I came across an article written by Dr. Dele Momodu titled “Buhari or Jonathan, let’s do some mathematics” two days ago. The title immediately caught my attention and interest. I like mathematics though I am no good at it but the thought that a well known Nigerian columnist was going to use mathematics to make some informed commentary on the possible electoral fortunes of GMB and GEJ, should these two men each win their party presidential nominations, was rather exciting and enticing.
So, I literally jumped on the said article. I refused to let my interest be dampened by content of the first three paragraphs. Indeed, the first two paragraphs were a classic in self indictment and political hara-kiri. In these paragraphs, Dr Momodu unwittingly sells himself as someone who as recently as 2011 formed judgments based on superficial considerations and also as someone who could be very easily brainwashed by propaganda. But let us leave those two troubled early paragraphs alone – it is not for us to tell Dr Momodu that such self presentation, no matter its present motivation, no matter its projected potential rewards and benefits, also produces very grievous and long lasting self damage. Any sensible cost benefit analysis should have advised Dr. Momodu not to write those early paragraphs the way he did.
Let us return to Dr. Dele Momodu’s election mathematics. It is built largely on the results of 2011 presidential elections upon which projections for voter behavior in 2015 are then insinuated. In making these insinuated projections, Dr Momodu fails to reflect all relevant contexts and developments in Nigeria since 2011 which should inform his “modeling”. The emergence of the APC is one which he correctly identifies, but the rest of the time in this article, Dr Momodu is mainly engaged in wishful thinking conveyed in rather fuzzy sentences at the end of most his paragraphs. Mathematical modeling is based on facts coupled with some reasonable assumptions about the behavior of the subject under analysis. Such assumptions are usually unpacked and made explicit. When mathematical modeling is used to predict behavior, the predictions are more likely to turn out to be true, the more social developments which have a bearing on the behavior being predicted are recognized as parameters in such modeling. Relevant social developments which Dr. Momodu’s model should have recognized include the following :
- In 2011 the GEJ presidency did not have as much successes to show as it has today, yet it could defeat GMB’s challenge in spite of that. Today, it has things to show even in GMB’s home state. Voters are not blind.
- Recent NOI polls show an incumbent whose popularity and performance ratings are on the increase across the entire country
- The arrival on the political scene of the APC has not worked the miracle of dramatic whittling of PDP presence and appeal in the “APC” states.
- The experiences in Ekiti and Osun and the fortunes of the APC and PDP in the recently held Guber elections in those two states are still fresh in our memories for any intelligent student of Nigerian politics to decipher.
- The rout of the ACN in Ondo state with Mimiko’s re-election is a knock on the myth of regional appeal of the ACN and what it has now morphed into,
- The recent rejection of the APC in Anambra state is an indication of the unpopularity of GMB in that state,
- The recent political upheavals in Adamawa state makes a definite statement on the popularity of the political parties, and
- The political realignments in the North Central geo-political zone, to mention but a few.
Dr. Momodu failed to carry these on board in his electioneering mathematics, a failure that then deeply flaws his projections. Luckily, Dr Momodu informs us that he scored an F9 in mathematics but one needs to remind Dr Momodu that maths is not so much about adding and subtracting, mechanical process for which a calculator would do just fine. No, maths is more about thinking and making justifiable inferences based on logical manipulation of numbers. Persons who demonstrate deficits in such processes do not deserve to be taken seriously. Dr. Momodu’s maths is clearly weak as are his unconvincing efforts at Buhari image laundering. Where he is strongest in this article is in self damage – a man who can say this of himself “And I actually found him more charismatic than my jaundiced eyes could have permitted” is certainly well set and an expert in self bashing.