THISDAY to Claim N40bn from ACN, CPC, PDP Spokespersons

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Leaders and Co Ltd, publishers of THISDAY newspapers, will today commence legal action at the Federal High Court, Abuja, against Messers Joe Igbokwe and Alhaji Ibrahim Modibbo, both of Action Congress of Nigeria, Yinka Odumakin of Congress for Progressive Change and Cletus Akwaya of the Peoples Democratic Party for impugning the integrity of the newspaper.     They are also being sued for imputing wrong motives against the editors of THISDAY in the discharge of their duties as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.     The newspaper is claiming that these men are trying to intimidate and harass its journalists with a view to stopping them from publishing the results of the ongoing and weekly THISDAY/Ipsos Poll ahead of the 2011 general election because the poll results, in a particular edition, did not favour their principals.  

  They are being sued in the sum of N10 billion each in their personal capacities.  

  'They will be challenged in the court of law to provide the strictest proof of their libelous and defamatory allegations against the newspaper,' THISDAY Director of Administration, Barrister Gbayode Somuyiwa, said.  

  THISDAY, in a landmark move to promote free, fair, transparent and open elections in Nigeria engaged Ipsos, the world's leading polling firm, to conduct political polling in   Nigeria across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, on who they were likely to vote for in the presidential election as well as in the governorship polls.  

  The results showed that President Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP could win the election by 60.3 per cent while his party could lose the governorship poll in five states.  

  But while the results have been generally commended, those who believe the results were not favourable to them have resorted to a libellous campaign against the newspaper.  

  THISDAY legal advisers had warned that while people were free to express their opinions and even disagree with the results, they would not take kindly to any claim of impropriety against the newspaper.  

  Ipsos, which has deployed its expertise in the UK, US, Brazil and South Africa, among other countries, is respected globally for the accuracy of its polling.  

  In a statement issued yesterday, Ipsos explained its processes and procedures thus: ''Ipsos initially conducted a face-to-face survey of 11,100 Nigerians. Interviews were conducted in-home by trained interviewers between   25 January 2011 and 8 February 2011. The first poll, covered in this press release, covered a range social and political issues.  

'The survey comprised only registered voters and those planning to register to vote in time for the elections in April 2011. Respondents were therefore asked at the beginning of the interview if they have registered to vote in the elections in April 2011.

  Over nine in ten (92%) indicated they were registered to vote, and the remaining 8% indicated that they were still planning to register to vote and so their opinions were included in the results.  

  'Ipsos undertook a stratified, multi-stage probability sampling technique in order to neutralise potential forms of bias that might affect the accuracy and reliability of the data collected.   This technique applies random selection methods at every stage of sampling and ensures that all Nigerian adults of voting age (males, females, urban and rural dwellers, and all social classes) are given a known chance of being selected to partake in the polling.  

  'The survey covered all of Nigeria. Within each region the selection of sampling locations - a mix of urban, semi-urban and rural - was generated randomly in order for all locations to be given an equal and known chance of being selected. At least five, but no more than ten, interviews were conducted in each primary sampling unit (PSU) to facilitate spread of interviews and adequate representativeness.  

  'In total 1,730 sampling points were randomly selected across the federation. This was done to ensure the most comprehensive coverage of the population possible.  

  'Following from the selection of the sampling point, is the selection of dwelling structures via the 'Day Code' which determines the actual interviewing starting point. The date of the interviewing day was considered for the 'day code'.   E.g. If the day's date was 9 the first house to be contacted was house number 9; in the same vein, if the day's date was 29, the first place of contact was house number 2.   This was calculated as follows: 2 + 9 = 11 and 1 + 1 = 2.    

  'The random route walk method with a fixed sampling interval was used.   The sampling interval was fixed. A sampling gap of 1:3 was used in both medium and low density areas while a 1:5 sampling gap was observed in high density areas.  

  'Households were selected through the standard random route walk pattern, which is the systematic procedure by which an interviewer selects respondents in the field. The field supervisor in charge of four interviewers allocates different streets to each of them, showing them in which direction to walk i.e. whether the right or the left sides of the street should be kept to. After the supervisor allocates each interviewer a different random route walk he then chooses to accompany and monitor each of the interviewers.  

  'To select a person within a household, all the adults, males or females (depending on the gender to interview) aged 18 years and above, were listed by name on the respondents selection grid table, otherwise known as the 'Kish Grid' (a table of randomly generated numbers).The listing was done from the oldest to the youngest eligible persons and one household member was selected.  

  'Interviews were conducted face-to-face in all 36 states of the federation and the FCT (Abuja). This approach ensured that people who do not own or have access to a telephone were given an equal chance of being selected. Regionally and locally based interviewers were used to carry out the interviews (meaning these interviewers will be more familiar with the local region and languages), and interviews were always conducted in the respondent's preferred language (English, Pidgin, Igbo, Yoruba or Hausa) to ensure congruence with language and ethnicity of the respondents.  

  'All interviewers went through a two-day training program to ensure consistent administration of the questionnaire across the sample, a practice which is in line with internationally recognized research standards.  

  'The data were weighted using 2006 census figures to ensure a match between the survey sample and the Nigerian population.  

  'Fieldwork for the second poll was conducted between 25 February to 16 March 2011 via a mix of face-to-face in-home and telephonic re-contact interviews of the initial sample of 11,100 interviewees. Where respondents could not be re-contacted they were substituted by a face to face interview with a respondent who was matched in terms of age, gender, SEC, education level and area.  

  'All sample surveys are subject to statistical error, depending on sample size, interviewing methodology and response rate. The margin of error for the national figures in this poll is 0.93. This means that in 95 out of every 100 cases, the findings will fall within +/- 0.93% range when looking at the national results. The margin of error for state level figures is +/- 6.3%.  

  'Ipsos fully adheres to the ICC-ESOMAR International Code of Marketing and Social Research.  

  'Ipsos has successfully used identical face to face polling methodologies in the following developing markets; Mexico, Brazil, Bolivia, Venezuela, Argentina, Colombia & South Africa.  

  'Electoral telephonic polling has successfully been conducted in the aforementioned developing markets as well as in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Italy, Spain, Japan, Serbia and France.  

  'This is the first time such a comprehensive polling exercise has been conducted in Nigeria both in terms of the vast number of Nigerians whose opinion was asked, as well as the global expertise that was used throughout the full process. I.e. polling experts from Ipsos MORI (UK), Ipsos US, Ipsos Markinor South Africa, Ipsos Brazil, Ipsos Canada and Ipsos Nigeria were involved throughout this study.'  

Further results from THISDAY/ IPSOS Poll will be published next week.  

  By Davidson Iriekpen