The presidential aspirant of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), Rabiu Kwankwaso, in a televised interview declared why he can’t be the running mate to Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi. 

What Kwankwaso said 
The former Kano State governor explained that voters from the northern part of Nigeria are not comfortable voting for a presidential aspirant from the southeastern part of the country due to the happenings in the region. He further added that northerners wouldn’t vote based on party but by candidate. 

  • However, Rabiu Kwankwaso proposed that the Labour party’s presidential flag bearer, Peter Obi, merge with the NNPP to become the former governor’s running mate. 

The big picture 
Statistics from the previous elections conducted in the country show that the northern states, especially Kano, Kaduna and Katsina due to their high population, are a reference point when highlighting election deciders. Furthermore, in previous elections, residents in the north have mostly voted a northerner over a southerner. 

  • In 2011, President Muhammadu Buhari secured 51.92%, 60.77%, 70.99 of the total votes in Kaduna, Kano and Katsina, as against eventual winner, Goodluck Jonathan’s 46.31%, 16.48% and 26.13%. 
  • In 2015, the winner of the presidential election, President Muhammadu Buhari won 69.72%, 89.44%, 92.83% of the total votes in Kaduna, Kano and Katsina, as against Goodluck Jonathan’s 29.93%, 10.14% and 6.83%.
  • The 2019 elections saw the emergence of two northern candidates from the two dominating parties in Nigeria, All Progressive Congress (APC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
  • INEC’s latest data of the ongoing continuous voter registration exercise show that Kano, Kaduna and Katsina make the list of the top five states with the most registrants since 2019. 

The third force agenda 
Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), is pioneering the movement for a third force party in the forthcoming election in 2023. While older stakeholders in the Nigerian political space have openly opposed the movement, the youths continue to throw weight behind the former governor of the Anambra State. 

  • Nigerian youths have increased their interest in participating in elections in such a way that INEC data shows that 70% of the 8.63 million completed registration was done by the youths. This figure amounts to 6 million youth.
  • The intimidating figure coupled with the online and offline support shown for the former Anambra State governor even in northern states suggests that the agenda for a third force party is very much alive even without the merger of LP and NNPP. 
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