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2019: Nigerians to Vote Middle-aged Presidential Candidates – Survey Reveals


A new poll conducted by NOIPolls in sync with Business Day Media has
showed that Nigerians would prefer middle-aged candidates for the
country’s 2019 presidential elections. Propelled Spurred by the recent
victory of French President, Mr. Emmanuel Macron, 39, and increasing
discourse and commentary in the social media, this poll aims at gleaning
the perceptions and opinions of Nigerians regarding their age
preference for those seeking the highest elective office in the land
come 2019.

According to the poll, 64 percent of Nigerians say they
would prefer to vote for a presidential candidate between the ages of
40 and 50 years; while 15 percent say they would make do with candidates
whose ages ranged between 51 and 60 years. Specifically, ages 50 years
(33 percent) and 40 years (21 percent) constituted the highest precise
age preferences cited by Nigerians.
However, almost half of those
interviewed (48 percent) expressed their preference for middle-aged
presidential candidates, and asked to advanced reasons for the
preferences, 44 percent said middle-aged candidates “combine youthful
energy and maturity”, while 23 percent argued that such candidates are
likely to be “more mentally alert”. Similarly, 35 percent expressed
support for young candidates saying “they bring new and fresh ideas” and
“are more vibrant than the elderly.”

It is noteworthy that the
findings revealed that 48 percent of Nigerians polled indicated that
they would prefer middle-aged presidential candidates, with the
South-East (67 percent) and North-Central (63 percent) geo-political
zones of the country. This was followed by 35 percent of the respondents
who expressed their preference to see young candidates as Presidential
flagbearers in 2019; and expectedly, respondents aged between 18 – 35
years accounted for the largest proportion (37 percent) in this
category. Not surprisingly, only 10 percent of respondents affirmed
their preference for elderly presidential candidates.

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Perhaps the
biggest take-away from the survey is the willingness of Nigerians to
support independent candidates in the 2019 Presidential election. 73 per
cent stated their willingness to go for candidates without political
platforms, priding competence over parties. Although, there is no
provision for independent candidacy in the nation’s Electoral Act;
voters would like to see this hurdle lifted to pave way for competent
candidates to vie for the highest office even without the backing of any
political party. Conversely, 27 percent say they will not support
independent candidacy. Although, across gender, geo-political zones and
age groups, majority say they would support independent candidacy.

Interesting
as this poll is, it is doubtful if voters would keep faith with these
opinions in the course of the elections. This, analysts say, is not
unconnected with the nation’s brand of politics which over the years,
had been monetized. Thus, it is not impossible that an 80-year-old
money-bag Presidential candidate is likely to get more votes than his
45-year-old opponent with insufficient money to throw around. This has
been the bane of the leadership recruitment process in the country for
years.

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