A new survey has shown that though a majority of Nigerians believe that elections are the best method to choose their leaders, they do not trust the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), chaired by Mr Mahmood Yakubu, to conduct a credible exercise.
Later this month, Nigerians will vote to elect a new President, with many youths happy that there is a third option for them to choose from, unlike in the previous elections, in which two major political parties contested.
In the latest Afrobarometer survey, a large majority of the respondents agreed that multiple political parties are needed to provide voters with a genuine choice and that once elections are over, the losing side should accept defeat and work with the government to help the nation flourish.
While a majority of citizens believe that the last national election in 2019 was generally free and fair, popular trust in the INEC is declining.
According to the key findings of the report, about 71 per cent of Nigerians support elections as the best way to choose their leaders, with about 69 per cent agreeing that Nigeria needs many political parties to ensure that voters have a real choice, a 13-percentage-point rebound from 2020.
It was observed that 78 per cent of the respondents say that once an election is over, the losing side should accept defeat and cooperate with the government to help it develop the country rather than monitoring and criticising it, while 56 per cent of the respondents said the last national election, in 2019, was generally free and fair, but almost four in 10 believe otherwise.
The survey showed that only 23 per cent of Nigerians said they trust INEC “somewhat” or “a lot,” while more than three-fourths (78 per cent) express “just a little” or no trust at all in the election-management body.
Afrobarometer is a pan-African, non-partisan survey research network that provides reliable data on African experiences and evaluations of democracy, governance, and quality of life.
Eight survey rounds in up to 39 countries have been completed since 1999. Round 9 surveys (2021/2022) are currently underway. Afro barometer’s national partners conduct face-to-face interviews in the language of the respondent’s choice.
The Afrobarometer team in Nigeria, led by NOIPolls, interviewed a nationally representative sample of 1,600 adult citizens in March 2022. A sample of this size yields country-level results with a margin of error of +/-2.5 percentage points at a 95% confidence level. Previous surveys were conducted in Nigeria in 1999, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2014, 2017, and 2020.