How voting pattern will shape 2019 polls By Nuruddeen M. Abdallah

The voting pattern that characterised the last five presidential elections in the six geopolitical zones may shape the general elections next year, Daily Trust investigations, through analysis of official voting figures in the last 20 years, have shown.
The northwest and south-south geopolitical zones had the highest voting figures in Nigeria’s presidential elections since 1999, according to official data obtained from the website of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and other sources.

President Muhammadu Buhari, for instance, had won popular votes in the northwest and northeast in 2003, 2007, and 2011. Despite that, he still couldn’t win the presidential vote due to his poor outreach in the southern zones.
On the other hand, Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, late Umaru Musa Yar’adua, and Goodluck Jonathan were elected for winning in southern zones and securing at least 25 percent in some states in the northwest, northeast and north central.
The northwest, the country’s most populous zone with a combined population of 35.78 million according to the 2006 official census, led other zones with the highest valid voting figures during four of the five presidential polls conducted since the country’s return to democracy in 1999.
The northwest, comprises seven states of Kano, Zamfara, Kebbi, Katsina, Kaduna, Sokoto, and Jigawa, had the highest valid votes in 2003, 2007, 2011, and 2015 presidential elections.
The south-south region (Rivers, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Cross River, and Bayelsa), was in a surprising second position on voting figures even when in population figures it’s 14 million less the northwest’s. With official census figures of21.01 million, the zone had the second highest valid votes in 2015, 2011, and 2007 and 2003 polls.
The oil-rich zone, however, overtook the northwest to become the zone with the highest voting data during the 1999 polls. It was not clear whether the zone’s impressive performance had anything to do the fraudulent voters roll that enabled vote padding before the introduction of card readers.
The southwest, the second most populous region after northwest with census figures of 27.95 million, and comprising Lagos, Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, and Ekiti, had the lowest votes in 1999, but came fourth place in 2007, fifth in 2011 and 2003, and second in 2015.
Surprisingly, the zone recorded poor voting figures in 1999 even when the two presidential candidates – Obasanjo and Chief Olu Falae – were from the same zone.
The northeast (Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Bauchi, Taraba, and Adamawa), with population figures of 18.97 million, came third place in 1999 and 2003, sixth in 2007 and 2011 and fifth in 2015.
The southeast comprising of Ebonyi, Imo, Anambra, Enugu, and Abia, with census figures of 16.38 million, came fifth place in 1999 and 2007, fourth in 2011, and sixth in 2015 and 2003.
The northcentral (Plateau, Benue, Kwara, Kogi, Niger, and Nasarawa), with census figures of 20.16 million, came third place in 1999, 2007 and 2011, fourth in 2003 and 2015.

Zonal voting pattern
In 1999 polls, the south-south had the highest valid votes of 4,227,330, followed by northwest 3,884,836, northcentral 3,615,793, north east 3,552,353, southeast 2,307,772, and southwest 1,902,196.
In 2003 elections, the northwest led with 9,643,772 valid votes, followed by south-south 7,673,448, northeast 6,237,877, northcentral 5,739,206, southwest 5,698,907, and southeast 4,550,279.
During 2007 elections, the northwest had the highest valid votes cast totalling 8,867,128; trailed by south-south 6,770,546, northcentral 6,494,860, southwest 4,349,730, southeast 3,673,274, and northeast 3,114,413.
In 2011, the northwest led other zones with the highest valid votes of 6,844,836, south-south 6,197,404, northcentral 5,052,348, southeast 5,044,923, southwest 4,553,999, and northeast 4,814,167.
In 2015, the northwest had the highest valid votes of 8,505,577, with south-south following with 4,667,879, southwest 4,362,456, northcentral 4,149,143, northeast 3,672,348, and southeast 2,719,654.

Voter roll rose by 50% in 20 years
The number of registered voters has risen by 50 percent in the last 20 years when the country returned to democratic rule, according to the investigations.
About 85 million Nigerians have so far registered vote in the 2019 polls. This will represent a huge increase of 28 million from the 57 million that voted in 1999.
The turn out over the years ranges from 53 percent in 1999 to nearly 70 percent in both 2003 and 2007, then down to 53 percent in 2011 and further down to 43 percent in 2015.
The current figure is considered the most credible so far in the country’s election history, particularly due to the adoption of biometric voter registration and card reader machines deployed during the elections.
Over these years, the case of underage voting was very prevalent when images and videos of children voting during elections went viral.
In some cases, the number of voters for presidential elections tripled that of votes cast for other elective positions.
In 2011, INEC chairman Professor Attahiru Jega replaced the old and inflated voter roll which had on the list former President Nelson Mandela of South Africa and the late music superstar Michael Jackson, with a new voter registration system that relies on fingerprints and photographs.
President Buhari scored half of the votes in 2003 and 2011 elections.
The official data analysed by Daily Trust show that 175 million Nigerians had voted in the five presidential elections where 81 candidates contested.
Also, the April 2003 election which saw Chief Obasanjo emerge for the second term had a voter turnout of 69.1 percent.
The April 2011 presidential election had the highest registered voters of 73, 528, 040, according to the official data.
A total of 81 candidates contested for the number- one seat in the last presidential polls held between 1999 and 2015, where Obasanjo, Yar’adua, Jonathan, and Buhari were elected as presidents.
No matter the number of candidates, it has always been a two-way race in all the elections. From 1999 to date, the candidates that matter have been the first two.
Only two candidates contested in the 1999 elections, 20 vied in 2003 polls, but the number rose to 25 in 2007, and down to 20 in 2011, and 14 in 2015, according to the official data.
Buhari is leading the league of serial presidential candidates, having contested four times only to course to victory in 2015. Obasanjo contested twice and won, late Yar’adua contested once and won, and Jonathan contested twice and won once.
2019: 68 parties, 85m voters
INEC chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu said that as at the second week of January, the commission had registered 74 million voters.
The figure is expected to reach between 80 and 85 million by 2019 because of the on-going nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR).
It is also clear that many political parties may contest the 2019 presidential vote. In January, INEC said it had registered 68 political parties. This figure may rise before the February polls.
We can’t pass off INEC figures -TMG
Ms Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, chairperson Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), said it is not “nuanced enough to simply pass off those figures” to describe the polls as credible. She explained that even the 2015 elections that were adjudged as the most credible, were not flawless.
“The 2015 polls, which were deemed credible on account of their historic outcomes, also witnessed a lot of shortcomings. For instance, TMG Quick Count observation report for the Presidential and National Assembly elections of March 28, 2015, documented a brazen attempt to inflate voter turnout figures in three states in the south-south geopolitical zone during the election. These south-south states, where the turnout figures veered significantly from the average turnout figures nationally were Delta, Rivers, and Bayelsa,” she said.
On the zonal voting figures, she said: “the position about the south-south having the highest number of valid votes is not grounded in the province of fact. Except, of course, we just want to accept and pass off the INEC figures, without further context of the problems dogging the electoral process.”

Source: Daily Trust

Unclaimed PVCs And Political Apathy By Tayo Ogunbiyi

Universally, democracy is referred to as the government of the people by the people and for the people to emphasise that it is the people that give impetus to democracy. In essence, democracy cannot exist without the people. It is the people that set democracy in motion. It is the people that act as the oil that galvanizes the wheel of democracy. Therefore, democracy cannot thrive where people display an indifferent attitude towards the political process.

The revelation that there are about 1.4 million unclaimed Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs, in Lagos State should undoubtedly get every enthusiast of democratic governance in the state and, indeed, the country concerned. According to reports, Lagos state has the highest number of unclaimed permanent voter cards in the country.

According to a latest Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, statistics, Lagos has the highest number of (1,401,390) unclaimed PVC followed by Oyo with 647,586 and Edo which had 449,001, while Kano has 195,941. A further breakdown shows that Bauchi State has the least number of uncollected PVCs, with 15,542, followed by Bayelsa and Plateau which have 28,533 and 25,300 PVCs respectively.

A 2012 INEC data aptly captures the sad trend in the nation’s political process. According to the statistics, only about 35% of the over 70 million who registered to vote in the 2011 general elections really participated in voting. This implies that over 65% of registered voters did not partake in the process. This is not good enough as it portends as it has grievous implications on the prospect of democracy in the country.

For one, it ensures that leaders who attain political power via the votes of the minority rule over the majority. Second, it casts serious aspersion on the kind of democracy we practice .Also, it makes it hypocritical for those who did not turn out to vote to criticize those who were elected through the same process that they shunned. As it is often said, ‘you cannot eat your cake and have it’.

A lot of arguments have been put forward in defence of those who shun the political process. One of such is that votes don’t usually count in our country. This is anchored on the notion that the outcome of elections is often pre-determined. There is, thus, a conviction that the electoral process is a sham. Similarly, many consider the political class undeserving of their votes because of their perceived insincerity to electoral promises. Another factor is what has been termed as the failure of political parties to embrace internal democracy as evidenced in alleged imposition of candidates and other such undemocratic tendencies.

However, irrespective of the genuineness of the argument, it is not enough for anyone to ignore the electoral process. In any case, when the majority refuse to participate in voting, that does not in any way invalidate the outcome of elections. Sadly, we all suffer the consequences of staying aloof when the wrong people get into power. Active involvement in the political process signifies that everyone is a critical stakeholder, having the best interest of the country at heart. It is a practical demonstration of being a responsible citizen.

It is, therefore, important that those with the unclaimed PVCs make concerted efforts to collect them at the designated points as directed by INEC. The worth of the PVC in the current political process cannot be over -emphasised. For one, it offers electorates the right to have a say in deciding those who would rule over them. Possession of this all important item, thus, puts an enormous responsibility on the electorate. It places the destiny of the state right in their hands. It is such an enormous responsibility that must be carried out with every sense of honour, dignity and patriotism. It is a sacred task that must be performed with utmost diligence and patriotism. This is because any slipshod choice that is made in the coming polls could portend great danger to the lives of generations yet unborn. It could jeopardize the future of the country.

The destiny of this nation and that of future generations of Nigerians lies in the hands of the electorates. Whichever path the country would follow in the coming years would, thus, be a clear manifestation of the kind of choice electorates make. For our hues and cries over bad governance and poor leadership, we won’t be able to actually absolve ourselves of complicity if we disregard our civic duties.

Unlike other forms of government, the beauty of democracy lies in the ability of the people to have a say in the choice of those who preside over the apparatus of governance. This is the rationale behind the popular affirmation of democracy as the government of the people, for the people and by the people. However, for the people to actually maximize the benefits of democracy, they need to appropriately play their role of selecting leaders of their choice.

Public security, infrastructure development, the economy and much more are tied to the thumbs of the electorates. If we bungle things again, it would take us another four years or much more to get it right again. This is, therefore, not the time to indulge in undue political apathy.

If democracy is to truly be the government of the people and for the people, the people must own the process from the beginning to the end. Active involvement in the political process signifies that everyone is a critical stakeholder, having the best interest of the country at heart. It is a practical demonstration of being a responsible citizen. Therefore, INEC, political parties, the civil society, NGOs, the media and other stakeholders should give greater attention to voters’ education as well as other enlightenment campaigns that could re-enact the confidence of the people in the electoral process.

It is important to stress that the worst illiterate is the political illiterate who takes no part in political process. Sadly, he doesn’t understand that everything depends on political decision. Ironically, he even prides himself on his political ignorance by openly sticking out his chest that he hates politics. He doesn’t know that from his political apathy comes the prostitute, the abandoned child, the robber and worst of all, corrupt and incompetent public officials. At the slightest chance, he blames the government for every woe in the society but never really sees anything wrong in his own apolitical posture.

On a final note, it is imperative to stress that elected political leaders at all levels should not take the electorates for granted. It will only amount to sheer treachery for an elected official to ignore his/her electoral promises while in office. Compatriots who ignore all difficulties in order to participate in the political process ought to be given a better deal. Also, the practice of turning elections into a ‘do or die’ affair should be discouraged to give credibility to the electoral process.

Ogunbiyi is of the Lagos State Ministry of Information & Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja

Source: PMnews

Building Community of Experts: YIAGA Africa Trains Staff on Corruption Models

Building Community of Experts: YIAGA Africa Trains Staff on Corruption Models

In line with its commitment in building a community of experts among the organization’s personnel, YIAGA Africa on Thursday 19th April, 2018 held training on models of corruption to build knowledge on the subject and implications to the Nigerian situation.  The Training was facilitated by Project Manager of the Strengthening citizens Resistance Against Prevalence of Corruption (SCRAP- C) project, Mr. Newton Otsemaye.

During the training which had staff from various departments cutting across Accountability and Social Justice, Elections, Youths and Legislative engagement, Mr Otsemaye revealed the models of corruption which includes Principal-Agent and Collective Model Theory.

According to Otsemaye, the Principal- Agent Model of corruption, a principal agent theory problem exist when one party to a relationship (the principal) requires a service of another party (the agent) but the principal lacks the necessary information to monitor the agent performance in an effective way.

“What this theory is saying is that you must monitor every step being taken as corruption occurs when a principal is unable to monitor an agent effectively and the agent betrays   the principal’s interest in the pursuit of his/her own self-interest”, he said

He said, “the Principal-Agent Model, assumes that divergence of interest between the principal and the agent with informational asymmetry to the advantage of the agent. In this vein, he advised the need to follow up track and policies in order to hold government representatives accountable”.

The collective model which seems to be the situation in Nigeria according to him is a situation where, corruption is encouraged by everyone alike as they do not necessarily act in the interest of society in general but is after their own self-interest. He further advised that, if collective action can make that evil happen, collective action can also reverse that evil.

He outlined some roles by which citizens can collectively engage in anti-corruption which includes public exposition tractions (PETS), Mobilization, report card and surveys, campaigns, etc.

Speaking after the training, Senior Program Officer, accountability and social justice department Tracy Keshi said, the training was timely as it was important that everyone irrespective of department understood the social dimensions to corruption. According to Mrs Keshi, the training session further buttressed the fact the YIAGA Africa is on course with its Bounce Corruption project, as it is currently doing a lot of programs that focuses on citizens actively and collectively taking ownership of the anti-corruption fight.

Program Officer at the YIAGA Africa Centre for Legislative Engagement, Dafe Oputu also said, “the training was important because we make certain assumptions when we implement our programs, and we’re not always clear on the theories behind those assumptions. When we don’t know the theory it becomes difficult to understand why a particular program is working or not working, or how we can take action to make it more effective.”

According Mr Oputu, ” We can consider if we’re informing the right people or if we’re providing them with information in ways they can understand. Without a good understanding of the theories all we have is action and result and we can’t begin to guess why a certain action is having a certain result.”

2019: Court nullifies National Assembly’s amendment of Electoral Act

An Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has nullified the amendment of Section 25 of the Electoral Act, which was passed in February by the National Assembly.

In a judgement on Wednesday, the court presided by Justice Ahmed Mohammed ruled that only the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had the powers to create an election template for the country.

The judge also ruled that any attempt by the National Assembly to amend the Section 25, as done by the legislature, would first require an amendment of the constitution.

The Accord Party filed the application after both chambers of the National Assembly attempted to implement Section 58 of the constitution which allows the legislature to override the decision of the president.

The party asked the court to determine if INEC was not solely empowered to carry out its function of overseeing the election timetable in Nigeria.

The application by Accord Party was part of events that trailed the decision of the National Assembly to reorder the sequence of the 2019 general elections, putting the presidential election last.

This development initiated a series of controversies in the polity with some senators of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) saying it was targeted at Mr. Buhari, to prevent his re-election.

Both chambers of the National Assembly, though dominated by the APC, amended the order of the election. The proposed sequence of elections would make the National Assembly election come first in 2019, followed by governorship and state Houses of Assembly, and presidential as last.

That was against the sequence rolled out by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) late 2017, which put presidential and National Assembly elections first and governorship and state assembly to follow.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on March 13 refused assent to the bill, after it was forwarded to his office. He had said the amendments if allowed to pass violate parts of the constitution.

After Mr. Buhari refused assent to the bill in March, the National Assembly attempted to invoke section 58 of the Constitution to override the decision of the president .

Shortly after the bill was refused by the president, the Federal High Court restrained the Senate from proceeding with further actions on the matter.

The Accor Party also asked the court to determine whether the interference of the National Assembly, after INEC had fixed the date for the election, did not amount to an abuse of the separation of powers.

The counsel to the National Assembly, Joseph Daudu, urged the court to dismiss the application, describing it as an abuse of court process.

In the ruling, however, Mr. Mohammed overruled the submission by Mr. Daudu that the application amounted to an academic exercise.

The court ruled that INEC had the sole responsibility to organise and conduct elections, including fixing of dates, among other things.

“It is the sole responsibility of the third defendant (INEC) to organise and conduct elections, including fixing of dates for the elections.

“The power of INEC to organise and conduct elections in this country cannot be taken away by the Electoral Act,” he said.

“After perusing submissions of counsel in this matter, I declare Section 25 of the Electoral Act 2018, which is the section that contravenes the provisions of the Constitution, a nullity.

“The Plaintiff’s suit seeking for the interpretation of certain provisions of the Constitution cannot be said to be an abuse of the process of the court,” the judge said.

Source: Premium Times

Where are the leaders of tomorrow? By Melvin Umunna

While growing up, we used to sing a song on the assembly ground in my basic school, which, I am sure, readers would know. It goes thus: “Parents listen to your children, we are leaders of tomorrow, try to pay our school fees and give us sound education”.

In my adult life, I have been asking myself the whereabouts of tomorrow’s leaders we have been singing about? What has happened to their hopes? Have they all gone into extinction? At some point, I asked myself, did teachers tell us all that stories to make us strive for excellence in our studies? Was I deceived? May be the leaders of tomorrow have gone into oblivion I thought. At last, while searching, the veil was removed from my sight and I stumbled on the leaders of tomorrow in places not worthy of mentioning.

I saw some in gambling houses, trying to make sudden millions in predicting game. I saw some others engaging in cyber crimes. While I tried to understand if they were in productive ventures; before I could gather my thoughts on what the so-called leaders of tomorrow were up to, SARS officers rounded them up and hurled them into Black Maria. Then, I asked, when shall these leaders emerge?

In a country of over 180 million people, the youth constitute over 65 per cent of its entire population and I wonder why the political class has neglected this very important demography. We must understand that the future of this country lies on the shoulder of the today’s young people and what we invest in them would be a precursor to what the future would look like, whether gloomy or bright.

It is ruinous of the governing class to have forgotten that the most valuable and treasured resources we have are the youths. It is shameful that successive governments have appointed old people to decide the future of young people in the country. One would have thought that the emergence of Goodluck Jonathan as president was a good omen for the youth in politics, but sadly, the youth suffered under his administration and we found our way back the old order.

It is not enough to trade blames, we as youths must come out of the delusion and come to terms with the fact that unless we develop and position ourselves strategically, we may never become the leaders of today, much less leaders of tomorrow. The youth of today are lost in a world of illusion brought about by the social media and the Internet. With large following in the social media, we are supposed to see ourselves as movers and shakers, and that we can influence the world from the comfort of our bedrooms. It is a pity that many of us are not using our influence in the social media positively.

Who still thinks political struggle and economic emancipation are a tea party? Prof Browne Onuoha, a foremost Political Scientist, once said for young people to become relevant in the scheme of things politically, “they must carry our political bag”.

We must get ourselves involved. Sadly, the youth of today are carried away with the flamboyant life styles of the Kims of this world, 30 billion gangs and that is why we see every young man wanting to delve into world of entertainment. We must have this at the back of our mind that those social media celebrities we choose to emulate have paid the price for their fame and glory. They toiled steadfastly through hard work, prepared and availed themselves for opportunities to create niche for themselves.

What have young people done to be truly and deservedly called the leaders of tomorrow? Are we ready to pay the price of hard work, diligence, patience, perseverance? It is not enough to shout “not too young to run”, what have we done to equip ourselves when the chances come begging? Ask Hebert Macaulay, Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Odimegwu Ojukwu, Aminu Kano, MKO Abiola, Tai Solarin, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Gani Fawehinmi, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and others, they also passed through the trenches of oppression and repression.

Political revolution is neither a child’s play nor tea party. We would be building false hopes to assume that we would get liberated without challenging the obstinacy of the old order with better ideas.

I have discovered that one of the problems that has hindered the youth from being relevant politically, economically and socially is the declining level of education. Unfortunately, we have an education system that rewards only grades.

Also, I have discovered that sound knowledge of history played an integral part in the developed world. Take a critical look at China and how its embraces its history, culture and values and how its citizens have used this to foster development in the country.

A nation cannot develop when the youths have forgotten their roots. The only way we can embrace true development is to remember our history and we should not forget the labour of our heroes past.

In order to set things right, the youth of today must re-invent themselves, learn and re-learn. We must strive to better ourselves, educate ourselves, learn skills, embrace entrepreneurship, and participate in the political and economic processes. We must understand that the governing class doesn’t want us to have a mental emancipation, rather they are satisfied to have us educated enough to pay our taxes and uneducated enough not to challenge the status quo.

Benjamin Disraeli said: “Almost everything that is great has been by youths.” To achieve greatness as a nation, the youth must be incorporated into the developmental plan of the nation; they must also develop and equip themselves for opportunities in order to be relevant and reach their full potential.

Source: The Nation

Ekiti CVR: Slow Start, Poor Adherence to Guidelines, Political Parties Apathy Characterizes Process – YIAGA Africa

As part of preparations towards the July 14, 2018 governorship election in Ekiti State, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) stepped down the ongoing Nationwide Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) exercise to the 177 ward registration centers in the State. This is geared towards ensuring that as many citizen that are eligible, are given the opportunity to register in order to exercise their franchise in the forthcoming election.

YIAGA Africa deployed 24 trained and accredited citizen observers to 41% of the 177 ward registration centers spread across the 16 LGAs in Ekiti State to observe the CVR exercise. Employing the rotational observation model, WTV observers deployed over a three (3) day period; April 11th, 14th and 16th and observed through the day in each of the different wards for each of the three (3) days they observed.

Reports by YIAGA Africa’s WatchingTheVote (WTV) observers indicated that the decentralized CVR exercise was conducted in Ekiti and most especially in the 72 registration centers that WTV visited over the three (3) day observation period. Notwithstanding the delayed commencement on the first day of the registration, the exercise provided the people of Ekiti an opportunity to be registered and by all standards was an improvement from the August 2017 Anambra decentralized CVR exercise. This is evidenced in the findings that all the registrations centers visited were accessible to all and the increase in the deployment of security to registration centers although this was not across board. However, just as the national CVR exercise, political parties are generally not deploying their representatives to observe the process. While there was remarkable improvement in the deployment of security, it was not across board.

YIAGA Africa WTV report observed that the first day of the CVR exercise was plagued with officials and materials arriving late across most of the registration centers, this has become a recurring decimal as it was also observed on the first day of the commencement of the National CVR exercise in April 2017 and on the first day of the decentralized CVR in Anambra in August, 2017. INEC should ensure early deployment of personnel and materials in future exercise.

Impressively, the Direct Data Capture (DDC) machines functioned throughout the day in 96% of the registration centers visited by the last day of the exercise which was an improvement from the first day of the exercise where the DDC machines functioned throughout the day in 75% of the centers. The WTV findings also reveal that it took between 2 to 5 minutes to register a voter using the DDC machines. However, in 33% of the registration centers visited, the INEC officials spent more than 5 minutes to register a prospective voter. This indicates an improvement in the process as against the processing time that can extend to 11minutes for registrants by the DDC machines used for the National CVR. To maintain this positive standard, INEC should upgrade its DDC machines deployed for the national CVR and replace weak and obsolete machines.

As indicated in the WTV findings, the percentage of persons whose fingers were not marked with indelible ink but were allowed to go through the registration process is alarming. As indicated in the WTV findings, on the first day of the exercise INEC officials failed to mark the fingers of registrants in 38% of the registration centers visited and by the last day of the exercise, Ekiti South senatorial district had the highest percentage of registration center’s where the officials failed to mark the fingers of the registrants at 43%. INEC should ensure adherence to the Electoral Act and the CVR guidelines by its personnel, failure of which could open room for abuse of the process or avoidable tensions at the registration centers.

Similarly, the requirement for a form of identification before registration as provided in the Electoral Act was not strictly adhered to in 75% of the registration centers visited as indicated in the WTV findings. The requests for identification was only made in some centers were the officials suspected the registrant was below the age for voting and requested for a birth certificate. The requirement for a form of identification functions to restrict both underage persons and non-Nigerians from registering. INEC should as a matter of enforcement ensure that registration officers demand from the registrants a form of identification as required by the Electoral Law to ensure that registrants are within the eligibility age for registering as a voter in Nigeria and are also Nigerians.

INEC should consider adequate deployment of registration materials in subsequent CVR exercise. WTV Observers reported a combine shortage of registration materials in 25% of registration materials across all the three (3) days observed. Failure to address this issue could lead to diminishing confidence in the ability of INEC to conduct future exercise.

The Commission should extend the time for the exercise from 3pm to 6pm on the days allotted for the CVR exercise to provide more people with the opportunity to register and increase the number of registrants registered daily. This should be considered for the National CVR exercise also.

The inclusion of Saturday’s in the decentralized CVR afforded more citizens the opportunity to register especially for the civil servants and corporate workers who do not have the leisure of time during the weekdays to register. This should also be considered in the ongoing national CVR exercise to ensure these classes of people also have the opportunity to register as voters.

The commission should consider extending the number of days for further State decentralized CVR exercise. There was high demand for registration in Ekiti and chances are, not everyone had the opportunity to be registered which could disenfranchise them from voting during the governorship election.

Security Agencies should also ensure the deployment of officials to all registration centers to ensure safety of personnel and materials as well as curb attempts of intimidation and harassment. They should also ensure sanction for electoral offenders, especially in the LGAs of Ido/Osi and Oye where there are reported incidents of underage voting to serve as deterrent for others.

Just as the national CVR exercise, political parties are generally not deploying their representatives to observe the process. Political Parties should engage the electoral cycle (pre, during and post) by deploying party agents to observe all stages of the electoral process to stave off all forms of manipulations. Political parties have no moral right to interrogate or condemn any electoral process that they did not actively participate in.

For the Citizens, there is also need to take with keen interest matters of their civic responsibilities and serve as watchdogs over the process. Citizens also should exercise restraint and not allow themselves to be used as willing tools to achieve inordinate desires of the politicians.

Civil Society Organization (CSOs) should engage every aspect of the electoral process and intensify efforts in civic and voter education to increase participation in the process and in turn reduce voter apathy.

YIAGA AFRICA WatchingTheVote is a citizen’s-led electoral integrity movement dedicated to the promotion of credible elections through systematic and technology driven observation of elections. In pursuit of its goal of enhancing the quality of elections, YIAGA Africa deploys citizens’ observers to observe the conduct of activities within the electoral cycle.

Signed

Samson Itodo

YIAGA Executive Director

YIAGA AFRICA Holds Nationwide Town Hall Meetings on Inclusive Governance

There have been questions on the quality of and the indicators for Nigeria’s democracy since 1999. The quality of democracy can only be enhanced if young people are empowered to participate actively in the political process. The indicators of democratic development in any given society can be measured by the level and quality of citizens’ participation in the democratic process.

The full and equal participation of youths in the political and electoral processes can be one of the litmus tests for youth inclusion in the political and electoral processes. When youths participate in elections – as voters, candidates, electoral administrators, or party supporters – they can express their own needs and interests. Decisions better reflect yearnings of the electorate, Political processes are more inclusive, while Democracy is strengthened and consolidated.

Our country loses the opportunity to advance its development agenda when it excludes its most productive work force from governance and the decision-making process. The energy, skill, innovation, creativity and resilience of youth can drive economic prosperity and political advancement if properly harnessed. Therefore, structures of governance need to be accessible to youth if they are to contribute to the development of their communities. This access is an enforcement of a right and not a privilege. It is also justifiable on the grounds that democracy thrives on the ability of citizens to enforce their rights to participate in decision-making.

YIAGA AFRICA with support from the Ford Foundation under the Promoting Inclusive Governance for Development (PIG-D) Project trained 34 young organizers on campaigns, advocacy and movement building back in November 2017 in Abuja, Nigeria. The organizers have in turn been organizing campaigns, leading advocacy efforts and building movements around issues of youth inclusion putting in practice skills learnt at the training.

The Promoting Inclusive Governance for Development Project (PIG-D) underscores the importance of inclusive governance to democratic development. It is premised on the need to expand the civic space for youth political participation as a vehicle for fostering good governance, social justice and public accountability.

In April 2018, young men and women in 10 states across the various geo-political zones namely Kaduna, Taraba, Nasarawa, Imo, Ekiti, Delta, Borno, Edo, Oyo and Benue states have hosted Town Hall meetings with young men and women including persons with disabilities to stimulate and amplify the discussion on youth inclusion in governance.

At the Town Hall meeting organized in Delta State, the Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development, Mr. Oghenekaro Ilolo emphasized that, political participation revolves around every sphere of life.  The Commissioner who was represented by an assistant director in the ministry admitted that young people have suffered from failure of leadership and need not isolate themselves from politics and governance.

Similarly, a Senior Lecturer at the College of Education, Delta State stressed that the youths of today are the product of faulty foundation while also admonishing the participants not to gravitate in the past error but correct it by showing capacity to follow the lead.

Speaking at the Kaduna State Town Hall Meeting, a chairmanship candidate for Kajuru Local Government Area promised to regularly hold similar meetings if elected into office. While in Kano State one of the speakers stated that; ‘A united Nigerian youth are formidable enough to decide the future of the country’

Meanwhile during the town hall meeting in Kano, a Kano-based politician, Comrade Yahaya Shehu Wudil, urged youths to get involved in active politics. “Nobody can include the youth in governance except themselves; they should start from the grassroots politics and join political parties,” adding that “it will be hard to do away with godfatherism in Nigeria politics.”

Additionally, freelance journalist, Malam Mustapha Muhammad, tasked youths to be more prepared for nation building, by becoming more proactive in politics vis-a-vis governance. He also charged youths to do away with politics of godfatherism.

Also speaking at the Kano State town hall meeting, Barrister Maryam Abubakar advised youths to show more action rather than lamenting on issues affecting the nation. “A united Nigerian youth are formidable enough to decide the future of the country,” she added.

The Kano State coordinator of YIAGA Africa, Comrade Idris Mohammed, who also supervised the meeting, said all points raised at the meeting will be meaningless if youths failed to join political parties of their choice in their respective local governments. To ensure that all resolutions are worked out, participants at the event who were mostly youths set up a committee to be chaired by Abubakar Lele while Barrister Maryam Ahmad was appointed as Secretary. Other members of the committee include Mr Komolafe Ogunaye, Ado Sanusi Sabongida (representing PWDs), Rabiu Shamma, Aisha Tofa and Idris Mohammed.

The Town Hall Meetings have provided a platform for young people to speak about issues relating to democracy and civic participation and a unique avenue to enlighten citizens on promoting inclusive governance for sustainable development in Nigeria. The inter-generational dialogue between youth and older citizens has also elevated the discourse in various states on youth inclusion in democratic processes. The meetings currently is ongoing in 36 states of the federation as young men and women continue to use the knowledge gained at the training for organizing campaigns, leading advocacy and building movements.

 

 

Youths are asset, not problem ― UN envoy

The United Nations, UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Ms Jayathma Wickramanayake, has stated that young people are an asset rather than being a problem.

She stated this while presenting the report on the findings of the independent progress study on “Youth, Peace and Security” to the Security Council.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria had while delivering a keynote address at the Commonwealth Business Forum in London last week disclosed that many Nigerian youths want everything free without doing anything.

Wickramanayake stated that report pointed to two key issues that needed immediate attention.
She said the first was the growing mistrust from young generations towards formal political institutions, while the other issue is the exclusion of young people from political, civic and economic life.

The study also showed that only a small minority of youth ever engaged in violence while many were actively engaging in their own local initiatives to bring peace to their communities.

According to the Envoy, “I believe we can all agree that my generation represents promise – not peril.

“We should be seen as an asset, not a problem,’’ she told Council members.
The envoy said the report’s findings and recommendations were an opportunity for the Council to redress the mistrust between young people, their government and the multilateral system.

This, she said, could be achieved by opening up new paths for meaningful participation and contribution.

Wickramanayake said tapping the potential and creativity of young people was indispensable to prevent conflict and build peace.
She urged governments to create conditions that allow their meaningful participation in civic and political lives.

The envoy underlined three critical areas – supporting youth’s peace efforts; prioritising their political participation; and partnering with them.
“I will not ask you to let young people lead as they are already leading.
“But they need inclusive, safe spaces and enabling environments to succeed.
“Recognise their work, fund it, scale it up and protect it,” she said, and called for dispelling misconceptions surrounding youth, citing studies that illustrated only a small minority of young people ever engage in violence.

Yet, Wickramanayake added, they face suspicions and undue restrictions, including when it comes to travelling across borders.

The envoy added that many had difficulties in obtaining travel permits.

She also called on all concerned to fully engage young people in electoral processes, political party structures and not to consider them “too young to run” for public office.

Source: Dailypost

YIAGA Africa Set to Partner EFCC on Anti-Corruption Fight

In a bid to intensify the fight against corruption across the federation, YIAGA Africa’s Accountability and Social Justice Team met with officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday 18th April 2018 about its Bounce Corruption Project, as both institutions are set to partner on the anti-graft war.

Elaborating on the essence of the Bounce Corruption Project, the Program Officer Mrs. Tracy Keshi informed the commission that the overall goal of the Bounce Corruption Project; supported by the MacArthur Foundation, is to promote zero tolerance for corruption and impunity through effective citizens’ oversight and mobilization for open and accountable governance. Further adding that, the project also aims to build resistance against corruption by exposing corrupt practices and demanding prosecution of indicted suspects. The Bounce Corruption Project will also mainstream young people in the fight against corruption in Nigeria. At the center of this project is the promotion of collaboration and networking with different stakeholders involved in the campaign against corruption and impunity in Nigeria she rounded up saying.

 

Mrs. Keshi noted that it is important for citizens especially in rural areas and educational institutions to be well informed about the work the anti-corruption agency is doing on the anti-corruption campaign and how they can also be actively involved in the anti-corruption war. She assured the commission that YIAGA Africa via its Bounce Corruption project is willing to partner with them on this regard. She also notified the commission that YIAGA Africa through its Bounce Corruption project had just concluded a nationwide public integrity debate competition for students of selected tertiary institutions across the six (6) geo-political zones of the country.

The debate competition provided a platform for harnessing youth views into the anti-corruption crusade as it gave the students the opportunity to analyze the effectiveness & ineffectiveness of the current administration’s anti-corruption strategy. The debate also provided a platform for propagating the values of integrity, transparency and accountability via the establishment of public integrity clubs in those institutions, she informed the commission.

During the meeting which held at the EFCC headquarters Abuja, EFCC head of Enlightenment and Reorientation, Mr Samin Amaddin appreciated the activities of YIAGA Africa in strides recorded in the anti-corruption campaign across the nation through the Bounce Corruption Project. He further stated that the commission can collaborate especially in establishing integrity clubs in schools, which is one of the major objectives of the project as it is a semblance of what the commission are also doing in various institutions across the country.

According to Mr Amaddin, the EFCC mandate focuses more on preventing corruption. This informed the establishment of integrity clubs to ensure zero tolerance to corruption. He stated that, the EFCC has integrity clubs in tertiary institutions such as the Ahmadu Bello University and Bayero University Kano, thus the impending collaboration with YIAGA Africa via its Bounce Corruption project is timely to improve anti-corruption activities in a bid to reduce corruption in Nigeria. He noted that the commission is doing a lot of work in youth engagement, as against what is mostly heard in public. Considering the challenge of limitations in funding for the commission in carrying out all these activities, he welcomed the partnership with YIAGA Africa as it resolves to work with the commission in the anti-corruption campaign.

Also speaking at the meeting is the EFCC School Desk Officer in charge of public integrity clubs in schools; Mrs. Zainab Bello. She revealed that the commission ensures it creates integrity clubs in every school it engages which includes Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Institution. According to Mrs. Bello, EFCC also engages National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members whose Community Development Project has to do with Zero Tolerance to create integrity club in the school they serve.

As the Grand Finale of YIAGA Africa’s Bounce Corruption Public Integrity Debate is scheduled to hold in May, the commission has expressed its willingness to be part of the finals which will see winners of all zones square-up in the FCT for the knockout and final round of the Public Integrity Debate Competition.

BUHARI ADMINISTRATION WILL CONTINUE TO SUPPORT YOUNG NIGERIANS – VP OSINBAJO

*Says preparation and competence, not age to run for public office, should matter more

*Many young people working in Presidency

*Young Nigerians should be allowed to run for elective positions in the country, especially as they have demonstrated capacity and competence in the fields of technology, education and other sectors of the economy, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.*

*Prof. Osinbajo said this when he received a courtesy visit from the Not-Too-Young-To-Run group today at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.*

The Vice President stated that the age of running for public office in Nigeria should not be a major issue for discourse as much as the competence of that individual.

He noted that while it was important for young people to be able to run for public office in the country, it was equally important for them to gain required skills set to be prepared for public service.

While commending young Nigerians for making great strides and playing leadership roles in many organisations and in different areas of the economy, Prof Osinbajo also commended the group for its incredible advocacy aimed at lowering the age of entry into elective positions in Nigeria.

“I must congratulate you for ensuring that you saw it (the push for the bill) to the point that it is now where all that is required is Presidential assent. If you’re old enough to vote, then you should be old enough to run for office,” he said.

He added that the Buhari administration remains committed to supporting young Nigerians in different areas, including in politics.

Prof. Osinbajo further said the leadership provided by young Nigerians was evident in areas like technology, among others, noting that “many organisations have been led by young people, so that’s not entirely new.”

The Vice President urged young Nigerians to thus develop their capacities and skills in different areas so as to contribute to issues of leadership, governance, national development and the economy.

“I think that whatever age a person chooses to run for office shouldn’t matter at all; that for me is a fundamental principle, it really doesn’t matter, even if you’re much younger or older in age, the more important issue, my worry always is so much the preparedness of young people, the preparedness of anyone, young or old.

“It is the same way that if you’re going to be a pilot or medical doctor, you need to get some training, by devoting your time and resources to a call. Even football requires skills.

“Practically in any field, you are required to show competence. And in our developing economy, there is need for us to set the bar much higher, not in terms of age, but in terms of competence. We need to set the bar because we are a developing economy, because we don’t have the time to waste on mediocrity.”

He further urged the group and young Nigerian to lend their voices to campaigns on issues related to anti-corruption and national development as they get required education and build their capacities for public service.

The Vice President said, “I have many young people working with me in this office in different departments, and all of them are highly competent. I also had the opportunity of serving in government when I was 30 years old, I was adviser to the then Attorney General of the Federation and I was teaching at the University then. When I became Attorney General about 12 years later in Lagos State, I was a trained Attorney General; So, I also had working knowledge. We need competence in the same way that we take on issues in our different professions.

“I visited tech hubs in Lagos during the week; incredible work is going on being done by young, people who have devoted their time and resources. So, I would say that if you’re interested in public service, that same kind of commitment can be devoted so when we are discussing very critical issues of economy, governance, we would be able to say this is the work plan. It is incredible what can be achieved but we need to have people who are articulating strong positions on issues.

In his remarks, the Executive Director, Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA) Africa, who led the delegation, Mr. Samson Itodo, thanked the Vice President for the opportunity and for being a strong advocate of young people in the country.

Itodo noted that Prof. Osinbajo has continued to demonstrate his belief in the potential and talents of young Nigerians in different areas of the economy.

“We are quite excited to see a significant number of young people working in the Office of the Vice President. Your Excellency, it shows to a great extent that there is commitment on your part to engage young people,” Itodo said.

In the same vein, a member of the delegation, Ms Bella Ndubuisi, said, “It is exciting to see many young people working with the Vice President’s office,” noting that this development shows the belief of the Buhari administration in the inclusion of young people in the process of governance.

The Not-Too-Young-To-Run campaign is based on a bill before the National Assembly that seeks to alter sections of the 1999 constitution to reduce the age limit for running for elected office in Nigeria.

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity)
Office of the Vice President
19th April, 2018