2011 ELECTIONS- REACTIONS TO OPINION POLLS

by ThisDay

There were expectedly mixed reactions to the results of the THISDAY/Ipsos poll on the 2011 general election published in the newspaper on Monday which indicated that President Goodluck Jonathan would win the presidential election by 60.3 per cent, while the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may lose the governorship in five states.


While the presidential candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) faulted the results, the governorship candidate of ACN in Benue State, Professor Steve Ugbah, and that of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Imo State, Chief Rochas Okorocha, described the
poll as a true reflection of the facts on the ground.

However, THISDAY legal advisers said Tuesday that while anyone was free to make comments and disagree with the results as published, any claim of impropriety would be robustly challenged in a court of law.

Meanwhile, Ipsos, the internationally renowned polling firm that conducted the poll, Tuesday explained in detail the facts behind the
figures and how the polling was conducted using 11,100 samples in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

This represents the most comprehensive election polling in Nigeria’s history. Ribadu, in a statement issued on his behalf by Ibrahim Modibbo, the Director of Media and Publicity of his campaign organisation, said they were baffled at how the figures were arrived at and accused both THISDAY and Ipsos of playing to the gallery.

The campaign organisation said it expected the pollsters "to respect the sanctity of the country and not betray the Nigerian people by spreading falsehood”. It also questioned the state-by-state result of the poll, saying "they were not only false and unscientific, but illogical and cooked up".

According to the poll, Ribadu will win Ekiti State and score 4.7 per cent of the vote cast. Presidential candidate of the CPC Muhammadu Buhari said the opinion was not in sync with the reality of what is happening in the country
at the moment.

Similarly, the presidential candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and Kano State Governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, described the poll result as “incorrect” and not a true reflection of the present political situation in Nigeria.

Spokesman for Buhari-Bakare Campaign Organi-sation, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, told THISDAY Tuesday that the pollsters "may have sat down on their computers and came up with figures that are not true representation of the situation" on ground.

"Let the pollsters go round the country and see the true situation of things. The Buhari-Bakare ticket is the most widely accepted ticket in
the country at the moment. We believe the poll result was unfair and not a true reflection of the views of the people of the country," he
said.

He added: "If President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP think they will derive any advantage from this poll, then they are deceiving themselves. The CPC does not attach any importance to the polls because we believe it was doctored to serve a particular interest." Shekarau's Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Sule Ya'u Sule,
said the last few days had shown that the ANPP candidate is the most accepted of all the other candidates in Nigeria.

According to him, the result of the poll would not in any way affect their chances at the elections.
Similarly, Benue State Governor Gabriel Suswam disputed the figures of the opinion poll which said Ugbah might win the state in the gubernatorial poll with 72 per cent, while Suswam might score 19 per
cent.

Speaking through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Cletus Akwaya, Suswam said the reality of the political situation in Benue State at the moment was that the governor is the candidate to beat in the forthcoming elections.

He said if elections were to hold today, the PDP would take 80 per cent of the votes in a free and fair contest.
Also Tuesday, the gubernatorial candidate of the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) in Kwara State Gbenga Olawepo said it rejected the outcome of the Ipsos/THISDAY poll which showed that only one per cent of those polled say they would elect him as their governor come April.

In a statement signed by the Director of Media and Publicity of Olawepo Campaign Organisation, Oluwasegun Abifarin, it described the result as part of an "orchestrated overt and covert campaigns to undermine the popularity of DPP" in Kwara State.

It said the "plot started in February with a spurious claim that the DPP did not meet INEC’s deadline for the submission of its candidates’ list. It took the clarification and the publication of the list by the electoral body for the fire to be extinguished”.

However, Ugba told THISDAY yesterday that the poll result as published in THISDAY reflected the true wish of the people of Benue. He said the result of the poll would be confirmed during the gubernatorial election.

Also Tuesday, Okorocha commended Ipsos and THISDAY for the diligent and scientific manner in which they conducted the presidential and
gubernatorial polls.

THISDAY and Ipsos explained its processes and procedures in a statement yesterday. The statement reads: “Ipsos initially conducted a face-to-face survey of 11,100 Nigerians. Interviews were conducted in-home by trained interviewers between 25 January 2011 and 8 February 2011. The first poll, covered in this press release, covered a range social and political issues.

“The survey comprised only registered voters and those planning to register to vote in time for the elections in April 2011. Respondents were therefore asked at the beginning of the interview if they have registered to vote in the elections in April 2011. Over nine in ten (92%) indicated they were registered to vote, and the remaining 8% indicated that they were still planning to register to vote and so their opinions were included in the results. “Ipsos undertook a stratified, multi-stage probability sampling technique in order to neutralise potential forms of bias that might affect the accuracy and reliability of the data collected.

This technique applies random selection methods at every stage of sampling and ensures that all Nigerian adults of voting age (males, females, urban and rural dwellers, and all social classes) are given a known chance of being selected to partake in the polling.

“The survey covered all of Nigeria. Within each region the selection of sampling locations – a mix of urban, semi-urban and rural – was
generated randomly in order for all locations to be given an equal and known chance of being selected.At least five, but no more than ten, interviews were conducted in each primary sampling unit (PSU) to facilitate spread of interviews and adequate

representativeness.
“In total 1,730 sampling points were randomly selected FROM www.thisdayonline.com

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