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Court affirms Obi’s candidacy as party lauds latest poll predicting victory

By Kehinde Olatunji (Lagos) and Ameh Ochojila (Abuja)
09 February 2023   |   3:43 am
Less than 24 hours after the release of a national poll showed that Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), had expanded his lead, another national survey conducted by Stears on Tuesday predicted the election of Obi...

Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi was welcomed by thousands of party supporters in Yola Adamawa state on Tuesday.

Less than 24 hours after the release of a national poll showed that Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), had expanded his lead, another national survey conducted by Stears on Tuesday predicted the election of Obi as the next president of Nigeria in the event of a massive turnout. 

According to the poll, Obi has a good chance of winning the presidential election if voter turnout is high. The poll revealed that Obi could win the election with as many as 41 per cent of the votes cast, ahead of Ahmed Bola Tinubu of the All Progresses Congress (APC), who is at 31 per cent, and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), at 20 per cent.

The poll, however, tilts toward the presidential candidate of the APC if the election has a low voter turnout, as has been seen in Nigerian elections in recent electoral circles.

Like the Nextier Poll, which predicted a run-off election, the Stears poll also sees the possibility of a run-off, should all ‘certain voters’ stick to their preferred candidate. According to Stears, the most likely scenario would be a run-off between Obi and Tinubu. 
Reacting to the series of predictions in favour of Obi, Valentine Ozigbo, the Special Adviser to Obi on Technology and Strategic Alliances, said: “This outcome is not surprising to those following developments in our politics. Peter Obi is the candidate whose message resonated across all demographics in the country. 

“What is this message? A message of hope, unity, peace, love, and shared prosperity. Obi’s message speaks to the hearts of Nigerians because despite the vicious and desperate attempts to divide us, at our very core, we all yearn for the same things – the possibilities that would become realities if we have a leader who is competent, credible, and compassionate. Peter Obi ticks all these boxes and more.”

When asked for comment, Dr Yunusa Salisu Tanko, the chief spokesperson of the Obi Datti Presidential Campaign Council, said the campaign welcomed the result of the poll, which, according to him, only affirms the outcome of all recent pre-election polls, beginning from that published in September 2022, showing Peter Obi with ‘a solid lead’. 

“All the polls can’t be wrong,” Yunusa declared.  He said: “When the ANAP Foundation published its poll results in December 2022 and declared a ‘solid lead’ for Peter Obi, the organisation’s founder was viciously attacked by the APC propaganda machinery. 

“They did the same to the founder of one of Nigeria’s most-respected policy consulting firms, Nextier, when the organisation released a credible poll showing that our candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, one of the most inspirational leaders on the continent, has made inroads into Northern Nigeria and expanded his lead nationwide. 

“Today, Stears Data, considered the most-trusted source of African data and insights and sometimes referred to as ‘Africa’s Bloomberg,’ released its latest poll and called the elections for the Labour Party.”

The spokesperson added: “One wonders what the APC spokesperson would say about this poll. Let’s not forget that ‘Bloomberg’ itself, the world’s most-trusted data company, called the polls for Obi, back in September 2022. These independent and reputable organisations can’t all be wrong. Nigerians are tired of the lies and Nigeria’s failed status.”

This came as an appeal court, yesterday, affirmed Obi as the presidential candidate of LP. The court sitting in Abuja, in a unanimous decision, struck out the appeal challenging his candidacy and awarded N200,000 each in favour of the second and third respondents.

The court held that the appellant who also filed a suit at a lower court has no locus standi to institute the action. Justice Ugochukwu Ogakwu held that trial court was right in its decision.

The appellant, Allied Peoples Movement (APM), had contended that the third respondent was not qualified, given the circumstance of his emergence as LP candidate.

The first respondent in the suit marked, CA/ABJ/CV/1414/2022I, is Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The second is LP while Obi is the third respondent.

Recall that a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had dismissed a suit seeking the disqualification of Obi. APM had approached the trial court for an injunction restraining the first defendant from acting on, according recognition to, giving effect to, or in any way or manner, dealing with the name of the third defendant as candidate of the second defendant in the 2023 presidential election.

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