EiE announces “Priority Issues for Nigeria’s 2011 Elections” survey

EiE Nigeria Coalition is proud to announce our new survey on Priority Issues for Nigeria’s 2011 Elections.

As debates hot up towards the 2011 elections, we believe that they should be about issues – and not the empty promises, threats and indecent acts that have shaped past pre-election debates. We invite you to help the candidates and general electorate to prioritise the issues that matter most for Nigeria right now. Download Windows 7 Professional OEM.

An 8-question survey, most questions are in one-click answer mode and we invite you to preview the questions here: Sex. Age. Location. Occupation. Religion. State of Origin. Top Issues. Why vote? You need only 4 minutes to complete and share the survey, which closes on September 30. The survey is now available at http://bit.ly/2011Polls.

Please spread the word via Facebook, twitter, BBM and other platforms that will allow Nigerians complete the survey. Please retweet our announcement tweets at @EiENigeria, or you can use the following: “EiE announces “Priority Issues for Nigeria’s 2011 Elections” survey. Complete @ http://bit.ly/2011Polls and spread the word. Pls RT #RSVP“.

A Nigerian Dream

Nigeria has come a long way, and while what’s most popular is the bad, there’s a lot of good in the bag. There are many factors we can blame for this – terrible leadership, citizen apathy, military politics, corrupted brand, terrible global stereotype, etc – or we can just admit that we’re a nation in need of urgent help. We have almost come to accept what should be archived in museums of history as everyday reality, and our present-day reality is simply below acceptable.

Enter the 2011 change opportunity. Really? Well, the events that climaxed between November 2009 and May 2010 can probably only be described as an opportunity to reset the national clock. And if you describe the fact that all that drama happened just a year ahead of general elections as a miracle, you’ll get a lot of nods in confirmation. You may describe what seemed to be an activation of youth interest in the wake of the series of events as interesting, and for a demographic that covers more than two-thirds of the country, it was about time.

And for most of the young people that literally ended up on the streets – for the popular March 16 and April 13 protests in Abuja and Lagos respectively – the journey towards the action started from blackberry messages, social media chat and 140-character expressions. This has been a technology-influenced process from the beginning, and it could only grow in breadth. As the journey continues towards the January 2011 elections, technology is playing a central role. On-time information distribution (which explains why the twitter generation doesn’t need to read today’s news in tomorrow’s newspapers), mobilization and possible election monitoring are only some of what technology is contributing to the ongoing change in Nigeria.

My guess is that as the elections get closer, and especially on the election days in January (15th for the National Assembly, 22nd for Presidency and 29th for the States), the world will follow hash tags such as #NigeriaDecides and #RSVP. RSVP, introduced and made popular by the youthful EnoughisEnough Nigeria coalition, is an acronym for REGISTER to vote in the elections, SELECT credible candidates, VOTE on the election days and PROTECT your vote. Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and the EnoughisEnoughNigeria.com website will be extremely busy as Nigerians tell what we hope will be the story of change while the world follows with – already demonstrated – keen attention.

“We are the change we’ve been waiting for” is probably overused by politicians seeking for votes but those words could not be more true as Nigeria heads for the polls in 127 days. Beyond all the hype and call for participation in what represents a possible turning point is the hope for a country that provides the basics for us to build on, and Nigerians are not asking for an arm and a leg – power supply, security, quality education, healthcare, and the other necessities of life that governments should not even be reminded of in the 21st century!

Is it a tall dream to expect young Nigerians to come out massively to RSVP towards the 2011 elections? I don’t think so. I actually think it’s a Nigerian dream, one shared by millions spread across the vast region from the Sahara to the Delta, and by many who are absent from home for as many reasons as their huge numbers. The “2011 expectation” is a dream we have the opportunity to transform into reality, especially as young Nigerians on whose shoulders lay the responsibility of the next 50 years. The best way to fulfil a dream is to wake up and get busy, and I think the time is now. Young Nigerians, there is work to do, a Nigerian dream to fulfil.

“83% of Nigeria’s Youth Will Vote in 2011” – EnoughisEnough Nigeria Coalition

In a much-anticipated official announcement, expected anytime now from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigeria will host her eight general elections in January 2011 – following similar exercises in 1964, 1979, 1983, 1993, 1999, 2003 and 2007. According to INEC, 57,938,945 Nigerians were registered to vote in 1999. In comparison to 1999, the number rose by only 5% to 60,823,022 voters for the 2003 elections, and by 6.3% to 61,566,648 for the 2007 general elections.

“Of the 61.6 million that registered in 2007, only 57.5% voted; and while the number of young people who voted will be difficult to confirm, the force of 70% – the percentage of the general population that young Nigerians represent – has been missing for much of Nigeria’s voting history. Evidently, voter apathy in Nigeria exists both at the level of voter registration, and during the actual voting exercise itself,” said ‘Gbenga Sesan, one of the coordinators of EnoughisEnough Nigeria.

The EnoughisEnough Nigeria coalition is a civic participation group focused on empowering young Nigerians to effectively participate in public governance as a way to drive democratic change. EiE has evolved the RSVP (Register. Select. Vote. Protect) campaign to mobilize and motivate young Nigerians to participate fully in the 2011 general elections. With 1,607,800 Nigerian users on the popular social networking website, Facebook, and tens of thousands communicating constantly with the aid of Blackberry smart phones, it is not surprising that EiE’s focus on this segment of the youth population seeks to address the issue of voter apathy while also extending the ignited interest to the offline majority. For 2011, the key challenge to young people is, “Will we rock the vote or not?” And if recent discussions, on-the-ground action and mobilisation efforts of EiE and other electoral advocacy groups are anything to go by, the youth voter turnout for 2011 will be much higher than previous years.

As avid users of technology and believers in the efficiency of polling, EiE launched a 4-question survey on August 5, 2010. Deployed through a web-based platform that was accessible to computers and mobile devices, EiE asked young Nigerians: “Have you ever voted in Nigerian elections? Do you have a Voters’ Registration Card or temporary slip? Will you exercise your right to vote in the 2011 elections? Are you eager to register to vote in the 2011 elections?”

The survey, which was also publicised using EiE’s website, partner blogs, twitter, facebook, and direct eMail messaging, was available for 14 days and recorded more than 1500 respondents within that short period. With a margin of error of only 3.5%, confidence level of 99%, response distribution of 50% and a population size of 16,787,540 (based on a calculation comparing the percentage of youth and percentage of internet users), the survey was completed by 5% more respondents than the recommended sample size of 1,354.

The poll was extended to a diverse focused Youth segment over the age of 18 comprising YOUTHS in ALL 36 states, and the site was registering up to 400 unique visitors per day for the period of the poll.

“Of course, more work needs to be done for this to be more inclusive,” said Cheta Nwanze, another executive board member for the coalition. “But we think, based on the width of the opinions sampled, that this gives a fairly accurate indication of what to expect, and it is hopeful news.”

A look at the summary of responses (see comprehensive details in figures 1-4 below) reveals that 66% of young people have voted in Nigerian general elections, 52% do not currently have voters’ registration cards (or temporary registration slips), 83% will vote in the 2011 elections, 17% are not eager to register towards voting and 70% are eager to register so that they can exercise their civic rights in January 2011. It is interesting to note that 17% are not eager to register, and 17% stated that they will not vote in the upcoming elections. With as many as more than half yet to be registered as voters, EiE believes that various efforts that seek to mobilise voter turnout should be accelerated, especially as INEC is expected to announce the election (and registration) timetable this week. With 8 out of every 10 connected (and indeed influential) young Nigerians eager to vote in the upcoming elections, 2011 will be a different voting year for Nigeria.