By Wole Olujobi
Tinubu-Shettima Media Support Group, a group of veteran journalists canvassing support for the presidential aspiration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Alhaji Kashim Shettima, has warned the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, against deceiving Nigerian voters with alleged fraudulent polls tracking results by hired pollsters ahead of the February 25, 2023 presidential election.
A polls tracking firm, NOI Polls Limited, working for ANAP Foundation, had in a media report on Wednesday predicted, for the second time, that Obi will win the 2023 presidential election, specifically predicting that Obi will win overwhelmingly in the North Central to defeat other presidential candidates.
According to the latest NOI Poll, Obi maintains “a solid overall lead” ahead of Tinubu, PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar; and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) in the 2023 presidential election.
NOI asserted that it had “in the past accurately predicted the outcomes of several elections in Nigeria”.
But reacting in a statement in Ado-Ekiti, the group of senior journalists faulted the assertion and dismissed alleged “attempt to repeatedly deceive Nigerians with fraudulent opinion poll, that a candidate that has no hope of victory is the prospective winner of the 2023 presidential election”.
The group noted that NOI is allegedly being hired “to traffick in its trademark fraudulent poll tracking to deceive Nigerians”.
The group added: “NOI does not have any credible records that can mark it out as serving Nigerians honestly in polls tracking practice. At best, NOI is engaged in political gambling that suits its promoters in election year.”
Listing instances of polls results failures by NOI, the group explained:
“This poll information analysis company predicted victory for the Ekiti State governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prof. Kolapo Olusola Eleka, in the July 14, 2018 governorship election in what was seen as a political gambling while in reality, all those that would have helped PDP to mobilise for votes had defected from PDP to APC over irreconcilable differences with former Governor Ayodele Fayose. In the governorship election that followed, Dr Kayode Fayemi of APC trounced Kolapo Olusola Eleka against NOI’s prediction.
“The poll company had also in the past conducted several political opinion polls with bizarre projections in 2014 and 2015 with ridiculous results that diminished its worth and shamed its clout, so much so that if the promoters had respect for themselves, they ought to have closed down the company’s operations over unprofessional and inaccurate polls results.
“In 2015, working with President Goodluck Jonathan, NOI grossly failed in its mandate to objectively project the outcome of the presidential election, giving Jonathan over 70 per cent chance above APC candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, who NOI rated as the fourth in the ballot, but who eventually emerged as the winner with a wide margin in the presidential contest after Nigerians voted for Buhari.
“Again, NOI falsely predicted that Jonathan would win the entire North Central with Buhari winning only North East and North West.
“Jonathan, it predicted, would clinch the entire North Central, South West, South East and South South just like it is currently predicting that Obi will win the North Central in the 2023 polls to defeat other candidates.
“In its polls before presidential primaries in 2014, NOI had rated Buhari fourth behind Jonathan, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso and Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos, in that order, among other prospective presidential aspirants.
“But in the results that emerged, Buhari not only defeated Kwankwaso in APC primaries, he also went ahead to defeat Jonathan in the 2015 presidential election, thus NOI’s prediction collapsed on its promoter’s face after Jonathan had wasted his money to produce a misleading projection.
“Three months ago, this same NOI predicted that Obi will win the 2023 presidential poll even though the party has neither structures, leadership and support base nor programme appeal that can sway voters’ interest in its favour.”
The statement advised NOI promoters to join Obi’s campaign train to canvass support for the Labour Party’s candidate instead of “concocting fake opinion polls results to mislead Nigerians and caress the ego of its promoters”.
The statement added that Tinubu is all over the country selling his development programmes to Nigerians with positive responses among prospective voters.
“Tinubu’s trump card is his excellent performance in Lagos that turned that State of Excellence to the fifth largest economy in West Africa. Despite this glaring excellent record of performance, Tinubu has been visiting all the nooks and crannies of Nigeria to genuinely lay before the citizens the details of his development agenda instead of relying on the engagement of poll gamblers to deceive Nigerians on his programme appeal,” the group concluded.