Presidential candidates of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi (L); All Progressives Congress, Mr Bola Tinubu (C); and Peoples Democratic Party, Mr Atiku Abubakar (R).
The main opposition political party the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and the nascent New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) have separately expressed anger and disappointment over a September poll that placed Mr. Peter Obi, of the Labour Party (LP) ahead of the other presidential candidates for the 2023 general election.
According to the result of the poll which was commissioned by the Anap Foundation and conducted by NOI Polls Limited, Mr Obi is leading the race with 21 percent of votes in the poll.
His votes gives him an 8 percent lead over APC’s Bola Ahmed Tinubu and PDP’s Atiku Abubakar, who each got 13 percent of the votes to end up as joint second in the poll.
The presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Rabiu Kwankwaso, was fourth with three percent of the votes.
“Mr. Peter Obi’s 8 percentage point lead at this early stage is significant, but not sufficient to separate him completely from a leading pack of candidates scoring 21%, 13%, and 13% respectively,” said a statement by Anap Foundation’s President and Founder, Mr Atedo Peterside, CON.
“Undecided voters and those who prefer not to reveal their preferred candidate add up to a whopping 32% and 15% respectively.”
But the APC, PDP, and NNPP have in separate reactions to the poll, dismissed it, saying it does not reflect the realities on the ground.
During his appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Thursday, the spokesperson of the Atiku Abubakar presidential campaign Daniel Bwala, questioned the techniques deployed for the exercise, claiming Obi is basking in the euphoria of hallucination.
Bwala argued that a “normal poll that will attract credibility will be a poll that will clearly release the sample size and the margin of error as the report is being released because the sample size and the margin of error will help in identifying whether the polling was actually carried out correctly or not.
“Then, you can further ask for the sampling. Was it done through a phone call? If it was done through a phone call, then the people who did not have phones were probably not part of the polling.
“You also go to the extent of demographics and the place where the polling was carried out. I know they said it was a random sampling. But then, because of the result, I’m tempted to believe that this polling was carried out online because Peter Obi has a number of people who are very active for him online much more than the other candidates.
“I will tell you why: There was an algorithm search and data analytics that was carried out that came up with the finding that 57.5 percent of people who follow Peter Obi and engage with him on social media do not live in Nigeria. In fact, majority of whom are bots on Twitter — they are not real human beings.”
He said: “If you take away 57.5 percent of people who are active for him, who probably live abroad and they don’t have voter cards and they are likely not to come to vote, what it means is that Peter Obi is basking in the euphoria of hallucination, and this polling is a true reflection.”
For the APC, the most recent Anap poll is not a reflection of the Nigerian reality as it accused the organisers of using “dubious” statistics to “package” Obi to voters.
The statement by the Director, Media, and Publicity of the APC Presidential Campaign Council Bayo Onanuga accused the NOI of turning its “political bias in an election period to fraudulent statistics”.
“The NOI has chosen the preferred candidate and has decided to use fake, dubious statistics to package him to the Nigerian voters,” Onanuga said in the statement.
“We know, as a matter of fact, the owners of NOI and where their political interest lies and wish to advise NOI to stop polluting the political system with irresponsible, unscientific, and biased polling so that we don’t expose the puppeteers pulling its strings.”
Aside from the APC, the NNPP also claimed that it is not disturbed by the poll, saying several similar exercises from the same organisation have failed in their projections.
“We are not hurt in any way. Absolutely, we are not hurt. In fact, I was contemplating not coming to this programme because coming here means we have made the people who promoted the poll achieve what they want to achieve,” the spokesperson of the NNPP Abdulmumin Jibrin said on Politics Today. “All they want to do is to create a public conversation so that we continue to talk about it; creating the image as if Obi is very much ahead.”
Jibrin accused Obi and the Labour Party of dividing the country, saying the former governor will only get votes in the southeast where he hails from.
“The only place Obi will demystify structure is in the southeastern part of the country. That is where whether he has a structure or no structure, he will make an impression because their party and its candidate are divisive elements. All they do is to divide Nigerians,” he maintained.
However, the LP says the poll shows Nigerians are ready for a new order of governance.
“It shows that Nigerians have come to terms with our reality that there has to be a change and a new order from the old because it is very obvious they are languishing in abject poverty,” the party’s spokesman Abayomi Arabambi said.
“There are no jobs for Nigerians. Schools are under lock and key due to executive rascality and malfeasance of the present administration.
“The gender split of undecided voters shows that 39% of women are undecided versus 27% of male voters.