Despite the anguish and frustration over impacts of some of the new administration’s policies, a newly introduced Stears Approval Rating (SAR) released yesterday revealed that President Tinubu’s policies have received twice as many approvals from respondents compared to those of the previous administration.
The intelligence firm, Stears, conducted a statistically significant, state-wide poll to understand public sentiment in the wake of a storm of policy reforms implemented by the current administration. The inaugural Stears Approval Rating sampled 519 respondents across Lagos’ 20 local government areas.
The SAR is built from responses to 25 questions about socioeconomic policies, living conditions, institutional trust and voter status. Interviews were conducted in English, Pidgin English, and Yoruba, and lasted an average of 10 minutes.
“After Stears’ proprietary estimation model correctly predicted the outcome of the 2023 presidential elections, we wanted to continue to build on the application of data in governance and beyond. Particularly, we’re excited about how the SAR captures subtle fluctuations in consumer sentiment,” Tokunbo Afikuyomi, economist at Stears explained.
Senior Governance Analyst, Joachim MacEbong, said: “The Stears survey offers a valuable glimpse into the concerns of Nigerians, and it is clear that urgent action is needed to ease the cost burdens on citizens. Our poll showed that 42 per cent of Lagosians are pessimistic while 32 per cent said they were optimistic about the country’s direction.”
When asked what they think of the social and economic policies of both the current administration and the past Buhari administration, only 12 per cent approve of the previous administration’s policies, while 50 per cent disapprove. For the current administration, 27 per cent approve, with 33 per cent disapproval. The 50 per cent disapproval of the previous administration’s policies indicates its policy missteps.
The removal of the petrol subsidy, which saw Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) go from ₦185/litre to ₦490/litre in Lagos overnight, is less popular. 58 per cent disapprove, with only 32 per cent approving of the decision. Stears completed data collection before the increase from ₦490/litre to ₦568/litre.
Based on the data collected for the Stears Approval Rating, Stears built three indices: The Approval Rating Index spotlights the public’s approval of implemented and potential future policies; Stears Confidence Score gauges trust in institutions, which is essential for mobilising citizens, and finally, the Consumer Expectations Index is used to track how optimistic consumers are about the future, indicative of their future spending.
Stears used responses to questions about future expectations and Nigeria’s direction to construct the Consumer Expectations Index. Most (59 per cent) feel worse off than they did a year ago.
The silver lining is that 71 per cent of respondents think they will be doing better in a year.
Despite persistent calls for a drastic reduction in the cost of governance amid dwindling revenue and burgeoning debt profile, President Bola Tinubu yesterday forwarded a fresh list of 19 ministerial nominees to the Senate for confirmation, taking the number of nominees to an unprecedented 47.
This is in addition to the earlier list of 20 Senior Special Assistants (SSAs), Special Assistants (SAs) and Personal Assistants (PAs) earlier appointed by the President.
Recall that The Guardian had exclusively reported three weeks ago that barring last minute change, the cabinet will be as bloated as that of former President Muhammadu Buhari, but with major realignments in portfolios.
Though a 42-member cabinet was being expected because each state is constitutionally mandated to have a representative and as it was done by the last administration, an inclusion of six more Ministers representing each of the six geological zones, the shape of the new cabinet, as gathered, will also include the 20 Special Advisers, as SAs were expected to contribute to discussions at the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meetings.
But against current realities, especially rising hardship occasioned by the removal of petrol subsidy among other policies introduced by the new administration, President Tinubu yesterday unveiled the second batch of his Ministers, ballooning the yet-to-be inaugurated FEC to a near 70-member Cabinet.
This is shattering and surpassing all known records. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo began the fourth republic with 27 Ministers between 1999-2003 and in his second term (2003-2007), he had 30 Ministers. The late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua (2007-2010) inaugurated 39 Ministers, introducing the Minister of State nomenclature to accommodate all states of the federation and the Federal Cabinet Territory (FCT) in his cabinet.
Former President Jonathan (2011-2015) reduced his cabinet to 33 but a year to his re-election, in 2014, he reshuffled his cabinet and injected some politicians in what he termed ‘injury time addition’ to shore up his chances of winning the 2015 election. This took up the numbers of Ministers back to 37.
Former President Muhammadu Buhari (2015-2023) introduced the extra bonus of six geopolitical zones nominees to his cabinet to take the tally to 42.
But while President Tinubu, though urged to reduce his cabinet, was expected to still maintain the 42-man cabinet framework, no one anticipated it would be an expanded cabinet, principally made up of former governors and politicians who were being compensated for the roles they played in the February 25 presidential election.
Only on Tuesday, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) had advised the Federal Government to cut the cost of governance to demonstrate that the leaders also share in the suffering and sacrifice of the people. President of LCCI, Dr. Michael Olawale-Cole, gave the charge in a statement on President Tinubu’s address on the state of the nation.
Olawale-Cole said the perks available to public office holders are so enormous that it is difficult for the average Nigerian to understand why they suffer so much and those in leadership are unaffected.