Press Release

Governor Wike had a significant lead even before the withdrawal of several candidates and so victory appears to be assured for him

28 February 2019

Ahead of the coming 2019 governorship elections, a recent State-wide opinion poll commissioned by ANAP Foundation and conducted by NOI Polls Limited in the period leading up to early February 2019, has revealed that 80% of the Rivers State voters say that they are absolutely certain to vote in the forthcoming Governorship elections. 

Governor Nyesom Wike of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) had a whopping lead with 48% of the Voters confirming that they will vote for him. At the time of the Poll his nearest challengers were Mr Tonye Cole and Senator Magnus Abe both of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who polled 8% and 3% respectively and Mr Dumo Lulu-Briggs (Accord Party) 2%. All other candidates polled totally insignificant numbers. 

Meanwhile, Undecided voters and/or those who preferred not to reveal their preferred candidate amounted to 38%, thereby leading us to believe that the lack of clarity on who would be allowed to contest from APC, left many sitting on the fence. We recall that there were doubts about whether some of the major challengers would be accepted by INEC at all on account of the intra-party crisis within the APC and the seemingly endless and long drawn out litigation aimed at resolving candidate legitimacy disputes. In a nutshell, Candidate Uncertainty might have contributed to the high percentage of Undecided voters.

The Polls confirmed a sole strong candidate and a fragmented weak opposition which has left Government Nyesom Wike as the clear front-runner. The subsequent withdrawal of the two contending APC candidates might provide a mini bounce for Mr Dumo Lulu-Briggs, but not to the extent of troubling Governor Nyesom Wike’s overwhelming lead. 

The gender split of the Undecided between female and male voters is 44:31. The geographical split of the Undecided is a little uneven with Rivers East (42% Undecided) having a much larger share than Rivers South and Rivers West which reported 36% and 35% Undecided Voters respectively.

The respondents to our 2019 detailed Rivers State Governorship Poll told us that top six (6) reasons for backing Governor Nyesom Wike are:- He is the right candidate (25%), Continuity (19%), Man of the People (14%), His good works (12%), He is my choice (11%) and Infrastructure Development (9%). Interestingly, Only 8% of Governor Wike’s backers say they will vote for him because He governs well.

Meanwhile, top 4 reasons for backing Mr Tonye Cole (before his withdrawal from the race) were: - He is a straight forward person (35%), He is calm and preaches peace (33%), We need a change of Government (30%) and He is a philanthropist (2%).

Voter apathy is low all round as a total of 80% of the electorate say that they have given some consideration to the forthcoming elections. Rivers West leads this particular statistic where an impressive 84% say they have given some thought to the forthcoming Governorship elections. Corresponding figures for Rivers South and Rivers East are 78% and 76% respectively. 

It is worth noting that all respondents interviewed in this poll are registered voters who had obtained their PVCs and that the voters’ sample mimicked the INEC register in terms of both zonal distribution and demography. The age groups that expressed the greatest willingness to vote are those between 36 - 45 and 60+ years.

Governor Nyesom Wike has the best possible name recognition (99%) followed very closely by Senator Magnus Abe (82%) and Mr Tonye Cole (78%). All other candidates scored below 50% on name recognition.

Both Governor Wike and Mr Tonye Cole enjoy decent support across age groups, but it is striking that Governor Wike’s greatest support is from the 46 - 60 years age group. Conversely, Mr Tonye Cole’s greatest support comes from the 18 - 25 years age group. Also, whilst Governor Wike’s support is sizeable across male and female voters, Mr  Tonye Cole has a poor showing amongst female voters, as only 7% of the female voters in the State appear willing to back him. 

Governor Wike’s lead is sizeable and looks unassailable when zonal spread and support are factored in. It is unlikely that voter turnout can make a big difference on the day as Governor Nyesom Wike’s lead appears to be solid all round and with no visible disparity across the three Senatorial Zones; he scored between 49% and 50% in all three Senatorial zones. Conversely Mr Tonye Cole’s support is concentrated in majorly Rivers West Senatorial Zone and with a really poor showing in both Rivers East and Rivers South where only 5% of the voters are supporting him. 

Anap Foundation has concluded that Governor Nyesom Wike appears set to win this election convincingly. 

The margin of error is within the plus or minus 2.20% error margin at a 95% confidence margin. This means that if the survey was conducted 100 times using the exact same procedures, the margin of error would include the true value on 95 out of 100 surveys.

NOI Polls Limited is No.1 for country-specific polling services in West Africa. It conducts periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at 

Anap Foundation is a Non-Profit Organisation committed to promoting good governance. Anap Foundation has been carrying out a series of Elections polls since 2011 with the main objective of providing information on opinion research during election periods. ANAP Foundation conducted similar polls for the 2011, 2015 and 2019 Presidential and Lagos State Governorship elections and for the 2014 State Governorship elections in Ekiti State and also for the Kaduna, Lagos and Rivers State Governorship elections in 2015. More information on ANAP Foundation is available at along with all past Press Releases announcing the results of all these opinion polls. 2019 Governorship Polls for Lagos  and Sokoto States have already been released and those for Kano State will be released shortly on the same website.