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2020 Edelman Trust Barometer Reveals Nigerians Still Distrust Government, Place Trust in CEOs

2020 Edelman Trust Barometer says, in terms of trust among Nigerians, Government remains the least popular in the midst of the four mainstream institutions of government, business, media and non-governmental organisations


The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer has revealed that, of the four mainstream institutions of government, business, media and non-governmental organisations, government remains the least trusted with Nigerians having no confidence in the ability of current leaders to address the country’s challenges successfully.

Conversely, Nigerians’ trust in Chief Executive Officers of businesses as positive change agents rose while trust in NGOs and the media also increased according to the supplementary data for Nigeria. It showed that while trust across the four mainstream institutions in the country increased compared to 2019, business still led with 91 per cent, followed by NGOs with 87 per cent. The media was the third with 84 per cent while government only had 55 per cent.

These revelations amongst others were contained in the 20th Edelman Trust Barometer Survey Report unveiled virtually by Edelman and its Exclusive Nigerian Affiliate, Chain Reactions Nigeria in Lagos recently. 

The presentation done virtually because of disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic saw the Chief Executive Officer of Edelman Africa, Jordan Rittenberry, present the global 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer and the Impact of COVID-19 on Trust reports. A Consultant at Chain Reactions, Adekunle Dixon Odukoya, presented the supplementary data for Nigeria.

An all-female panel drawn from government, media, business and civil society also discussed the survey report and its implications for their respective constituencies and Nigeria at large, in line with the theme, “Competence and Ethics.”

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They were the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Protection, Mrs Maryam Uwais; Director, Public Affairs, Lafarge Plc, Folashade Ambrose-Medebem, Director of News, TVC, Stella Din Jacob, and the Convener, Enough is Enough, Yemi Adamolekun. Former Assistant Director of Programmes, Lagos Operations of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Funke Treasure-Durodola, moderated.

Revealing how public officials can boost their trust among Nigerians, Mrs Uwais said it was vital they bring transparency into their activities and remain consistent.

The former Coordinator of the Social Invest Programmes (SIP) further cited the example of how she addressed the complaints that trailed the Conditional Cash Transfer and School Feeding Programme transparently by engaging Civil Societies to monitor as what public officials can do to earn public trust.

On the proliferation of fake news and its weaponization contributing to mistrust of the media, Din Jacobs, citing the Ibrahim Magu issue, said government officials hoarding information and vested interests is not helping matters. She advised media practitioners to imbibe balance in their reportage as this is what can buy them trust among the public.

On the issue of accountability and transparency, Adamolekun said Nigerians don’t trust the government because it hoards information and refuses to engage with citizens who want to know about its activities.

On what businesses can do to retain the trust of Nigerians, Ambrose-Medebem aligned with earlier speakers that institutions should prioritise full disclosure. She disclosed that transparency is a core value at Lafarge Africa Plc, which is always the first to publish its Sustainability Report.

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Commenting on the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer report, Managing Director/Chief Strategist, Chain Reactions Nigeria, Israel Jaiye Opayemi, noted that since 2017 when the report was first unveiled in Nigeria, major corporate players have always looked forward to its release because they draw significant insight from it to grow the asset of their reputation.

Opayemi, however, warned institutions and corporate Nigeria not to take trust for granted. “Let’s pay attention to the fact that trust itself is mobile. Today, because you are highly trusted as an institution, does not really mean that six or 12 months down the line, it’s still going to remain the same. We all must focus on the asset of trust because it is highly mobile. It changes from time to time.”

The Edelman Trust Barometer is the annual global trust and credibility survey conducted by Edelman Intelligence, the independent research arm of the Edelman global network testing how well people trust those four critical institutions of the society to do what is right. This year’s survey conducted by Edelman Intelligence between October 19 to November 18, 2019, sampled more than 34,000 respondents across 28 countries.

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