A recent report titled ‘Open Society Barometer’ by the Open Society Foundations reveals that corruption is the most pressing challenge to democratic governance in Nigeria and several other nations. According to the report, 86% of the global respondents desire a democratic governance system, with 62% favoring it over any other form.
The report, which surveyed over 36,000 respondents across 30 diverse countries, including Nigeria, aimed to assess people’s confidence in democracy amid rising threats of coups and authoritarianism. Interestingly, even with challenges like human rights violations, climate change, and poverty plaguing many countries, corruption was identified as the primary concern. 23% of the respondents stated that corruption was their country’s foremost challenge, and 19% felt it had the most significant impact on their lives.
Nigeria-specific findings revealed a strong preference for democracy, with 92% of respondents emphasizing its importance. However, trust in politicians remains low, with only 27% of Nigerian respondents believing that politicians work in their best interests.
Global concerns such as poverty and inequality also featured prominently. Food insecurity was highlighted, with roughly 49% of the surveyed participants revealing they struggled to feed themselves or their families in the past year.
On the topic of human rights, a large proportion, 72%, felt that human rights have been a positive force in the world. The majority also supported measures to hold violators accountable, like imposing travel bans and freezing bank accounts.
Despite the theoretical support for democracy, practical application remains a challenge. Many respondents, irrespective of their nation’s “openness”, felt unprotected by human rights and unsafe under their country’s laws. Political unrest leading to violence was a prominent concern, with 58% fearing potential violence in their country within the next year.