A growing number of Nigerians are angry with President Muhammadu Buhari’s handling of the economy, but a majority blame the former administration of Goodluck Jonathan for the economic recession that has brought untold hardship, a new poll shows.
The October 2016 survey, the first by Governance Advancement Initiative for Nigeria (GAIN), since Nigeria officially fell into recession, sought to obtain Nigerians’ views on two issues.
The first asked who they Nigerians blamed for the recession, while the second question sought to compare the performance of the Buhari and Jonathan governments across a number of areas such as security, war against corruption, availability and affordability of food and the economy.
“While 60% of Nigerians held the Buhari government partially or completely responsible for the recession, 74% believe that the Jonathan government is to blame,” GAIN said in its report last week.
Also, “while nearly similar numbers (28% for PMB vs 25% for GEJ) believed both governments were partially to blame, more respondents (49% for GEJ vs 32% for PMB) believed that the Jonathan government was completely to blame for the recession”.
“Supporters and critics of the Buhari government can both take solace in these numbers,” co-coordinator of GAIN, Malcolm Fabiiyi, sad. “Those who argue that the profligacy of the Jonathan government led directly to Nigeria’s budgetary and economic crisis will take these results as vindication that Nigerians agree with their point of view.
He added: “However, critics will argue that although the Buhari government was dealt a bad hand by coming in at a time of low oil prices and a depleted treasury, it is the policy decisions that have been made in the last year that have tipped Nigerian into recession”.
Respondents also rated the Buhari government higher than the Jonathan government in three areas – security of lives and property, war against corruption and availability of fuel.
The Jonathan government received higher ratings on the economy, fostering of national unity, as well as the availability and affordability of food.
Majority of respondents indicated that nothing had changed in two sectors – housing (68%) and education (61%).
The Buhari government has been very vocal about ascribing the blame for Nigeria’s current budgetary shortfalls and foreign exchange woes on the failure of the Jonathan regime to shore up Nigeria’s reserves.
The poll results suggest that this argument has gained traction.
“However, we wish to sound a note of caution to the Buhari government – regardless of where blame lies, what is clear is that majority of Nigerians have been significantly impacted by the recession,” SAID Mr. Fabiyi. “The government will need to intensity its efforts to bring real solutions to the table in a number of key areas – economic growth & job creation, housing, education, roads & infrastructure and food.”
The poll also showed that less than two per cent of Nigerians believe their country is doing well, while about 40 per cent of respondents gave President Muhammadu Buhari’s government positive approval rating.
The survey was administered using electronic media between September 30 and October 6, GAIN said.
A total of 1091 complete responses were received. The survey results have a 3 per cent margin of error at a 95 per cent confidence level.
An overwhelming 83 per cent of Nigerians opposed the sale of national asset, the poll said, while 52 per cent gave their support for the administration’s “Change Begins with Me” campaign.
The Army was voted the most respected national institution, while support for the judiciary was at all time low with seven per cent approval rating.
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