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Survey Reveals Mixed Views on Nigeria’s Democracy, Officials

A man points to campaign posters of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and candidate of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos, March 21, 2015.

A new survey by the non-partisan Afrobarometer finds wide support for democracy among Nigerians preparing to held to the polls in Saturday’s election.

However, the survey also found high levels of dissatisfaction with elected officials.

The research network said it interviewed 2,400 adults between December 5, 2014 and January 19, 2015 from 33 of Nigeria’s 36 states, as well the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja.

Nengak Daniel Gondyi, program manager at CLEEN Nigeria, an Afrobarometer partner, said some elected officials received poor approval ratings and were perceived by a majority of respondents as corrupt.

“What we found is that Nigerians support democracy and they prefer it as their system of government. But, what was surprising was their level of support for values that are not reconcilable with democracy,” he said.

Gondyi said some Nigerians in the survey prefer to live under military rule while some prefer to have a president with unlimited tenure in office and not checked by the parliament.

He also said the performance of most political office holders received weak approval ratings and the public’s view of their elected officials was characterized by high levels of “perceived corruption.”

“We found that the national assembly members were thought to be the most corrupt and that was followed by another finding that they were the least trusted. We also found that the president and his officials were thought to be corrupt,” Gondyi said.

On the other hand, Gondyi said state governors received appreciable approval ratings in the survey.

He defended the reliability of the survey, saying Afrobarometer is top of the list when it comes to conducting surveys in Africa.

“We interviewed 2,400 Nigerians drawn from a representative sample in Nigeria and we conducted the field work in December 2014 and some of it in January 2015. So, the data is very current and the people we worked with are trained. They were very rigorous in cross-checking the quality of the data and our statisticians tell us that we only had a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percent at a 95 percent confidence level,” Gondyi said.

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