The APC spokesperson also criticised the NOI Polls.
The All Progressives Congress, APC, has denied poaching any member of Nigeria’s ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. The opposition party said it only benefitted from the implosion of the PDP after the latter’s July 31, 2013 convention.
The spokesperson of the APC, Lai Mohammed, stated this on Tuesday while responding to questions at a press conference in Abuja. He said the APC, rather than being a product of poaching, was the outcome of a detailed process of merger of three opposition parties.
“I did listen to the National Chairman of PDP in Ilorin on Monday and he started talking about poaching. We never poached! You see, when we started the process in 2013, we announced to the whole world that the defunct ANPP, the defunct ACN, the defunct CPC were going to enter into a merger and become one political party,” he said.
Mr. Mohammed said the APC also benefited from the crisis of the PDP.
“So what happened was on the one hand via merger, which was perfectly legitimate; then we had an implosion within the PDP. It was that implosion that led to the walking out of the leaders, which finally led to their coming to join the APC. Then, we did not poach.
“Now, it is true that probably if there had been no merger, there will be no such platform. Those governors and those PDP senators would have been probably forced to stay in PDP. This is because there would have been no options for them
“Come to the ACN, they would say it is a South West party. Go to ANPP, they will say it is northern regional party. Go to this, they will say it is one man party. Now because our own leaders had the foresight of embarking on this merger despite the cynicism of everybody; by the time the implosion happened there was a national platform for them. That is what the National Chairman of PDP, Adamu Muazu, is mistaking for poaching. We never poached anywhere,” he added.
Ezekwesili to deliver lead paper on APC Manifesto
Mr. Mohammed had earlier in his address informed reporters that former Minister of Education, Obiageli Ezekwesili, will be the key note speaker at the party’s National summit to unveil its ‘Road map to a New Nigeria’.
He said the strictly by invitation event will take place at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, on Thursday; and will start from 9 a.m.
“As we said in our statement, the Road map will detail APC’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.
“We also said the Road map was a product of an empirical and painstaking process embarked upon by our party, in a departure from the old practice of packaging such documents on a whim,” he said.
Stands by outcome of survey
The APC spokesperson also lambasted the presidency for criticising the outcome of the party’s opinion poll. He said the APC commissioned 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.
He said the results of the opinion survey were even more revealing than the party had anticipated.
“Unfortunately, not everyone who read our statement understood it, hence the totally unnecessary and clearly misplaced criticism by the presidency, which tagged our effort ‘Voodoo Polling’ and said it does not know when the APC became an expert on opinion poll.
“We have no doubt that the methodology adopted to evolve our Road map and the results of our survey took the Presidency by surprise and rankled them so much, since they haven’t seen any unbiased survey results in quite some time.
“Well, it is common knowledge that the truth sometimes hurts but facts are facts,” he said.
Mr. Mohammed said the Presidency was clearly confused by thinking that the APC conducted the survey itself.
“Unlike the PDP, we do not conduct surveys ourselves; instead, we commission professionals to conduct our polls. We use experts in the field so that the results are accurate and above reproach,” he said.
He added that the APC poll was conducted by KA Research Limited, Africa Division. He said it was the largest survey of its kind ever conducted in Nigeria.
“I understand how this might have been confusing to the Presidency, since the PDP does not use unbiased, professional pollsters” he said.
Mr. Mohammed said on the contrary, the PDP uses a firm known as NOI Polls for its survey.
“And just who is this firm? Do those initials ring a bell with anyone? The Presidency’s pollster is none other than Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Coordinating Minister herself
“And considering she has recently lost track of more than 20 Billion dollars at the NNPC, why would anyone trust any numbers she ever produced? If there’s anyone practicing voodoo, its NOI polls,” Mr. Mohammed said.
Mr. Mohammed also highlighted the outcome of the survey conducted by KA research limited on behalf of the party.
He said when Nigerians were asked, “If the election were held today, would you vote for Goodluck Jonathan or the candidate of the All Progressives Congress,” the APC candidate held a ten-point lead over the President. By a margin of 44% to 34% (with 22% undecided), he said the APC candidate was the clear national choice.
He also said when Nigerians were asked, “In general, do you think things in Nigeria are going in a good direction or bad direction,” by a staggering more than two-to-one margin (50 -24%), Nigerians responded that the country was going in a bad direction.
When asked, “What issue would you like the President and National Assembly to focus on most,” an overwhelming majority (60%) said job creation was the dominant issue that the government should address.
And then when asked if they found the following statement convincing or not, “Goodluck Jonathan has done nothing to create jobs, and far too many people are still unemployed.”58% of Nigerians found that argument about Jonathan convincing.
The APC spokesperson also said when Nigerians were asked if Mr. Jonathan was doing a good or bad job fighting corruption; 59% of Nigerians said Mr. Jonathan was a doing a bad job fighting corruption.
The message is clear
According to the APC, the outcome of the survey is clear; the nation is going in the wrong direction.
It said the nation wants change and would therefore, not vote to re-elect Mr. Jonathan in part because the number one issue to Nigerians is jobs and the nation believes the President has no credibility on the issue of job creation.
He added that Nigerians also believe Mr. Jonathan has done an extremely poor job fighting corruption and that the resources that should be invested in job creation; infrastructure and economic development have been stolen and wasted – undermining the nation’s opportunity.
Mr. Mohammed said the survey was conducted by KA Research Limited, Africa Division, on behalf of APC Nigeria within the 2015 Pre-Election Polling Program, between December 9th, 2013 and January 12th, 2014.
The survey results he said, is based on a Face to Face Nationwide Survey conducted in 36 States + FCT in Nigeria; with sample size of 21,091 Interviews; representing Nigerians who are above 18 years and living in urban and rural settlements.
“The survey respondents have been selected using multi-stage random sampling methodology across all Nigerian States; interviewed by experienced and trained local field teams in each state
“The survey results have a margin of sampling error of +/- 0.7%, including design effect,” he said.
He added that KA Research Limited (KARL) is a privately owned international research company, based in Brussels, Belgium and Istanbul, Turkey; operating in more than 60 countries with its own offices, subsidiaries and affiliates in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA Region).
He said the company specializes in social and political polling; economic and media research in EMEA Region. He said its clientele includes private, governmental, and non-governmental organisations such the World Bank, United Nations, UNICEF, UNDP, Save The Children, USAID, DFID, and the University of Michigan.
“We hope the PDP will also come clean on its own survey company; the fact that it is owned by a serving minister whose initials are used to name the company, and the fact that it has been feeding doctored opinion poll to Nigerians.
“We have chosen to call the opinion polls they conduct on behalf of themselves and for themselves ”incestuous”. We have nothing more to add,” he said.