Monday, September 25, 2023

Of Peter Obi and Onitsha market polls

These polls, which mock reality, objectivity and common sense, could be ammunition for what is to come if the election does not go in the way of the ‘’Obidients’’.

• February 14, 2023
Peter Obi, Anap Poll, Nextier Poll and Bloomberg
Peter Obi, Anap Poll, Nextier Poll and Bloomberg

Propaganda, lies, and chicanery have always been instruments of war. In World War II, Germany actuated and deployed the most pervasive yet incisive propaganda ever witnessed in history. For the Germans, the idea was to psychologically overwhelm their adversaries and, consequently, secure victory on terra firma. The most pernicious warfare is that of the mind.

Politics, ordinarily, should not be warfare. But in a system of constant collision of interests like ours, it is sadly so. The weapons of political warfare are both corporeal and subliminal. The battle is fought in the minds of the electorate long before Election Day.

The recent Nextier poll, which arrogates dubious electoral advantage to Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party, is an asymptote of political sorcery. The poll is essentially a subterfuge, a ruse, a gambit, an artifice; it is a serpentine machination through and through.

The Nextier 2023 presidential election survey, like the ANAP Poll before it, is a deliberate fabrication in the pursuit of political gain. The poll seeks to achieve predetermined objectives – (1) to endorse Peter Obi as the people’s candidate; (2) to exaggerate Peter Obi’s electoral value; (3) to create a siege of choice and chaos should the outcome of the presidential election reflect a different candidate; and (4) to prejudice the election with an impossible fait accompli.

Nextier said it used ‘’144 enumerators to poll 3,000 respondents in all states in Nigeria’’ to determine its projections. This is clearly defective and not extensive — as it leaves more room for error than stated by the pollster.

According to Nextier’s projections, survey respondents in all the southeast states; four out of six states in the southwest; six states in the south-south, and two states in the north-central preferred Peter Obi as president of Nigeria. The poll also projected impressive performance for Peter Obi in the northwest and the northeast. This is ludicrous. The survey obviously discounted voting behaviour across the states, demographics, as well as sociological and ethnological influences among the electorate across the zones.

The Nextier Poll is not worth a breath of concern, really. It is sufficiently flawed in conception and design. The preconceived agenda is obvious. Political propaganda through questionable polls. The poll is not different from the quotidian tallying of goods by Onitsha-market traders.

There have been open threats of violence by supporters of Peter Obi if he loses the election. These polls, which mock reality, objectivity and common sense, could be ammunition for what is to come if the election does not go in the way of the ‘’Obidients’’.

There should be a ceiling for propaganda. When electoral impossibilities are sold as definite outcomes by established pollsters, the risk is ominous. There is nothing dissuading the thought that ‘’Obidients’’, known to be choleric and unthinking, in their delusion of certain victory will not unleash themselves on the nation.

There are concerns that the country may experience another insurrection in the gravity of the #EndSARS violence over the outcome of the presidential election. It is dangerous giving hope where there is obviously no chance; it is foolhardy creating a dream that is unrealisable. It is unwise holding unto an illusion, believing it and living it. The only way out of this phantasm is the asylum.

As I wrote in a previous column, Peter Obi did not plan to run for president. If he did plan to run for president, he would not be freewheeling through endless tunnels of gaffes and inchoate ideas. But really, he did not plan to run for president. An accident happened.

 Peter Obi’s presidential bid is a freak of politics, an idea contrived for performance and political quota. His bid is perhaps only relevant for regional affirmation and for intimation of anger by a section of the youth.

Obi’s bid was not out of compulsion to fix Nigeria or to make any change to the country; it was a just response to the scheming in the PDP. He was schemed out of the loop by a party notable for treachery. Peter Obi never planned, designed, or imagined running for president. His presidential bid is a hoax and a ploy to get back at those in the PDP who declared him a political liability.

Running for president takes intention; it takes years of planning; building a network of people and structures. It is not a happenstance or what you decide on in protest against the scheming in your party.

Peter Obi is not running for president to win, ‘’Obidients’’ must understand this; he only wants to make a trenchant statement and perhaps build a following to secure political value-ship. If he was really running to win, he would have started forging alliances and building the necessary cross-zonal network years ago.

‘’Obidients’’ must give up chasing a will-o-the-wisp; they must become realistic and measure their expectations.

Fredrick Nwabufo, Nwabufo a.k.a Mr OneNigeria, is a writer and journalist

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