Some international media organisations and think-tanks have admitted that they were misinformed about the Labour Party candidate Peter Obi’s chances of winning the 2023 presidential election.
“Unfortunately, with all these facts on the ground, they (foreign organisations) earlier believed that Obi won the election. This was because of the wrong mindset they had before the polls based on the hyped activities of his followers on social media,” Mr Mohammed.
“They also developed the wrong mindset based on skewed and very unrepresentative opinion polls, especially by Bloomberg, which was uncritically reported by other international media.”
Information minister Lai Mohammed disclosed this in London when he concluded his engagements and meetings with media houses and policy institutes. The minister was in Washington and London to defend the legitimacy of the just concluded general elections and correct the imbalance in the skewed narrative which had pervaded the air on the polls.
Addressing journalists at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, London, where he concluded his engagements, the minister said his mission abroad was very successful.
“We have been able to correct the imbalance in the reporting and we are leaving today with a better feeling. Most of the people we met agreed with us that they had been misinformed and they over-relied on social media hype,” he said.
Mr Mohammed revealed that not until he educated the foreign outlets, many were unaware of the requirements to win a presidential election in Nigeria.
“When we told many of those we met that the Labour Party scored one-third of votes in only 15 of the 36 states, they were shocked. We also told them there is no pathway to victory for either the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) or Labour Party because they did not meet the requirements to be declared winner,” stated the information minister.
Mr Mohammed said he also explained the edge APC and its candidate, Bola Tinubu, had over the two other major contenders, Mr Obi and Atiku Abubakar of the PDP.
“We explained to them that it is not enough for you to win 12 states, but what you scored in other states is also very important. For instance, in addition to winning 12 states, the APC came second in 19 other states with very high scores,” said Mr Mohammed.
The information minister said he informed the media outlets and think tanks that it was impossible for any party without national spread and grassroots base to win a presidential election, stating that the Labour Party scored only 315,000 votes in the North-East and 350,000 votes in the North-West.
He added, “However, I am leaving the USA and the UK satisfied because the wrong perceptions had been corrected and were changing.”