Abiodun receives knocks for using Twitter result to continue lockdown in Ogun

Oluwatobi Odeyinka

The Ogun state governor, Dapo Abiodun has come under knocks from academic and media experts over comment that the opinions of Twitter users were one of the reasons the government extended the lockdown currently in the state.

PLATFORM TIMES reports that the Ogun government through its official twitter handle, @OGSG_Official, had announced an opinion poll so as to determine if the lockdown in the state will continue.

PLATFORM TIMES  further reports that the government lamented the high rate of the spread of coronavirus in the state despite the lock down.

The government, while seeking opinion on twitter, said, “The level of compliance with the use of face masks, physical distancing and public transport regulations has not been impressive. Ogun state has witnessed a steady 27 percent rise in the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases within the last week from 100 to 127.

“Should the state government continue the current lock down, which was imposed to control the community spread of the virus and allow us flatten the curve?”

The state governor, Dapo Abiodun announced a one-week extension of lock down in a press briefing on Friday.

He confirmed that the twitter opinion poll informed his decision to extend the lock down.

“Interestingly, the feedback from you, the people of Ogun State, from the Public Opinion Poll hosted on the Twitter, also support the extension of the lockdown. Out of about 6,000 respondents of the online poll, 53% support the continuation of the lockdown whilst 43% want a review with 4% undecided,” he said.

However, some academic and media experts who aired their opinions PLATFORM TIMES’ WhatsApp loop, disapproved the poll, arguing that it does represent the voice of the people of the state.

The media professionals, in their opinions wondered why the government had not sought their collaboration in getting a credible poll. The academic scholars, on the other hand, said the twitter poll was an aberration from a credible, authoritative poll.

Both groups dismissed the poll with the argument that majority of residents of the state are rural people who may not have access to social media.

Victor Mark, the Head of  Station at Splash FM was assertive in his disapproval of the poll. He said, “Are we debating the obvious fact that Twitter is far from a good representative of public opinion in Ogun State as at today?

“Without mincing words, I say with all sense of responsibility that whoever advised the Governor to use Twitter for ‘Sampling’ of public opinion about Lockdown by Ogun Residents did not do well. In fact, whoever wrote that speech and inserted that aspect goofed.”

Mark proposed that the use of radio, which has grassroot reach or facebook which has more users would have been better options.

Adefolakan, a lecturer at Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, gave a similar submission. He said, “We seem not to be realistic of the fundamental truth about Africa and Nigeria. This has made us to always want to emulate “Oyinbo” in to to. Meanwhile, we don’t share similar features as human beings and societies.

“Ogun state, like other states in Nigeria is predominantly rural with far more than half of the population residing in villages. A poll that does take these people into consideration can’t give us  reliable results. Are these people on Twiter? The little I know as a student of research has it that once your methodology isn’t sound, it is faulty. Once it is faulty, it can’t give good results.

“Study Population, sample size and sampling procedure are the chief elements of methodology in research.  Collecting information from 6,000 out of over 7 million has rubbed off the scientific nature of such poll. Science is nothing but the truth firmly established.”

Also, a specialist in Opinion polling, Dr. Wasiu Tejuosho said, “there are major flaws in the polls both in the construction of the questionnaires that did not give room for clear and precise options, rather than options that will work to a predetermined answers and the determination of population to ascertain whether the actual population are captured, even in the sample size.

“Now, after the whole exercise, how and where are the data collated, analysed and interpreted? How valid were the results? Meanwhile, is it not possible that the poll was predetermined by the choice of the population? What if majority of those who were target were party members who have been tutored to do the bidding of the sponsor?

“Too many questions on the validity and reliability of the poll. That being said, most of these analysis shows that this country and majority of her people are really a big joke. 6000 respondents of over 7m population? Which sample size formula was used to arrive at that? Someone should please tell us here.

“Now their analysis said out of about 6,000 respondents: a. 53% support the continuation of the lockdown. Good, what are the demographic characteristics of these 53%? Are they (independent people) such as workers, self-employees, artisans, traders etc. who are economically affected by the lockdown  or (dependent people) such as students, youths, vulnerable, wives, old parents etc. who probably saw an opportunity in thee lockdown?.

“Does anyone see my earlier argument that the questionnaire was structured to predetermined answers? Imagine *support continuation* and  *a review* are the major indices they measure. Why not include *oppose continuation* that has a straight and clear meaning as “support continuation” as a part of the indices. I am sure somebody would want to interpret “a review” as synonymous to “oppose continuation”.

“I laugh in Swahili. We are all not dunces, please. We all know how to do this. By this alone it means the answers are ambiguous to the respondents and as such has the tendency of misleading them. By this, the validity and reliability of the questionnaire is questionable.

“The polls lack control too reference to argument that it allowed multiple voting by one single respondent. Reliability here is 0% too.

“By all standards, as an expert in public opinion polling, this should not have released or exposed as government statement at all in saner environment. It lacks every attribute of a good poll.”

AbdulT while also dismissing the poll for lack of credibility said, “visit at least ten local government in the state and randomly pick 50 people in each of those local government and sample the opinions of people whether they participated or not, then you will discover that the exercise is a failure.

“Press people ought to be invited for some sensitive issues like this,not that we will be reading cooked stories on social media that are been cooked by some that are looking for favor.”

Meanwhile, Ifedayo Ogunyemi, a senior reporter with Nigerian Tribune, encouraged the government to make use of other media in future polls. He said, “we could always do better by incorporating other media to get a better result.”

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