Nigerians Show Strong Support for President's Anti-Corruption Campaign; Highlighting Investment of Recovered Funds on Job Creation

Abuja, Nigeria. September 1st, 2015 – A recent poll result from a polling partnership between BusinessDay Media and NOIPolls Limited has revealed that Nigerians (85 percent) are aware of the President’s on-going campaign against corruption, and more than 9 in 10 Nigerians (95 percent) have shown strong support for the campaign. This support by Nigerians cut across gender, age and geographical divides of the respondents surveyed. In the same vein, a significant proportion of Nigerians (86 percent) also want the President’s campaign against corruption to be channelled towards the ‘public sector’, most especially the oil and gas sector and the ‘Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC)’ (20 percent) amongst others.

Furthermore, as part of the procedures for the President’s anti-corruption campaign, some Nigerians (32 percent) suggest the government should invest the recovered funds on ‘job creation’, with the majority of respondents in this category aged between 25 – 30 years (38 percent). This comes as no surprise considering the high rate of youth unemployment & underemployment in the country, which currently stands at 26.5 percent for Q2 2015 as provided by the National Bureau of Statistics. In addition, 20 percent of respondents were of the view that the recovered funds be invested in ‘education’, while 14 percent suggested investments in ‘Agriculture’ amongst other sectors of the economy.

Finally ‘Life imprisonment’ topped the list of punitive measures recommended for corrupt officials and individuals as suggested by half (50 percent) of the respondents surveyed; although some Nigerians believe due process should be taken to convict corrupt individuals and allowed to be ‘punished according to the law’ (34 percent), while steps should be taken to ‘recover monies from corrupt individuals’ (11 percent) amongst other penalties. These are the key findings from the Corruption poll conducted in the week of 24th August 2015.

Brief Background

The World Bank’s 'Worldwide Governance Indicators' in 2013 placed Nigeria below an average of 30 percent on its scorecard of how countries seek to control corruption[1]. Similarly, Transparency International’s 'Corruption Perception Index' (CPI) in 2014 ranked Nigeria 136th out of the 174 countries it surveyed based on how corrupt their public sector is presumed to be.[2]

There is no doubt that the massive support received by President Muhammadu Buhari, at the March 28 presidential polls which witnessed his emergence, was propelled by his personal stance against corruption and his promise to deal ruthlessly with corruption and currupt officials during his tenure. Following his emergence, the President has commenced his promised campaign against corruption and irregularities in Nigeria by setting up a Presidential Advisory Committee on Anit-Corruption. He also set up a committee to investigate a shortfall in remittance by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) into the Federation Account since 2012, and to look into the Excess Crude Account and report back on the rationale to which it would continue or discontinue operation. The president has alse set up a committe to probe weapon procurement since 2007.

Borrowing the same leaf from the president, the Nigerian Senate has also set up a panel to investigate the alleged unauthorised spending of N567 billion being the cost of tax collected by the Nigerian Custom Service and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) from January 2005 to July 2015 [3]. In this regard, Nigerians have advised the president to consider all sectors of the economy in his bid to fight corruption and also to ensure transparency in the disbursement of funds recovered from the corrupt officials and individuals.

Against this background, NOIPolls Limited conducted a corruption poll to ascertain the awareness of Nigerians on the President’s recent campaign to fight corruption, the sector of the Nigerian economy where corruption is perceived to be most prevalent and recommendations on possible punishments for corrupt individuals.

Survey Findings

Respondents to the poll were asked six specific questions. To assess the awareness of Nigerians on the President’s fight against corruption, respondents were asked: Are you aware that President Muhammadu Buhari has embarked on a campaign to fight corruption in Nigeria? A significant proportion of Nigerians interviewed (85 percent) expressed awareness on the President’s fight against corruption in the country and a higher ratio in this category is from the North-East zone. This finding indicates a high level of awareness of the Presidents stance against corruption in Nigeria especially through all forms of media. However, 15 percent of respondents claimed not to be aware of the President’s campaign against corruption in Nigeria.

Respondents were asked: Are you in support of President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign to fight corruption in Nigeria? Findings revealed that the President’s corruption campaign has received the full backing of Nigerians as 95 percent registered their support. This cuts across gender, geo-political zones and age-group. A minority of respondents (5 percent) showed no support for the President’s anti-corruption campaign.

Respondents who are in support of the President’s corruption campaign (95% of the total) were further asked: In your opinion, which sector of the Nigerian economy should the President focus his fight against corruption? Findings revealed that the larger proportion of Nigerians (86 percent) want the President to focus his fight against corruption in the public sector. Moreover, the President had stated in an interview with CNN anchor, Christiane Amanpour, during his visit to Washington D.C., that he would not be partisan in the fight against corruption in the country, saying that “there will be no sacred cow in the fight against corruption”.[4] Also, 7 percent of Nigerians were of the opinion that the President should focus more on the private sector, whereas 1 percent mentioned the third sector such as non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

Respondents who indicated that the President should focus on the public sector in his campaign against corruption (86 percent of the total) were also asked: In your opinion, which specific agency/organization in the public sector should the President focus on? Findings revealed that the oil and gas sector, particularly the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) (20 percent) topped the list of sectors most Nigerians want the President to focus on in his fight against corruption. This finding therefore suggests that the opinion of Nigerians towards this organisation buttresses the displeasure of the President towards the operations of organisations in the oil and gas sector. This was made known to the public during a meeting held with a delegation of the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, where the President stated that he was disappointed with the way Nigeria’s oil industry had been operated since he left office as a former petroleum minister and as a military Head of State in 1985.[5]

Other sectors on the list in descending order are as follows; Ministry of Health (15 percent), Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources (10 percent), Police Service Commission (9 percent) amongst other sectors.

Furthermore, respondents were asked: In your opinion, in which sector of the economy should the government invest most of the monies recovered from corrupt individuals? Findings indicate that most Nigerians (32 percent) want the government to invest the recovered monies in ‘employment creation’ with a majority of respondents in this category aged between 25 – 30 years (38 percent). This is not surprising considering the high rate of youth unemployment in the country. This is closely followed by respondents who want the recovered monies to be invested in ‘education’ with a  majority of Nigerians in this category from the North-East zone (35 percent). Also, 14 percent stated that the government should invest recovered monies in ‘agriculture’ amongst other economic sectors in the country.

Further analysis by gender revealed that more female than male respondents want the government to invest the recovered monies in job creation (41 percent) and education (22 percent) respectively.

Lastly, respondents were asked: In your opinion, what would you recommend as punishment/penalty for corrupt individuals? ‘Life imprisonment’ topped the list of punishment/penalty recommended for corrupt individuals as stated by half (50 percent) of the respondents surveyed. While one third of Nigerians believe corrupt individuals should be “punished according to the law’ (34 percent), other Nigerians are of the opinion that corrupt individuals should have their properties seized and all stolen funds be recovered (13 percent) among other recommendations.

In conclusion, the poll revealed that Nigerians are aware (85 percent) and strongly in support (95 percent) of the President’s on-going campaign against corruption in the country. Moreover, 86 percent of these respondents indicated that the President should focus his campaign mainly in the ‘public sector’, with key focus on the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) (20 percent) amongst other organisations.

Finally, majority of respondents want the government to invest recovered funds primarily in ‘Employment Creation’, (32 percent) ‘Education’ (20 percent), ‘Agriculture’ (14 percent) and 'Power' (10 percent) amongst other sectors; while recommending ‘Life imprisonment’ (50 percent) as punishment to be meted out to corrupt officials convicted and found guilty.

Survey Methods

The opinion poll was conducted in the week of 24th August 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% confidence that the results obtained are statistically precise - within a range of plus or minus 3%.

About NOIPolls

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

About BusinessDay Media

BusinessDay, established in 2001, is a daily business newspaper based in Lagos, Nigeria. It is the only Nigerian newspaper with a bureau in Accra, Ghana. BusinessDay Media Ltd is the leading medium for up-to-date news and insightful analysis of business, policy and the economy in Nigeria, a critical decision-making tool for investors and managers. It provides unbiased news and informed analysis on politics, governance, social and economic trends.

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] World Bank, 2013. Enterprise Survey.

http://www.enterprisesurveys.org/data/exploreeconomies/2013/nigeria

[2] Transparency International, 2014. Corruption Perceptions Index. www.transparency.org

[3] http://thestreetjournal.org/2015/08/nec-engages-foreign-firms-for-forensic-audit-of-firs-nnpc-cbn-others/

[4] http://leadership.ng/news/448669/no-sacred-cows-in-fight-against-corruption-buhari

[5] http://www.punchng.com/news/past-govts-promoted-corruption-in-oil-sector-buhari/