Jonathan and Buhari
Jonathan and Buhari

JONATHAN vs. Buhari II will be different from Jonathan vs. Buhari I for many reasons among which are:
Version I was a crowded field which favored Jonathan as Jonathan haters split their votes into many pieces.
Jonathan had many sympathy votes because many people believed that he had not had a fair chance to prove himself.
Buhari did not really campaign during the election. He just wanted to be crowned. How many cities in SE did he visit? How many in SW?
So called solid North was then still solid (kind of).
Buhari’s reputation for cleanliness was solid Etc.
Hold the above thought for a second while I digress. A handicapper of Nigerian elections is handicapped by the following restrictions in the electoral process.
Vote buying
Illiteracy among voters
INEC competency/incompetency Etc.
Western influence (bigger than you think)
Even though all the above factors exist in all elections worldwide they grow to the nth degree in Nigeria. So handicappers beware. Do not say you were not warned.
Buhari’s advantages:
His cleanliness reputation is still strong or may even be stronger. He underscored this by quickly declaring his asset. It looks as if even this writer, is richer than he is. Jonathan cannot or may not be able to match this.
The crowded field has disappeared and he would now take Jonathan one-on-one.
His supporters have the enthusiasm of Abba Gumel, Peter Opara, Adiele, etc. They would kill for him or lay down their lives for him to be president.
If APC comes through for him, he would have more resources this time than he had last time around. (a big “if”)
Jonathan haters seem to have increased.
Most of Nigeria’s problems are laid at Jonathan’s feet.
Jonathan is perceived as a weak leader
Nigeria’s present poor state
He does not have to fear any crisis Etc.
Buhari’s weaknesses
He cannot speak in English or Hausa or in any language. He is a man of action. But politics is a speaking activity, a shouting match.
His energy level is in doubt. Can he campaign in the 36 states in a short timetable (2 months)
His resources are limited even if APC opens its wallet.
Will he do whatever is necessary to win (will he bribe, do-rough-rider, bow to Igbo leaders, etc.)?
If he cannot speak how would he articulate his vision so that the ordinary Nigerians would understand him?
His perception as a “born again” Muslim.
His alleged connection to BH
His connection to Shariarism
Western perception of him as one who would be prone to support a pivot to the Mideast.
His VP choice is a disaster. His choice of Osibanjo would do nothing for the campaign. It is like carrying coal to Newcastle (shall I say to Enugu?). Buhari would win SW even with me as the VP.
The second requirement for winning the presidency i.e. winning 25% in 24 states. It is a daunting task for Buhari
Does he have any vision or history that SE& SS would respect?
Can he face the world press without gaffes?
Does he have international experience?
He is an ex-military dictator
Can he control his supporters? Etc.
Jonathan’s strengths:
Incumbency. It is a big “to-do” in Nigeria
Resources. It is almost limitless
Energy Level. He can campaign every day and would cover almost all major cities in the short time table.
Friends. He has many IOU’s to collect
A more united party. PDP has shed most of the disgruntled members.
A good VP
Possible that the West, even though they do not like him that much, would see him as a lesser evil than Buhari. He has Diplomats in most capitals to brush up his image.
Solid impregnable base in SE & SS and fair amount of support in SW, and NC.
Not an orator but would do better than Buhari in debates and with the press if only because he has faced them more often.
Jonathan’s weakness:
Perceived as corrupt
Perceived as a weak leader
Nigeria’s present poor standing
Incumbency burden or boredom
He is from South and Christian
Any crisis would not help
“We need a change slogan”
Low international status
His record
Putting everything together: Buhari’s Strengths and weaknesses; Jonathan’s strengths and weaknesses; and the challenges of handicapping Nigerian elections, I come to the following conclusion:
Jonathan will win because of the incumbency factor, more readily available resources, and greater energy to conduct a 36-state campaign. Jonathan’s grip on SS and SE are more solid than Buhari’s grip on NE, NW, and SW. Jonathan is more likely to win the required 25% in 24 states than Buhari. Jonathan is more likely to do what it takes to win than Buhari, and has much more ability to control his supporters. Jonathan’s trump card had always been the stupidity of his opponents to underestimate him which had always left the opponents giving him the opportunity to hit them harder than they anticipated. It is what some people had called “good luck.” OBJ, SLS, IBB, etc. had been fooled by Jonathan when they thought they had the trump card. JEG can hold his cards closely to his chest until the last minute. He is an accomplished poker player. Jonathan’s party is much better run. APC has yet to jell.
It will be very dangerous to write off Buhari at any time for he has some strong advantages. He will win Lagos and Kano the two most populous states which would bring him closer to the majority quicker. But the residency of huge SS and SE population in these states would dilute the margin of victory. Buhari’s squeaky clean image would resonate with many Nigerians but would not be able to overcome the many IOU’s that Jonathan can collect.
Buhari may not win the presidency, but he will have some victories to celebrate. He would come out of this election with his dignity enhanced and stronger than he did in 2011. He would shed his reputation as a fanatical Muslim. He would climb over OBJ as the Nigeria’s true elder statesman.
SW and NC would be ground zero for this election
The above analysis is based on the assumption that rigging would not determine the results of the election. But the reality is that both parties are master riggers, so the result may come down to who hired the best riggers.
There you have it! (Borrowed from a certain academician who would remain nameless.)

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