UNARGUABLY, the Northern part of Nigeria is far bigger than the southern part. It has 19 states, 57 senatorial zones and 419 local councils.
The area by population censuses is more populous than the South, which has 17 states, 51 senatorial districts and 355 local councils.
Given the fewer number of campaign days before the February 14 presidential elections, the contenders would have been expected to begin wooing the electorate from the North. But that is not the case.
Strategically, the two leading presidential standard bearers, President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) elected to commence electoral hostilities in the South.
The duo have been busy traversing southern cities and towns since last Thursday with the North yet to get a piece of the campaign cake six days after.
The APC candidate flagged-off his campaign last Thursday in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Capital. President Jonathan is from Bayelsa, which used to be part of Rivers State until 1996.
From Port Harcourt, Buhari headed for Uyo (Akwa Ibom State), Owerri (Imo State) and Calabar, River State.
Thereafter, he went to Warri (Delta State), Ogoni (Rivers State) and Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State. Apart from Owerri, which is in the South-East, the other cities and towns are in the South-South, which is President Jonathan’s zone.
In essence, Buhari strategically took the battle to Jonathan’s doorsteps. Even the detour to Owerri is part of it because Jonathan is perceived to enjoy the support of the Igbo.
President Jonathan is also prosecuting a similar campaign strategy, burrowing into the South-West, considered as Buhari’s electoral spinal cord this time around.
He flagged-off his campaign at the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos, which is about 10 minutes drive from Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Bourdillon Road, Ikoyi residence. Asiwaju Tinubu, the national leader of the APC is anchoring the South-West support base for Buhari.
He was instrumental to the emergence of Professor Yemi Osinbajo as Buhari’s running mate.
From Lagos, Jonathan headed straight for Enugu, the former capital of the defunct Eastern Region to woo and consolidate his hold on the zone.
After observing campaign free days on Saturday and yesterday, Jonathan, will today, return to the South-West with state rallies in Ibadan and Abeokuta. On Tuesday, the train moves to Osogbo and Ekiti and Akure on Wednesday.
However, his campaign in the North will begin on January 19 with Sokoto and Katsina, General Buhari’s homestead