The weekly social media rating of presidential candidates’ engagements on the popular social platform, Facebook, on Wednesday showed that the candidate of the People’s Trust (PT), Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim maintained the lead in engagements over APC’s presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari and PDP’s Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
The development comes amid reports that about 70 percent of the voting population is yet to decide on who to vote for in the scheduled February 16 presidential election.
The Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, had recently hinted that the youth population, who are mostly on the social media, might decide the winner of the election.
These reports have excited the Presidential Campaign Organisation of Olawepo-Hashim, who overtook Buhari and Abubakar on 10th December 2018, and has remained on top with the highest engagements on social media for four consecutive weeks.
This has shown that Olawepo-Hashim is the most prominent presidential candidate that is being discussed on the social media, going by the data released on Wednesday, January 9th, 2019 in Abuja.
Olawepo-Hashim recorded Facebook engagements in excess of 17,000 while Abubakar, who came second, recorded a little over 14,000. Buhari came third with engagements in excess of 3,000.
The statistics also showed that the presidential candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), Kingsley Moghalu and the candidate of Alliance for New Nigeria(ANN), Fela Durotoye and other presidential candidates were trailing behind.
Data analysts involved in the polling project, said the data on each of the candidates were realistic because “Facebook represents the broad spectrum of voters who will vote in the February poll.”
According to them, “increasing engagements imply voters’ growing interest in the candidates while a decreasing result reflects voters’ disenchantment. A static return means a candidate is at a crossroads in the campaign.”
The analysts said in their report that Olawepo-Hashim’s growing engagements’ rating was a measure of voters’ interest in him as a third force alternative.
“He is no longer part of the pack of third party candidates. He has moved ahead to emerge as a real alternative to both Buhari and Atiku. This is a game changer from data perspective,” according to Segun Seriki, the lead analyst for the project.
“The latest data point to a major upset within the struggle for Nigeria’s presidency; we are making the report available to all the major candidates.”
“Our latest data reflect a major upset in the battle for the Presidency. It is no longer a two- horse race. There is now a third force that is overtaking the old alternatives.
“We are still following the data but for now, Olawepo-Hashim has pulled the impossible to maintain a four-week lead over President Buhari and Atiku Abubakar,” he said.