Will Lamido Sanusi Impact The 2015 Elections?

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So on Sunday the 8th of June we all woke up to the news that Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Ado Bayero sorry wrong Sanusi …  PDP God is watching you o!

So on Sunday the 8th of June we all woke up to the news that ex-CBN governor Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (herein called SLS) had been made the Emir of Kano.

Immediately, the blogosphere and world went crazy with claims and counter claims, the most salient of which was that SLS in his new role as Emir of Kano had shifted the 2015 Presidential race in favor of APC, some where not as optimistic as that but still alluded to the fact that SLS as Emir of Kano would abi could threaten PDP Presidential aspirations.

With Kano State according to nigeriaelections.org having a 2011 voting population of5,027,297 second only to Lagos, it is easy to see why Kano is such a strategic catch for APC … or is it?

I am an engineer by training so I am interested in numbers. Because numbers don’t lie 1+1 is always going to equal to 2 okay okay in Nigerian elections 1+1 is like 11. But for the most part numbers don’t lie.

Anyway I wanted to see how much of an impact an SLS Emir title in Kano would have on the 2015 Presidential elections and to find out if indeed PDP should be afraid.

Disclaimer: For the record I am not affiliated with any party, in fact I spend the most part of my day critiquing and praising (when the rare opportunity arises) both party politicians. Like I say about PDP and APC same shit different toilets, so my analysis is focused on numbers and not parties.

To begin this numbers analysis, we would make some assumptions.

According to BBC correspondents

“Nigeria’s traditional leaders hold few constitutional powers, but are able to exert significant influence especially in the north where they are seen as custodians of both religion and tradition.”

So although the Emir of Kano is largely a ceremonial position it still has significant influence. So we will for the sake of this article assume that the Emir of Kano is as influential as the Governor of Kano. So here goes…

In the 2011 Gubernatorial elections held in Kano April 26, PDP Candidate Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso with 1,180,345 votes won the Kano gubernatorial election in a close race with Salisu Sagir Takai of ANPP with 1,048,317 votes. On the other hand Lawal Jaafar Isa of CPC came in a far distant third with just 175,143 votes. And lest I forget, the current Governor of Kano at the time of the elections was from ANPP by the name Ibrahim Shekarau.

kano gubernatorial

Now what is interesting about this elections is what happened just a few days prior to the gubernatorial elections. It was April 16th in that same state but this time it was the Presidential elections. If the Gubernatorial election results was anything to go by … the combination of incumbent from ANPP and the new winner from PDP would point to a tight race between the ANPP and PDP presidential candidates in Kano.

But the result was quite different. CPC, yes CPC that amassed a meager 174,143 votes in the gubernatorial elections achieved a staggering 1,624,543 votes in the Presidential Elections.

kano presidential

We can learn 2 things from that result.

Number 1, PDP did not need to win Kano state to win the overall 2011 Presidential election. In fact they (PDP) lost and it was not even close. They lost very badly (as can be seen above) over 1,100,000 votes.

So to the question is Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi the new Emir of Kano state going to have an impact on the 2015 Presidential Elections?

My answer is no. The reason is because of the numbers, PDP already lost Kano heavily in the 2011 Presidential elections. To illustrate how badly they lost, consider this … if in fact PDP forfeited all 440,666 of their votes gathered in Kano and dashed them all to ACN/CPC combined they would still have won the overall national election by 22,054,521 (PDP) to 14,722,820 (ACN/CPC)! Kano if I may speak American political lingua is not a swing state, it is APC’s to lose, so reinforcing it further has little to no impact on the Presidential elections. APC will have to encroach into PDP, maybe convert a governor Amaechi from PDP to APC? Which brings me to my second learning from the results above…

The result shows us that Nigerians contrary to popular belief do not vote down the party line. In other words (based on 2011 results) if a popular governor switched to another party he is not necessarily going to pull in votes for the Presidential candidate of his new party. In fact Nigerians in Kano showed this when they experienced a 1,500,000 vote swing for CPC in the presidential elections to the gubernatorial elections. The people that voted in Kano were not interested in the party, they voted the individuals. Maybe it has to do with the way the elections are set up with both elections hold on different days….

A similar effect can be seen in Lagos, where the ever popular Governor Fashola won a staggering 1,509,113 of the votes in the gubernatorial elections only for PDP to have won almost the same amount 1,281,688 votes in the Presidential elections a few days before.

LAGos guber lagos presidential

Fact is that governors de-camping from PDP to APC and APC to PDP have little to no effect on the Presidential elections. Even popular governors like Fashola or Amaechi can and neither will the Emir of Kano or the Oba of Ife. Nigerians going from the 2011 elections results have shown that they are more interested in the actual candidates. So if APC is to wrestle presidential power from PDP they would have to do it with a strong candidate, a strong campaign and a solid well publicized and transparent Presidential primary election.

But the truth is that I really don’t see APC winning the Presidential elections in 2015. But that is how I feel at this moment (June 10 2014 11:45 pm Western African Time) but a power candidate late this year could change that. Currently I don’t see that happening, unless _______ runs.

What I think APC should instead focus on is wrestling control of the house from PDP or reducing their control. With their super merger they are in a much more powerful position to possibly attempt this.


If you take a look at the 2011 senatorial elections in Kano (above) you can clearly see how the new merger could potentially push APC over the top. The elections here were close and a CPC/ANPP/ACN combo would have made the races more competitive.

But like the Presidency the capturing of the house will not be easy. But if they pull it off and APC manages to steal the House, Nigeria will be better off as we would for the first time in our history have a 2 party system that would need to work together and compromise to get things done.

But at the end of the day, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi will have little impact on the 2015 Presidential elections, simply because of the numbers in Kano.

Graphics courtesy of nigeriaelections.org



Okechukwu Ofili is the author of 3.5 books and writes political satire for the BBC/RNW What's Up Africa show. He is also the founder of okadabooks.com and blogs daily at ofilispeaks.com.

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