As the battle for the 2023 presidential elections heats up, political parties must put their house in order to create a powerful force that will be widely welcomed by the electorates. Winning the presidential elections requires a lot of political strategy and capital resources in order to get the majority of votes across the country.
The peculiarity of Nigerian politics now makes it uncertain where the presidency would tilt given the current exigencies. The widespread hunger ravaging the Nation is a natural advantage for opposition parties, helping to endear them to voters. All they need is a force to unite them and give voters confidence that power may truly be transferred to another party.
The PDP, which held its national convention a fortnight ago, chose Atiku Abubakar as its presidential candidate. The former vice president is one of Nigeria’s most powerful political forces and a well-known Northern figure. Respect is extremely important in Northern politics.
In politics, winning elections is critical for every political party, and anything that will help the party win should be considered. Given the current situation the PDP would need a strong force to battle the contending forces of APC’s Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the threat from the Labour Party’s Peter Obi and the movement of Kwankwanso’s NNPP.
Teaming up with a capable running partner is one of the most critical ways for Atiku to surmount the challenges ahead. Regional appeal, political experience, ideological balance, descriptive representation, and visibility are all aspects that Atiku must consider while selecting a running mate.
Then, Atiku must take advantage of the home state advantage, which occurs when a ticket performs better than expected in a state because one of the candidates on the ticket is from that state.
In all of these scenarios, who meets the criteria of a capable and dependable ally in the PDP to run as the Waziri of Adamawa’s running mate? Let us examine Wike’s factor if he is picked as the PDP’s vice presidential candidate in relation to the dangers from the ruling APC and other parties that are trending based on ideological tendencies.
Let us begin with the home state advantage: Nyesom Wike is from Rivers State, which has one of the highest voter registration rates in Nigeria; let us proceed to the 2019 general elections and collect our statistics.
In Rivers State, the PDP received 473,971 votes, while the APC received 150,710 votes. In Kano State, the PDP received 391,593 votes, while the APC received 1,464,768 votes. The PDP received 448,015 votes in Lagos State, while the APC received 580,825 votes.
Then, in Adamawa, Atiku’s state, the PDP received 410,266 votes to defeat the APC’s 378,078 votes, while in Anambra, the PDP received 410,266 votes to defeat the APC’s 378,078 votes.
This is a break down of the registered voters in these states in 2019, Rivers 3,215,273; Adamawa 1,973,083; Anambra 2,447,996;Lagos 6,570,291 and Kano 5,457,747.
As previously indicated, these five significant states were compared to highlight my home state advantage. So the permutations in this contest would be different since each contestant would be expected to perform very well on their home state, with Wike totally securing Rivers State due to his vice presidential candidacy.
As a result, this research correctly predicts that the PDP will win by gaining two of the top five critical states indicated above. The APC will very certainly choose a candidate from the North West zone, pitting Kwankwanso’s NNPP against the APC and, of course, the PDP.
The Labour Party would win Anambra, while Tinubu would win Lagos and Kwankwanso would likely win Kano. So the score here would be PDP 2, APC 1, Labour Party 1, and NNPP 1.
Let us now turn our attention to the topic of regional appeal. With Wike as Vice President, Edo, Delta, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Cross Rivers, and Rivers States will vote for the PDP. Except for Cross Rivers, which is ruled by the APC but belongs to the PDP in body and soul, the PDP controls the majority of the states in the Niger Delta.
Other researchers contend that vice presidential candidates’ regional appeal is real and conditional, and that it can have a substantial impact.
Another factor to consider when selecting a running mate is balance and ideology. Depending on where they fall on the ideological spectrum, a presidential contender may choose someone to balance out their philosophy in order to appeal to the party’s base. To placate the party’s core followers, a more moderate candidate may select an extreme running mate.
Wike’s ideals are the ideal match for an Atiku presidency. Wike is brave and daring, and he has the energy to oppose any perceived abnormality by any political party. As a serving Governor, Wike knows how to effectively use his office to obtain what he wants. This is a tremendous benefit for Atiku and the PDP. In every match, Wike goes for the kill.
Then finally lets look at the descriptive representation and visibility if Wike is considered the PDP’s choice for Vice presidency.
Certain possible candidates may be more appealing to a segment of the voters that the party wishes to mobilize in their favor. They may give the ticket a personality that will benefit the party and its image. This is frequently discussed when a party wishes to rally a specific electoral subgroup. Having representation on the ticket may increase the turnout and rate of support of people who identify similarly in the election.
Wike is visible, he has a broad appeal, and he has enough resources to swing votes for the PDP. The majority of Nigerians are seeking for this as an antidote to the APC’s and its presidential aspirant Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s envious status.
If the PDP intends to put up a good fight then Wike should be considered as the running mate to Atiku, the PDP must consider the ability to win, capacity to spend the required resources in making the necessary inroads.
Although competence is now more important than it once was, the vice presidential nominee is determined by the presidential candidate’s identity. Nyesom Wike, the Governor of Rivers State, is a well-balanced ticket for Atiku Abubakar.
Commentary by Osigwe Omo-Ikirodah.