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Nigeria: Elections ‘Too Close to Call’ – Says Major Survey

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One Nigeria not really by force

Nigeria’s upcoming elections are likely to be the most competitive in the country’s history, with the parties running neck-and-neck and the outcome “too close to call”, according to a major survey of public opinion published in Lagos on Tuesday.

The survey, carried out by Afrobarometer, the leading continent-wide researcher of African public opinion, portrays Nigerians as people who are deeply unhappy with the country’s trajectory, who believe the government is performing badly, and who also distrust the electoral process.

But it nevertheless shows that they still believe elections are the best way of choosing leaders and that the vast majority say they will probably turn out to vote on February 14. While many are still scared of political intimidation and violence at the polls, those numbers are lower than they were two years ago.

At the time the survey was carried out in December, it showed that President Goodluck Jonathan’s approval rating had dropped from 49 percent in 2012 to 40 percent last December.

Asked about their voting intentions, 42 percent of respondents chose the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and 42 percent the principal challenger, the All Progressives Congress (APC).

When asked on who they would vote for, but who they expected to win, 40 percent said the PDP and 38 percent the APC. These figures are within the survey’s margin of sampling error of plus or minus two percent.

The authors of the survey report released on Tuesday note that “the campaign environment is fluid and highly competitive,” and conclude that “the race remains too close to call.”

They add: “Support for the opposition is at the highest level recorded in any Afrobarometer survey, and at  least, the challengers are set to make their strongest showing since the restoration of multiparty elections in 1990.”

In its major findings, the survey report records that three in every four Nigerians say the country is going in the wrong direction, four percentage points up from 2012.

Big majorities – between seven and eight of every 10 Nigerians – say the government has done badly in creating jobs, fighting corruption, managing the economy and providing a reliable supply of electricity. Sixty-seven percent say the economy is in bad shape, up from 57 percent in 2012. Just over half (51 percent) say the government has not been responsive in dealing with armed extremists.

But the vast majority of those surveyed – 77 percent – still believe in elections and 88 percent believe they are free to choose whom to vote for without feeling pressured. While fear of political intimidation or violence still runs at 50 percent, it is down from 65 percent in 2012.

Still, Nigerians are sceptical as to whether their votes will remove from office leaders who don’t do what people want. Only 10 percent are confident this will happen, while 68 percent say elections do “not at all well” or “not very well” in removing unopoplar leaders.

Just under two-thirds do not know if the Independent National Electoral Commission is ready to hold credible free and fair elections; 18 percent say they are ready, and another 18 percent say they are not. Only seven percent have “a lot” of trust in the commission.

Across the country, between 73 and 85 of people in all regions will probably” or “almost certainly” vote. And across age groups, percentages ranging from 74 to 87 percent say the same thing. This is despite low levels of trust in political parties generally: 29 percent trust the PDP (the same as in 2012) while 31 percent trust in opposition parties (up from 24 percent in 2012).

Regional political divisions are clearly shown when voting intentions are broken down by party:

  • South South: 65 percent will vote for the PDP; 20 percent for the APC
  • South East: 61 percent PDP; four percent APC
  • North Central: 45 percent PDP; 35 percent APC
  • North West: 59 percent APC; 20 percent PDP
  • South West: 46 percent APC; 19 percent PDP
  • North East: 44 percent APC; 43 percent PDP

The Afrobarometer survey was carried out by Practical Sampling International, working with the Lagos-based CLEEN Foundation (formerly the Centre for Law Enforcement Education). The report was written by Nengak Daniel, programme manager for the CLEEN Foundation, Raphael Mbaegbu, programme officer for the foundation, and Peter Lewis, director of the African studies programme of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC.

 

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USAID begins Covid-19 testing in Imo rural areas

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USAID averts 25,000 unwanted pregnancies in Ebonyi, Kogi

…Umuagwo Varsity of Agric kicks-off October

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has begun Covid-19 testing in the 27 Local Government Areas of Imo State, “in a bid to reduce the impact of community spread of the virus in the rural areas of the state.

The Imo State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief Declan Mbadiwe Emelumba disclosed this in Owerri while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the Weekly Executive Council meeting presided over by Governor Hope Uzodimma on Wednesday.

Chief Emelumba said so far, the USAID officials have carried out reasonable number of testing in Njaba LGA and reported that all those tested came out negative and that the council prayed that the result from other Local Government Areas will be the same.

He announced that the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) has approved the take off of the Imo State University for Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Umuagwo in October this year.

According to him, the approval underscores the efforts which the Imo State Government ably led by Governor Hope Uzodinma has made towards the establishment of a second university for the state.

Recently, the NUC panel was in Imo State to carry out the necessary verification exercises on the state facilities, human and physical infrastructures.

Mr. Declan Emelumba, who was flanked by the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Bernard Ikegwuoha, Commissioner for Health Dr. Damaris Osunkwo and the Chief Press Secretary/Media Adviser to the Governor Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku, informed that the Executive Council is happy that something new is happening in the Education Sector of the State.

Emelumba said that the Imo State University of Science and Environmental Sciences, Umuagwo will take off by October when other universities would be resuming for a new academic session.

In the same vein, the Council has approved the immediate relocation of Faculty of Engineering Imo State University Owerri to its permanent site at Okigwe, stressing that Government has put all processes and facilities on ground to ensure the immediate take–off of the faculty.

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Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital

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Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM  Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital

The Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku has visited Mr. Ogechi Iwu, a journalist with Osiza FM.

The media man is hospitalized at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri over complications from diabetes that led to his right leg being amputated.

Mr. Nwachuku said the visit was to show solidarity on behalf of Governor Uzodimma to his professional colleague, assuring him of their prayers, particularly that of his principal, and the prayers of Mr. Iwu’s numerous friends and well wishers who are touched by his plight.

“I am here on behalf of my principal to associate with him in this time of health challenge and to encourage him not to see the sickness as a death sentence.”

Oge Iwu at fmc

L-R: Chief Akaraonye, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku with Ogechi Iwu during the visit

Mr. Nwachuku urged Mr. Iwu to continue in the high spirit he saw him and trust God for his total recovery “because healing is a thing of mind and when a sick person is in high spirit the patient gets recovered quickly.”

The spokesman of the Governor promised to bring the plight of the journalist to the attention of his principal, and assured that the Governor will, in his usual manner of one with milk of human sympathy, show concern over Iwu’s plight.

Earlier, Mr. Iwu thanked the CPS/Media Adviser, the State Chairman of NUJ, Imo State, Chief Christopher Akaraonye and other journalists who were on the entourage, for coming to identify with him on his sick bed, and assured that God in his infinite mercy will quicken his recovery.

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Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council

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Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council

Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma has inaugurated a new Governing Council, for the Imo State University, IMSU, Owerri.

At the inauguration ceremony on Monday, August 31, the governor named Most Rev. Lucius Ugorji as the Chairman of the Governing Council and Pro-Chancellor of the University.

Other members of the Council include: Chief Leo Stan Ekeh, Chief Tony Ezenna, Prof. (Ven.) Chinedu Nebo, Sir. Louis Ezeigwe, Chief Engr. Ernest Nwapa, Dr. (Mrs.) Uwandu Uzoma, Ugoeze Victoria Adaku Ekezie, Prof. Adaobi Obasi (Vice Chancellor) and others.

Speaking at the inauguration, Governor Uzodimma said the choice of the members is to infuse fresh air into the university because “It is in dire need to bounce back to reckoning.”
He added that the choice of the members was because they have carved a niche for themselves in their chosen fields of endeavour and that they have earned solid reputation as men and women of substance in their individual trade, indices that qualified them for the appointment.

He challenged the members to bring their reputation to bear on the University, bearing in mind the task for good quality scholarship in Imo State University as well as service to humanity.

The Governor urged the members to deploy their individual accomplishments, excellence, expertise, passion for service as effectively as necessary to actualize the dream of his administration of having a highly reputable University comparable to the best Universities in the World.

He also requested the Council to “restore in words and deeds the motto of Imo State University, which is Excellence in Service”.

“Imo State University currently is a classical example of a failed University,” Governor Uzodimma said but strongly believed that “with a star studded Governing Council such as the one inaugurated there is no doubt that Imo is on the track to realize the dreams of her founding fathers.”

He further enjoined the Council members to quickly hit the ground running and come up with policies and programmes that will reassure Imo people that the University that made them proud 20 years back is on track as he assured them of Government partnership in this regard.

In an acceptance speech, on behalf of the Council, the Chairman, Most Rev. Ugorji who is the Catholic Bishop of Umuahia thanked the Governor for the absolute confidence reposed in them by giving them the assignment and acknowledged that though the task is daunting he has a strong belief that with the calibre of members of the Council and support of the management, staff and students the University will be returned to a centre of excellence which was the dream of the founding fathers.

He said that Imo State University deserves the best and that he and his members as inaugurated will work acidulously to ensure that the target of the governor in making Imo State University one of the best universities in Africa is realised.

He congratulated fellow members and promised that God’s willing, they will not fail the government and people of Imo State.

Present at the inauguration were the Deputy Governor, Prof. Placid Njoku, the Speaker Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins, the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Cosmas Iwu, and other members of the expanded State Executive Council.

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