The Buhari-Okorocha combination was the least preferred.
A poll has rated the combination of a former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, and Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola, as the preferred presidential candidate and vice presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, for the 2015 elections.
Both men are leaders of the APC, Nigeria’s largest opposition party.
The combination of Messrs Buhari and Fashola was preferred above those of Mr. Buhari and the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha; Mr. Buhari and the Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi; Kano State Governor, Rabi’u Kwankwaso and Mr. Fashola; and Rabi’u Kwankwaso and Mr. Amaechi.
Others that featured in the poll are former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; the suspended Governor of Central Bank, CBN, Lamido Sanusi; and the Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole.
None of them has, however, declared an interest in any of the elective offices.
The poll was conducted online and via SMS by ‘For The Future Nigeria,’ FTF, a political action committee affiliated with the APC. It was launched a few weeks ago.
Thousands of Nigerians from the 36 states and Abuja as well as Diaspora voted in the exercise, according to the report by FTF on its website www.forthefuture.ng.
The analyses of the poll show that the duo of Muhammadu Buhari-Babatunde Fashola got 7.2 per cent; Buhari-Rotimi Amaechi ticket 6.53 per cent; Rabi’u Kwankwaso-Fashola ticket 6.17 per cent; Rabi’u Kwankwaso-Rotimi Amaechi ticket 6.09 per cent; and Muhammadu Buhari-Rochas Okorocha ticket 4.47 per cent.
On the choice of the preferred presidential candidate, the analyses show that Mr. Buhari got 32 per cent to beat Mr. Kwankwaso who secured 21.3 per cent; Mr. Fashola 15 per cent; Mr. Sanusi 6.4 per cent; and Mr. Abubakar 5 per cent.
On the vice- presidential slot, Mr. Fashola polled 21.7 per cent to place first while Mr. Amaechi got 17.8 per cent. Mr. Okorocha 11.7 got per cent; former Education Minister, Oby Ezekwesili had 10.8 per cent; and Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, 7.7 per cent.
Messrs Buhari and Fashola, who hail from Katsina and Lagos State respectively, are Muslims.
The possible pairing of two Muslims had drawn flak from some of the members of the APC, notably a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, who recently warned against it.
Mr. Fani-Kayode a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, until last year, argued that if the APC fielded Mr. Buhari and a former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, as presidential and vice presidential candidate, it would not only offend the Christian community but could cause the APC to lose the election.
“If we do that, we will not only offend the Christian community, but we will also lose the election woefully,” he said. “Whether we like it or not, we must accept the fact that religion plays a major role in our politics today. Our party must have both a Christian and a Muslim on the ticket if we want to be taken seriously.”
Although some political analysts consider the Muslim-Muslim ticket as one that may be a source of implosion in the party whose national leadership is dominated by Muslims, others believe it would not affect the fortunes of the party.
Those in the latter category refer to the June 12, 1993 presidential election where the defunct Social Democratic Party, SDP, fielded the late business mogul, Moshood Abiola, from Ogun State and Babagana Kingibe from Borno State, both Muslims.
The APC was registered last July following the successful merger of some opposition parties: Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Congress for Progressives Change, CPC, All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, and a section of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.
Meanwhile, some supporters of Mr. Buhari under the aegis of Buhari Vanguard have expressed gratitude to Nigerians for showing preference for the former military leader, a retired major general.
In a statement by its chairman, Jasper Azuatalam, on Tuesday, the group said it was not surprised with the result of the poll.
“The polls showed that Buhari beat his closest rival with a margin over 50% of the votes scored by the closest rival in the poll. We are also aware that this poll was not restricted to members of APC alone, but open to all Nigerians and as such reflects the views of all Nigerians,” Mr. Azuatalam stated.
“This has once again confirmed the genuine love, believe, and confidence that Nigerians have on Muhammadu Buhari. The spread of the votes across all states and religion also showed that Muhammadu Buhari is widely accepted and loved by majority across all the geopolitical zones in Nigeria.
“We understand that Muhammadu Buhari is more popular among the majority of the unenlightened and uneducated in the North and other parts of Nigeria who were not opportuned to be part of the poll as a result of their low level of literacy and lack of access to the internet or mobile phones; but we are glad that Buhari has gained more popularity among the elite, educated and enlightened who participated in the poll. We know the victory would have been more overwhelming, if this former group of people were able to be part of the poll.”
The Vanguard assured Nigerians that Mr. Buhari “appreciates this show of love and support, as this has been the reason behind his consideration of running for the office of the Nigerian president once again. He is aware that to whom much is given, much is expected and he will continue to live up to the expectations of Nigerians.”
See the result of the poll below:
Who got the most votes to be the Presidential candidate?
Muhammadu Buhari 32.3%
Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso 21.4%
Babatunde Fashola 15.9%
Sanusi L Sanusi 6.4%
Atiku Abubakar 5%
Who got the most votes to be the Vice-Presidential candidate?
Babatunde Fashola 21.7%
Rotimi Amaechi 17.8%
Rochas Okorocha 11.7%
Oby Ezekwesili 10.8%
Adams Oshiomole 7.7%
Which ticket combinations got the most votes?
Muhammadu Buhari – Babatunde Fashola 7.25%
Muhammadu Buhari – Rotimi Amaechi 6.53%
Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso – Babatunde Fashola 6.17%
Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso – Rotimi Amaechi 6.09%%
Muhammadu Buhari – Rochas Okorocha 4.47%