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Majority of Nigerians say country going in ‘wrong direction’

Almost two-thirds of Nigerians say the country is “going in the wrong direction,” a recent Afrobarometer survey reveals. Though harsh, this assessment represents an improvement from 2015.

The government’s macroeconomic performance is less favourably rated than its performance in fighting corruption. Even so, an overwhelming majority of citizens are optimistic that the country has a brighter economic outlook.

Released at a point when Nigeria is recovering from economic recession, these findings reflect the concerns of most Nigerians regarding the country’s socioeconomic development.

Key findings

  • § More than six in 10 Nigerians (63%) say the country is “going in the wrong direction,” a 9-percentage-point improvement from 2015 (Figure 1).

  • § Government is more favourably rated for its performance in fighting corruption (59% say it has done “fairly well” or “very well”) than in managing the economy (33%), improving living standards of the poor (25%), creating jobs (25%), ensuring food security (19%), keeping prices stable (18%), and narrowing income gaps (16%) (Figure

  • 2).

  • § A majority (60%) of citizens say the country’s economic condition is “fairly bad” or “very bad.” Almost the same proportion (57%), however, describe their personal living condition as “fairly good” or “very good” (Figure 3).

  • § Almost half (48%) say the country’s economic condition is “worse” or “much worse” compared to a year ago. But an overwhelming majority (82%) are optimistic that things will be “better” or “much better” in 12 months’ time (Figure 4).


Afrobarometer is a pan-African, non-partisan research network that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, economic conditions, and related issues across more than 35 countries in Africa. Six rounds of surveys were conducted between 1999 and 2015, and Round 7 surveys (2016/2018) are currently underway. Afrobarometer conducts face-toface interviews in the language of the respondent’s choice with nationally representative samples.

The Afrobarometer national partners in Nigeria, CLEEN Foundation and Practical Sampling International, interviewed a nationally representative, random, stratified probability sample of 1,600 adult Nigerians between 26 April and 10 May 2017. A sample of this size yields country-level results with a margin of error of +/-2% at a 95% confidence level. Previous surveys have been conducted in Nigeria in 1999, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2012, and 2014.


Figure 1: Overall direction of the country | Nigeria | 2017

Respondents were asked: Would you say that the country is going in the wrong direction or going in the right direction?

Respondents were asked: How well or badly would you say the current government is handling the following matters, or haven’t you heard enough to say?

(% who say “fairly well” or “very well”)

Figure 3: Economic and living conditions| Nigeria | 2017

Respondents were asked: In general, how would you describe:

- The present economic condition of this country?

- Your own present living conditions?

Figure 4: Economic condition: Looking back and ahead | Nigeria | 2017

Respondents were asked:

-Looking back, how do you rate economic conditions in this country compared to 12 months ago?

- Looking ahead, do you expect economic conditions in this country to be better or worse in 12 months’ time?

For more information, please contact:

Ojewale Oluwole

Afrobarometer Dissemination Manager

CLEEN Foundation, Nigeria

+234 8063026114


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