Tinubu rejects international media report on February 25 polls

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President-elect Bola Tinubu has rejected reports by a section of the international media on the February 25 presidential election.

The president-elect, who contested on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), said that he objected to the ‘mischaracterisation’ of the presidential election by a section of the international media.

He said this through his Media Adviser, Dele Alake, who held an interactive session with representatives of International Media Organisations covering Nigeria in Abuja on Thursday, March 16.

Alake said that the session was held to exchange views on the way the international media representatives reported Nigeria generally and covered the last presidential election circle ‘won’ by Tinubu.

“In weeks and months leading to the February 25 Presidential and National Assembly elections, there were a rash of pre-election analysis, news reports, special features and even opinion polls from a number of partisan local pollsters and international media that gave victory to the candidate of Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi. Some of the polls were conducted online. Some polls had small samples that were not sufficiently representative of Nigeria’s diverse voting population and did not represent the realities of Nigeria’s political environment and factors that influence electoral behaviour.

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“But there were some other polls that correctly predicted the outcome, that our candidate was headed for victory. Our internal polls also gave us some measure of confidence. With 21 states under our party’s control, we did not expect a complete change of electoral behaviour, like in the US, where no one expects a blue state suddenly turning red 100 per cent.

“With the eventual outcome of the election at variance with some of the Labour Party sponsored pre-election predictions, many international media organisations who took premature position on the basis of these flawed polls, found themselves blind-spotted, leading to some of the skewed reports about the election.

“We object to the mischaracterisation of the presidential election by a section of the international media.

“Contrary to the innuendos and aspersions being cast on the election by organisations such as Financial Times, Economist, New York Times among others, we make bold to say that the 2023 Presidential election is the most credible, most free and most fair national election in Nigeria since 1999,” he said.

Alake said that the elections into the Senate and House of Representatives which were held the same day as the presidential election and produced an outcome that showed the ruling APC winning majority seats in both chambers were not disputed by any of the presidential candidates.

He said that the presidential election produced “expected outcomes”.

“Anyone who is honest enough and understands the political landscape of Nigeria and the forces at play in electing a President in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society like Nigeria will know that only Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and APC could have won the election.

“It must be stressed that only the APC went into the 2023 election intact. Peoples Democratic Party went into the election fragmented into three parts. Five of its Governors under the G5 group worked against their party’s Presidential candidate. Alhaji Abubakar Atiku. The Labour Party candidate, who was Atiku’s running mate  in 2019 abandoned  the party. In the North, Rabiu Kwankwaso, also a member of the PDP, went solo in the NNPP.

“These divisions within the main opposition played out in our favour. It was a repeat of 2015, when some PDP states supported the new coalition of parties called APC and gave President Buhari a resounding victory.

“The presidential candidate of PDP at his post-election press conference admitted that the Labour Party swept away his party’s votes from its traditional stronghold in South-East and South-South. He is yet to admit the impact of the rebellion of the G5 governors and Kwankwaso in large voting state of Kano,” he said.

“For emphasis, it must be stated that no political party or candidate can win a presidential election in Nigeria without strong support from four of the six geopolitical zones in the country. Only the candidate of APC had such support as shown in the results declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

“Mr Obi could not have been elected President by winning in South-South and South-East and the Bible-belt states of Plateau, Southern Kaduna, Taraba and Nasarawa. He needed the core northern votes from the North-East and North-West. He needed the South West. Winning Lagos narrowly was not enough to make Mr. Obi President.

“These are political realities that have been ignored in post-election reportage by a number of international media,” Alake said.

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