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Bola Tinubu is suffering from Shy Trumpers syndrome

Bola Tinubu is suffering from Shy Trumpers syndrome
February 07
08:11 2023

Over the last few weeks, we have seen the publication of polling results across the nation. Many of these polls are tipping Peter Obi, candidate of the Labour Party (LP), for president. 

Like clockwork, once the poll results are published, supporters of the various parties begin to discuss them and tell the world how their candidates are doing great in certain states. They go on and conclude that they are on the way to victory. Anything to the contrary will be considered to be electoral manipulation.

My gospel today is to tell all pollsters and poll readers to calm down. History has a few lessons for us to learn, and one of those lessons is from Donald J. Trump, the 45th president of the United States. From 2015 to 2016, Hillary Clinton led almost all the polls. She was spotlighted as the next president of the United States.

She was the woke candidate, the incoming first female president of the United States, Barack Obama’s anointed successor. She was the delight of the sane Americans. Pew Research Centre, arguably the most respected pollster in the world, consistently projected a Clinton win. With the benefit of hindsight, it is clear that Pew was wrong.


After the elections, Pew did a post-mortem on why the polls were off the mark, and one of their conclusions was that people were not being totally honest with pollsters. According to Pew, “the idea of so-called ‘shy Trumpers’ suggests that support for Trump was socially undesirable, and that his supporters were unwilling to admit their support to pollsters”.

Shy Trumpers were people who were sure they will vote for Trump but they will never admit it to their family, friends, colleagues, and definitely not admit it to pollsters. Why? Simply because Trump was not cool, he was brash and had many elements not to desire him.

Shy BATs

Bola Ahmed Tinubu is popularly called BAT, for good and for bad. I recently saw a post where he was referred to as Batman, who is coming to fix the economy. In much of the polls, Tinubu has done quite poorly. He’s behind in the ANAP-NOI poll, which is known to accurately predict winners in the Nigerian elections. He is grossly behind in the Nextier poll, which was published over the weekend,


Tinubu has also lost out on the Bloomberg poll and a few others. And, I believe it is like the Trump case: Shy supporters.

The candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) makes a gaffe at almost every rally. He gave us the ultimate Balablu,  he popularised Agbado, he wants down payment for a roasted corn, and has promised eight years for a four-year course. The list of gaffes is endless.

He is advanced in age, his health has been brought into question, his academic records are the subject of perennial debates, and supporting him is often time equated to not loving your country.

So many Tinubu supporters will rather not say they are supporting him, if you ask them in a public poll, they will say, they are for some other candidate who is cool, acceptable, and socially desirable. Peter Obi, for instance, is that candidate; when you say you’re supporting him, it is often interpreted that you love your country, you’re wise, you’re woke, and you’re in your right senses.


This social situation, I believe, has skewed many polls conducted in the country. Shy Tinubu supporters, or if I may call them “Shy BATs” exist, and the election results will prove me right or wrong.

Thou shall not despise polling

While the Shy Trumpers or Shy BATs syndrome might be active in Nigeria, it is not enough reason to discard polling altogether. Polling is important and has proven to be so in the past. Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, recently admitted on TV that the APC has been carrying out its own polling, which he said has shown a large number of undecided voters.

This corroborates the position of the ANAP poll, which recorded an increased number of undecided voters. According to ANAP, 29 percent of voters were undecided as of December 2022. The poll is telling politicians what to do; work hard to win over the undecided voters. Do this, and you will have won the elections. Tinubu knows the fuel and naira scarcity is very likely to work against him and swing undecided voters to his opponents, hence, the drama of the past week.

My final admonition to you is not to set yourself up for disappointment; read poll results with caution, and understand that human decisions are trickier than one poll question. Give room for Shy BATs in your analysis. And may the force be with you.


All the best to you and your candidate; may the best man win.

Reach ‘Mayowa on Twitter via @OluwamayowaTJ 



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