Abuja, Nigeria. February 14th, 2017 –Latest public opinion poll results released by NOIPolls Limited have revealed that majority of Nigerians (67 percent) declared their support for the “#IStandWithNigeria” campaign and findings revealed that the motivation for this support was mostly centred around the increasing economic hardship facing the country (38 percent); the suffering of Nigerians from hunger (21 percent) and the high cost of goods and services (16 percent) among other reasons given by Nigerians. On the other hand, 33 percent showed no support for the campaign and of this proportion, 30 percent admitted that the government is doing its best, 20 percent advocated that the government needs to be given more time to settle in and govern well; while another 20 percent stated that they see no basis for supporting the campaign because they feel protests will not solve Nigeria’s problems.
In the face of an economic downturn; as a way of addressing the concerns of Nigerians, 29 percent of respondents urged the Federal Government to devise means of reviving the economy. Also, 23 percent of the respondents admonished the government to enforce price control mechanism and this is in line with the recent steps taken by Federal Government to set up a task force to look at the causes of increase in the prices of food items across the country and address them. Finally, some respondents (10 percent) appealed to the government to create more job opportunities to reduce the adverse effects unemployment has created in the country while another 10 percent made an intriguing recommendation that the ‘President should change his ministers’.These were some of the key findings from the ‘#IStandWithNigeria’ campaign poll conducted in the week of February 6th, 2017.
In order to express their displeasure at the current government’s policies which many Nigerians perceive as the reason for the undesirable lack of economic growth, protests were held in major cities across Nigeria. The protest tagged ‘#IStandWithNigeria was held on the 6th of February 2017 and took place in various Nigerian cities including Lagos, Abuja, Oyo, Benin, Uyo and Port Harcourt concurrently. The participants to these protests used the opportunity to communicate their grievances, most of which were; lack of transparency and accountability on how the 2016 budget was expended, high cost of living, astronomical increase in price of goods and services, poor state of electricity, high cost of health care, zero business opportunities, insensitivity of the federal government, state government and the legislators to the loss of lives and properties. Other reasons for the protest include; high rate of unemployment, high cost of education and unfavourable business environment for start-ups or entrepreneursamong other reasons. The protest convened by EiE (the Enough is Enough group), to call on government for good governance ,saw a massive turnout of both everyday Nigerians and celebrities alike, with representatives of some civil society organizations under the umbrella of ‘OneVoiceNigeria’ and was also initiated by Nigeria’s multiple award winning musician, Innocent Ujah Idibia popularly known as 2Baba or Tuface Idibia.
As events leading to the protest unfolded, news filtered into the Nigerian social space that Tuface Idibia, had pulled out of physical participation saying that he was not convinced that the rallies will not lead to a breakdown of public order. Nonetheless, the Enough is Enough Nigeria group carried on with the protest as planned, citing that Nigerians cannot be prevented from expressing themselves in peaceful protests, which is also a fundamental right of the people. Protesters carrying several placards, made demands on the government, chanting the saying ‘’enough is enough”. In view of the above, NOIPolls conducted a survey to gauge the awareness and perception of Nigerians regarding the protests and suggestions on how the government should address the concerns of Nigerians.
The poll initially sought the awareness of Nigerians on the #IStandWithNigeria campaign and findings revealed that almost 7 in 10 of the respondents (69 percent) confirmed that they are aware of the campaign whereas, 31 percent said they were unaware which led to the termination of their interviews at this point.
Out of the 69 percent that indicated they were aware of the protest, 67 percent (which formed the majority) indicated support for the campaign and the South-East (89 percent) and the South-West (88 percent) zones accounted for the larger proportion of Nigerians that declared their support for the protest.
On the other hand, 33 percent indicated that they are not in support of the campaign and residents from the North-East (64 percent) and the North-West (58 percent) zones had the highest number of respondents who did not support the campaign.
Subsequently, respondents (67 percent) who showed support for the campaign cited ‘economic hardship’ (38 percent) as one of the main reasons they supported the campaign, and analysis by geo-political zone further revealed that residents from the North-East zone had more respondents (81 percent) relating their support for the campaign to economic hardship. This is followed by respondents who stated that ‘there is humger in the land’ (21 percent) and majority of respondents in this category are residents from the North-West zone (26 percent).
In addition, 16 percent of the respondents attributed the reason for their support to high cost of goods and services. This finding further corroborates a report by Ventures Africa which revealed that the Naira fall has affected the prices of commodities in the country; Nigerians aged between 18 - 35 years had the largest proportion that made this assertion. Other reasons given by Nigerians for supporting the protest are ‘bad governance / leadership’ (8 percent), the ‘need for positive change’ (6 percent) and ‘things are not working’ (3 percent), among other reasons.
Contrarily, most Nigerians who opposed the campaign gave their reasons stating that the ‘government is trying its best’ (30 percent) and this assertion was made mainly by residents from the North-East zone. While 20 percent proclaimed that the ‘government needs more time’ to get things done, another 20 percent believed that the protest will not ‘solve the issues’ citing previous protests and industrial actions which failed to yield positive results in Nigeria in the past. This is also supported by a statement made byAsiwaju Bola Tinubu while addressing some protesters in Lagos that protest will not solve the problems in Nigeria.
Other reasons given by Nigerians for not supporting the protest include ‘it is politically motivated’ (8 percent), ‘economic recession is global’ (8 percent) and ‘the President has good intentions’ (6 percent) among other reasons.
Lastly, the poll sought the views of Nigerians on what the government should do to address these concerns and top among the suggestions given reflect the present undesirable lack of economic growth as 29 percent of the respondents stated that the government should ‘revive the economy’. Also, the desire for Nigerians to afford goods and services at reasonable prices had made 24 percent of the respondents to request the government to 'enforce‘price control mechanism’. Although Nigeria is more of a market based economy where businesses are free to determine prices of goods and services, respondents believe that price control would serve as a relief, especially at this time when high inflation rates have caused an increase in the cost of commodities, making them unbearably high.
Furthermore, the problem posed by unemployment was also addressed as 10 percent want the government to ‘create more job’ opportunities. Also, another 10 percent of the respondents made an intriguing recommendation that the ‘President should change his ministers’; it took the President several months to come up with a list of his would-be ministers, and on 11th November 2015, he assigned portfolios to the confirmed 36 ministers who were expected to implement his change agenda but Nigerians seem not to be satisfied with their performance so far. Other mentions include ‘intensifying the fight against corruption’ (6 percent), ‘invest more resources in agriculture’ (6 percent), ‘open up our borders to allow imports’ (5 percent), and ‘government should be more responsible’ (4 percent) among other suggestions.
In conclusion, the poll has shown that majority of Nigerians (69 percent) are aware of the “#IStandWithNigeria” campaign and 67 percent of that proportion declare support for the protest. The main reason as indicated by a majority (38 percent) is the increasing economic hardship in the country. Likewise, 21 percent of the respondents mentioned that they support the protest because there is hunger in Nigeria, while 16 percent expressed concern over the high cost of goods and services. On the other hand, of the 33 percent who showed no support for the campaign, 30 percent admitted that the government is doing its best and 20 percent advocated that the government needs to be given more time to address the challenges facing the nation.
As a way of addressing the concerns of Nigerians, 29 percent of respondents urged the Federal Government to devise strategies to revive the economy. Also, respondents stated that prices of goods and services in the country are on the increase on a monthly basis and the masses are surely at the receiving end. In line with this, 23 percent encouraged the government to enforce a price control mechanism, which is a step that has recently been taken by Federal Government, as it has set up a task force to look at the causes of increase in the prices of food items across the country and address them. Some respondents (10 percent) further appealed to the government to reduce the unemployment level in the country by creating more job opportunities.
The opinion poll was conducted in the week of February 6th 2017. It involved telephone interviews of a random nationwide sample. 1,000 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geo-political zones in the country, were interviewed. With a sample of this size, we can say with 95% confidence that the results obtained are statistically precise - within a range of plus or minus 3%. NOIPolls Limited is the No1 for country specific polling services in West Africa. We conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at www.noi-polls.com
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NOIPolls hereby certifies that all the views expressed in this document accurately reflect its views of respondents surveyed for the poll, and background information is based on information from various sources that it believes are reliable; however, no representation is made that it is accurate or complete. Whilst reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document, no responsibility or liability is accepted for errors or fact or for any views expressed herein by NOIPolls for actions taken as a result of information provided in this report. Any ratings, forecasts, estimates, opinions or views herein constitute a judgment as at the date of this document. If the date of this document is not current, the views and content may not reflect NOIPolls’ current findings and/or thinking.