Institute seeks social cohesion, inclusion through survey

By Ruth Oketunde

Africa Polling Institute (API), an independent research think-tank, is seeking through its survey to bring to public domain factors that impede social cohesion and to promote inclusivity.

Mr Olugbenga Ogunmefun, the Director of Research, API made this known in Abuja, at a one-day workshop to discuss social cohesion and how to promote inclusion in the society.

Ogunmefun said the aim of the workshop, therefore, was to improve on the methodology of its upcoming survey, “which seeks to find out the impeding factors to social cohesion in the country’’.

He said that the survey, which had the support of the Ford Foundation, was the third round of the Nigeria Social Cohesion Project, which aimed at widening the focus and scope of social cohesion in Nigeria.

From left: Professor of Political Science, University of Port-Harcourt, Prof. Fidelis Allen; Director, Research and Institutional Strengthening, Africa Polling Institute (API), Mr Olugbenga Ogunmefun; Professor of Criminology, Kaduna State University, Prof. Hauwau Yusuf; Lecturer, Sociology Department, University of Ibadan, Dr Ifeanyi Onwuzuruigbo; and Senior Research Manager of API, Mr Segun Olajonrin, during the API Methodology Workshop on Social Cohesion Survey, in Abuja
From left: Professor of Political Science, University of Port-Harcourt, Prof. Fidelis Allen; Director, Research and Institutional Strengthening, Africa Polling Institute (API), Mr Olugbenga Ogunmefun; Professor of Criminology, Kaduna State University, Prof. Hauwau Yusuf; Lecturer, Sociology Department, University of Ibadan, Dr Ifeanyi Onwuzuruigbo; and Senior Research Manager of API, Mr Segun Olajonrin, during the API Methodology Workshop on Social Cohesion Survey, in Abuja

According to him, the objective of this project is to measure and track the degree of social cohesion in Nigeria and to proffer insightful guide into public policy formulation.

“From the findings of the last one, we found out that Nigeria is not socially cohesive, we are at about 43.53 per cent and that is below average.

“Between last year and this year, what has really changed, is Nigeria a better place, is Nigeria more socially cohesive than last year.

“These are the things we are going to find out, we cannot pre-empt what is going to happen and what the data findings will be.

“That is the essence of coming together and revisiting the survey instrument, revisiting the methodology and at the end of the exercise; we go out to the field and gather data.

“So that at the end of the whole exercise, the survey instrument will be an improvement if need be and be sustained from what we had last year,” he said.

Mr Segun Olajonrin, a staff of the institute who spoke on the review of methodology, said the survey would be national in outlook as samples from the 36 states and the FCT would be included in the survey.

“What we mean by social cohesion is togetherness; are we together as a country, what makes us have some level of disparities between ourselves and what are the factors and indicators that have torn us apart over the years; that is exactly what we are looking at.

“We are using 5,000 sample sizes because they were the same sizes that were used in 2019 and in 2020/2021 and we want to maintain the same sample and the trend.

“As it stands right now, we want to embark on the field for data collection, and data collection usually takes like four weeks or a month to do.

“After that, the analysis will be done but the methodology we will be adopting is the quantitative approach.

“And it involves multi-stage stratified random sampling where the country will be stratified into their respective regions, which is the six geo-political zones and further segregated into their states, senatorial districts and local governments areas,” he said.

On her part, Prof. Hauwau Yusuf, API Social Cohesion Research Fellow, said that gender equity promotes social cohesion in the country.

Yusuf, who spoke on the topic: `Gender and Social Cohesion’ also called on the National Assembly to revisit the gender bills recently rejected by the legislatures.

“If we don’t mainstream gender into activities within the state or the nation, then social cohesion may be an illusion.

“It is very important that we mainstream gender into our activities into policy making, into decision taking and ensure that women are allowed to participate, just as men are allowed to participate,” she said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop had in attendance representatives from various civil society organisations, government agencies, academia, among others. (NAN)

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