By Ayo Fadimu
The recent dwindling fortunes of President Muhammadu Buhari in online polls conducted by some media organizations and groups are giving the Presidency sleepless nights, Nigerian NewsDirect has learnt.
Sources close to the seat of power said the President was disturbed with the recent polls showing that he was becoming unpopular with Nigerians. Almost all the polls before the 2015 presidential election showed that the President would win the 2015 presidential election and he won.
But in the last two months, the President has lost more than three online polls, in another poll conducted by our Correspondent to verify the authenticity of the earlier polls, majority of the respondents also rejected the President.
In the poll, 63% of the respondents rejected the President while 31% promised to vote for the President in 2019. Only 6% were undecided.
Last week, a national daily also organized an online poll on its website, those who want to vote again for the President in 2019 answered by clicking ‘YES’ while those with a contrary opinion clicked the ‘NO’ button. The last option was for those who were indifferent to Buhari’s choice.
As at 11pm on Saturday, out of the 9,524 participants who took part in the poll, 58 per cent (5,519 respondents) said they would not vote for Buhari in 2019.
Up to 3,588 people, amounting to 38 per cent, said ‘YES’ to the poll while four per cent (417 votes) were indifferent to Buhari’s 2019 re-election bid.
Similarly, the President also lost to former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar and immediate past President Dr Goodluck Jonathan in an online poll conducted by a platform on micro-blogging site, twitter.
The poll conducted by Onward Nigeria showed the ex-VP, who recently dumped the All Progressives Congress (APC), party on an expressly crushing win over both the president and the former president. While Atiku polled 54 percent, Jonathan polled 24 per cent, while Buhari polled 21 per cent. The poll also showed former Kano State governor, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso polling just one per cent.
Also in an online poll conducted by a former aide to Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Pastor Reno Omokri, the President also lost to Atiku.
The poll conducted on the twitter handle of Pastor Omokri saw Atiku thrashing Buhari with a whopping difference of 33 per cent, having polled 56 per cent as against Buhari who polled 24 per cent. Others added in the contest are the Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha and the Chairman, National Caretaker Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ahmed Makarfi.
In the poll, Governor Okorocha beat Senator Makarfi with a 4 per cent margin, having polled 12 per cent as against Makarfi who polled 8 per cent. In the poll, Pastor Omokri posed a question thus: “Which of the following do you think would increase your ‘happiness’ as a Nigerian if voted in as President in 2019?”
The poll had, as at the time of this report, a total of 6, 973 votes which were cast under one hour.
Although Buhari has not officially declared his intention ahead of 2019, there are strong indications that he will seek a second term.
Several chieftains of the All Progressives Congress, including Governors elected on the platform of the party led by Okorocha have expressed their support for the President’s re-election.
However, the party insisted that there is no automatic ticket for President Buhari, adding that he will go through primaries.
The APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, said neither the President nor any member of the party would be given an automatic ticket. He stated that the party’s constitution did not have provisions for such.
Although President Buhari has not officially declared his interest in re-contesting the seat in 2019, he gave hint about his ambition that he would seek re-election twice last. The first was in Cote d’Ivoire during a summit on counter-terrorism and also during his recent visit to Kano State.
On Wednesday, Buhari was reported to have reappointed the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, as the Director General of his 2019 election campaign.
The Spokesman of Campaign for Democracy, Comrade Lanre Ogunyinka agreed that the online poll is a true reflection of Buhari’s popularity among Nigerians.
“Of course such polls exercise are not new, they have always been a welcome development mostly in advanced countries and many parts of the world over which does not exclude Nigeria. Often, the conduct and process of it are a form of acceptable research methodology that more often than ever, usually indicates the general feeling or mood of the citizenry on salient issues for one purpose or the other. However, in this dispensation as recorded about PMB”s second term, even if the outcomes of the polls do not say or reflect his rejection by the majority, there are so many ominous signs and development across the country that point to PMB”s fast dwindling popularity across the nation. The recent herdsmen killings, endless Boko Haram attacks, ailing economy, unending propaganda to covering the administration’s endless incompetency, policy surmasult and general socio-economic hardships in the country are inimical enough for his impending failure at any second attempt!” Ogunyinka said
However, the activist advised the President to turn a new leaf and embark on projects that would win back the confidence of the people.
“Well, if it is not too late, concerted effort has to be made to win the people”s confidence, trust and support through a landmark turnaround to a lot of the misgivings of the so much talked change agenda! And that is, if the people would believe” he said
However, in a chat with Nigerian NewsDirect, a social crusader based in Lokoja, Kogi State, Idris Miliki told our Correspondent that online polls should not be taken seriously because it can’t be used to effectively gauge opinion of the people.
Similarly, the Edo State Chairman of APC. Anselm Ojezua described the online poll conducted by some media organizations as compromised and highly suspicious and therefore unreliable and unacceptable.
Ojezua, while responding to an enquiry from our Correspondent said, “The purported polls carried out by some media organisations on whether PMB should run for Presidency or not are contrived, compromised and highly suspect. They are therefore unreliable and unacceptable”.
Also, a media consultant based in Port Harcourt and Chieftain APC in Rivers State, Chief Chukwuemeka Eze said some of the dubious online polls are set up by agents of PDP and those who looted our common patrimony with impunity.
“The polls were set up with premeditated agenda to rubbish President Buhari and bring down his government by any means in order for them to stage a comeback to power to continue with their looting spree and also safeguard their looted funds. I want to reiterate that PDP embarking upon this type of propaganda is to me childish and an exercise in futility as the results of the polls will not impact on the outcome of the 2019 general elections” he added.
Eze, who was the Spokesman of the popular defunct New PDP went further, “Let me state that this will not prevent the defeat that awaits PDP and her agents in 2019. The defeat will be so pronounced that most of their key members will desert the party after the 2019 polls. Nigerians are not fools as most of these misguided elements are thinking”.
However, he advised his party to be cautious about the antics of PDP “My only plea is that APC leadership should consider the danger posed by PDP threat and close ranks and ensure the victory of APC in 2019 knowing that PDP has only one single agenda of returning to power in order to safeguard their looted funds and continue to plunder our common patrimony with impunity and in this regard, it will be suicidal to allow such a group that put us in our present sorry state to stage a come-back to power. The fact remains that no sane Nigerian will sit and allow such a group to come to power once again in our life time. President Buhari have shown true leadership cum statesmanship, not just expressed, but conspicuously put into action and giving the people firsthand experience of what democracy is and should be. A rare gem and a true leader whose love for the country is infectious”.
On what PMB should do, Eze said “he is not expected to do anything contrary to what he is currently doing. He should continue to build our decayed infrastructure and restore hope to our people and by the grace of God darkness will not surpass the goodness that PMB represents”.
A Chieftain of APC who does not want his name in print said that a certain powerful member of the party who is also eyeing the presidency is a shareholder in one of the media organizations that organized the online poll.