The North-West region of Nigeria is one of the six geopolitical zones in the country. It comprises Kano, Kebbi, Katsina, Sokoto, Jigawa, Kaduna, and Zamfara State. The region has an estimated population size of 49 million people, representing 23 percent of Nigeria’s over 200 million people. It also has the highest number of local government areas, with 186 (2016). 

Politically, analysts believe that backing from the region has been a key factor in deciding the eventual winner of presidential elections over the years. So, Brief reveals the figures that the Northwest region has registered in the 2015 and 2019 elections. 

By the numbers 
In the 2019 presidential election, the Northwest region had the highest voter turnout of the country’s six geopolitical zones. In fact, the Northwest states made up four out of the first five states with the highest voter turnout. From the highest to the lowest:

  • Kano State with 1.96 million. 
  • Kaduna with 1.71 million.
  • Katsina with 1.62 million.
  •  Lagos, the only southern state, was fourth with 1.16 million.
  • Jigawa was fifth with 1.15 million.

President Muhammadu Buhari, won in all seven of the Northwest states. 

From the 2015 presidential election, President Muhammadu Buhari floored his main opposition, Dr Ebele Goodluck Jonathan, by winning all the seven states in the Northwest region. While President Buhari received 7,135,199 votes from the region, Dr Goodluck Jonathan received 1,339,709 votes. 

Suspended Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) 
The Northwest region of Nigeria, although plagued with terrorism and violence, still led in the number of registered voters in the suspended CVR exercise with 2,514,273 registrants. Three of the states in the North West (Kano, Kaduna and Katsina) made the list of top ten states with the most registrants in the suspended continuous voters registration. 

State of play 
Amongst the leading candidates in the 2023 presidential race, only the presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) Rabiu Kwankwaso and the running mate to the Labour Party presidential candidate, Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed are directly linked to states in the North West. While Rabiu Kwankwaso is a former governor of Kano State, Datti Baba-Ahmed served as a lawmaker in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Seeing the hefty numbers the north-west region registers in presidential elections, it is safe to say that political parties, presidential candidates and campaign managers cannot overlook the influence of this region. 

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