The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer has revealed in its Nigeria Trust Breakout that, of the four mainstream institutions of government, business, media and non-governmental organisations, Nigerians trust more in business and believe that their employers should take the lead on change rather than waiting for the government to initiate it.

This revelation amongst others was contained in the 19th Edelman Trust Barometer Survey Report unveiled by Edelman and its Exclusive Nigerian Affiliate and the Preferred West African Partner, Chain Reactions Nigeria, in Lagos on Thursday, May 30, 2019. Edelman Trust Barometer launched in 2001 is the annual global trust and credibility online survey conducted by Edelman Intelligence, the independent research arm of the Edelman global network, testing how well people trust the institutions of government, business, media and nongovernmental organisations to do what is right.

Presenting the data from the Nigeria Trust Breakout, Managing Director, Edelman Africa, Jordan Rittenberry, said, “Ninety-five percent of respondents agreed that employers can create positive change in skills training, while 93 percent said that CEOs can influence economic prosperity in Nigeria. 88 percent agreed that their employers can create positive change in job creation while another 83 percent 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.

Rittenberry added that “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 revealed further that trust across the four mainstream institutions in the country decreased by 24 per cent from 2018 with a drop from 66per cent to 42per cent and that in Africa in general, trust fell four points from 2018 to 2019.

Rittenberry dwelling on the Nigeria Trust Breakout section of the report 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 47per cent. Business is the most trusted institution amongst the 10 African countries, while NGOs are trusted in six of the 10 African Markets.”

The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer with the theme, ‘Trust at Work’, is the second exclusive deck on Nigeria, the first being that of the year 2018 survey while this year also made it the third time the report was presented in Nigeria. 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.

Speaking further, Rittenberry disclosed that for the media in Nigeria, search engines were the most trusted at 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. “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 the 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 suggested 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 while reflecting on the Nigeria Trust Breakout.

He also urged businesses and NGOs to invest in trust, noting that, “how well can businesses further invest in this asset of trust the same way they invest in machinery and other things?”

The highpoint of the presentation ceremony was a panel discussion featuring eminent professionals drawn from business, government, media and NGOs, who shared their perspectives on the report. They included the publisher of BrandCrunch, O’LekanBabatunde; Assistant Director, Programmes, Radio Nigeria, Lagos Operations, Funke Treasure-Durodola; Coordinator, Campaign Against Impunity, Shina Loremikan and Executive Chairman, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, Debo Adeniran.

The others were former sole administrator, Eti-Osa East Local Council Development Area of Lagos State, Prince Babatunde Ayo Ayeni; Head, Brand Communications, SUNU Assurance Plc, Oluwayemisi Mafe and Bukola Oluyadi, Enterprise Transformation/Corporate Planning and Strategy, Polaris Bank Limited. The TV personality, Oscar Oyinsan, moderated the session.

Founder and chairman, Proshare Nigeria Limited, Olufemi Awoyemi, in his brief keynote speech, 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 and President, Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria, (PRCAN), John Ehiguese, also gave goodwill speeches at the event. McMedal expressed happiness that Nigeria was considered in the global report for the second time and noted that the report is perfect for Africa.