Nigerians Lend Their Support For The Proposed National Conference

Abuja, Nigeria. February 18th, 2014 - Latest weekly poll results released by NOIPolls Limited have revealed that almost 9 in 10Nigerians (87%) have affirmed their support for the proposed constitution of a national conference. Of the 87% in support of the proposed conference, 27% are of the opinion that “it will bring progress and development to Nigeria”; while 21% believe it will bring unity, as well as peace (19%) to the country. On the other hand, for those against the proposed national conference (13% in all)35% of believe the conference “is a waste of time and money”, and25% say it will be ineffective. The poll also revealed that 79% of the respondents are of the opinion that the outcome of the national conference should be subjected to a referendum. It is interesting to highlight that respondents to the poll further suggested that the top three key stakeholders who should be part of the national conference are religious leaders (51%), traditional rulers (47%) and civil society organizations (37%).These are the key findings from the National Conference Snap Poll conducted in the week of February 10th 2014.

 
Brief Background
Over the years, various advocacy and rights groups have been clamouring for the constitution of a national conference. Interestingly, the core essence of the advocacy for a national conference was best captured by the words of late Chief Gani Fawehinmi: “The root cause of our national tragedies is the fundamental defects that have always afflicted the process of determining every constitutional framework of the polity. Our constitutional arrangements since 1914 to date (2000) have never truly reflected the political, economic, social, cultural and religious realities of the country.”[1]
 
In line with this in January 2014, the Federal Government on Thursday unveiled the modalities of the National Confab, disclosing that a total of 492 delegates will partake in the dialogue which would be named National Conference[2]. The aim of the National Conference is to address these fundamental defects and find solutions to all the problems that afflict the polity.
 
Against this background, NOIPolls conducted its recent poll on the National conference to gauge the level of awareness and support of Nigerians for the proposed National Conference; mode of selection of delegates; groups to be represented, as well as the final outcome of the National conference.
 
Respondents to the poll were asked seven specific questions. The first sought the awareness of Nigerians on the national conference. Respondents were asked: Are you aware of the on-going discussion to constitute a National Conference? Overall, the slight majority (54%)of the respondents are aware of the on-going discussions to constitute the National Conference while 46% of Nigerians claim they are not aware. This shows that the level of awareness among the populace has increased when compared to results of a similar poll conducted by NOIPolls in April 2012 which revealed a low level of awareness since the vast majority (88%) claimed they were not aware then.[3]
 
Further analysis, by geo-political zones, indicates that the North-East zone (83%) has the highest proportion of respondents that indicated awareness of the call for a National Conference while the North-West zone (65%) has the highest proportion of respondents who are not aware of the national conference. In addition, there was a significant difference in awareness by gender as more male (70%) than female (39%) Nigerians are aware of the call for the National Conference.

 

Subsequently, in order to gauge the level of support Nigerians have for the National Conference, respondents were asked: Are you in support of the proposed constitution of a National Conference? Responses to this question showed that approximately the overwhelming majority; 9 in 10 Nigerians (87%) are in support of the proposed constitution of a National Conference.  

 

Furthermore, in order to assess the reasons surrounding the support for the national conference, respondents who indicated support for the National conference (87% of the total)were asked: Why are you in support of this National Conference? Findings revealed that Nigerians have a wide variety of reasons why they support the National Conference. The majority (27%) support because “it will bring progress and development to Nigeria”, this is followed by 21% of respondents who believe “it will bring unity to Nigeria” and, 19% of the respondents who say “it will bring peace to Nigeria”. Furthermore, 16% of the respondents claim “it is a platform to dialogue”, 8% of the respondents think “it is good for the nation” and 7% of the respondents suggest “national issues will be addressed”.

Analysis based on geo-political zones revealed that the North-West zone (47%) has the highest proportion of Nigerians who suggest the National conference “will bring progress and development”, while the North-East zone (33%) accounts for the largest proportion of respondents that say “it will bring peace to Nigeria”.  Also, the South-South zone (36%) has the highest proportion of Nigerians that are of the opinion that the National Conference “is a platform to dialogue”.

 

Subsequently, in order to unearth their reasons for not supporting the National Conference, respondents who are not in support of the National Conference (13% of the total) were asked: Why are you not in support of this National Conference? Responses reveal that the majority (35%) are of the opinion that “it is a waste of time and money”, while 25% say that “it will be ineffective”. Furthermore, 21% “it is not necessary”, 7% say “it is an arranged conference” 6% suggests “the outcome will not favour the masses” while another 6% believe “the National Assembly is capable of handling national issues”.


From the geo-political zones viewpoint, the North-East zone (56%) has the highest proportion of respondents that believe “it is a waste of time and money” and the South-South zone had the largest (50%) proportion of respondents who say “it will be ineffective”. Also, the South-East zone (33%) represented the majority of respondents that say “it is not necessary”.

 

The fifth question sought to gauge the ratification of the modalities by which delegates would be selected, respondents were asked: Are you satisfied with the proposed modalities via which delegates would be selected for the conference? In response to this question, the overall majority (71%) acknowledged that there are satisfied with the modalities in which the delegates for the national conference would be selected. Comparatively, 29% of the respondents are not satisfied with the mode of selection of delegates.  

From the geo-political zones perspective, the South-East zone (83%) have the highest proportion of respondents that are satisfied with the mode of selection of the delegates. This is followed by the North-Central zone with 79% and the South-South zone with 73%. In addition, the North-East zone (40%) accounts for the highest number of respondents who are not happy with the proposed modalities via which delegates would be selected for the national conference.

 

Subsequently, respondents were asked: List three groups of people that must be represented in the National Conference?  From the result, the majority (51%) want “Religious leaders” to be present in the conference. This is followed by the “Traditional rulers”(47%); “The civil society organizations” (37%) and “Political parties” (27%). Furthermore, other groups that the populace want to be represented in the National Conference “All ethnic groups”(22%); “Technocrats / professionals” (20%); “Youth leaders” (19%) and the “Organized private sector” 11%.

 
Findings based on geo-political zones shows that the North-East zone has the highest proportion of respondents that say “Religious leaders” (72%) and “Traditional rulers” (68%)should be  represented in the National Conference while the South-East zone (48%) has the highest proportion of respondents who say “Civil society organizations” should also be equally represented. Furthermore, the North-West zone (63%) has the highest proportion of respondents who say “All ethnic groups” should be present.

 

Finally, in order to further explore the opinions of Nigerians regarding the outcome of the conference decisions, respondents were asked: In your opinion, should the outcome of the National Conference be subjected to a referendum? The result illustrates that the majority (79%) think that the outcome of the conference should be subjected to a referendum where Nigerians would be able to vote for or against the recommendations of the conference. 

Findings based on geo-political zones reveal that the South-East zone (85%) has the largest proportion of respondents that wants Nigerians to vote for or against the recommendations of the conference. This is followed by the South-South zone with 82%. The North-West zone records the highest proportion of Nigerians (41%) who do not want the outcome of the National Conference to be subjected to a referendum.

 

In conclusion, findings from this current poll have revealed that the majority of Nigerians (54%)are aware of the constitution of a national conference and 87% of Nigerians are in support of the proposed constitution of a national conference. In line with this, the poll reveal that majority (27%) who are in support of the National Conference feel “it will bring progress and development to Nigeria”, while the majority of those that are not in support (35%) think “it is a waste of time and money”. The poll also reveals that Nigerians think the three major groups that should be represented in the National Conference are religious leader (51%); Traditional rulers (47%) and civil society organizations (37%). Furthermore, 79% of the respondents were of the opinion that the outcome of the national conference should be subjected to a referendum. Finally, while Nigerians have shown great support for the proposed constitution of a national conference, experiences from previous National Conferences can be used as strategic tools better planning to maximise the outcome of the proposed National Conference.

 
Survey Methods
The opinion poll was conducted in February 10th to 12th 2014. 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 3%. NOIPolls Limited, No. 1 for country specific polling services in West Africa, which works in technical partnership with the Gallup Organisation (USA), to 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] A Call For Genuine Sovereign National Conference, An Alternative to Chaos, Catastrophe and Disintegration – Gani Fawehinmi (2000)
[2] http://premiumtimesng.com/
[3] http://www.noi-polls.com/index.php?s_id=3&p_id=204&p_pt=1#.UwFT3umPJy0