Nigerians Demand Improvements in Education, Security and Electricity Supply in 2019

Abuja, Nigeria. January 8th, 2019 – The New Year poll report released by NOIPolls has revealed that most Nigerians want the government to mainly focus its attention on Education (49 percent), Security (44 percent), Electricity supply (36 percent) and Economy (32 percent) amongst other sector/areas in 2019. It is not surprising that education topped the list this year given the series of challenges facing the sector. For instance, poor funding is one of the major reasons for the deterioration and challenges in the education sector, especially tertiary education, which has led to frequent strikes by academic and non-academic staff since the early 1990s. The Federal Government’s allocation to education in the last 10 years has been inadequate as only a total of N3.90 trillion or an average of 7.07 percent has so far been allocated to the sector out of a total budget of N55.19 trillion.[1] Also, a Demographic Health Survey (DHS) conducted by the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and the Nigerian government revealed that the number of out-of-school children rose from 10.5 million in 2010 to 13.2 million in 2015 in Nigeria.[2] 

On security, 44 percent of Nigerians reported that they expect the government to improve on the issue of security in Nigeria as they believe it has not fared well in 2018. The nation witnessed a drastic breakdown of internal security challenges in 2018 ranging from terror strikes in the North-East to herdsmen and farmers conflicts in the North-Central to militants operating in the South-South. These cnflicts come in several forms such as communal, religious, political and socio-economic conflicts with varying degree of casualties, mostly civilians. For instance, the tension between herdsmen and farming communities saw a dramatic escalation in the first quarter of 2018 especially the attacks that occurred in some local government areas in Benue, Plateau, Adamawa, Nasarawa and Taraba states; which involved the loss of lives and properties leaving many people displaced from their homes.[3] 

Opinions on power revealed that 36 percent of the respondents expect the government to significantly focus its attention on the sector, considering that this sector has faced huge challenges over the years. According to the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, the country’s power generation was at its peak at 7,000 megawatts (MW) in August 2018.[4] Despite reaching a peak of 7,000 megawatts (MW), it was still inadequate considering the country’s population. Hence, adequate electricity means that Nigerians will be empowered to work from the domestic level and the cottage industries, through the small-scale and medium industries to employment in the large-scale manufacturing complexes. Therefore, the federal government and concerned stakeholders need to place high priority on ensuring that challenges surrounding these sectors are immediately resolved to improve the economy and foster national development. 

On the economy, 32 percent disclosed that they expect the government to focus its attention on all aspect of the country’s economy. This is not surprising considering that Nigeria's economy did not fare well in 2018. For instance, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 1.81% (year-on-year) in real terms in the third quarter of 2018. However, the average Nigerian is yet to feel the impact of this increase in the country’s GDP because it is marginal and negligible. According to the African Development data on Nigeria’s Economic Outlook in 2018,  about 152 million Nigerians live on less than 2 dollars per day and this figure represents about 80 percent of the country’s estimated 190 million population. Also, the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Article IV consultation report on Nigerian economy for 2018 revealed that the Nigerian economy is slowly exiting recession although remains vulnerable to external shocks such as huge fiscal deficit, low economy diversification, increasing domestic risks and rising banking sector risks.[5] 

Finally, the government should do its best to tackle and improve on these areas Nigerians believe did not fare well in 2018. More funds should be allocated to the education sector and the internal security policy and strategy should be reviewed to accommodate new dimensions of security challenges in the country. Also, the government should revamp the power stations to perform at optimal capacity and diversify power sources so as not to overburden current sources. There is also a need for the government and other stakeholders to create an enabling environment for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to thrive as well as ensure that industrial manufacturing companies in the country are operating at full capacity. These are the key highlights from the New Year poll conducted in the week commencing December, 17th 2018

BRIEF BACKGROUND

New Year is one of the most important and prominently celebrated days in Nigeria and Nigerians wholeheartedly wait for the New Year to arrive. During the New Year celebration, one can clearly draw a precise picture of the rich heritage, culture, customs and tradition of the country. The celebration comes in form of parties in various public gardens, family homes, discotheques, etc. Nigerians of all age groups, irrespective of their background mutually drink, eat, dance and celebrate with cheer and splendour offering a matchless experience. 

As Nigerians enjoy the moment, it is also a time for hope as people become more optimistic for the new year. Many individuals and organizations seize the opportunity to organize their plans for development. People make resolutions with the hope to be better socially, economically and spiritually than in the previous years. In essence, individuals and even organizations use the New Year day or the first day of work as the case may be, to make plans in the hope of realizing improved quality of life and better dividends from their businesses in the months to follow. Against this background, NOIPolls conducted this poll to assess the 3 key areas Nigerians expect the government to focus its attention on in the next 12 months. 

SURVEY FINDINGS

The poll results revealed that a higher proportion of Nigerians (49 percent) want the government to focus its attention towards improving the quality and standard of education in the country given the current state of the sector. Similarly, 44 percent expect the government to drastically improve the security situation in the country, while 36 percent cited electricity supply considering the challenges faced in these areas in previous years. Other areas that Nigerians wants the government to focus its attention on in 2019 include ‘Economy’ (32 percent), ‘Agriculture’ (29 percent), ‘Job creation’ (26 percent), ‘Infrastructure’ (22 percent) and ‘Health care’ (18 percent) amongst others.

 

Further analysis by geo-political zones revealed certain peculiarities across geo-political zones regarding the areas Nigerians expects the government to focus its attention on in 2019. For instance, while education (64 percent) and security seem to be a priority for residents from the North-West and North-East zones, electricity appears to be a more pressing issue for Nigerians in the South-South zone. Similarly, residents in the South-West zone indicated economy as the most pressing area where the government should focus its attention on in 2019.

In conclusion, the poll has revealed that the quality and standard of education is Nigeria is unacceptable as most Nigerians task the government to improve the sector in 2019. Also, Nigerians lamented over the state of internal security in the country in 2018 hence 44 percent specifically mentioned that the government should tackle security challenges in 2019. Beyond the current 7,000 Mega Watts (MW) of electricity being generated, 36 percent of Nigerians want the government to improve the sector so as to empower SMEs and other ventures to grow their businesses. It is therefore the responsibility of the government to listen to the demands of its citizens and work to improve in these areas to ensure a better quality of life for the average Nigerian. Finally, it is advised that the government put an end to the various security challenges that pervaded Nigeria in 2018 so as to attract more investors. 

Survey Methods

The Poll was conducted in the week commencing December 17th, 2018. It involved telephone interviews of a random nationwide sample. 1,000 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical 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 4.65%. NOIPolls Limited, 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 

Disclaimer

This press release has been produced by NOIPolls Limited to provide information on all issues which form the subject matter of the document. Kindly note that while we are willing to share results from our polls with the general public, we only request that NOIPolls be acknowledged as author whenever and wherever our poll results are used, cited or published. 

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. 

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[1] https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/04/education-free-fall/

[2] https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/top-news/288344-nigeria-now-has-13-2-million-out-of-school-children-ubec.html

[3] https://allafrica.com/stories/201807270076.html

[4] https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/08/power-generation-rises-to-7000-mega-watts-fashola/

[5] https://www.pulse.ng/finance-key-issues-debilitating-the-nigerian-economy-as-identified-by-imf/zq7cvsz