senator Ibikunle Amosun

The tricky aspirant is an aspirant who was nudged to join the race in the hope that a Northerner will emerge as an APC candidate to counter the highly probable emergency of Atiku as a PDP candidate. In the jaundiced reasoning of the promoter of this aspirant, only a Northerner APC candidate can challenge Atiku/Northern candidate in the PDP. Ahmed Lawan has also obtained and submitted his nomination form for re-election into the Senate. Could he be a spoiler? Time will tell. They are 2 namely: Senate President Ahmed Lawan and Governor Abubakar Badaru.

The serious aspirants* is an aspirant who truly believes he has a viable path to clinch the party ticket and has accordingly, put in the time, effort and resources into achieving his ambition. The set of aspirants have practically toured the entire country and met with traditional rulers, governors, party delegates and party leaders. They are 4, namely: Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, VP Yemi Osibanjo, Rt. Hon Rotimi Amaechi and Governor Kayode Fayemi.

*Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation

Having separated the wheat from the chaff, I will now assess the chances of the 4 serious aspirants at the primary vis-à-vis which state is for whom starting with the decided states to the undecided/swing states. *Fayemi* has Ekiti firmly in the bag. No contest. Fayemi has 100% of the 48 Ekiti delegates (3 delegates from Ekiti’s 16 LGAs) secured.

*Tinubu* has 15 states firmly in the bag. These are Lagos, Osun and Ondo in the South West; Kano, Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara in the North West; Niger, Kwara, and Nasarawa in the North Central; Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa and Borno in the North East; and Edo in the South-South.

*Amaechi* has 2 states in the bag. They include his home state of Rivers in the South-South and Plateau in the North Central.

Sadly, *Osinbajo* currently has no state decided in his favour.

*Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State

With 1 decided state for Fayemi, 2 for Amaechi and 15 for Tinubu, the three aspirants have 48, 120 and 1002 votes respectively. These votes sum to 1,170 and represent 51% of the 2,322 votes on offer. This leaves us with 18 states and the FCT and this is where it gets very delicate and interesting. I will assess the aspirants’ chances by geopolitical zone in the 18 states and FCT.

Out of 18 states, we have two *Negotiator aspirants,* Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River and Senator Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom, who control the party structures in their respective states. Option 1 for both aspirants is to sell their delegates to the highest bidder and here, Tinubu will be in a pole position to buy given his vast financial warchest. If they do not sell and want to show political gravitas at the convention venue, both of them will secure 100% of the delegates’ votes from their respective states. I bet on the latter option because the essence of the negotiators showing political gravitas would be to convince whoever emerges as the APC presidential candidate that they are relevant in their states and can deliver the state to the candidate in the February 2023 presidential election.

*Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi State

In the *Pretender aspirants,* only two have control over their state, namely: Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi and Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi will secure all the delegates’ votes in their respective states and that is where their presidential aspirations will end. No more!

For the *tricky aspirants,* Senate President Ahmed Lawan and Governor Muhammad Badaru of Jigawa State, Governor Mai Mala Buni will deliver 100% of Yobe State delegates’ votes to his kinsman, Lawan while Badaru has all his state’s 81 delegates in his pocket.

With the aforementioned 6 states cleared out of 18, we are left with 12 undecided/swing states (i.e. Ogun, Oyo, Bayelsa, Delta, Kebbi, Kaduna, Benue, Taraba, Abia, Imo, Anambra and Enugu) and FCT.

*Gov. Mai Mala Buni

There are 2 undecided states in the South West: Oyo and Ogun. Oyo has no APC governor and is currently bitterly divided following the last congress to elect state party executives. Although Bayo Adelabu, former deputy governor at the Central Bank, is the frontline APC gubernatorial aspirant in the state and is sympathetic to Tinubu’s cause, the same cannot be said of the other party leaders in the state. There appears to be no rallying point in the state or a respected political figure who is acceptable to all party tendencies and influential enough to provide guidance and direction. As such, the 99 delegates’ votes in Oyo will be shared between Tinubu, Osinbajo and Fayemi with preponderance for the highest bidder. Tinubu should bank 65% of the votes due to his spending power, political structure, clout and accepted Yoruba leadership in the South West. Osinbajo will bank 30% based on self-recognition and respect for his office because he cannot match Tinubu with the ₦250,000 and sometimes $300 dollars he gives to delegates during his political consultation visits. Fayemi will get the remaining 5%.

Ogun with 60 delegates is quite dicey. Governor Abiodun, though may appear sympathetic to Osinbajo, has been taciturn in recent times given that he relies extensively on the political structure of Tinubu’s protégé, Senator Solomon Olamilekan (Yayi), in the Ogun West Senatorial district and appears wary of offending Tinubu given the support Tinubu provided to him in 2019 when he tangled for the APC guber ticket with Amosun’s anointed candidate. Also, where does the loyalty of Osoba and Gbenga Daniel lie? With Tinubu or Osinbajo? Amosun has been edged out in Ogun completely as the party structure is firmly in the hands of Abiodun/Yayi. Give or take, Tinubu and Osinbajo will share the state 50:50. 50% for Osinbajo because Abiodun may want to help the VP save face by reducing any probable electoral embarrassment. Fayemi and Amaechi have no chance in Ogun State.

*Senator Godswill Akpabio

There are two undecided states in the South-South: Delta and Bayelsa. Ordinarily, Delta State should pitch a tent with Tinubu given his heavy involvement and support for the emergence of Ovie Omo-Agege and Ahmed Lawan as Deputy Senate President and Senate President respectively in 2019. But this is politics, cold, cruel, bitter and uncertain. If Fayemi can deny Senator Bamidele the APC governorship ticket despite Bamidele taking a bullet in the stomach for Fayemi in 2018 while acting as Fayemi’s re-election campaign Director-General, nothing is assured or certain in politics. No guarantees! Although Ovie Omo-Agege controls the party structure in Delta, it is widely believed he is surreptitiously working for Osinbajo and has been trying to conceal it. Yet, some Delta State party leaders like Elder Ehuna and followers of late Senator Okpozo, both of whom went with Ovie Omo-Agege to Tinubu some years ago, and Tinubu handed the defunct ACN party structure to them feel heavily indebted to Tinubu and are ready to return the favour. Give or take, Osinbajo should get at least 60% of the votes in Delta while Tinubu will get 35%. Amaechi will pick the remaining 5% for the sake of south-south solidarity. Bayelsa has only 27 votes which may be up for the highest bidder and ethnic solidarity. Tinubu and Amaechi should share this 50:50.

In the North West, Kaduna and Kebbi are undecided. No one knows the mind of El-Rufai. Could he be negotiating a VP slot in return for delegates’ support for any of the southern aspirants? He appears to prevaricate between Amaechi and Tinubu. He is definitely not an Osinbajo man and does not pretend to be. Has he forgiven Amaechi for engineering the sack of his protégé, Hadiza Bala Usman, from her position as Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA)? Dicey! Is the allure of a VP/running mate slot to Amaechi enough soothing balm? I will call Kaduna 50:50 for Tinubu and Amaechi. Kebbi state governor, Bagudu, may pitch tent with his ally, Governor Badaru of Jigawa and deliver the 66 Kebbi votes to him. Bagudu will definitely not work with Mai Mala Buni or deliver any votes to Ahmed Lawan.

*Gov. David Umahi of Eboyin State

Benue in the North Central and Taraba in the North East are also undecided. Ordinarily, given Tinubu’s strong relationship with Senator George Akume, Benue should naturally be called for Tinubu. However, Akume has been quite reticent in their support for Tinubu. He has been discrete, unsure of his conviction or is just deliberately quiet out of respect for Vice President Osinbajo even though their on-ground supporters and party members are highly vociferous in their support for Tinubu? Tinubu should get 70% of Benue’s votes while Osinbajo would pick the balance 30%. In concluding the North, FCT and Taraba have 18 and 48 votes respectively. Both are up for grabs as they cannot be called for by any aspirant. I project 30% each for Tinubu, Osinbajo and Amaechi and 10% each for Lawan and Fayemi.

Finally, in the South East, Imo, Enugu, Abia and Anambra states are also undecided. Governor Uzodinma will deliver at least 50% of the votes from Imo state to Lawan while Okorocha and Nwajiuba will share the balance, 25% each. Ogbonnaya Onu is from Abia and should pick at least 50% of the votes from the state while Orji Uzor Kalu will deliver the remaining 50% to Lawan. Former Senate President, Ken Nnamani and former Information Minister under Abacha, Chief Ikeobasi Mokelu, are from Enugu and Anambra respectively. It will be unfortunate if both cannot deliver 100% of their respective states’ delegates’ votes to themselves.

*Senate President Ahmed Lawan

After all said and done, the projected result of the APC presidential primary will look like this: Tinubu—1,237 votes (53.3%), Amaechi—192 votes (8.2%), Osinbajo—144 votes (6.1%), Badaru—147 votes (6.3%), Lawan—128 votes (5.5%), Akpabio—93 votes (4.0%), Mokelu—63 votes (2.7%), Bello—60 votes (2.6%), Fayemi—56 votes (2.4%), Ayade—54 votes (2.3%), Nnamani—51 votes (2.2%), Umahi—39 votes (1.7%), Onu—26 votes (1.1%), Okorocha—16 votes (0.7%) and Nwajiuba—16 votes (0.7%).

In summary, Tinubu will likely emerge as APC presidential candidate while Amaechi will come second. Osinbajo will be 4th, Badaru 3rd and Lawan 5th. And what will happen afterwards? Lawan will recalibrate his focus and pursue his senatorial re-election bid.

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  1. Moses Omorogbe

    Your analyses on PYO is biased. You have not said anything that the Tinubu’s camp have not said before