Lagos-based pollster and CEO of research company, Datavision Limited, Mfon Eyoma, has said that polling has multiple benefits in a democracy, especially in developing nations like Nigeria. Eyoma, a chartered accountant and former banker said this in a statement issued yesterday.
According to the statement, Eyoma proposed that polling creates an avenue for public participation and a sense of involvement in governance, especially when leveraged by honest politicians. “Polling focuses political discourse on a topical issue and helps politicians assess public opinion and guide policy. In advanced democracies, the ballot routinely incorporates polling for so much public opinion on other issues that it can be rightly considered a national or state referendum.
“Besides its obvious application in the development of campaign strategy, polling is useful for formulating political ideology and public policy in a nascent democracy such as ours, and because they can be conducted for any purpose, they are a veritable tool not only in politics but also in business.”
He explained that credible polls prepare the minds of both candidates and voters for the outcome of a general election and therefore, can help arrest the spontaneous anger that lead to electoral violence. However, like the actual elections, polls are only credible if many voters participate and the results are verifiable.
“Our electoral system is still manual, and our telephone and postal systems too poor to support traditional research methods of telephone surveys and questionnaires until about 2002. Our manual electoral system was further compounded by widespread irregularities and outright fraud so that ballot papers were not only unreliable by inaccessible to psychologists for any meaningful independent post-election analysis.”
Mr Eyoma, who promised to use Datavision to help enhance the integrity of the 2019 polls, explained their unique methodology.
“We have replicated the electoral system of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and designed the ‘Register of Voters,’ to capture details such as age, gender, religion, political affiliation, educational standard, occupation, state of origin, state of residence etc. Under the state of origin and state of residence we have further identified the voter by local government area, ward, state and federal constituencies and senatorial districts. Nigerians abroad will be able to select their country of residence from a dropdown and equally participate in the polls. When we analyse poll results by these fields, we’re able to predict a candidate’s chances at the general elections with more reliable intelligence. All registration fields are non-mandatory but although non-registered or partially-registered users may also vote in the polls, we will know and disclose their numbers separately in our poll results.”