The politics of “opinion polls” in Nigeria’s elections – Tola Adenle

In November, [2010], I submitted the following essay in my weekly essay column for THE NATION ON SUNDAY as my reaction and comments on a poll carried out by NOI Polls founded by Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the World Bank’s Managing Director:

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Doctor; NgoziOkonjoIweala Polls, Nigeria’s burgeoning loans, etcetera.

Although all essays for this space till Boxing Day are at various stages of completion, I could not allow “Presidential Sweepstakes” (December 19) to deprive me of comments on Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s, (NOI-Doctor or NOI-D) eponymous NOI-polls (hereafter, NOI-NGO) on the presidential sweepstakes.   “The debts are rising again” scheduled for today is abbreviated below to make space for NOI-D and NOI-NGO.  Before I go further, “Dr. Okonjo-Iweala left NOI-Polls to become Managing Director at the World Bank in 2007” although she remains the “founder”, according to

Bits and pieces of info on me have appeared here over the years. While a full-time college student in Washington in the 70s, I was a full-time secretary at The World Bank (The Bank) but what I did was more of a go-fer who ran errands up and down the main building and around the Pennsylvania Avenue corridor to The Bank’s then growing outposts which have now spread to a size-able chunk of downtown D.C! As I’ve mentioned here often, The Bank, a commissioned agent, can never really “help” Nigeria as often indicated in Nigerian newspapers. Its stated goals may include doing good but it’s no do-gooder.

NOI-D mentioned the need for more loans for Nigeria after her ministerial stint but has lately called on Government to stop accumulating domestic debt which has reportedly reached $26 billion.  Nigeria became a poster child of credit-worthiness when the country repaid $36 billion less than five years ago when NOI-D was Finance Minister. Am I implying links between NOI-NGO’s polls on Nigeria and the country’s borrowings? A Social Secretary to Nigeria’s Ambassador to the USA who later became a Business undergrad while running errands at The Bank could never have metamorphosed into even a journeyman economist!

Could Nigeria remain The Bank’s client, for example, if she elects Buhari?  NOI-NGO may “collaborate” with America’s Gallup Poll but is that enough to make its findings on Nigeria unassailable – or even credible?  I say, not really.  For example, how many Nigerians would believe a poll in which“74% replied in the affirmative” that the coming elections would be free and fair?  Most may hope and pray so but no high expectations.  Or these “findings”:   Corruption – Buhari, 3%; Jonathan; 4%; Ribadu, 11%; Babangida 17%; Atiku, 21%?   “Man of integrity” – Babangida, 1%; Saraki, 3%; Buhari, 5%; Ribadu, 5%; Jonathan, 16%?  On who “is a good man” – Atiku, 5%; Saraki, 6%; Buhari, 8%; Babangida, 9%; Ribadu, 10%; Jonathan, 12%.  Most Nigerians, including those who would not vote for Buhari know that he is the least corrupt, and has the highest level of integrity among the candidates.One more abracadabra:  NOI-NGO found 2% believe General Babangida should NOT run because of June 12! What an incredible cruel joke, an agenda-setting poll.

While not doubting NOI-D’s patriotism, her earlier call for new loans after showing us the way out of loan bondage, AND the implied assent to continued foreign loans – see below – are not in Nigeria’s interest.   Gallup may be American biggie but steering the public is not unheard of.  Obama’s blowout of McCain never registered in the big polls in 2008; ditto his earlier trouncing of Hillary.  I suspect NOI-NGO; Nigerians should, too.

[FROM:  The Nation on Sunday, November 2010.]


When THIS DAY released its own polls, many news-following Nigerians raised alarms at this new “poll”.  Even during Dr. Jonathan’s most popular days when the likes of this writer had more than sympathies for him based on Northern Nigeria’s sense of entitlement to the country’s number one position, he could not have won an election with 60% of the votes as found by Nduka Obaigbena’s THIS DAY’s poll.

I think he’s going/has gone to court praying for huge damages from Yinka Odumakin, Buhari’s spokesperson who describes Obaigb. in unflattering terms.

Here’s my own blog on the story:

Nduka Obaigbena calls for probe of his wealth by ICPC


Submitted by tola adenle on March 25, 2011 – 12:44, Sahara Reporters

This is a joke!  This man wants the ICPC to probe his wealth?  What would be the government agency’s ground for this?  Only in Nigeria.  Obaigb. knows it that this cannot and would not be done as the brief of the agency does not include private businessmen and women – genuine and fake – whose sources of wealth bother others.

Every citizen has a right to make money whichever way but attempting to impose Obaigb.’s kind of “poll” – like the questionable and NOT-credible NOI (Ngozi Iweala) “polls” (partnered with Gallup)  of some months ago that also “found” Dr. Jonathan with incredible support – is beyond dangerous.  NOI told us that its “poll” found 3% of Nigerians think Buhari is corrupt; 4% think same of Jonathan … 17% think Babangida is corrupt, etcetera.  And on “man of integrity”, here are NOI’s baffling “findings”: Babangida 1%; Saraki 3%; Buhari 5% … Jonathan 16%.  Worse, NOI found an incredible 74% of Nigerians believing the elections will be free and fair.

I described the findings of the NGO-polling organization founded by Dr. Iweala back then in November as “a cruel joke, an agenda-setting poll”.  Ignoring Mr. Obaigb.’s irritants – people and matters – THAT is exactly what I call this latest assault on our sensibilities and collective intelligence.

And talking of “polls”, I’ve been conducting a low-tech unscientific poll since January.  As of today, March 31, I’ve talked to 76 people, all from the Yoruba Southwest, supposed home to people who do not want Buhari.  Previously, I spoke to only well-educated youth, all Christians – see below.  This morning, I took my campaign to a motor park, a known place where mostly Moslem young men work.

I went in the company of a FOR HIRE taxi driver as my guide.  Of the six young men – 20s to about 30s – all are Moslems and one articulated their thoughts best:  “Mommy, Buhari nikan ni ko ni foreign account tabi godfather …” [Buhari is the only presidential candidate without a foreign bank account or a godfather.]  They are all agreed that they would vote legislative and gubernatorial elections to “send PDP packing” in other parties but will vote “BB” – as most have now dubbed Buhari/Bakare ticket in the presidential election.

Below was submitted to 234NEXT blog on the Obaigbena’s newspaper opinion poll:

Submitted by tola adenle  on March 22, 2011 – 18:34.

Since January 24, I’ve conducted a non-scientific poll of 48 Christians, all Yorubas from the same Southwest.  Only 2 are against Buhari while an incredible 46 said they’ll vote for the taciturn retired General.  I listened to all – ages 20-something to early 40s and began to wonder if, in spite of my own past misgivings about Buhari, the young people do not have serious points.  After all, whoever takes over cannot affect my life much nor those of people like me – over 60, fairly okay, all children grown and well settled into professions abroad.  But we do owe it to these young people to take Nigeria back from the thieves and their foot soldiers dressed in “respectability” garb of businessmen/women.  The youth made me tally the pros and cons of Buhari which made me finally take a deeper look – in spite of the past.

He’s the only one that can stare the corruption monster and slay it.

, , , , , ,


Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

No comments yet.

Leave comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: