On February 16th, 2019, Nigerian voters will choose the country’s president from the 73 presidential candidates presented by political parties. The day will afford eligible Nigerians to elect a new president that will take over the mantle of leadership from the President Muhammadu Buhari, who came to power in 2015 after the keenly contested presidential election.
Candidates to Watch
Since 1999 that Nigeria transited to democratic governance after many years of the military interregnum, popular political parties in the Federal and State levels have been winning most positions. Nigerians’ voters have not ripe to the stage of casting their votes devoid of ethnicity, religions and godfathers’ support consideration.
As the race gets hotter, President Muhammadu Buhari and the Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the main opposition party, the PDP are being favoured by the public analysts for the coveted position. Though, they have good programmes and reputable personality to win Nigerians’ hearts, the main narrative has been that Moghalu Kingsley Chiedu, Omoyele Sowore, Ezekwesili Obiageli Katryn and Durotoye Adetokunbo Olufela would not secure the needed votes because they belong to unpopular political parties.
Selection along ethnicity thread
A look at the demographics of the candidates contesting for this year’s election reveals that 43.2% of the candidates (comprising presidential and vice-presidential) are from the Ibo ethnic group followed by Hausa (35.6%).
From 1999, the selection of candidates for the president and deputy president has been premised along the ethnicity. Political parties have been careful in their selection because of ‘our turn’ and ‘our son or daughter’ dirge among the dominant ethnic groups in the country.
For the 2019 election, five parties present Ibo as presidential and vice presidential candidates. All Progressives Grand Alliance, New Nigeria People’s Party, Nigeria for Democracy, Liberation Movement and United Patriots are the parties that have Ibo as presidential and vice presidential candidates.
Tugs of Age, Gender and Qualifications
From the details, it appears that the #NotYoungToRun movement is applicable to the vice presidential position. The minimum age is 30, while the maximum age is 76. Johnson Omede, the vice-presidential candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party, is the youngest candidate with age 30. Oldest candidate is Agwuncha Nwankwo Arthur, the vice-presidential candidate on the platform of the Peoples Trust.
It is also instructive to note that women occupy 20.6% of the positions, while men (79.5%) were more featured by political parties. On the qualification, the majority of the candidates present First School Leaving Certificate (20.84%) followed by West African Examination Council Certificate (10.67%). This is in line with the constitutional provision that states primary school certificate as the minimum qualification for the political positions.
A total of 403 certificates were presented to the Independent National Electoral Commission. The highest number of certificates was 7 and submitted by Fagbenro-Bryon Samuel Adesina, the candidate of Kowa Party. The least was 1 and presented by almost underdog parties’ contestants. From the total certificates presented, male have 321, while female possess 82. When the educational status was explored along the ethnic group, analysis shows that Hausa’s female candidates have 39 certificates.
With 25 certificates submitted by the Ibo’s candidates, the group is in the second position. Within male candidates, the Ibo ethnic group is in the first position with 144 certificates submitted to the electoral body, while candidates from the Hausa ethnic group followed with 106 certificates.
One of the striking insights from the qualification aspect of the candidates’ demographics is that two parties–All Grand Alliance Party and APP’s candidates present SSCE and FSLC only accordingly.