As Nigerians prepare to elect a new president on February 25, a straw poll has put Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as favourite to win the election ahead of other candidates.
Adamawa State-born Atiku, from the north east, is running with Ifeanyi Okowa, current governor of Delta State on what is known as Atiku-Okowa ticket.
The straw poll conducted by Guardians of Leadership and Democracy, GLD, a pro-democracy group with focus on leadership, good governance, sustainable democracy, innovation and human capital development, put Atiku in clear lead over three other top contenders for the job.
Straw poll, also known as straw ballot, is usually an ad hoc poll carried out to determine the slant of opinion on an issue or popularity of an individual or group of persons within a community.
In modern political communication and marketing, it has become an effective quickfire tool to gauge popularity of issues or suitability of persons for a position.
The group has in the past conducted straw poll (both online and offline) on several national issues and on popularity of categories of Nigerians for certain offices including whether Nigeria should adopt the Parliamentary system of government or continue with the extant Presidential system.
Many respondents to the poll conducted (online and offline) across diverse categories of Nigerians, according to GLD, projected Atiku to win the presidential election.
A press statement issued in Lagos yesterday by GLD Executive Secretary, Dr. Robert Ebelo, said the emergence of Atiku as presidential candidate of the PDP altered earlier projections of the possibility of the next president emerging from the southern part of the country.
The statement explained that most of the respondents from the north picked Atiku over other candidates.
In the North-West geopolitical zone, which comprises the seven states of Sokoto, Zamfara, Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi and Jigawa, with a total of 22.67 million registered voters, most of the respondents picked Atiku over others.
However, in the South-south, which is traditionally a PDP stronghold and the zone of Atiku’s running mate, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, the Atiku-Okowa ticket was in clear lead; followed by Peter Obi and his Labour Party.
According to the statement, the 2023 Presidential election contrasts with the norm in the past where the race was always reduced to a two-horse race with one horse being the dominant one, making the contest too easy to call.
Some of the criteria considered by respondents, according to the statement, include ethnicity, fitness, ability to create job and wealth, experience, among other human development indices.