How Will Lamido Sanusi Emir Of Kano Impact 2015? The Answer Is In The Numbers #SLS

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So this Sunday we all woke up to the news that Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Ado Bayero sorry wrong Sanusi …  PDP God is watching you o!

So this Sunday we all woke up to the news that ex-CBN governor Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (herein called SLS) had been made the Emir of Kano.

Immediately, the blogosphere and world went crazy with claims and counter claims, the most salient of which was that SLS in his new role as Emir of Kano had shifted the 2015 Presidential race in favor of APC, some where not as optimistic as that but still alluded to the fact that SLS as Emir of Kano would abi could threaten PDP Presidential aspirations.

With Kano State according to having a 2011 voting population of 5,027,297 second only to Lagos, it is easy to see why Kano is such a strategic catch for APC … or is it?

I am an engineer by training so I am interested in numbers. Because numbers don’t lie 1+1 is always going to equal to 2 okay okay in Nigerian elections 1+1 is like 11. But for the most part numbers don’t lie.

Anyway I wanted to see how much of an impact an SLS Emir title in Kano would have on the 2015 Presidential elections and to find out if indeed PDP should be afraid.

Disclaimer: For the record I am not affiliated with any party, in fact I spend the most part of my day critiquing and praising (when the rare opportunity arises) both party politicians. Like I say about PDP and APC same shit different toilets, so my analysis is focused on numbers and not parties.

To begin this numbers analysis, we would make some assumptions.

According to BBC correspondents

“Nigeria’s traditional leaders hold few constitutional powers, but are able to exert significant influence especially in the north where they are seen as custodians of both religion and tradition.”

So although the Emir of Kano is largely a ceremonial position it still has significant influence. So we will for the sake of this article assume that the Emir of Kano is as influential as the Governor of Kano. So here goes…

In the 2011 Gubernatorial elections held in Kano April 26, PDP Candidate Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso with 1,180,345 votes won the Kano gubernatorial election in a close race with Salisu Sagir Takai of ANPP with 1,048,317 votes. On the other hand Lawal Jaafar Isa of CPC came in a far distant third with just 175,143 votes. And lest I forget, the current Governor of Kano at the time of the elections was from ANPP by the name Ibrahim Shekarau.

kano gubernatorial

Now what is interesting about this elections is what happened just a few days prior to the gubernatorial elections. It was April 16th in that same state but this time it was the Presidential elections. If the Gubernatorial election results was anything to go by … the combination of incumbent from ANPP and the new winner from PDP would point to a tight race between the ANPP and PDP presidential candidates in Kano.

But the result was quite different. CPC, yes CPC that amassed a meager 174,143 votes in the gubernatorial elections achieved a staggering 1,624,543 votes in the Presidential Elections.

kano presidential

We can learn 2 things from that result.

Number 1, PDP did not need to win Kano state to win the overall 2011 Presidential election. In fact they (PDP) lost and it was not even close. They lost very badly (as can be seen above) over 1,100,000 votes.

So to the question is Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi the new Emir of Kano state going to have an impact on the 2015 Presidential Elections?

My answer is no. The reason is because of the numbers, PDP already lost Kano heavily in the 2011 Presidential elections. To illustrate how badly they lost, consider this … if in fact PDP forfeited all 440,666 of their votes gathered in Kano and dashed them all to ACN/CPC combined they would still have won the overall national election by 22,054,521 (PDP) to 14,722,820 (ACN/CPC)! Kano if I may speak American political lingua is not a swing state, it is APC’s to lose, so reinforcing it further has little to no impact on the Presidential elections. APC will have to encroach into PDP, maybe convert a governor Amaechi from PDP to APC? Which brings me to my second learning from the results above…

The result shows us that Nigerians contrary to popular belief do not vote down the party line. In other words (based on 2011 results) if a popular governor switched to another party he is not necessarily going to pull in votes for the Presidential candidate of his new party. In fact Nigerians in Kano showed this when they experienced a 1,500,000 vote swing for CPC in the presidential elections to the gubernatorial elections. The people that voted in Kano were not interested in the party, they voted the individuals. Maybe it has to do with the way the elections are set up with both elections hold on different days….

A similar effect can be seen in Lagos, where the ever popular Governor Fashola won a staggering 1,509,113 of the votes in the gubernatorial elections only for PDP to have won almost the same amount 1,281,688 votes in the Presidential elections a few days before.

LAGos guber lagos presidential

Fact is that governors de-camping from PDP to APC and APC to PDP have little to no effect on the Presidential elections. Even popular governors like Fashola or Amaechi can and neither will the Emir of Kano or the Oba of Ife. Nigerians going from the 2011 elections results have shown that they are more interested in the actual candidates. So if APC is to wrestle presidential power from PDP they would have to do it with a strong candidate, a strong campaign and a solid well publicized and transparent Presidential primary election.

But the truth is that I really don’t see APC winning the Presidential elections in 2015. But that is how I feel at this moment (June 10 2014 11:45 pm Western African Time) but a power candidate late this year could change that. Currently I don’t see that happening, unless _______ runs.

What I think APC should instead focus on is wrestling control of the house from PDP or reducing their control. With their super merger they are in a much more powerful position to possibly attempt this.


If you take a look at the 2011 senatorial elections in Kano (above) you can clearly see how the new merger could potentially push APC over the top. The elections here were close and a CPC/ANPP/ACN combo would have made the races more competitive.

But like the Presidency the capturing of the house will not be easy. But if they pull it off and APC manages to steal the House, Nigeria will be better off as we would for the first time in our history have a 2 party system that would need to work together and compromise to get things done.

But at the end of the day, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi will have little impact on the 2015 Presidential elections, simply because of the numbers in Kano.

twitterWritten By Okechukwu Ofili of
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Author: Ofili

Words by Okechukwu Ofili of
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20 comments on “How Will Lamido Sanusi Emir Of Kano Impact 2015? The Answer Is In The Numbers #SLS

  1. Nice write-up Ofili. On a side note though, the de-camping of office holders from PDP to ACN and vice versa is not as a result of the presidential elections as you stated but more in relation to an increase in their chances of being re-elected. They are actually confident in their candidacy, however they have been branded “enemies” of oga jona hence it is highly unlikely they will be presented as the party candidate come november. Hence the “de-camping”.

  2. I mostly agree with what you’ve said Okey. I am also of the opinion that PDP is going to hold on to the presidency come 2015. Having said that, I’d like to mention that the influence of the Emir of Kano goes well beyond the borders of Kano itself. Among the Hausa/Fulani everywhere, the Emir of Kano is reverred and adored not for any kind of gain but out if genuine respect and and admiration for their culture which he symbolizes. What I’m saying is that if the Hausa/Fulani are convinced that the PDP federal government is antagonistic to the Emir of Kano and all other things stay the same as they were in 2011 (same candidates, etc), then not only will the PDP loose the presidential election by a wider margin in Kano, they’ll also loose by a greater margin in the other core northern states than they did in 2011. The northern states like Taraba, Adamawa, and Kwara that the PDP won in 2011 by the slimmest of margins could tilt towards the APC this time around as a result of what’s happening in Kano. Add that to the fact that the PDP only won in the Southwest because the APC leadership sold out in the last minute (it doesn’t look like it’ll happen again this time), and you’ll see that the PDP really does need to handle the Kano emirate tussle with caution. A democratically constituted FG has never really been seen to be in a straight fight with a traditional ruler of that status in Nigeria before. This would be a first if indeed GEJ decides to continue the fight with SLS. My prediction though would be that should that happen, other traditional rulers from other regions of the country may favor a scenario where the traditional institution embarrassed an FG that deared to mess with it and hence nudge their loyalists/subjects to vote for the opposition at the polls. Their self preservation instincts would automatically kick in. The long and short of what I’m saying is that while the endorsement of the emir of Kano may not have the power to single handedly make any party/individual president, embarrassing the emir could be costly for whoever tries to do so.

    • Ofili
      Ofili on said:

      “The northern states like Taraba, Adamawa, and Kwara that the PDP won in 2011 by the slimmest of margins could tilt towards the APC this time around as a result of what’s happening in Kano.”

      Joe this is the problem, the Nigerian election is not like American elections. It is not a winner takes all election. If you win Taraba or Adamawa you don’t automatically get all the votes like in the electoral college system. So unless APC is carrying landslide victories, it is all mute. But let’s see sha.

      • alfazani on said:

        ofili,well done on your analysis backed by figures.but what you forgot to take into considerations was the role the Governors and all traditional rulers play in suppressing the figures that came out from all northern states then.

  3. dimbo atiya on said:

    Joe not the SLS Emir. His reputation couple with the fact that he was just appointed wont have the sort of effect an Ado Bayero influence would have had beyond Kano. Don’t forget some of those Hausa states are still under the control of PDP. Great stuff Ofili

    • Well let’s not forget one thing though. There is some kind of assumption that SLS was brought from nowhere to be King. That is not the case. Had the British not interfered in the Kano Emirate crown in the past, SLS would’ve been Emir by default by now anyway. His grandfather was Emir. So if their tradition of direct inheritance had been allowed to prevail uninterrupted as the sympathizer a of the other contenders are arguing for, the crown would’ve moved from his grandpa, to his father, to him (SLS). So he does have a legitimate claim to the throne. The issue of his reputation is another matter. Remember that what the FG is accusing him of is reckless and in budgeted spending as CBN boss. I have to say that some of the donations the FG sites to buttress their allegation did raise my eyebrows as well. Remember too though that the beneficiaries of those funds were largely northern states/groups/individuals that were victims of flooding/conflict/etc. so I really do wonder how many of them will agree that SLS has a bad reputation because of acts that largely benefitted them. Anyway , time will tell.

  4. Charles Chime on said:

    Nice one…. Numbers never lie
    Guy when do you get the chance to write all these cos I know how stressful our work is.

    • Ofili
      Ofili on said:

      lol…at night Charles when my wife and baby are both asleep. Honestly I don’t know o…I just try to form a habit to write every possible day.

  5. Ayodeji on said:

    Great insight. Emir or no Emir, traditional ruler being threatened or not, party or no party, Nigerians are a very, highly sentimental people……….. How many people get party sef or how many even know them trado-rulers…….. Nigerians vote with emotional whims and as said by ofili ℓ̊ believe as of today that PDP will hold on the precidency come 2015, APC should make itself relevant by laying cliam to house majority and God help us if they (PDP and APC) do not decide to defect to one party, Nigerians can begin †☺ smile

  6. Sadandconfused! on said:

    Joe i concur!
    I think the question at the end of the day is how many of those numbers are actual votes? and are the numbers a true representation of the peoples vote? if that cannot be answered then 2015 numbers will swing anyway they are directed irrespective of who has become what, and who has defected to where.

  7. Wonderful analysis Ofili – You’re NotJustOk. I also share the opinion that Sanusi becoming the Emir will have little or no effect on the presidential elections….. Unless ______ runs.

  8. Beautiful analysis Ofili, even if the Emir can turn the tide of the elections, by March 2015 when the elections will hold SLS wouldn’t have garnered the clout to do such a thing… Besides who says elections are held in the North-West? However it will be interesting to see what becomes of the charges against SLS.
    Adaeze latest post is Pancakes Adaeze’s wayMy Profile

  9. Akinlolu Oni on said:

    Oga Ofili. It is true that you are not a card carrying remember of any Political Party but indeed you are a Political Analyst.
    The influence of SLS Emir depends on APC’s Presidential flag bearer.

  10. Ene Lawrence on said:

    I am not a card carrying member of any political party like you Mr. Ofili, but what I do know is that there is very little the SLS can do to change the fortune of a party without an ideology as we speak, apart from wrestling power.

  11. Omeire Okechukwu Sarge on said:

    Kai Ofili…. first of all…. I must say this…. this is the very first time I’m reading Nigerians commenting online and I did not get pissed. These guys here are mosdef not normal. They actually say something without saying nothing. Nice one guys…. Love the way u started your analysis with assumptions. You missed one though…. I was in Owerri, Imo state on the day of the last presidential elections, I wanted to cast my vote and I wanted to vote for Buhari. My reasons…. I schooled in Daura. My father’s house a stone throw from Buhari’s; the man is no stranger to me….plus I honestly believe that it requires a lot more than “divine timing” to rule over Nigeria. You need to desire to rule and come prepared. Sadly, being thrust by “providence” into accepting rulership doesn’t cut my ice. Any way… I was prevented from casting my ballot by a PDP thug who continously promised me a black eye. By the way, accreditation was carried out by a police officer, there were no INEC officials in charge. What am I trying to say….? The figures from that election on which you based your analysis are in the least….. controversial and in the most…. contentious.

  12. akpos ebinum on said:

    Nice one, my response is rather belated though, but take into consideration that late Ado Bayero did not support Buhari/CPC (flashback 1984 to see the origin of their animosity) & as a matter of fact, tacitly supported Shekarau, but Buhari still carried the day in Kano.
    Also, somebody(Adaeze) I think, suggested that the defecting govs are enemies of GEJ & were scare of not getting re elected under the platform of PDP. I beg to dis agree, most of them are second term govs who selfishly are looking for brighter prospects( presidency, vice etc) and know it would be very difficult to actualise under PDP

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