The 2019 Nigerian Presidential Election is a straight contest between the two major political parties – the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Without prejudice to misgivings Voters may have against both parties, they are miles ahead of the motley pack of about seventy (70) other political parties, whose candidates are referred to as third party candidates. The votes for a third-party candidate are especially protest votes against the status quo, the incumbent and the main challenger. This challenge to the dominance of the two major political parties could be successful in Gubernatorial elections and those into State and National Assemblies, but not in the Presidential election.

Voters who are looking beyond the candidates of these two major parties and prefer to vote for a candidate of a third party must realize that these third-party candidates do not stand a chance in the 2019 Presidential election. This is because such candidates and their political parties neither have a strong grassroots support base nor the nationwide political support and structures needed to make a remarkable showing in the elections.

The Constituency of a Presidential Candidate in Nigeria requires Agents in about 120,000 Polling Units, 88,000 Ward, 774 Local Government Areas, 36 States and at the National level. These human resources must be available in, at least, 24 States of the country. Against this background, the chances of any party outpolling the two major political parties is very slim, especially in an election where neither the third-party candidates nor their political parties have the capacity for funding nationwide campaigns.

While it is not impossible to elect a candidate, who does not have a strong base of support, it must also be conceded that it is possible to elect almost anyone if the necessary work is done within the necessary time. The time to begin building up support for the candidacy of some of these relatively unknown but excellent candidates, is several years before the General Elections; not a few days, weeks or months. While there are other times when voting for a third-party candidate would have a likelihood of victory, the odds are not favourable to a third-party candidate in this election.

You must always remember that your vote is not a canonization of a candidate. God does not ask us to base our choices on “the possibility of miracles,” but rather on solid human reason. Casting a vote is a positive act – you are voting for a candidate, not against another one. It is either a retention or transfer of power. You must, therefore, look concretely at where the power is really going to be retained or transferred to, and use your vote, not to make a statement but, to help bring about the most acceptable results under the circumstances.

Office of the National Coordinator

Christians in Government and Politics (C-GAP)

Monday, 4 February 2019.

PS: To receive all Voting Advisories, please send a request on WhatsApp to +2347019112015.

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