From Monday, August 1 to Wednesday, August 31, searches on Google Trends revealed several trends that could affect the outcome of the next election.
The Labour Party’s nominee for president, Peter Obi, is once more the topic with the highest searches on Google Trends in August.
Obi narrowly defeated Bola Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for president, while Atiku Abubakar, the PDP candidate, lagged behind them.
Remember that the three presidential contenders, along with the leaders of their political parties and statesmen, met in London in August?
The London conference sparked discussions about the candidates on social media, with all of them trending on Twitter for days.
However, Google Trends provides information about the public’s interest in the candidates, the reasons why they are searching about them, and where they are searching from, whereas social media conversations about the candidates were largely driven by their supporters to promote them and criticize other candidates.
According to a July article from Pulse, Obi was the most searched for in Nigeria in the first half of 2022.
However, a comparison of the candidate-related searches made on Google Trends from Monday, August 1 to Wednesday, August 31, revealed certain trends that might apply to the presidential election in February 2023.
Compared to Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar, Peter Obi has received more searches over the time period under consideration.
For instance, on Saturday, August 13, interest in Obi increased by 100% among the general population.
According to a Pulse search, Obi’s assertion that Sambisa is twice the size of Israel is what caused the rise in searches on him.
The fact that the assertion was untrue led many Nigerians to criticize the presidential candidate, as was to be expected.
On Wednesday, August 10, 2022, the number of searches about Tinubu increased. The increase is related to the campaign management’s statement advising Obi to be cautious with his social media followers.
Atiku Abubakar, however, had the most searches on August 29, 2022, even though the search phrase throughout the month was mostly Obi and Tinubu.
The former vice president’s visit to Kano State, where he met Ibrahim Shekarau, the former governor of the state who defected from the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) for the Peoples Democratic Party, is the only factor that can be attributed to the spike in interest in him that Nigerians at the time experienced (PDP).
The location of the searchers is another interesting detail from the vast amount of data on the search engine.
The South-South and South-East regions of the nation accounted for the majority of the search interest in Obi.
He was extensively searched throughout the Northern states of Kogi, Plateau Sokoto, Benue, and Kwara.
But in Lagos and Ogun, where Tinubu’s search phrases registered 40% and 47% respectively throughout the time, he lagged behind.
The six states in the South-west, which include Lagos and some other states, saw the largest volume of searches for Tinubu, the former governor of Lagos State.
Searches about Tinubu in the northern states of Bauchi, Kebbi, Zamfara, and Gombe eclipsed Atiku’s search term.
In Nasarawa, Kano, and Kaduna state, Tinubu and Atiku both had sizable search percentages.
It’s interesting to see that Atiku appears to be the only contender in Jigawa state, where searches for Tinubu and Obi were completely absent.
Additionally, Yobe, Adamawa, Kebbi, Sokoto, and Kano states have higher search penetration rates for Atiku.
His search query also produced some noteworthy results in the states of Borno, Gombe, Kaduna, Ekiti, and Kogo.
This information somewhat supports the theory that the leading contenders in the 2023 election may engage in a tribal struggle.