Nigerians Demand Improvement in Education, Security and Electricity Supply In 2019-Report
Following the conclusion of the Presidential and National Assembly elections, NOIPolls presents findings from its New Year poll which highlighted 3 key areas Nigerians expect the government to focus its attention on in the next 12 months.
The poll report revealed that most Nigerians want the government to mainly focus its attention on Education (49 percent), Security (44 percent), Electricity supply (36 percent) and Economy (32 percent) amongst other sector/areas in 2019.
It is not surprising that education topped the list this year given the series of challenges facing the sector. For instance, poor funding is one of the major reasons for the deterioration and challenges in the education sector, especially tertiary education, which has led to frequent strikes by academic and non-academic staff since the early 1990s.
The Federal Government’s allocation to education in the last 10 years has been inadequate as only a total of N3.90 trillion or an average of 7.07 percent has so far been allocated to the sector out of a total budget of N55.19 trillion. Also, a Demographic Health Survey (DHS) conducted by the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and the Nigerian government revealed that the number of out-of-school children rose from 10.5 million in 2010 to 13.2 million in 2015 in Nigeria.
On security, 44 percent of Nigerians reported that they expect the government to improve on the issue of security in Nigeria as they believe it has not fared well in 2018. The nation witnessed a drastic breakdown of internal security challenges in 2018 ranging from terror strikes in the North-East to herdsmen and farmers conflicts in the North-Central to militants operating in the South-South.
For instance, the tension between herdsmen and farming communities saw a dramatic escalation in the first quarter of 2018 especially the attacks that occurred in some local government areas in Benue, Plateau, Adamawa, Nasarawa and Taraba states which involved the loss of lives and properties leaving many people displaced from their homes.
Opinion on power revealed that 36 percent of the respondents expect the government to significantly focus its attention on the sector, considering that this sector has faced huge challenges over the years. According to the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, the country’s power generation was at its peak of 7,000 megawatts (MW) in August 2018.
Despite reaching a peak of 7,000 megawatts (MW), it was still inadequate considering the country’s population, therefore, the federal government and concerned stakeholders needs to place high priority on ensuring that challenges surrounding these sectors are drastically improved to improve the economy and foster national development.
On the economy, 32 percent disclosed that they expect the government to focus its attention on all aspect of the country’s economy. This is not surprising considering that Nigerians economy did not fare well in 2018. For instance, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 1.81% (year-on-year) in real terms in the third quarter of 2018.
However, the average Nigerian is yet to feel the impact of this increase in the country’s GDP because it is marginal and negligible. According to the African Development data on Nigeria’s Economic Outlook in 2018, it reported that about 152 million Nigerians live on less than 2 dollars per day and this figure represents about 80 percent of the country’s estimated 190 million population.
Also, the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Article IV consultation report on Nigerian economy for 2018 revealed that the Nigerian economy is slowly exiting recession although remains vulnerable to external shocks such as huge fiscal deficit, low economy diversification, increasing domestic risks and rising banking sector risks.
The figure below showed that a higher proportion of Nigerians (49 percent) want the government to focus its attention towards improving the quality and standard of education in the country given the current state of the sector. Similarly, 44 percent expect the government to drastically improve the security situation in the country considering the challenges faced in these areas in 2018.
This is followed by 36 percent who cited electricity supply. Other areas that Nigerians wants the government to focus its attention on in 2019 include ‘Economy’ (32 percent), ‘Agriculture’ (29 percent), ‘Job creation’ (26 percent), ‘Infrastructure’ (22 percent) and ‘Health care’ (18 percent) amongst others.
Further analysis by geo-political zones revealed certain peculiarities across geo-political zones regarding the areas Nigerians expects the government to focus its attention on in 2019. For instance, while education (64 percent) and security seems to be a priority for residents from the North-West and North-East zones, electricity appears to be more pressing issues for Nigerians in the South-South zone. Similarly, residents in the South-West zone indicated that economy as the most pressing area where the government should focus its attention on in 2019.
In conclusion, the poll has revealed that the quality and standard of education in Nigeria is unacceptable as most Nigerians task the government to improve the sector in 2019. Also, Nigerians lamented over the state of internal security in the country in 2018 hence 44 percent specifically mentioning that the government should tackle security challenges in 2019. Despite the current 7,000 Mega Watts (MW) of electricity being generated, 36 percent of Nigerians want the government to improve the sector so as to empower SMEs and other ventures to grow their businesses. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the government to listen to the demands of its citizens and work to improve in these areas to ensure a better quality of life for the average Nigerians.
Finally, just as the majority of Nigerians have spoken with one voice in terms of choosing who would govern them for the next four years, it is also very important for the government not only to listen to the demands of Nigerians but also implement them. For instance, more funds should be allocated to the education sector and the internal security policy and strategy should be reviewed to accommodate new dimensions of security challenges in the country.
Also, the government should revamp the power stations to perform at optimal capacity and diversify power sources so as not to overburden current sources. There is also a need for the government and other stakeholders to create an enabling environment for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to thrive as well as ensure that industrial manufacturing companies in the country are operating at full capacity.