Nigerians Hail the March 28th 2015 General Elections as Free and Fair

 

Abuja, Nigeria. April 2nd, 2015 – Latest snap poll results released by NOIPolls Limited have revealed that 9 in 10 voters (94 percent) believe the 2015 March 28th general elections were free and fair. This belief was maintained by Nigerians regardless of gender, age and geo-political zones; however a proportion of respondents from the South-East zone (13 percent) reported the elections were not free and fair. Also, Nigerians are generally satisfied with the state of security in their various localities during the elections, as a total of 81 percent (41+40 percent) of respondents gave a good rating to this regard.

More findings revealed that 84 percent of the respondents who voted in the 2015 elections also voted in the 2011 elections; and a larger proportion of respondents in this category observed that the 2015 elections were excellent compared to the 2011 (32 percent) and much better than 2011 (48 percent). These results indicate a positive progression in Nigeria’s electoral processes from 2011. Given this breakthrough, for further progress in the electoral processes, voters suggest INEC improves the functionality of the card readers which were introduced to reduce the possibility of fraud.

Finally, while commending INEC for this major breakthrough in the history of Nigeria elections, in the last lap of the race for the gubernatorial elections coming up on 11th of April 2015, there is need for review of the electoral processes to identify lapses which occurred during the general elections, in order to avert such issues during the gubernatorial elections.  Some of which have been identified in the areas of the card readers, as well as training and punctuality of INEC officials. These are some of the key findings from the Post General Elections poll conducted inthe week of March 30th 2015.

Brief Background

After the postponement of the proposed Nigerian general elections from 14th February, 2015 by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to 28th March, 2015 due to the ongoing “BokoHaram” Insurgency mostly in the North-Eastern part of the country, voters elected the President and members of the National Assembly (House of Representatives and Senate), in an exercise that extended to the 29th of March 2015 due to delays and technical problems from the biometric cards and card readers.[1]

The Presidential and National Assembly elections were agreed to have been free, fair and conducted in a peaceful atmosphere[2], with comments coming from observers and the international community, and also a congratulatory message from the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon. Still on the conduct of the elections, the ECOWAS Election Observation Mission stated that Nigeria’s March 28, 2015 presidential and federal legislative elections met the “criteria of being free and transparent,” despite “pockets of incidents and logistical challenges.”[3]

Against this background, NOIPolls conducted a Post General Elections Poll, to gauge the opinion and perception of Nigerians who voted on Saturday 28th of March, on the general conduct of the elections. The poll also sought to gauge the perception of Nigerians on the state of security during the elections period, and their rating of the 2015 general elections compared to the general elections in 2011.

Key Findings

Respondents were asked six specific questions; firstly respondents were asked if they voted in the 2015 March 28th general elections; this served as a screening question. Respondent who voted were allowed to continue the interview, while respondents who did not vote had their interview terminated at this point.

Subsequently, respondents were asked: In your opinion, do you think the 2015 March 28th general elections were free and fair? Findings revealed that the vast majority of voters (94 percent) believe the 2015 March 28th general elections were free and fair. This belief was maintained by Nigerians regardless of gender age and geo-political zones; however a proportion of respondents from the South-East zone (13 percent) indicated otherwise as they reported the elections were not free and fair.

 

With the aim of assessing security during the elections, respondents were asked: How would you generally rate security in your locality during the Saturday general elections? Overall, Nigerians were satisfied with the state of security in their localities during the elections as a total of 81 percent (41+40 percent) of respondents gave a good rating and this cut across age-groups, gender and geopolitical zones. The North-East zone accounted for the largest proportion of respondents who gave a good rating of the level of security in their localities.

In addition, while 13 percent of the respondents rated the election security as fair, a total of 6 percent gave a poor rating to this regard; this is mostly true for voters from the South-East (14 percent) and South-South (8 percent) zones.

Furthermore, respondents were asked: Did you vote in the 2011 general electionsFindings revealed that 84 percent of the respondents who voted in the 2015 elections also voted in the 2011 elections.

 

Respondents who voted in the 2011 elections (84% of the total) were further asked: How would you compare the 2015 general elections to the one conducted in 2011? Respondents who voted both in the 2011 and 2015 general elections mainly testified that the 2015 elections were excellent compared to the 2011 (32 percent) and much better than 2011 (48 percent).  This therefore suggests a positive progression in the electoral processes from 2011. In addition, 11 percent of the respondents perceived the 2015 elections to be worse than the 2011 elections.

Again the South-East zone (26 percent) accounted for the largest proportion of respondents who reported the 2015 general elections were worse than the 2011 general elections. On the other hand, the North East zone (91 percent) accounted for the largest proportion of respondents who gave a positive rating of the 2015 elections in comparison to 2011.

 

Finally, respondents were asked: In your own words, what do you think INEC should do to further improve on the electoral processes The first step to improving the electoral process suggested by the respondents (34 percent) would be to improve the functionality of the card readers which were introduced by INEC in the 2015 elections to reduce the possibility of fraud.

Furthermore, to further improve electoral processes, Nigerians also  suggest INEC should; ‘maintain transparency’ (11 percent); ‘Keep up the good work’ (9 percent), and ‘show honesty’ (9 percent) among other suggestions.

 

In conclusion, the poll revealed that the vast majority of voters (94 percent) the 2015 March 28th general elections were free and fair. An assessment of the state of security during the March 28th 2015 elections revealed that Nigerians are satisfied with the state of security in their various localities during the elections, as a total of 81 percent (41+40 percent) of respondents gave a good rating; and this cut across age-groups, gender and geopolitical zones.

More findings revealed that 84 percent of the respondents who voted in the 2015 elections also voted in the 2011 elections and when asked to compare both elections, respondents who voted both in the 2011 and 2015 general elections observed that the 2015 elections were excellent compared to the 2011 (32 percent) and much better than 2011 (48 percent). 

Finally, following the successful conduct of the 2015 March 28th general elections, voters suggest that for further improvement of the electoral processes, INEC should ‘Improve the functionality of the card readers’ (34 percent), ‘maintain transparency’ (11 percent); ‘Keep up the good work’ (9 percent), and ‘show honesty’ (9 percent) among other suggestions.

Survey Methods

The opinion poll was conducted in the week 30th March 2015. 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 percent confidence that the results obtained are statistically precise - within a range of plus or minus 3 percent. NOIPolls Limited, No1 for country specific polling services in West Africa, works in technical partnership with the Gallup Organisation (USA). 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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Email: editor@noi-polls.com

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigerian_general_election,_2015

[2]"Release of AUEOM Preliminary Statement on Nigeria Elections". African Union. 29 March 2015. Retrieved 30 March 2015.

[3] http://theeagleonline.com.ng/ecowas-hails-nigerias-elections-as-free-despite-hitches/