Report Identifies Nigerian Employers, CEOs as Economic Influencers

Raheem Akingbolu

A global report on business and governance, has revealed that out of the four mainstream institutions – government, business, media and non-governmental organisations – 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 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, which made the revelation, also disclosed that for the media in Nigeria, search engines were the most trusted as 84 per cent followed by earned media (69%), social media (64%) and traditional media at 60%.
Online media was the least trusted with 56 per cent.

The report, which was the 19th and the second edition featuring Nigeria, was unveiled in Lagos recently 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 CEOs could influence economic prosperity in Nigeria.

In addition, it stated that 80 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.

Rittenberry said: “Ninety-five per cent of respondents agreed that employers can create positive change in skills training, while 93 per cent said that CEOs can influence economic prosperity in Nigeria. 88 per cent agreed that their employers can create positive change in job creation while another 83 per cent believed in the ability of their employers to initiate positive change in discrimination.”

The survey, conducted by Edelman Intelligence between October 19 to November 16, 2018, further revealed that 72 per cent of the Nigerian respondents see their employers as a trustworthy source on the global economy while 58 per cent perceive business as a reliable source on technology.

“Fifty-eight 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 added.

The Edelman boss further revealed that trust across the four mainstream institutions in the country 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.

Rittenberry, disclosed that in Nigeria and nine other African countries included in the survey, “government is the least trusted institution while trust in media amongst the 10 African countries exceeds the global average of trust in media at 47 per cent. Business is the most trusted institution amongst the 10 African countries, while NGOs are trusted in six of the 10 African Markets.”

2017 was the first time the report was ever presented in Nigeria although Nigeria was not included in the study then. The other African countries surveyed are South Africa, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Cote’d Ivoire, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Angola.

“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, the Managing Director/Chief Strategist, Chain Reactions Nigeria, Israel Jaiye Opayemi, affirmed that the importance of trust could not be overstated, noting that trust played a key role in the last general elections and called on government to invest in its trust quotient.

Opayemi said: “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.”

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