Has Rivers State Given PDP The Highest Votes Since 1999?

By Oluwaseye Ogunsanya

Claim
Rivers state governor Nyesom Wike, claimed that his state has given the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) the highest votes since 1999.

Verdict
Almost TRUE, of all the six presidential elections conducted in this fourth republic by INEC, Rivers state has given PDP its highest votes in just 4 elections – 1999, 2003, 2011, and 2015.

There was no state-by-state breakdown of candidates’ votes in the 2007 presidential election.

In the 2019 presidential election, however, Rivers gave PDP its third highest votes.

Full Text
Rivers state governor Nyesom Wike, claimed that his state has given the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) the highest votes since 1999.

He made this known on Tuesday at the inauguration of the new Etche campus of the Rivers State University in Etche LGA of the state.

According to him, the state will no longer offer votes without clarity on what the Rivers people will gain in return for their support.

“At the appropriate time, we will decide on what to do. I want Rivers people to reflect on this because, since 1999, we have brought the highest votes to the Peoples Democratic Party.

“I challenge any state to say they have brought more votes for the PDP. Which state has given more support than Rivers State? Since 1999, show me one federal project in Rivers State. Is there any?

‘’So, if you want our votes, then tell me what you will give Rivers people. Our votes are not for dash anymore.” he said.

Ahead of the 2023 presidential election, the crisis rocking the leading opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has widened.

The crisis broke out after Delta state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa emerged as Atiku Abubakar’s running mate for the 2023 elections as against Wike who was recommended by a panel comprising NWC members and governors.

All efforts by the Atiku and PDP to appease Wike have remained futile and the war of words between them has been unending.

Going Down Memory Lane
Between 1999 (the beginning of this current fourth republic) and now the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has successfully conducted 6 general elections – 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, and 2019 and each election has produced 4 different presidents – Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and President Muhammadu Buhari (both former military head of states) were successfully re-elected, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua died in office and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan lost his reelection bid.

In the space of 23 years of Nigeria’s democracy, the leading opposition party, PDP has governed the country for 16 years while the ruling APC is currently in its 7th year of managing the affairs of the country.

In 5 months, electorates will once again go to the polls to elect a new president that will be at the helm of affairs for the next four years.

In this report, we take a look at the claim made by governor Wike that Rivers has given the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) the highest votes since 1999.

Verification
Although INEC has said that the results and data of the 1999 and 2003 general elections are missing but a thorough search by FactCheckElections in a bid to verify this claim found that Electoral Geography, a website that archives the election results and data the world’s 192 countries has the results and data of both 1999 and 2003 presidential elections as such the data provided by this website was relied upon to verify governor Wike’s claim.

1999 Presidential Election
The 1999 presidential election was a significant one because it was the first since the 1993 annulled presidential election which aborted the third republic and it also ushered in the fourth republic.

The election which was held on 27 February 1999 saw a former military head of state, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) defeat a former secretary to the military government of Ibrahim Babangida, Chief Olu Falae, who was running on a joint Alliance for Democracy-All People’s Party ticket.

How Rivers State Fared

Checks by FactCheckElections shows that PDP secured its highest votes in the election in Rivers state.

According to the state-by-state breakdown of the election results published by Electoral Geography here, the party polled 1,352,275 votes as against APP/AD’s 213,328 votes in the state.

It also got its second-highest votes in the election in Kaduna state by securing a landslide of 1,294,679 votes to defeat APP/AD which got just 381,350 votes.

The party also fared well in Benue state by defeating APP/AD by 983,912 votes to 269,045 votes.

To this end, Wike’s claim is TRUE as far as the 1999 presidential election is concerned.

2003 Presidential Election

The then incumbent Olusegun Obasanjo of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) defeated his closest opponent Muhammadu Buhari of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) by over 11 million votes to secure his re-election bid in the 2003 presidential election.

How Rivers State Fared
According to Electoral Geography, Obasanjo got the highest vote in the election from Rivers state here. He won by a landslide of 2,003,521 votes in the state as against Buhari’s 42,346 votes.

In his home state, Ogun, he defeated Buhari by 1,360,170 votes to merely 680 votes

While in south south Cross River state, Obasanjo secured his third highest votes in the election by securing 1,207,675 votes to defeat Buhari who got 11,624 votes.

In all, Obasanjo won 26 states plus FCT while Buhari won in only 10 states.

Going by the above results, Wike’s claim is also TRUE as far as the 2003 presidential election is concerned.

2007 Presidential Election
The 2007 presidential election has been widely described as “highly controversial” because it was marred by rampant vote rigging, violence, theft of ballot boxes, and intimidation.

The EU described it as “not credible” while the US called it “deeply troubling”. Obasanjo himself acknowledged fraud and other “lapses” in the vote while Yar’Adua said he felt “humbled” by his victory but dismissed claims that he had won through fraud.

It is also the first and only presidential election in Nigeria’s history that has no state-by-state breakdown of the candidates’ votes.

Umaru Yar’Adua of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was declared winner of the election against 6.6 million for his closest challenger, Muhammadu Buhari of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP)

While former vice-president, Atiku Abubakar of Action Congress (AC) who was earlier exempted from the race due to fraud charges and fierce conflict with Obasanjo, came third with 2.6 million votes.

The chairman at the time, professor Maurice Iwu announced that Yar’Adua polled 24,638,063 votes without giving the detail.

Although snippets of results revealed that in Rivers state, Yar’Adua scored 1.8 million votes while Atiku and Buhari polled a total of 109,000.

In Delta state, Yar’Adua got 1.2 million votes as against 42,000 for the other 17 parties but it was alleged that the results were merely written.

Due to the controversial circumstances that surrounded the election and the fact that there was no state-by-state breakdown of the candidates’ votes, FactCheckElections cannot ascertain that Rivers gave PDP the highest votes in the election.

Therefore, Wike’s claim as far as the 2007 presidential election is concerned is UNDECIDED.

2011 Presidential Election
Twenty (20) political parties participated in the 2011 presidential election but the contest was mainly between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Congress for Progressives Change (CPC), and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).

According to the official results published by INEC here, PDP’s candidate, Goodluck Jonathan won the election with a landslide of 22,495,187 votes while his closest rival, Muhammadu Buhari of the PDP polled 12,214,853 votes.

The PDP won in 23 states plus FCT while CPC won in 12 states.

How Rivers State Fared
On the other hand, Rivers state gave PDP the highest votes in the 2011 elections by securing a landslide of 1,817,762 votes against ACN’s 16,382 votes and CPC’s 13,182 votes combined.

This is closely followed by Imo state where the party polled 1,381,357 votes to defeat ACN (14,821 votes) and CPC (7,591 votes).

Delta state secured the third highest votes for PDP in the election by polling 1,378,851 votes to defeat CPC who got 8,960 votes and ACN’s 1,310 votes.

To this end, Wike’s claim that Rivers has given PDP the highest votes is TRUE as far as the 2011 presidential election is concerned.

2015 Presidential Election
The 2015 presidential election was remarkable for many reasons one of them was that it was the first time in the nation’s democratic history that an incumbent president would lose his re-election bid.

President Muhammadu Buhari who had contested in 3 previous elections finally got a chance to lead the country this time courtesy of the meager of ACN, ANPP, APGA, and CPC that gave birth to APC in 2013.

At the end of election, official results obtained from INEC here shows that Buhari secured 15.42 million votes against Jonathan who polled a total of 12.85 million votes.

The APC won in 21 states, while PDP won in 15 states plus the FCT.

How Rivers State Fared
State by state break down of the results also shows that Rivers state gave PDP the highest votes in the election with 1,487,075 votes, closely followed by Delta’s 1,211,405 votes and Akwa Ibom’s 953,304 votes.

Further verification reveals that despite winning the election, APC did not win in any of the South-East and South-South states. The PDP won in all the states from both regions.

Therefore, Wike’s claim that Rivers has given PDP the highest votes as far as the 2015 presidential election is concerned is TRUE.

2019 Presidential Election
The 2019 presidential election was won by APC’s candidate Muhammadu Buhari. He polled a total of 15.19 million votes from the 36 states and the FCT to get re-elected for another 4 years.

His closest contender, Atiku Abubakar of the PDP polled 11.26 million votes.

How Rivers State Fared
A closer look at the breakdown of how PDP fared in states here shows that Delta state gave PDP the highest vote in the election after polling 594,068 votes to defeat APC – 221,292 votes.

Anambra state came second with 524,738 as against APC’s 221,292 votes, followed by Rivers state which delivered 473,971 votes for PDP to defeat APC – 54,423 votes.

Therefore, Wike’s claim as far as the 2019 presidential election is concerned is FALSE.

Conclusion
By and large, FactCheckElection can conclude that of all the six presidential elections conducted in this fourth republic by INEC, Rivers state has given PDP its highest votes in just 4 elections – 1999, 2003, 2011, and 2015.

In the 2007 general elections, INEC did not provide a state-by-state breakdown of candidates’ results as such FactCheckElection cannot ascertain whether or not Rivers state secured the highest votes for PDP.

Furthermore, in 2019, official data showed that Rivers state gave PDP the third highest votes in the election behind Delta – 1st and Anambra – 2nd.

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