Wednesday, December 10, 2014 9:16 am
About 8000 delegates are expected to vote later today to elect the presidential candidate of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in the primary taking place at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.
Analysts predict a straight fight between former vice-president Atiku Abubakar and former head of state, Muhammadu Buhari.
In the run-up to today’s event, the two prominent candidates had hit the road, wooing the delegates in the various states.
Three other aspirants are in the hunt for the party’s crown: Engineer Rabiu Kwankwaso, the brilliant and articulate governor of the northern state of Kano, Rochas Okorocha, governor of Imo state and newspaper publisher, Sam Nda-Isaiah.
But by last night, rumours about one of the candidates giving delegates N500,000 each, about $3,000, threw the Buhari camp into panic.
Buhari, a former military leader of Nigeria, reputed for his aversion for material things, has had to borrow money to pay the N27 million fee for his nomination form and has been notably outspent at every state call, by Atiku Abubakar, a clearly more wealthy rival.
“Delegates may choose to vote for money. Or they may choose to vote for conscience”, said an observer close to the convention.
Sources told TheNEWS that crucial meetings were held up till early today to steer the election to a Buhari candidacy.
But it remains to be seen later today, whether the fire-fighting efforts have succeeded.
According to analysts, Buhari will most likely get a block vote from South West delegates and the states under the control of APC governors, excluding Kano, which is expected to vote Kwankwaso.
Delegates from other states are not quite predictable, analysts said, which leaves the contest wide open. But one analyst said he was certain of a Buhari victory and foreclosed a possible upset.
In TheNEWS analysis of the vote, we however predict a Buhari victory in at least 21 states.
Ekiti: to be split between Buhari and Atiku. Atiku predicted to have an edge here.
Ondo state: Buhari/Atiku
Edo state: Buhari
Akwa Ibom: May be split between Atiku and Buhari
Cross River: may be split between Atiku and Buhari
Kaduna: Buhari(Buhari’s political base)
Katsina: Buhari(Buhari’s home state)
Plateau: Sam Nda Isaiah, Atiku
Niger state: Buhari/sam Nda Isaiah
Kebbi: May be split between Atiku and Buhari
Adamawa state: Atiku.Atiku solid here since Adamawa is home base. Buhari too will get some delegates here
Kogi state: Buhari/Kwankwaso/Atiku
Imo state: Okorocha