Ahead of the 2015 presidential election, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has claimed that it has already taken a 10-point lead over the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) based on the outcome of a self-commissioned public opinion survey which will be unveiled on Thursday.
The party said details of the survey which also focused on the falling ratings of PDP as well as an articulated road map to attain a new Nigeria would be made public at the National Summit of APC to be held in Abuja.
The interim National Publicity Secretary of the party, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said in a statement issued yesterday that the road map would detail the partyâ€™s priorities in fixing the widespread failings of successive PDP governments since 1999, in order to bring hope and succour to the long-suffering people of Nigeria.
It said the road map was a product of an empirical and painstaking process embarked upon by the APC, in a deviation from the old practice of packaging such documents on a whim.
â€œWith conditions deteriorating throughout Nigeria, with security an ever increasing concern, with the lack of jobs pushing families and young people further and further into poverty, and with new stories of corruption within the PDP government appearing day after day, the APC decided to commission the largest ever public opinion survey in Nigerian history to determine the current status of things in the nation directly from those who knew best – the actual people of Nigeria.
â€œThe results were even more revealing than the APC had anticipated: When asked, â€˜If the election were held today, would you vote for Goodluck Jonathan or the candidate of the All Progressives Congressâ€™, the APC candidate held a ten-point lead over the president.
â€œBy a margin of 44 per cent to 34 per cent (with 22 per cent undecided), the APC candidate was the clear national choice.
â€œWhen asked, â€˜In general, do you think things in Nigeria are going in a good direction or bad directionâ€™, by a staggering more than two-to-one margin (50 per cent to 24 per cent), Nigerians responded that the country was going in a bad direction.
â€œWhen asked, â€˜What issue would you like the president and National Assembly to focus on mostâ€™, an overwhelming majority (60 per cent) said jobs was the dominant issue that the government should address.
â€œAnd then when asked if they found the following statement convincing or note, â€˜Goodluck Jonathan has done nothing to create jobs, and far too many people are still unemployedâ€™, decisively, 58 per cent of Nigerians found that argument about Jonathan convincing.
â€œFinally when asked if Jonathan was doing a good or bad job fighting corruption, 59 per cent Nigerians thought Jonathan was doing a bad job fighting corruption.
â€œThe voice of the people was clear: The nation is going in the wrong direction. The nation wants change and would not vote to re-elect Jonathan in part because the number one issue to Nigerians is jobs and the nation believes Jonathan has no credibility on the issue of job creation,â€ APC said.
According to the party, the unveiling of the partyâ€™s road map is designed to meet the real needs of the Nigerian people, adding that the summit will be the clearest indication yet that the movement for change has indeed begun.
THISDAY gathered yesterday that both the poll result and the new APC road map were the outcome of a synergy between the opposition party and a United States-based media consultant, AKPD Message and Media.
APC had last week announced the engagement of the US-based consultant to boost its electoral chances in the forthcoming elections.
Mohammed said the Chicago-based firm was best known for its lead role in President Barack Obamaâ€™s presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012 elections.
He explained that the firm had also worked with key Democratic Party candidates throughout the US and had a strong reputation for supporting leading populist movements across the globe.
Reacting to the APCâ€™s plan to unveil its road map, the presidency yesterday described it as dubious and suspicious.
A statement by the Presidentâ€™s Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, said: â€œI have read a statement issued by Alhaji Lai Muhammed with regards to the plan by the APC to unveil its manifesto on Thursday.
â€œWhile we share the view that the APC has the view to unveil its manifesto because nobody really knows what the party stands for and Nigerians are curious to have a properly articulated position of the APC rather than its inarticulate engagement with Nigerian public, but the basis on which the APC is trying to unveil the manifesto is dubious and suspicious.
â€œThe APC is, according to Muhammed, presenting its roadmap on the basis of certain poll that it conducted which shows the administration in a bad light.
â€œI have read the details of the poll purportedly conducted by the APC. To start with, polling in any category at all is a very serious business. It is not something that any roadside adventurer can engage in.â€
Continuing, Abati said what the APC had done was abandoning its core business of politics to dabble into polling, and came up with a voodoo exercise.
The result of the poll, the statement stressed, which was purportedly conducted by the APC, was nothing but a great exercise in quackery.
â€œAPC is not licensed to be a polling agency, it has neither the expertise and the exposure nor the track record. It is not surprising that the outcome of its so-called polling is dubious.
â€œIt says for example that if elections were to be held today, whether Nigerians will vote for President Goodluck Jonathan or the candidate of the APC.
â€œTo the best of everybody’s knowledge, the APC does not even have a candidate yet. It has not named anybody as its candidate, the INEC has not even blown any whistle to initiate the submission of names of candidates.
â€œThe APC on the basis of an unknown candidate is saying that their candidate will have a 10-point lead. I don’t think Nigerians are that gullible. It does not make sense, it does not look objective,â€ Abati added.
He noted that the parameters and variables used were suspicious, saying people don’t â€œvote for unknown characters. At that level, I think this is the kind of polling in which you work to a pre-determined answer. The polling is a very good illustration of quackery.
â€œThey also came up with a claim that President Jonathan has done nothing to create jobs. This is nothing but a gross display of ignorance. The ignorance is self-imposed because the administration has done more than enough and will continue to do a lot to demonstrate how it has been creating jobs.
â€œIn fact, job and wealth creation are two cardinal objectives and targets and achievements of this administration.â€
The presidentâ€™s media aide said for APC to pretend in their voodoo polling that it was not aware of that is the height of dishonesty and their statement should be disregarded.
â€œThere is nothing in this voodoo polling that Lai Muhammed has not said before. So any discerning reader of the statement will see very clearly that this is just clearly partisan politicking.
â€œThe kind of politics that is played without being clever about it. It is crude, unintelligent and the vodoo nature of it and the quackery that surrounds it make it more meaningless.
â€œWhat we know is that professional polling agencies have shown and the most recent one is the one by NOI Polls, which has a good track record, and the result from that is that the president’s popularity is on the rise.
â€œIn that report, President Jonathan was given a 61 per cent job performance rating. It even noted that this is a major increase in the president’s rating.
â€œBut this APC is obviously going through a crisis of identity. The owners of the party must make up their minds whether they are running a political party or a voodoo polling agency,â€ he concluded.