President Buhari eventually polled 15.2 million votes to defeat Atiku, who got 11.3 million.
Traditionally, the Nigerian electorate’s voting pattern is along religious, ethnic, and regional lines.
Ahead of the election, the permutations placed Buhari, who is from Katsina in the north-west, to win majority votes in the north over Atiku, who is from Adamawa in the north-east.
Since he made his debut on Nigeria’s presidential election scene in 2003, Buhari has always won a huge chunk of the northern votes.
But in 2019, Buhari faced stiff opposition in Atiku. Both of them are from the north, Fulani, and Muslims. So it became a question of “what will be the margin of victory” for the president, particularly given that Atiku’s PDP traditionally puts up a good show in the southern states.
As expected, Buhari won most of the northern states except the north-central states of Benue and Plateau, and the north-eastern state of Taraba. The three states are among the predominantly Christian-populated states in the north.
The four other north-central states – Niger, Bauchi, Nasarawa, and Kogi – are also seen as battleground states. The first three are heavily Muslim-dominated while Kogi is slightly Muslim-dominated.
Buhari lost in Atiku’s home state, Adamawa, albeit narrowly, polling 47% of the votes against the former vice president’s 51%.
Conversely, in Buhari’s Katsina State, the APC won 79% of the votes against Atiku’s PDP 20%.
But the APC won most convincingly in Borno and Yobe states in the north-east, where they got 91% and 89% respectively, against Atiku’s 8% and 9% respectively. Four years earlier, against a southern Christian opposition who was an incumbent, Buhari had won 94% of the votes in the two…