Shock Value

Shock Value

The Nigerian economy, like any other, experiences “shocks”— events or policy decisions that can send a ripple of changes through the system. This column zooms in on these ripples in a range of sectors to explore how and why these shocks matter.

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Who is the Average Nigerian?

Ebehi Iyoha

Ebehi Iyoha

Ebehi is an avid reader seeking insights in unexpected places. Her research interests include economic development, political economy and trade.

In any discussion about the 2019 elections, the “average Nigerian” is likely to make an appearance. Everyone is quick to make claims about what the average Nigerian know, believes, or cares about. And crucially, how they will vote.

How valid are such statements? Well, the word “average” is a misnomer as it stands for very different things—mean, mode, median, etc. Imagine trying to find the mean of a standard human feature: our nose. Most humans have one nose, but since as few as 100 people are born without one, then the average human technically has only a fraction of a nose. And other ways of calculating the average—median, mean—fall prey to their faults.

 

The Common Man

When we talk about the typical Nigerian, we usually mean someone who possesses the most commonly found characteristics in the country, whether in terms of demographics such as age or gender or reference to the mindset of most Nigerians. And in the context of elections, we are generally not talking about children under 18 who cannot vote, but who make up about 50% of the population.

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