Nigeria Elections: Economic Confidential Fact Checks Results Of Presidential Polls

Economic Confidential has undertaken fact-checking on the process and people behind most of the polls that predict certain candidates would win the 2023 presidential election in Nigeria.

Several polls were initiated since the 18 parties on the ballot chose their flagbearers last year, most announcing likely winners. But findings show that some were done by organisations whose owners have links with candidates.

Some tipped the Labour Party (LP) candidate, Peter Obi as winner, some projected his All Progressives Congress (APC) counterpart, Bola Tinubu, while others forecast flagbearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar.

At a press conference at PRNigeria Centre in Abuja on Sunday, the quartet of Abdulrahman Abdulraheem, Mohammed Dahiru Lawal, Rahma Oladosu and Zeenat Sambo presented the outcome of research.

They discovered some of the polls were conducted without deployment of fundamental scientific factors like methodology, sample sizes, and proper geographical spread.

“One of the pitfalls we observed was the proliferation of unscientific, unverifiable and (sometimes) partisan polls conducted by different organisations which seemed to make certain candidates and their supporters over-excited ahead of the elections.

“These results make supporters close their minds to the possibility of their candidates losing. If this happens, followers are likely to suspect foul play and resort to violence along the same ethno-religious lines that we noticed,” Abdulraheem stated.

One of the pollsters, Nextier, which declared that Obi would win the election on Saturday February 25, is owned by an associate, according to Sambo,.

“The founder of Nextier, Patrick Okigbo, hails from the same Anambra state as the candidate. They both graduated from the same University of Nigeria Nsukka. In July 2020, the candidate hailed Okigbo after an international award,” she said.

In three separate polls the ANAP Foundation called for Obi, Sambo revealed checks showed the founder Mr Atedo Peterside is a politician and a close ally of the LP flagbearer.

Economic Confidential also presented its study on the Premise Data poll, reportedly commissioned by Bloomberg, which projects Obi as the possible winner.

Sambo noted that “Bloomberg projects Obi to win Nigeria’s presidential election” was not found on the site, suggesting the company might have used the top news outlet’s credibility to give its samplings leverage.

“We also discovered that Premise Data, which had never done any poll before, had the same ownership details with another group, Redfield and Wilton, that did a similar poll and also projected that the same candidate would emerge.”

Regarding the Nigerian Human Rights Community (NHRC) poll that predicted Tinubu would win, Sambo said the group was not forthcoming with the methodology deployed, citing mathematical inaccuracies in the outcome.

On the survey by June Group Research and Council for African Security Affairs (CASA), which called the election in Atiku’s favour, she similarly pointed out failure to show the methodology deployed, saying the results were not data-based.

The visual presentation of how the fact-checks were done by Lawal, head of fact-checking and investigation desk at PRNigeria, while Oladosu presented recommendations to the public.

Advising the pollsters to eschew partisanship and stick to the basics of polls, she appealed to Nigerians to lower their expectations, vote and be ready to accept results by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

At a media briefing last week, PRNigeria, a sister publication of Economic Confidential, drew the attention of security agencies, the media and citizens to issues that could pose a threat to the country’s stability during and after the 2023 elections.

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