Democracy Day Special 2012

June 4, 2012.  Exactly a year ago, on May 29th 2011, Dr Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan took the oath of office as the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In his inaugural speech, President Jonathan declared, “The leadership we have pledged is decidedly transformative. The transformation will be achieved in all the critical sectors, by harnessing the creative energies of our people. We must grow the economy, create jobs, and generate enduring happiness for our people. I have great confidence in the ability of Nigerians to transform this country.”

One year later, the approval and performance of the President and his administration have been attended with mixed reactions. On one hand, there are supporters who believe President Jonathan is a good man and has good intentions for the country, but lacks the ability and will to follow through with his policies and plans. There are others who suggest that one of his major achievements as a leader has been his ability to successfully broker and maintain peace in the Niger Delta region – based on the amnesty deal initiated by his predecessor. On the other hand, there are also sceptics who believe the President’s leadership so far has been abysmal; criticising his government's purported lacklustre approach at responding to the country’s security challenges, particularly the Boko Haram insurgency, which has led to the untimely death of hundreds of innocent Nigerians, as well as citing his alleged lack of true commitment at tackling the country’s corruption burden.

Against this background, NOI Polls Limited, an Abuja based opinion research and knowledge management organisation, recently conducted a snap poll to gauge the opinions of Nigerians regarding the performance of the President Jonathan and his administration, and his approval rating, after 1 year in office.

Methodology
The opinion poll was conducted between May 23rd and 25th, 2012. It involved 1,033 nationwide telephone interviews of randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, and representing the six geopolitical zones in the country. With a sample of this size, we can say with 95% confidence that the results obtained are statistically precise - within a plus or minus 5% margin of error, of what they would have been if the entire population had been surveyed. The margin of error reflects the influence of data weighting and question wording, while practical difficulties in conducting surveys may introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls. The questionnaire was designed in English and the survey was conducted in English, Hausa, Yoruba, Ibo, and Pidgin, to ensure coverage of relevant geographical and demographic groups. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software was used for data entry and analysis. Descriptive statistics, mainly frequencies and percentage distribution, charts (pie and bar) and cross tabulations were used in data analysis.

Demographic Distribution of Respondents
From the total sample size of 2000 respondents, 1033 completed telephone interviews were conducted. From the completed interviews, 64% of the respondents were males and 36%, females. Furthermore, majority of the respondents (48% and 38%) were within the age categories of 36-44 and 27-35 respectively, while 8%, 5% and 1% were within the categories of 18-26, 45-60 and 61+ years respectively. In addition, majority (19%) of respondents were professional workers while 17% classified themselves as government workers/civil servants. An equal proportion (15%) classified themselves as business men/women and artisans, while 9% and 8% were students and Youth Corpers respectively. 7% of the respondents were unemployed while 6% were self-employed/traders.

 

Table I. Demographic Distribution of the Sample

Variable

Response

Frequency

Percentage %

Gender

Male

Female

664

368

64

36

Age Category

18 – 26

27 – 35

36 – 44

45 – 60

61 and Above

79

388

498

55

6

8

38

48

5

1

 

 

Occupation

Govt. Worker/Civil Servant

Professional Worker

Business Man/Woman

Farmer/Agric. Worker

Artisan

Unemployed

Student

Religious Leader/Missionary

Youth Corper

Self Employed/Trader

Others

171

193

158

23

152

76

92

8

83

57

15

17

19

15

2

15

7

9

1

8

6

1

Findings

Opinion about the performance of the present administration

Respondents were asked their opinions about the performance of the present administration since its inauguration on May 29th 2011 to date. Majority of the entire respondents (37%) rated the administration’s performance as average, while 31% said they had performed well. 17% said they had performed poorly, while 10% said they had performed very well. Only 5% said the present administration has performed very poor. 

 

Furthermore, in comparing within gender, the survey revealed that majority of both male (40%) and female (36%) respondents rate the performance of the administration as average; while 30% and 31% of male and female respondents, respectively, said the administration had performed well. In comparing within age category, majority of respondents between the ages of 18-26 (37%) and 27-35 (34%) said administration had performed well, while 41% and 49% of respondents between the age category of 36-44 and 45-60 respectively, rated the performance as average. Overall, the poll result shows that a higher proportion of Nigerians rated the administration’s performance more positively (41%), than those that rated the administration negatively (22%).

Table II. Performance Rating of the Present Administration

Category

Responses

Performed Very Well

Performed Well

Performed Averagely

Performed Poorly

Performed Very Poorly

By Gender

Male

10%

31%

36%

18%

5%

Female

10%

30%

40%

17%

3%

By Age Category

18-26

13%

37%

34%

15%

1%

27-35

12%

34%

32%

19%

3%

36-44

8%

28%

41%

17%

6%

45-60

5%

27%

49%

15%

4%

61+

50%

0%

50%

0%

0%

Total

10%

31%

37%

17%

5%

Approval of the Performance of President Goodluck Jonathan

Apart from rating the performance of the administration, respondents were also asked whether or not they approve the performance of President Goodluck Jonathan since his official swearing in a year ago, on May 29th2011. Interestingly, more than 5 in 10 Nigerians (54%) said they approve of the President’s performance, while about 2 in 10 Nigerians (20%) disapproved his performance. An equal proportion (11%) said they strongly approve and neither approve nor disapprove of his performance. Only 4% of the respondents said they strongly disapprove. 

 

In addition, when analysed by gender and age category, the poll results clearly affirmed that the majority of both male and female respondents and across all the age categories approve the performance of President Goodluck Jonathan. On average, more than 6 in 10 Nigerians (65%) say they approve and strongly approve his performance; while about 2 in 10 Nigerians (24%) say they disapprove and strongly disapprove his performance. It is important to note that this current 65% approval represents a 14% decline from the previous 79% approval, which the President was rated in 2010 (while serving as Acting President), as presented in NOI’s 4th National Poll (Nov. 2010).

Table III. Approval of President Goodluck Jonathan since May 29th 2011

Category

Responses

Strongly Approve

Approve

Neither Approve nor Disapprove

Disapprove

Strongly Disapprove

By Gender

Male

11%

54%

11%

20%

4%

Female

11%

55%

12%

19%

3%

By Age Category

18-26

14%

52%

14%

16%

4%

27-35

12%

52%

13%

20%

3%

36-44

9%

56%

9%

21%

5%

45-60

11%

53%

16%

20%

0%

61+

17%

33%

0%

33%

17%

Total

11%

54%

11%

20%

4%

Rating the Performance of President Goodluck Jonathan on a 10-point Scale

In other to throw more light on the level of approval or disapproval of the president’s performance, respondents were further asked to score the performance of President Goodluck Jonathan on a 10-point scale. Interestingly, majority of the respondents (23%) scored the president’s performance a 5/10 mark, while 14%, 13% and 12% scored his performance 4/10, 6/10 and 7/10 respectively. Also, 9%, 8% and 7% scored him, 8/10, 1/10 and 3/10 respectively. The least proportion was 4% of respondents who scored his performance 9/10. On average, almost 5 in 10 Nigerians (48%) scored the president’s performance, since May 29th 2011, between 5 and 7 on a 10-point scale.

 

The Most Important Issue the Administration Should Address in the Next 3 Years
Lastly, respondents were asked to comment on the most important issue(s) that President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration needs to address within the next 3 years. An overwhelming majority (37%) were of the opinion that the administration needs to address the security challenges facing the country. This is followed by the need to resolve the massive unemployment situation (20%), improving electricity supply (12%) and education (8%). An equal but small proportion of respondents (3%) suggested the eradication of corruption and the boosting of agriculture; while only 2% mentioned the need to strengthen the economy, address food crisis, reduce poverty, enhance good governance and improved transportation.

It would be recalled that in the NOI’s 4th National Poll, released in November 2010, the four most important issues that Nigerians wanted the government to address at the time were – Electricity (19%), Job Creation (12%), Corruption (10%), and Education (10%). However, the recent poll has shown that the current insecurity challenges (37%) facing the country, particularly the Boko Haram menace, has taken the spotlight of issues that Nigerians critically want President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration to address; although it is still followed by job creation, electricity and education.

 

Conclusion and Policy Recommendations

In conclusion, the results from this poll have shown that while President Jonathan’s administration is mainly considered to have performed averagely, the President on his own still enjoys some level of positive approval from Nigerians (65%) in terms of his performance. Although this approval rating marks a decline from the 79% positive approval he enjoyed in 2010 (while serving as Acting President). The analysis also revealed that while this rating cuts across gender and age categories; almost 5 in 10 Nigerians (48%) scored the President performance between five and seven on a 10-point scale. In addition, Security, Job creation, Electricity Supply and Education featured as the most important policy priority of Nigerians at the moment.

Consequently, several important policy recommendations emerged from this special Democracy Day Poll. Firstly, President Goodluck Jonathan should realise that although his administration is currently ranked average and Nigerians approve of his performance; notwithstanding, his approval rating is on the decline. Therefore he needs to double his efforts and focus on critical areas that would have far-reaching implications on the lives of Nigerians; else his current approval rating may continue to experience further decline. Secondly, the administration urgently needs to tackle the security challenges facing the country, particularly the Boko Haram menace. It would be recalled that an August 2011 Snap Poll conducted by NOI Polls suggested the combination of effective force and dialogue as a means of tackling the Boko Haram menace. There also needs to be adequate investment in modern infrastructure and intelligence equipment for policing, as well as effective training and retraining of security personnel at all levels.

Thirdly, the administration needs to focus its policy on stimulating a more friendly business environment, in order to attract both local and foreign investors, who would in turn create jobs for the teeming mass of unemployed youths. The need for this is highlighted by the increasing rate of crime, militancy, and youth restiveness that has previously been linked to the level of unemployment in the country. Although the YouWinscheme for encouraging budding entrepreneurs is quite laudable; nonetheless, the high rate of unemployment in the country makes the scheme appear like “a drop in the ocean” to resolving the unemployment challenge. Therefore, sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and the creative industry (Nollywood and Music) ought to be promoted with the right policies and funding, because of their enormous potentials for wealth generation and job creation.

In addition the administration needs to further strengthen its commitment towards improving the provision of electricity supply in the country. For instance, 12 to 18 hours availability of electricity supply would impact positively on the economy and significantly assist in job creation. Also, it is important for the administration to show more commitment to the fight against corruption; not just in words, but also in action; by ensuring that cases of corruption are followed through to their logical conclusion, and those found guilty are made to squarely face the wrath of the law, commensurate to their offences.