Nigerians Rate FG, States’ COVID-19 Responses Poor


Peter Uzoho

Nigerians have rated the response of the federal and state governments to the Coronavirus pandemic in the country poor, a report by Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) has revealed.

The Report entitled: “Leadership Approval Rating: Citizens’ Perception of Leadership and Governance”, said the current COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the weak capacity of the government to understand and respond to the needs and aspirations of Nigerians.

The Chairman of HEDA Resource Centre, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, in his address at the public presentation of the report recently, said the respondents were found to be honest in terms of their observations, their perception of official responses to the needs of the people.

“Respondents in the survey knocked the federal and state authorities for poor responses to a pandemic that has hit social, economic and cultural lives of millions of people all over the world.

“The survey revealed respondents’ dissatisfaction with various responses from the federal and Lagos State Governments.”

According to respondents, public officials did not do enough to meet global standards rated in their poor management of information, public education, swift responses to public health needs, sharing of palliatives and constructive engagement of the critical sector.

The report provided citizen perception of the federal government’s decision making and how such affected the people and perspective during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the highlights of the report, respondents were drawn from the labour force while the survey weighed on gender

Suraju said the survey which targeted 1,300 respondents recalled a success 1,150 responses.

He explained that 50 percent of the respondents above 50 years of age said the federal government did not fairly well handle the pandemic while 50 percent of female respondents said the federal government badly handled the responses.

He further explained: “Out of 420 respondents, with 262 male and 155 female, 104 respondents said the governments fairly badly handled the response while 104 female, 231 male said the responses were badly handled.

“The report contains analysis and evaluation of the various citizen perspectives on government responses.

“Most people from 34 to 64 years old felt the responses of the government were bad. The survey was conducted on August 7 and 8, 2020.

“Only 17 per cent of respondents assess the Federal Government has either fairly well or very well handled the coronavirus pandemic”.

Suraju, however, explained that the survey was informed by the need to understand, with empirical fact, citizen’s perception of governments at the federal and state levels, with special focus on Lagos as Pilot, to determine what level of trust is placed on the governments to represent and reflect citizens’ interest in the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes.

Other considerations, according to him, included the allegations of misapplication and secrecy surrounding the utilisation of resources and funds mobilised to combat the COVID-19 by these governments.

“This report seeks to set the foundation for a biannual citizen’s perception survey to be conducted by HEDA Resource Centre for the purpose of challenging government on its policies and programmes.

“Also, the survey will help mobilise citizens for popular participation in government and demand for accountability in the implementation of policies and programmes.

“Governments are ultimately forced to adopt the consultation strategy in designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating its programmes and imbibe people-oriented initiatives,” he stated.

While the focus of the survey was on COVID-19, Suraju noted that the research further assisted the organisation to understand the way the public view policies implemented which in reality affects their livelihood.

“It has broadened the debate about the quality of public participation in government policies. It should help the various tiers of government to improve in mass communication and constructive engagement of social and political forces at play in their domain.

“The report underlines how government machinery is often times oiled by exclusion and the lack of effective public participation,” he added.