Abuja, Nigeria. June 18 2013 – Latest weekly Snap Poll results released by NOI Polls Limited has revealed that about 6 in 10 Nigerians (63%) think a term of between 0 to 4 years is sufficient to effectively rule Nigeria. This shows a 1 point increase from a previous poll conducted in March 2011 to measure the citizen’s perception on the sufficient time needed to rule the country. Also, the majority (54%) of those aware of the recently proposed six-year single term bill are not in favour of this bill as 53% disapprove of any amendment to the current bill that permits a four year tenure with a maximum of 2 terms. An interesting find shows that 1 in 10 Nigerians (12%) agree with ‘life presidency’ where the President is allowed to stay in power indefinitely up from 10% in a similar poll in March 2011. These are a few of the key findings from the recent Length of Service Snap Poll conducted in the week of June 10th 2013
According to the 1999 Nigerian constitution, sections 135(2); 137(1)(b); 180(2) and 182(1)(b), Presidents and Governors of Nigeria are bounded by four-year tenure, with a maximum of two terms. In the past, several attempts have been made to amend this area of the constitution. One of such attempts was during the reign of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, where a third term was advocated. In 2011, President Goodluck Jonathan advocated a seven-year single-term for elective offices. In line with this, recently, the Senate Committee reviewing the 1999 Constitution suggested non-renewable single six-year tenure for the office of President, Vice-President, governors and their deputies. However, the recommendations given by the Senate panel excludes the President and current governors from partaking from the proposed length of tenure if it is eventually endorsed.
The proposed six-year single tenure by the National Assembly did not fall short of generating varied reactions from Nigerians. An interview conducted by Business Day Newspaper regarding the six-year single tenure showed that some groups in support of the Bill were of the opinion that the six- year single tenure would enable the president and the governors have sufficient time to make tangible accomplishments while others who oppose it believe it would disrupt good governance.
Against this background, NOI Polls conducted its latest poll on the Length of service in order to ascertain the views of Nigerians on how long the tenure of the President should be and to explore their perceptions regarding the proposed six-year single term.
Respondents to the poll were asked five specific questions. The first question sought to determine the views of Nigerians on an indefinite stay of the President in office: Do you think the President should be allowed to stay in office indefinitely? The overall majority (88%) are of the opinion that the President should not be allowed to stay in power indefinitely. It is interesting to note that 12% of the respondents responded affirmatively as they think the president should be allowed to stay indefinitely. Although this proportion (12%) is the minority, it does highlight the varied meaning of democracy in Nigeria, as this implies that some Nigerians can and will advocate for “Life Presidency”.
When the results are analyzed according to geo-political zones, the South-West zone accounted for the highest proportion of respondents (95%) that disagree to an indefinite tenure of the President. This is followed by the North-Central zone with 91% and the South-South zone with 89%. In addition the North-East zone accounted for the highest proportion of respondents (17%) that actually advocate for the President to stay in power for life.
 Business day: Mixed reactions trail proposed six-year tenure for president, governors
Responses for this question were compared to a previous poll conducted in March 2011. After two years the perception of Nigerians towards the President staying in office indefinitely has not changed significantly. There is only a 2 point drop with those opposed to an indefinite stay by the President 90% in 2011 versus 88% in 2013.
The second question sought to ascertain the opinions of Nigerians on how long a President should be allowed to stay in office to allow for effective rule of Nigeria. Respondents were asked: What do you think is a reasonable length of time for the President to effectively rule the country? In reaction to this question, the overall majority (63%) are of the opinion that a term which lasts between 0 - 4 years is appropriate to rule the country effectively. This is followed by 33% who think 5 - 8 years is a reasonable time while 4% think the term should last for more than 8 years.
From the geo-political zones perspective, the North-West zone and North-Central zones both had the same and highest proportions of respondents (68%) that say a 0-4 year range is a reasonable tenure for the President to effectively rule the country. Furthermore, the North-East zone accounted for the highest number of respondents (39%) that are of the opinion that a range of 5-8 years tenure is realistic for an effective rule of the President. Out of the minority that is advocating for a term of 8 years and above, the South-East and North-West zones had the highest proportions with 8% and 7% respectively.
Comparing the findings from 2011 and this current poll on ‘the reasonable length of tenure for an effective rule of the President’, once again there has been no significant change in the position of Nigerians. There was a 1% increase in the proportion of respondents in support of 0-4 year term from 2011 to 2013 (62% versus 63%). Also, there was a 3% reduction each in the proportion of respondents that say 5-8 years is sufficient for the President to effectively rule Nigeria and the proportion that think more than 8 years will suffice.
Subsequently, in order to ascertain the level of awareness of the proposed six-year single term bill, respondents were asked: Are you aware of the proposed single term bill which advocates single 6 year tenure for Presidents and Governors? Findings show that the overall majority (54%) are not aware of the proposed 6-year single term bill while 46% claimed awareness of the proposed amendment to the length of tenure of President and governors.
Further analysis across geo-political zones shows that respondents with the highest level of awareness of the proposed six-year single term are from the North-Central zone (56%), followed by the South-South zone (55%). Furthermore, the South-East and North-West zones had the highest proportion of respondents that showed no awareness of the proposed bill with 67% and 65% respectively.
Respondents that indicated their awareness of the proposed six-year single term (46% of the total) were asked the following question: To what extent do you agree or disagree with the proposed single term bill?The overall majority 54% (22% + 32%) disagree showing that they are not in support of the proposed bill while 35% (23%+ 12%) agree and are in support of the bill. Furthermore, 11% neither agree nor disagree to the proposed change in the length of rule of the President. From the geo-political standpoint, findings show the North-West zone accounted for the highest proportion of respondents (68%) who disagree to the proposed six-year single term bill, while the South-South zone (53%) has the highest proportion of respondents that agree to the bill. Furthermore, the North East has the highest proportion of respondents that are neutral (22%).
Finally, to support the findings in the previous question respondents were asked: Do you think the current system that permits a 4-year tenure with a maximum of 2 terms for the President and other elected officials should be amended? The overall majority (53%) responded negatively indicating they do not think it should be amended thus showing their approval of the current 4-year tenure with a maximum of 2 terms. Furthermore, 47% of respondents say yes to the amendment of the current system. This further supports the finding in question 4 where the majority (54%) disagrees to the six-year single term.
Analysis by geo-political zones reveals that the North-East zone had the highest proportion of respondents (64%) who do not favor an amendment of the length of tenure of Presidents. Moreover, the South-South zone accounted for the highest proportion of respondents (58%) that favor an amendment of the current system of 4-year with a maximum of 2 terms, this is followed by the South-West zone with 54%.
In conclusion, the results from this current poll have revealed that the majority of Nigerians who are aware of the recently proposed 6-year single term bill are not in favor of this bill. Majority of this group also does not favor the amendment of the current system of 4-years and a maximum of two terms. The level of awareness of the proposed single term bill is not high as the slight majority is not aware of it. Furthermore findings revealed that although there is a two year interval between the current poll and the one conducted in 2011, the perception of Nigerians towards the length of tenure of the President has not changed significantly. The majority (63%) are still content with a 0-4 year term as an appropriate period for Presidents, Governor and their Deputies to make valuable impact on the nation.
The opinion poll was conducted on June 10th to 13th 2013. It involved telephone interviews of a random nationwide sample. 1,006 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%. NOI Polls Limited is Nigeria’s leading opinion polling and research organisation, 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
This press release has been produced by NOI Polls 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 NOI Polls be acknowledged as author whenever and wherever our poll results are used, cited or published.
NOI Polls 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 NOI Polls 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 NOI Polls’ current findings and/or thinking.