By Isaac Olamikan
When the self-acclaimed Ten Million Viewers TV, an online TV Channel operated by one Stanley Igunbor, came up with the idea of a sort of a straw poll on the chances of the two contestants for chairmanship of Edo State NUJ Council 2021 poll many people had their doubts about his motives.
From my experience about this method of votes assessment I knew that one of the secrets of such straw poll is that it will boost the recognition of the medium organising it, boost its income in some cases and also give a window of objectivity to the likely outcome of the real poll.
The argument of those opposed to it was that it could be manipulated by an interested party. The process according to the organiser was to stretch across two social media platforms – WhatsApp and Facebook – for 72 hours(three days).
From the wee hours of day one the voting pattern was so clear and unambiguous of who the Victor would be. FESTUS ALENKHE had an unassailable 52 out of the 52 votes cast on Facebook. By the second day of the voting the gap between the two contestants had expanded to over 130 to zero votes in favour of FESTUS ALENKHE on the Facebook platform.
By the close of the third and final day the result that emerged was that FESTUS ALENKHE garnered all the over 200 votes cast.
One shocking thing that came up is that Mr. Stanley Igunbor failed to close up the votes at the end of 72 hours as he earlier stipulated while promoting the straw poll rather he changed the rules of the game and the wordings of the promo announcement.
Wherein in the earlier promo he was talking of two contestants – Festus Alenkhe and Titus Akhigbe – contesting for the chairmanship of the forthcoming Edo NUJ poll and voters should vote by indicating either Titus Akhigbe or Festus Alenkhe in their ballot he rephrased it to say that FESTUS ALENKHE was gunning to replace the incumbent, Sir Roland Osakue and voters should just vote yes or no.
Meanwhile, the list of journalists that are qualified to participate in the electoral process – to vote and be voted for – had been pasted on the NUJ Secretariat Notice Board a few hours after the Ten Million Viewers TV straw poll commenced. However, as soon as the outcome of the poll did not favour Titus Akhigbe a plan was hatched whereby one of the Chapel’s came up with an idea of increasing their voters list by almost 99 percent in a suspected move to favour a candidate, a thing never heard of in the history of the Union even at the national level.
Igunbor made a cameo appearance at the Secretariat of the NUJ on the fifth day and he was called into a meeting by Titus Akhigbe in his office where they spent hours in the closed door meeting. Igunbor emerged from the meeting to announce the extention of the voting days to infinitum.
Now, you can see what fear can cause. Another issue that fear is about to derail is the day of manifesto which has generated a lot of debate on whether to be or not to be.