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Cablegate: Nigerians Favor Democratic, Unified Nation

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PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHUJA #1659/01 2150859
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 030859Z AUG 07 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0475
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHWR/AMEMBASSY WARSAW 0496
RUEHCD/AMCONSUL CIUDAD JUAREZ 0491
RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS 7539
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
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RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 001659

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DOE FOR CAROLYN GAY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIANS FAVOR DEMOCRATIC, UNIFIED NATION

ABUJA 00001659 001.2 OF 002


1. SUMMARY. A vast majority (82 percent) of Nigerians
prefer democratic rule over military or religious rule and 74
percent want Nigeria to remain unified. However, Nigerians
almost unanimously agree that the government is not doing
enough for the people of the Delta and almost half are not
satisfied with the performance of the oil companies. Job
creation, water and electricity are the top three priorities
for the new administration to address over the coming year
according to respondents in a first ever country-specific
scientific opinion poll conducted in Nigeria by the Nigerian
Opinion Polling Firm (NOI) and Gallop Polls. The poll
provides a useful insight into the opinions of the more than
140 million Nigerians, but most important will be whether the
GON takes these opinions to heart. END SUMMARY.

-------
RESULTS
-------

2. The poll results were encouraging for Nigeria's
democratic future with 82 percent of Nigerians opting for
democratic rule over military or religious government and 74
percent preferring Nigeria remain united rather than
separate. Interestingly, the NOI/Gallup poll discovered that
younger Nigerians tend to support democracy slightly more
than older generations. The level of support for democracy in
the 19-29 age bracket was 81 percent while only 79 percent of
the over 46 age bracket support democracy. This demonstrates
that government and civil leadership should focus on the
younger generations to produce effective custodians of
democracy for the future.

3. Looking at Nigeria's confidence in government showed that
people generally felt the state government was most
trustworthy, while the national government was least so.
This may seem surprising considering the numerous reports of
corruption at the state and local level. However, according
to Dr. Robert D. Tortora, Principal Scientist with the Gallup
Organization, this is the result in many countries due to the
fact that people generally feel distanced from national
government and closer to their local government. Within the
national government, Nigerians have the greatest confidence
in the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration
(NAFDAC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
(EFCC).

4. On the Niger Delta, 92 percent of Nigerians believed the
government is not doing enough for the people of the Delta
and 46 percent were not satisfied with the performance of the
oil companies in the Delta. (COMMENT: This difference in
public opinion leaves potential room for oil companies,
sharing relative public favor, to positively influence Delta
policy. END COMMENT.) When asked what to do with government
oil revenues, 90 percent called for investment in
infrastructure. On what the government should do for the
people of the Delta, 33 percent said create jobs for youth.
Despite the disappointment with the GON's actions in the
Delta, 75 percent of the troubled region still preferred a
united country over breaking up into separate nations.

5. Asked about policy priorities, 24 percent of Nigerians
felt job creation should be the focus for all levels of
government over the next year. Water and electricity
followed closely with 17 percent and 14 percent, respectively.

-----------------
FUTURE NOI POLLS
-----------------

6. According to Dr. Ngozie Okonjo-Iweala, facilitator of the
poll, there will be another poll carried out before the end
of 2007 if adequate funds can be raised. There has been
significant interest in continuing the polling, especially
among the civil society and business communities. Questions
on the next poll will follow up on the efforts of the new
government and include new topics such as security agencies,
rule of law, electoral and judicial processes.

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STRUCTURE OF POLL
------------------

ABUJA 00001659 002.2 OF 002

7. Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Nigerian Finance Minister
and current fellow at the Brookings Institution, facilitated
the country-specific scientific opinion poll in Nigeria in
February 2007. Nigerian Opinion Polling Firm (NOI) and
Gallup Polls conducted one thousand face-to-face interviews
in four different languages in randomly selected areas. The
margin of error is plus or minus 5 percent. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala
hopes the creation of NOI and polling such as this will give
a voice to the Nigerian people. During the presentation of
results, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala emphasized that this survey was
not about pushing a political agenda or criticizing the GON,
but rather a way to gauge the voice of the 140 million people
living in Nigeria. For a more comprehensive summary of the
results please visit:
http://www3.brookings.edu/com/events/20070726 noi.pdf. For
a complete transcript of the results presentation titled
'Giving People Voice Through Opinion Polling: Lessons from
Nigeria' held on July 26 at The Brookings Institution, please
visit:
http://www3.brookings.edu/comm/events/2007072 6nigeria.pdf.

-----------------------------------------
POLLS ARE USEFUL, BUT GOVERNMENT MUST ACT
-----------------------------------------

8. COMMENT: Polls are a vital instrument of governance in
modern democracies and should become a standard in Nigeria.
They provide a much-needed outlet for Nigerians to speak
their minds. Polling gives Nigerians a voice, but the issue
is how to make the Nigerian government listen to what the
people are saying and begin addressing the most pertinent
issues. END COMMENT.
QUAST

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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