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Nigerians united on democracy, divided on anti-corruption war – Survey

A new survey by the International Republican Institute (IRI) has shown that despite majority of Nigerians consider democracy above economic prosperity, they were sharply divided…

A new survey by the International Republican Institute (IRI) has shown that despite majority of Nigerians consider democracy above economic prosperity, they were sharply divided on President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption war efforts.

The survey released on Tuesday in Abuja by the IRI Acting Regional Director, Africa, John Tomaszewski show that 57 percent respondents said the economy has gotten worse in the last one year, while 20 percent said it has improved and 22 percent said there is no difference.

The report however recorded 54 percent of same respondents saying democracy is more important to economic prosperity opposed to 31 percent who want economic prosperity above democracy. 

He however noted that though Nigerians remain polarized between North and South especially with more negative views on the anti-corruption war in the south than the north, they support the democratic process and believe that it has improved since the 2015 national elections.

“Divisions in perceptions of the country’s trajectory are stark. Almost half of respondents in the North-East (40 percent) said the country is headed strongly in the right direction, compared to just 10 percent in the South-East, where 49 percent believe that the country is moving strongly in the wrong direction. A similar split can be seen in regional perceptions of the economy 75 percent of respondents in the South-East think the economy has gotten worse, compared with 44 percent in the North-East.

“The survey also reveals a widespread perception that corruption is declining, with 53 percent of respondents reporting that corruption has decreased in the past year. However, it is important to note that this perception is largely split between the North-South lines, with more negative views noted in the South than in the North,” the survey said.

According to the report, despite sharp regional divisions on national issues, questions regarding elections indicate commitment to the concept of the democratic process nationwide.

“This poll attests to the significant work that Nigeria’s government must do to address regional divisions and other issues of governmental responsiveness and accountability affecting the Nigerian people. But it also highlights the tremendous achievement of the Nigerian people in committing to the democratic process despite the difficulty of past elections, and is a promising indicator for the country’s democratic development since the return of democracy in 1999,” Tomaszewski said.

IRI country Director Sentell Barnes said the research conducted by NOIPolls under the supervision of Chesapeake Beach Consulting and the IRI between April 18 – May 6, 2016 attempted a total of 13, 409 interviews while 7, 901 interviews were completed for respondents 18 years and above, translating to a response rate of 58.92 percent.

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