Out of the four mainstream institutions of government, business, media and non-governmental organisations, the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer has revealed that Nigerians have more faith in businesses and believe their employers should take the lead on change rather than wait for government to initiate it.
The Report, which was the 19th and the second edition featuring Nigeria, was unveiled in Lagos last week by Edelman and its Nigerian Affiliate and partner, Chain Reactions Nigeria.
Presenting the report was Managing Director, Edelman Africa, Jordan Rittenberry, who pointed out that about 95 per cent of respondents agreed that employers could create positive change in skills training, while 93 per cent said that CEOs can influence economic prosperity in Nigeria. Eighty eight per cent agreed that their employers could create positive change in job creation while another 83 per cent believe in the ability of their employers to initiate positive change in discrimination.
He said, “the survey was conducted between October 19 and November 16, 2018, and it revealed that 72 per cent of respondents see their employers as trustworthy source on the global economy while 58 per cent perceive business as a reliable source on technology.”
Rittenberry added, “58 per cent of respondents look to their employer to be a trustworthy source of information about social issues and other important topics on which there is not general agreement. A further 77 per cent believe that a company can take specific actions that both increase profits and improve the economic and social conditions in the communities where it operates.”
He revealed further that trust across the four mainstream institutions in the country, trust decreased by 24 per cent from 2018 with a drop from 66 per cent to 42 per cent and that in Africa, in general, trust fell four points from 2018 to 2019.
The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer theme, ‘Trust at Work’, the second exclusive deck on Nigeria, the first being that of year 2018 survey while this year also made it the third time the report was presented in Nigeria. 2017 was the first. The other African countries surveyed are South Africa, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Cote’d Ivoire, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Angola.
Speaking further, Rittenberry disclosed that for the media in Nigeria, search engines were the most trusted at 84 per cent followed by earned media at 69 per cent, social media had 64 per cent and traditional media at 60 per cent. Online media was the least trusted with 56 per cent. “Trust in government is really low while trust in media is fairly balanced; business is the most trusted institution in Africa while trust in NGOs varies across the continent,” he said.
Earlier in his welcome address, Managing Director/Chief Strategist, Chain Reactions Nigeria, Israel Jaiye Opayemi, affirmed that the importance of trust could not be over-stated, noting that trust played a key role in the last general elections and called on government to invest in its trust quotient.
“Trust is built by what we say as well as by what we do and so for a government like ours, perhaps, this is an auspicious time for those who are responsible for managing the institutions of government in Nigeria to begin to think about investing in that asset of trust. My admonition to President Muhammadu Buhari and his Vice, Prof Yemi Osinbajo is to make a deliberate effort to earn the trust of Nigerians in their second tenure of four years.
“For them to earn our trust as Nigerian citizens, one of the things my experience has taught me on this job is, perhaps, we need to rethink the entire communication architecture of government once more. I ask that fundamental question, ‘in what way has the present architecture helped the government to earn the trust of the people?’ And President Muhammadu Buhari, our appeal (this morning) is that as you select the next set of ministers, you must reign them in. What we saw in the last four years was that there were too many people speaking for your government.”
To curb the increasing menace fake news in the media, Opayemi advised self-censorship for professionals. “Can we begin to do what our colleagues are doing in other countries? That weekly, we do a compilation of all the false stories and the fake news that newspapers have published or that TV and radio stations have broadcast and name and shame them. This is going on with a lot of impunity. Let us generate ideas on how to tame this monster that’s in our society,” he advised.
Founder and chairman, Proshare Nigeria Limited, Olufemi Awoyemi, in his keynote, said trust was paramount in all aspects of life and that trust issue is not only a Nigerian problem, but generally a common problem across human society.
Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Lagos State chapter, Olusegun McMedal expressed happiness that Nigeria was considered in the global report for the second time and noted that the report is perfect for Africa.