“The truth as it is known is that most parties in advanced countries engage in polling. APC and PDP are no exception here, as they have their own pollsters. They have consistently queried every poll, projecting Peter Obi as the winner while refusing to publish theirs” – Amb. Joe Keshi
There are good reasons to be sceptical about opinion polls. However when polls after polls consistently put a particular candidate in the lead against his major challengers, and incrementally too, one should begin to pay closer attention.
We are talking of pollsters which include both entities leaning towards the Labour Party, the political platform of the projected winner of Nigeria’s forthcoming presidential election and independent international entities.
Some will tell you that the real poll to believe is the one on the 25th of February. For them you are not supposed to pay attention to any polls, they’d tell you. Some of them will readily cite the example of all polls pointing to the direction of Hilary Clinton as winner of the presidential election before last in the US. But Donald Trump emerged winner. While indeed Mrs Clinton won the popular votes as polls projected, that example may be right because Mr Trump took the electoral college and therefore won the Presidency.
Could this be the scenario that will play out in Nigeria. Could Peter Obi win the most votes across the nation yet he did not win 25 per cent of States of Nigeria? Some have asserted that the other two major contestants have actually commissioned there own polls but have suppressed the results because it does not favour them. They have then instructed their surrogates to play down Peter Obi’s lead with just any excuses , very much like what the Igbos of Nigeria refer to as the spittle with which the stench of a fart is endured.
The arguments against the Peter Obi lead and his electoral favourability status may have credibility if those on the other side could produce credible independent polls showing Obi as less favoured presidential candidate. Across the world, opponents playing down unfavourable polls is commonplace. Apart from sustaining the enthusiasm of supporters is known to be the general strategy here. In Nigeria, an additional reason is to allow space for electoral fraud by the major parties commonly known as rigging. Faith in the electoral system and process is abysmally low in Nigeria if it exists at all. Some conspiracy theories have indeed alluded the ongoing nationwide currency redesign crisis to a preconceived scuttling of the elections because the signs are not looking good for the powers that be.
Peter Obi’s predicted occupancy of Aso Rock Presidential Villa come May 2023 is becoming too difficult to ignore. That is if the election is allowed to hold in the first place.