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Survey finds 65% of citizens believe Nigeria now more divided than it was 4yrs ago

Sixty-five percent of Nigerians believe that Nigeria is more divided today than it was four years ago, 20 percent more than two years ago, a study by African Polling Institute (API), an independent, non-partisan opinion research think-tank, has found.

This may not be surprising as the increasing level of insecurity, uneven distribution of natural resources and increasing call for restructuring by ethnic groups have worsened the level of disunity in Nigeria.

“The extent of divisiveness expressed by most citizens is a source of concern and needs to be further interrogated, given that the task of uniting the different religious, ethnic, political and social imbalances remains one of the greatest challenges facing Nigeria as a nation today,” the report states.

The data survey was collected in the form of interviews through questionnaires administered between April and May 2021. A total of 8,114 interview contacts were attempted with 5,363 interviews completed.

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The report highlights that similar to the national average, the perception that Nigeria is much more divided was widespread across all social demographic classifications such as gender, age group, literacy level, urbanisation, religion, and geo-political zones.

For example, in the gender category, slightly more males (67%) than females (63%) say that the country is much more divided. Among religious groups, the study found more traditionalists (82%) than Christian (73%) and Muslims (54%) expressed concern that the country is much more divided.

More respondents with secondary education and above (67%), compared with those without formal and informal education (58%) also opined that the country is much more divided. This concern about the country was also shared by the majority of rural (63%) and urban (66%) respondents.

In order to make the country more united, API recommends that the federal, states, and local governments identify new measures that would promote social cohesion, peaceful inter-relations among citizens, and a stronger social contract between the government and the governed at all levels.

“We also believe there is a need to forge a new national movement for Nigeria and Nigerians. One, which inhibits centrifugal tendencies that cause conflicts, division or separatism; and strengthens centripetal forces that promote unity, oneness and peaceful co-existence among citizens,” the report states.

It further adds that institutions such as the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), and their affiliates have an increasing role to play, in shaping and amplifying narratives that help to promote social cohesion, inclusion, and unity.

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