Sahara Reporters replies Okonjo-Iweala over fake NOI polls

Sahara Reporters replies Okonjo-Iweala over fake NOI polls

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 12:40 am

Here is a press statement by Sahara Reporters over the reaction it generated from the NOI Polls owned by Nigeria’s Finance Minister, after the online news portal debunked recent ‘polls’ exaggerating President Goodluck Jonathan’s popularity among Nigerians. One of the lies pointed out by SR was that NOI Polls has no existing partnership with the more respected US pollster, Gallup Poll.

The full statement:

After NOIPolls Is Called Out For Fraudulently Manipulating Opinion Polls In Nigeria, The Ethically Challenged Pollster Alleges Malice, Sponsorship

NOI Polls, whose claims of an active partnership in its current political polls with Gallup USA were denied last week by the famous United States pollster, has accused SaharaReporters of malicious intent.

Ngozi Okonjo Iweala: NOI Polls do not have Gallup Poll stamp

Ngozi Okonjo Iweala: NOI Polls do not have Gallup Poll stamp

In a rebuttal issued at the weekend by NOIPolls Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Oge Funlola Modie, the ethically challenged polling company stated, “It is clear that the online website went on a fishing expedition designed to mislead stakeholders and the public with sponsored lies and innuendos,”.

NOIPolls is owned by and named after Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister of Finance/Coordinating Minister of the Economy, and its fraudulent political polls tend to favor President Goodluck Jonathan even in the face of evidence of his gross unpopularity and incompetence.

In the October and November polls, Mr. Jonathan curiously emerged with a 60% approval rating according to NOIPolls.

Convinced that there is a serious conflict of interest between Okonjo-Iweala’s role in the government and NOI Polls, that the numbers were blatantly and unconscionably rigged and that a thorough professional job would have revealed differently, SaharaReporters contacted Gallup, the name of which is routinely and repeatedly used by NOIPolls as a partner.

In a response by Johnathan Tozer, Gallup’s Global Communications Director, Gallup said although NOIPolls had been its client in the past, it was “not part of the data collection or methodology related to the President Goodluck Jonathan approval rating poll.”

Rather than face the issues, Ms Modie pleaded: “NOIPolls has worked really hard and still is, to champion the importance of opinion research across the region and the continent. We have put Nigeria on the global stage by changing the narratives about our beautiful country. At last the voices of Nigerians are being put on a platform and on display for the world to see. We are telling our story!”

In our judgement, NOIPolls chooses all the wrong pronouns that is synonymous with the arrogance of its founder. “We” should represent the Nigerian people, not the views and greed of the presidency, which is the propaganda in its false numbers. “We” should not be telling our story, we should be telling the truth!
“We” ought to start by admitting that NOIPolls has been appropriating the name of Gallup to prop up the effort to advertise the views and hopes of the government about itself. Caught in its lies and pretensions about Gallup, NOI Polls said, “Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s excellent relationship with Mr Jim Clifton helped to get the partnership with Gallup off the ground. And we are very grateful with Mr Clifton and Gallup for their support. This partnership will not be broken by this sponsored and malicious report by Saharareporters.”

We have no problem with the history of NOIPolls. Our issue is with the present. We did not claim a relationship between NOIPolls and Gallup: NOIPolls did. We did not confirm that Gallup has no relationship with the bogus NOIPolls: Gallup did. Gallup is run as an organization, which is why trying to cozy up to Mr. Clifton by affirming his relationship with Okonjo-Iweala is no answer to the question of legitimate partnership.

Still trying to justify the unjustifiable, NOIPolls said of our story, “The report states that SaharaReporters asked Gallup if they were involved in conducting the November’s approval rating; of course they cannot be involved, we are in a TECHNICAL PARTNERSHIP with Gallup, this means that they have taught us a methodology which we have adapted to the Nigerian context. This partnership does not mean that NOIPolls will have Gallup do all our polls. It means that we have perfected what we have been taught and only review methodology when necessary.”

This is elementary nonsense. If a student graduates from school, does his certificate permit him to go all over the world claiming that the teacher is a partner in a current project? That is what NOIPolls has done: unprofessionally and mischievously.

NOIPolls further claims as follows: “Dr Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is also totally de-linked from the company and DOES NOT interfere with the operations.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. To begin with, this assertion contradicts the earlier part of the statement which portrays Dr. Iweala’s “unbreakable” relationship with Gallup polls Managaing Director and/CEO, Jim Clifton as the basis for its credibility, further, there is no disclaimer or disengagement of any kind that is available on the website. We take it for granted that if anything of that nature was ever considered, it would have been published on the site and noted in About Us/Our Founder.

That NOIPolls was registered earlier than Okonjo-Iweala’s participation in government is not the issue; it is that it has become a convenient and shameless and fraudulent tool for projecting the interest of the government of which she is a part, and of advancing President Jonathan’s political agenda. There is no other way of reading it.

Everywhere else in the world, the dangerous conflict of interest that is evident in this matter would have been clearly identified and dealt with. If Mr. Clifton took a job in Mr. Barack Obama’s government, would Gallup have engaged in praise-singing political “research” schemes the headlines of which are how popular and successful Obama is?

Let us flip the coin. Did NOIPolls ever poll Nigerians about the handling of the abduction of the Chibok high school girls? We recall no such effort, perhaps because NOIPolls knows it lacks the wherewithal to reflect the true numbers on that key issue about President Jonathan.

According to NOI Polls, “The monthly opinion surveys on the President’s approval ratings are “rigorous and credible” and reflect both gains and losses in public perceptions for the President.”

And the proof NOIPolls offers for that laughable claim? It says: “As fair minded and apolitical persons have observed, the approval ratings have not been static: they reflect changes in public perception of the president’s work. Not too long ago, it was 74%.”

This is a lame defense of a government and a president whose performance and productivity are on the flip side of its prodigious propaganda, and the NOIPolls is a tool of the frontline Minister regarded as one of the most powerful in that government.

NOIPolls also defends itself by saying “NOIPolls Technical Partnership with Gallup USA covers methodology and similar technical issues; it does not mean Gallup is involved in decisions on the monthly opinion polls.”

So why does NOIPolls not simply say that? Instead, it claims, ad nauseaum: “We partner with Gallup USA to develop opinion research in Nigeria.”
We asked Gallup about its role in what is evidently a manipulation machine because NOIPolls gave the impression Gallup was involved beyond teaching NOI—many years ago—as NOI now admits, how to poll.

One final word, about methodology.

Of the November opinion poll, NOIPolls claimed a random sample size of 1,000 phone-owning adults it said represents Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones, expressing great confidence about its achievement.

Here is its justification: “Methodology as taught by Gallup shows that 1000 sample size is representative of the Nigerian Adult Population (87.9m).

Gallup uses same sample size for a population of 350 million Americans. Our methodology is scientifically proven and if Sahara Reporter had done an in-depth research on global polling methodology standards, they will realize this.”
This, remember, comes from the same NOIPolls which claims to object to “colonial mentality.”

In the United States, polling by telephone is routine and reliable. People have telephones, and they effortlessly charge and use them. Furthermore, they don’t have large swathes of the country that President Obama is scared to go to and eat in a restaurant.

That was why we asked whether the Gallup-inspired sample size included the areas in Nigeria’s northeast under the control of a murderous islamic militant group, Boko Haram, and other areas that President Jonathan is not in charge of, or where people lack electrical power to charge their phones or even get phone reception.

NOIPolls did not answer. Imagine if we had asked them, to begin with, about their relationship with Gallup.

All of this is even more interesting because Ms. Modie took some gratuitous time to brag about the size of the NOIpolls personnel armory. “NOIPolls is a going concern with 50 HQ staff members, a workforce of 40+ interns and 300 field operatives. That figure moved up from 5 staff in January 2012 to now (sic) clocking almost 400 persons in jobs that have been created over a 2 year period.”
We appreciate the creation of jobs for Nigerians, but such a vast outfit in less than two years just to make 1000 phone calls per month from a computer terminal? And they still can’t get an opinion poll about a bumbling president right?

NOIPolls makes a lot of insinuations about SaharaReporters. That is understandable. The simple answer is that we object to policies and practices emanating from Abuja because we are knowledgeable about their color and substance.

The color of NOIPolls, for instance, is off, and its substance stinks. The difference with us is not that we are “sponsored,” and cannot be sponsored. If anyone is sponsored it would be clear like daylight that it is polling company whose founder propels the engine of a corrupt government and its boards chairman makes no bone about being a government contractor.

NOI, the pollster, and NOI, the Minister, both also know that unlike those who accept sponsorship, we are not afraid to pronounce the name of the color that we see.

And when it stinks, we pronounce that, too: lo

Publisher,, New York

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