Buhari’s Anti-Corruption Fight Polarizes Nigeria – IRI Poll

By Onyebuchi Ezigbo

The mode of President Muhammadu Buhari’s crusade against corruption  may have brought about intense division between the north and southern parts of the country and led to growing lack of unity of purpose on national issues.

A survey poll report issued on Tuesday by a research group, the  International Republican Institute, IRI, shows that there is a split in perception on the efficacy of the anti-corruption fight along the North-South lines, with more negative views noted in the South than in the North.
Speaking at the formal presentation of the poll report to the media in Abuja, IRI Acting Regional Director, Africa, John Tomaszewski, said though Nigerians remain polarized between North and South on performance of the current administration, they support the democratic process and believe that democracy has improved since the 2015 national elections.
According to Tomaszewski, while 54 percent of Nigerians feel that the country is headed in the right direction, there are clear divisions in perceptions over the country’s trajectory.
The IRI poll report said: “Almost half of respondents in the North-East (40 percent) said the country is headed strongly in the right direction, compared to just 10 percent in the South-East, where 49 percent believe that the country is moving strongly in the wrong direction. A similar split can be seen in regional perceptions of the economy; 75 percent of respondents in the South-East think the economy has gotten worse, compared with 44 percent in the North-East.
The survey also reveals a widespread perception that corruption is declining, with 53 percent of respondents reporting that corruption has decreased in the past year.
“However, it is important to note that this perception is largely split between the North-South lines, with more negative views noted in the South than in the North”, the report stated.
The report said that  59%  of respondents consider democracy more important than prosperity, compared to 37 percent who find prosperity more important to them.