Nigerians across the 36 states of the federation have delivered a verdict on the performance of the Federal Government in 2020, with almost half of the respondents in an online survey rating the FG below average.
The survey which was administered between December 24, 2020 and January 5, 2020 sought to gauge the views of Nigerians on issues bordering primarily on FG’s handling of the economy in 2020 and the specific projects or sectors it should focus on to turn the economy around in 2021.
According to the analysis of the survey, 49 percent of the respondents rated FG’s handling of the economy in 2020 below average, 15 percent rated FG’s performance as average, 21 percent rated FG’s management of the economy as good, while 15 percent rated FG’s performance as excellent.
As regards the reasons for assigning those ratings to FG’s performance last year, most of the respondents that assigned average and below average ratings attributed their decisions to factors such as no apparent progress in the economy, insecurity, incompetence, naira devaluation, inflation, as well as economic recession.
However, some respondents highlighted that in spite of the challenges facing the nation, significant progress has been made in some sectors of the Nigerian economy. These sets of respondents said why they rated FG’s performance as good and excellent was due to the progress made in agriculture, development of rail infrastructure, management of COVID 19, the drive to make Nigeria self-reliant, transparency and good leadership.
Most of the respondents that rated FG average and below average were from the southern part of the country except a few respondents from the northern part of the country who also rated FG average. Few respondents from Kano State rated FG average due to insecurity and poverty while some respondents from Nasarawa, Benue, Gombe and Niger states attributed their ranking of the FG’s performance average because they haven’t achieved anything from government, government not taking the security of lives and property serious and that in their own views, FG did not perform to their expectations.
“I chose average on the basis of the insecurity that is ravaging the country. Also, the issue of poverty reduction by the government based on the target of lifting 100 million Nigerians from poverty in the next 10 years or so, I so much believe that it is not feasible in Nigeria. The government should clearly restate that and may be give a number that is fair and reasonable because there is no economic policy that Nigeria can explore in order to achieve that. Can the government tell us how many Nigerians they uplifted from poverty line in their last regime?”, a respondent from Gombe State said.
On the contrary, most of the respondents that rated FG good and excellent were from the northern parts of the country. A further analysis of the survey shows that majority of the respondents are involved in the agricultural value chain. In the last few years, the FG-CBN partnership has assisted farmers in the country, confirming the good and excellent ratings assigned to FG by northern respondents.
For 2021, the respondents listed security, electricity, education, roads, and job creation as the priority projects for the Federal Government in 2021.
Based on the survey results, 15.22 per cent of the respondents want the federal governments to prioritise national security among other proposed projects in the new year. Insecurity is on the rise in the northern part of the country which has resulted in the loss of lives, properties, and an increased rate of unemployment. It has led to food shortages as farming activities have been significantly disrupted by insurgency, cattle rustling and kidnapping.
For businesses to thrive and expand, there is a need for a constant supply of electricity. This is why 12.17 per cent of respondents desire more supply of electricity that is constant and consistent in the new year.
Although the global pandemic disrupted business activities, one of the sectors that suffered greatly in 2020 was the education sector as schools were closed for over 7 months. The closure worsened Nigeria’s 10.5 million out-of-school children even though primary education is officially free and compulsory. This explains why 8.91 per cent of our respondents indicated the need to prioritise education at all levels in 2021.
From our poll, 8.70 per cent of our respondents want good and motorable roads. Bad roads have been a major challenge leading to increased accident rate, increased faulty vehicles, high vehicle maintenance cost, and increased travel time to mention a few.
Data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed that over 10 million Nigerians have been out of jobs between Q3 2018 and Q2 2020. Consequently, 6.74 per cent of our respondents want to see more employment opportunities, especially in job creation across the country.
Also, 4.35 per cent and 4.13 per cent expect to see a turnaround in the Nigerian economy especially the agriculture sector respectively.
While health and infrastructure are other basic needs for every Nigerians, the demand for rail transportation is taking a positive shift as more Nigeria wants better rail transport networks. 3.91 per cent of our respondents want to see these three on the FG’s scale of preference list in 2021.