Nigerians have passed a vote of confidence on President Muhammadu Buhari administration and are also optimistic that the nation’s economy and democracy are moving in the right direction.
This was the outcome of an opinion poll conducted in the six geo-political zones of the country by the International Republican Institute (IRI), an arm of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
During the poll, there were 13, 409 contacts and 7,901 completed interviews, comprising 51 per cent male and 49 per cent female.
Unveiling the poll result yesterday during a press briefing in Abuja, the acting regional director, IRI, John Tomaszewski, said that despite regional divisions and dwindling economy, 54 per cent of Nigerians feel that the country is headed in the right direction.
Of the respondents, 68 per cent were from the North and 38 per cent from the South, but there are stark divisions in perceptions about the country’s trajectory.
On corruption, 53 per cent of the respondents believe that corruption has decreased significantly; twenty-seven per cent think it has increased, while 18 per cent believe corruption in the country has remained the same.
The poll result revealed that 40 per cent of the respondents in the North-East believe the country is headed strongly in the right direction, compared to just 10 per cent in the South-East, while 49 per cent strongly believe that the country is moving in the wrong direction.
When asked about the condition of the country’s democracy, 46 per cent said it has changed for the better since the 2015 elections; 21 per cent said there has been no significant change; 29 per cent said it changed for the worse while four per cent did not respond.
On security, 57 per cent believe that their community is ‘very safe’; 24 per cent believe it is ‘fairly safe’; 11 per cent, ‘not very safe’, and nine per cent believe it is ‘not safe at all’.
The survey also showed that 26 per cent of the respondents believe that unemployment remains a significant menace in the country and that it is the most burning issue facing the nation; 19 per cent believe that the falling value of the Naira and the state of the economy are the most important issue; 15 per cent, corruption; 14 per cent, fuel scarcity, 13 per cent, security; 10 per cent, electricity, while three per cent said infrastructure is the most important issue facing Nigerians.
On personal economic situation, 57 per cent of the respondents said that their situation had gotten worse while 22 per cent said it remained the same.
“This poll attests to the significant work that Nigeria’s government must do to address regional divisions and other issues of governmental responsiveness and accountability affecting the Nigerian people, and also highlights the tremendous achievements of the Nigerian people in committing to the democratic process despite the difficulty of past elections.
“It is also a promising indicator for the country’s democratic development since the return to democracy in 1999,” Tomaszewski said.
According to him, the survey also revealed a widespread perception that corruption is declining, with 53 per cent of respondents reporting that corruption had decreased in the past year.
He noted that Nigerians remain polarised between North and South, but that they generally support the democratic process and believe that democracy has improved since the 2015 national elections.
He stated that a majority of respondents also consider democracy to be more important than prosperity, compared to 37 per cent who think otherwise.
Tomaszewski remarked that this preference for democracy comes despite the crippling economic challenges facing the country.
In the poll, all respondents were aged 18 and older. Interviews were conducted by phone in five major languages spoken in Nigeria: English, Pidgin English, Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo. Geographic quotas were assigned to ensure that every senatorial district was proportionately represented in the sample across all 36 Nigerian states.
The margin of error does not exceed plus or minus 1.2 per cent at the mid-range with a confidence level of 95 per cent.
The survey was conducted by NOI Polls under the supervision of Chesapeake Beach Consulting and the International Republican Institute between April 18 and May 6, 2016.