Only 23 per cent of Nigerians say they trust the Independent National Electoral Commission “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, a joint report by NOI Polls, Afrobarometer, and CDD Ghana has shown.
The report titled, “Nigerians want competitive elections but don’t trust the electoral commission,” and published on Dispatch No. 598 of Afrobarometer, also revealed that trust in INEC had declined by 12 per cent since 2017.
The Afrobarometer team in Nigeria, led by NOIPolls, said it interviewed a “nationally representative, random, stratified probability sample” of 1,600 adult Nigerians between 5 and 31 March 2022.
According to the research network, a sample of this size “yields country-level results with a margin of error of +/-2.5 percentage points at a 95 per cent confidence level”.
Previous standard surveys were conducted in Nigeria in 2000, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2020 by the organisation.
It was reported that the INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, has continuously promised Nigerians that their votes will count at the 2023 polls, assuring them that the season of rigging is over.
“In addition to reservations about election quality, one red flag for Nigeria’s upcoming elections is citizens’ weak trust in the Independent National Electoral Commission,” a part of the report read.
The report headlined by NOIPolls’ Head of Social Research, Raphael Mbaegbu, and Afrobarometer’s Coordinator for Anglophone West and North Africa also showed that trust in INEC had been “fairly weak throughout the past two decades” and had “declined by 12 percentage points since 2017”.
“Popular trust in the INEC is a central issue, and distrust is a major concern, especially in the southern states. The upcoming election is an opportunity for the electoral management body to regain the trust of the electorate by proving itself independent, credible, and competent,” the report added.