The 2019 presidential election was bound to be one of the most fiercely contested ever. However, it turned out to be a disappointment for many who had expected the contest to be close. With President Muhammadu Buhari clinching over 15 million votes and his closest rival Atiku Abubakar getting barely over 11 million votes, this election is below that of 2015 in terms of competitiveness. However, that is not the only unusual thing about the election. Today’s Echo presents you five other weird things the 2019 presidential election revealed:
- Highest number of registered voters ever, yet lowest turnout ever
In 2019, the number of registered voters in Nigeria increased to 84,004,084, the highest ever. However, the results of the election did not reflect this huge increase as the total number of votes cast fell below expectation. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) recorded 28,614,190 total votes, indicating 34.75 per cent of total votes cast for all the over 70 parties involved in the election.
This is the lowest ratio of votes to registered voters in the history of elections in Nigeria. In the 2015 presidential election, there were 67,422,005 registered voters with 29,432,083 total votes cast, representing 43.65 per cent turnout. In 2011, there were 73,528,040 registered voters with 39,469,484 total votes cast, representing 53.7 per cent turn out. An analyst on Channels Television calls the large number of non-voting, registered citizens, the ‘I don’t care group’.
The 2019 presidential election results reveal that the ‘I don’t care’ group is growing and is actually the winner of the poll.
2. Atiku won more states than Jonathan but far less votes
The 2019 presidential election was very close in terms of the number of states won. President Buhari won 19 states while Atiku Abubakar won 17 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). But that is as far as it goes. There is a gap of almost 4 million votes between them. Buhari polled 15,191,847 to defeat his Atiku who scored a total vote of 11,262,978.
Whereas, in 2015, Buhari won 21 states to poll 15,424,921 votes out of over 29 million votes counted while his opponent, Goodluck Jonathan won 16 states to poll 12,853,162 votes.
3. More Yoruba voted for Atiku than Igbos but he lost the South-West
Just like PDP chieftain and fierce government critic, Femi Fani-Kayode (FFK) said, Atiku Abubakar got more votes in the South-West than in his primary strong-hold; the South East. The Igbos of the South East gave him 1. 67 million votes while the Yoruba of the South-West gave him 1. 75million votes.
How did this happen?
The South-West simply has a higher number of voters than the South-East. The South-West has the second largest number of registered voters at 21 percent, while the South East has the lowest at 11 per cent.
4. An unknown candidate without a campaign came third
It was surprising to many that Dr Nicholas Felix of the Peoples Coalition Party(PCP) came third in the election ahead of people like Omoyele Sowore(AAC), Kingsley Moghalu(YPP), Fele Durotoye(ANN) and Olawepo Hashim(PT), who ran more elaborate campaigns and are better known.
There is only one simple reason many people can think of; PCP was placed next to PDP on the ballot paper. Many people who wanted to vote for PDP may have erroneously voted for PCP, giving its candidate 110,196 votes.
5. Areas under conflict returned the largest number of votes
One of the weirdest things about the 2019 presidential election is the huge voter turnout in areas ravaged by the Boko Haram crisis, especially Borno State. In the 2015 presidential election, total votes cast in Borno was 544,759, with Buhari getting 473,543. In 2019, total votes cast had risen to 955, 205, with Buhari getting 836, 496. This is an incredible 75.3 per cent increase in turn out. Analysts are still struggling to explain this aberration.