WatchingTheVote Obswrvers observing INEC Display Claims and Objection

Low Citizens Awareness, Poor Deployment of Officials Wanes INEC’s Display Claims and Objections Exercise

Summary

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had displayed the Preliminary Voter Register (PRV) in its offices and public spaces across the 774 Local Government Areas, Wards/Registration Areas, and polling units nationwide, from November 6th to November 12th, 2018. The exercise was conducted in line with the provisions of Section 19 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) which mandates INEC to (by notice, appoint a period not less than 5 days and not exceeding 14 days) to display a copy of the (preliminary) Voters’ Register (form EC1A) for each Local Government Area Council or Ward in the Federation for public scrutiny.

Display of the Preliminary Register of Voters (PRV) involves INEC publicly displaying the PRVs to give the public the opportunity to review the PRV. The display exercise provided an opportunity for voters to review the Preliminary Register of Voters (PRV) and bring to the attention of the electoral officials any problems with the register of voters so that they can be corrected, thereby enhancing the quality of the final register. By law, INEC is only required to display the preliminary register of voters at the Local Government, Area Council or ward level. INEC extended the display of the PRVs to the Polling Unit (PU) level.

While INEC is commended for significantly expanding public access to the display process by posting the preliminary register of voters at registration centers and in most instances, the polling unit level, however, there was no INEC officials in sight in some of these locations to provide information on the process to voters.

YIAGA AFRICA’s Watching The Vote (WTV) observers deployed on November 9th and November 12th across the 774 LGAs and the 36 states and the FCT to observe the display claims and objections at the polling units or wards that are close to their place of domicile.

YIAGA AFRICA received 284 reports. 124 reports were received on November 9th and 160 reports were received on November 12th. Based on the reports, WTV found that:

  1. Generally, there was low turnout throughout the exercise;

  1. INEC displayed the PRVs in all the polling units visited;

  1. There was the lack of or no inadequate information about the process as most people were not aware of the process, and some of those who visited the polling units were not aware of where to visit to make their claims or objections;

  1. While the display at the PU level is commendable, most of these centers had no INEC officials to attend to people who were seen cross-checking their information or to provide guidance on the Display Claims and Objection procedures;

  1. In some centers, pages of the PRVs were seen littered around or torn. In PU 001 Ward 6 in PHA LGA of Rivers State, the PRV forms displayed by INEC were torn twice by unknown persons. In NKST Primary School, In Kwande LGA of Benue State, we received reports that the PRV fell off the walls as a result of the rains and were littered all around the vicinity;

  1. INEC officials were seen mostly at the ward level;

  1. Due to the ongoing insurgency in Borno, public display of the PRV was not done in some LGAs. Reports from Guzamala LGA shows that there was no display of the PRV in the LGA. The LGA INEC office is currently operating in Maiduguri;

  1. A village in ward 4 in Emohua LGA of Rivers State was not accessed by INEC Officials due to the demand of N5000 and St. Remy by a man who claimed to be the prince of the village;

  1. There were reports that some people saw names of their dead relatives on the list but they had no idea about how to get names deleted from the preliminary register;

  1. Security personnel did not deploy to all polling units that WTV observers visited;

  1. None-deployment of security in most polling units/centers in Yobe State may have contributed to the low turnout.

  1. Political parties did not deploy their agents to the polling units;

  1. No one was prevented from scrutinizing the PRVs;

  1. No one raised a challenge to have a registration deleted because the person is not a Nigeria, is not up to up to 18, the person is dead, or the person has registered more than once in the polling units/wards observed.

Methodology

YIAGA Africa’s #WatchingTheVote deployed trained observers across all the 774 LGAs and the 36 states and the FCT. WTV observers were trained on how to observe the display claims and objection procedures and on how to report their findings to the WTV National Data Center (NDC).

WTV Observers observed on two selected days. They deployed on November 9th and on November 12th. WTV observers spent a minimum of two (2) hours at each of the centers that they deployed to observe.

Each observer called or sent in their observation findings to WTV National Data Center. WTV received a total of 284 reports, these reports were reviewed, verified and analyzed.

Observations and Findings:

Just like the display claims and objections exercise that took place in March 2018, the exercise held in November 2018 just a few months to the 2019 general elections recorded abysmal participation of citizens which may be attributed to the poor publicity of the exercise on the part of INEC and a not clear communication on the procedures.

We received reports of persons who crossed off names of their dead relatives on the PRVs or wrote Rest in Peace against the names of their dead relatives out of respect for the dead and ignorance of how to go about the process of deleting names of the dead from the registered.

Others were apathetic because according to them, not only is the process of claims and objections ambiguous, it is cumbersome and tedious.

The just-concluded display claims and objections have further exposed the manpower and capacity gaps of INEC as they only deployed staff to the wards and LGA offices and some of these staff lacked the capacity to take the registrants through the processes of completing the forms for claims and objections.

WTV Findings reveals that:

Display of the PRV

  • The preliminary register of voters was displayed conspicuously in all the centers that WTV observers visited;

Turnout of Registrants

  • Generally, registrants were apathetic towards the process as turnout was abysmally low;

Deployment of INEC officials

  • No INEC official was seen in all the polling units that WTV observers visited, however, on the average two (2) INEC officials were seen in some of the wards that WTV observers visited;

Instruction on the Procedures for Display Claims and Objections

  • INEC officials were not seen in most of the polling units visited and reports further revealed that registrants were not informed about the procedures especially on how to make claims and objections.

INEC Essential Forms

  • Reports by some observers who deployed to the wards reveal that essential materials such as the forms for the statement of addition, statement of correction, statement of deletions, statement of corrections or insertion, statement of inclusion, statement of death, statement of returns, statement of actions were available.

Deployment of Party Agents

  • No political party agents were seen in all the centers that WTV Observers visited.

Deployment of Security

  • No security personnel were seen in all the centers that WTV Observers visited.

Deployment of Security

  • No security personnel were seen in all the centers that WTV Observers visited.

Scrutinizing/Confirmation Details on the PRV

  • No one was prevented from confirming their details in all the centers that WTV observers visited.

Challenge to delete a registration because the person is not a Nigerian

  • No challenge was raised to delete a registration because the person is not a Nigerian, in all the centers that WTV observers visited.

Challenge to delete a registration because the person was believed not to be 18 years old

  • Because INEC officials were not in the polling units that WTV visited, no challenge was raised to delete a registration because the person was believed not to be 18 years old, in all the centers that WTV observers visited.

Challenge to delete a registration because the person was believed to be deceased

  • No challenge was raised to delete a registration because the person was believed to be deceased, in all the centers that WTV observers visited. This was largely because registrants were oblivious of how and where to make complaints.

Challenge to delete a registration because the person was to have registered more than once

  • No challenge was raised to delete a registration because the person was believed to be have registered more than once in all the centers that WTV observers visited.

Disruption of the claims and objections process

  • There was no attempt to disrupt the claims and objections process in all the centers that WTV observers visited.

Intimidation and Harassment

  • There was no attempt to intimidate or harass voters, INEC officials or observers during the claims and objections process in all the centers that WTV observers visited.

Conclusions and Recommendations

While reports from WTV Observers revealed that the display claims and objections took place nationwide from November 6th to November 12th, 2018 and that INEC went the extra mile beyond the constitutional provision of conducting the exercise at the LGA level by displaying at wards and polling units, such effort was made futile by the low level of awareness created about the exercise. There is no overemphasizing the need to increase public enlightenment on the exercise in the future. WTV, therefore, makes the following recommendations to help improve the quality of the electoral process:

To INEC:

  1. As noted in our interim report on the PRV process issued on April 09, 2018, there is need to explore all communication channels to keep voters and the general public abreast of the activities of the commission. INEC should make the most of communication tools including traditional and social media for effective communication. Information should be clear and unambiguous about every aspect of the process and the required action to be taken by citizens.

  1. There is a need for increased deployment and monitoring of INEC staff for such important exercise in the future. It is imperative that INEC improves on its arrangements and training of its personnel to assist those who wish to make claims and objections and ensure adequate deployment of personnel to all location where the PRVs are displayed for public scrutiny. It is also important that the commission improves on its monitoring of the exercise at the various levels in order to ensure compliance of its staff to the extant laws and procedures.

  1. The Commission should intensify its collaboration with security agencies to ensure deployment of security personnel to the centers where the PRVs are displayed in order to curb vandalism and tearing of the PRVs.

  1. The Commission should be transparent and share its finding from such exercise with the public. There is a need to also provide accessible mechanisms for the citizens to report cases of disenfranchisement and fraud during the display claims and objections process as well as other pre-election processes.

  1. To encourage more participation, the commission should consider extending the period of the exercise from the traditional 5 days. The Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) provides for a period not less than 5 days and not exceeding 14 days.

To the Civil Society Organizations

  1. The Civil Society Organizations should increase efforts to create enlightenment concerning electoral processes, most especially at the grassroots level. This will increase the efficiency of such exercises and build citizens confidence.

  1. There is the need for observer groups to deploy observers to observe every aspect of the pre-election processes. This will help in ensuring accountability and providing information about the conduct of the process.

To the Political Parties

  1. It is important that political actors deploy their representatives to observe the pre-election observers to enhance the process.

To the Security Agencies

  1. It is important that political actors deploy their representatives to observe the pre-election observers to enhance the process.

To the Citizens

  1. Security agencies should increase collaboration with other organs of government such as INEC and ensure deployment of their personnel to provide security for every aspect of the electoral process.

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Hussaini Abdu PhD                                                                     Samson Itodo
Chair,                                                                                               Executive Director
YIAGA AFRICA WTV Working Group                                    YIAGA AFRICA

For media inquiries please contact:
Moshood Isah: Tel. +234 (0) 703 666 9339
Email: [email protected] AFRICA.org

Learn more about #WatchingTheVote at www.watchingthevote.org or on social media on Facebook at facebook.com/YIAGA AFRICA.org or on Twitter @YIAGA AFRICA.

About YIAGA AFRICA

YIAGA AFRICA is a non-governmental organization promoting democracy, constitutionalism and youth participation in Africa. YIAGA AFRICA achieves its goal through research, capacity development and policy advocacy. YIAGA AFRICA operates as a citizens’ movement poised with the onerous mandate of enhancing the quality of democratic governance, public accountability and civic participation. YIAGA AFRICA has been involved in election observation since 2007 and it is one of the leading organizations working on elections in Nigeria.

The YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote (WTV) is a citizen-led election observation initiative aimed at enhancing the integrity of elections in Nigeria using technological tools like SMS and evidence-based research methodology tools for election observation. The initiative is designed to promote credible elections and boost citizens’ confidence in the electoral process through citizens observation of electoral activities in the electoral cycle. YIAGA AFRICA is enhancing the quality of democracy in Nigeria using Watching The Vote as a platform for promoting cutting-edge electoral policies, credible elections, civic participation and democratic consolidation.

Idris Muhammad at WTV Data centre

2019 Elections: Why Violence Against Women Must Stop- Idris Mohammed

The value of political equality is central to normative theories of democracy. It is argued that women are equal citizens and therefore should share equally with men in public decision-making, otherwise there is a democratic deficit. By contrast, since the return of democracy in Nigeria, women are at the fore-front in growing and developing our electoral process, despite their narrow inclusion but still the percentage that voted in the previous elections was an indication that, women deserve to be included in the democratic governance.

Despite this there has been a lot of identity base violence against women running daily offline and also on our social media platforms. During the recent political party primaries in Nigeria, female aspirants faced challenges from their male counterparts and by extension, the system. For example, a female aspirant posted on her social media handle that she failed to get ticket from her party because of her refusal to sleep with some of the party chieftains. Another also said that they forced her to step down for a male candidate just because of her gender.

This violence often spikes around elections because it is used as a tool for political intimidation, but little is known about how much of and in what ways this violence is directed at women. In 2011 general elections, for example, there were reports that female National Youth Service Corps volunteers experienced sexual harassment, threat and hate speech at polling units across the country. In a nutshell, Women are targeted for violence during elections specifically because they are women and to stop them from exercising their democratic or civic rights.

On September 1st in Abuja, a Non Governmental Organisation, National Democratic Institute designed and launched campaign titled : “Stop Violence Against Women in Election” with the effort of documenting and reporting the incident of violence against women in election to the relevant stake-holders such as election official, security agencies, women group, religious bodies and other organizations that are interested in elections. In spite of this effort, women are still confronting violence on daily basis. Recently some print media reported about 60 cases of violence against women recorded in just concluded Osun Gubernatorial elections.

Violence against women takes different forms and dimension. The violence can be seen as physical, psychological, sexual, threat, cultural and economic violence. For the lack of space, let me cite some examples of violence against women in election. Denying the female aspirant ticket because she refuses sexual advancement from the political parties chieftains, denying them access to financial support, assault, hate languages, and cultural barriers attached to the issue especially in the Northern Nigeria. Moreover, women received threat from opponents, members of their own party and even from their own family members. These forms of violence have become apron-string to wide or inclusive participation of women in our democratic process. The numbers of aspirants released from INEC indicated gender gap or disparity if one compares to other democratic countries of the world

violence against women in elections is a threat to the integrity of the electoral process – it can affect women’s participation as voters, candidates, election officials, activists, and political party leaders, and it undermines the free, fair, and inclusive democratic process. With this, it is has become imperative for the stake-holder to develop new strategies aim at promoting peaceful and violence-free elections, which necessitates full gender inclusivity at every step of the electoral process. Also, women should be encourage to report issue of violence against them to the appropriate authorities.

Idris Mohammed Funtua is a Program Officer with YIAGA AFRICA from Abuja.

Samson Itodo, Ezenwa Nwagwu, Cynthia Mbamalu and Paul James

WATCHING THE VOTE STATEMENT  ON THE OBSERVATION OF THE BYE-ELECTIONS IN BAUCHI, KATSINA AND KWARA STATES

Introduction

On November 17, 2018, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conducted bye-elections in three federal constituencies namely Toro Federal Constituency in Bauchi state, Irepodun/Isin/Eiti and Oke-Ero Federal Constituency in Kwara state, Kankia/Kusada/Ingawa Federal constituency in Katsina state and one state constituency in Cross River State, Ikom state constituency. The bye-election was conducted to fill vacant seats in the House of Representatives and State Assembly

YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote deployed 14 roving observers to each of the Local Government areas within the respective federal constituencies in the three states of Bauchi, Katsina and Kwara. Watching The Vote adopted traditional election observation methodology and did not deploy the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology for the observation of the bye-election. The observers used a specially designed checklist to observe both the process of the voting and counting at the polling units and the collation of result at the LGA result collation centres. The observation reports were sent via coded messages to a central database in Abuja. The observers were deployed to each of the eight (8) LGAs where the bye-elections were conducted and required to visit a minimum of 5 polling units in each LGA.

Observations

  1. Poor management of election logistics: Watching The Vote observers reported poor logistics management in Toro Federal Constituency of Bauchi state. Our observers observed some challenges with the transportation of adhoc officials and election materials from the Registration Area Camps (RACs) to the polling units on election day resulting to late opening of polls in some of the polling units in Toro LGA in Bauchi State. In some cases, NYSC members had to make personal transportation arrangements to convey materials to the polling stations.
  2. Election Security administration: Watching The Vote observed the absence of proper coordination in the management of election security. As reported from Bauchi State, inter agency rivalry resulted in confusion in deployment and payment of allowance to officers deployed for the election.
  3. Poor welfare of INEC adhoc officials: As observed by the Watching The Vote observers, members of the National Youth Corps Service (NYSC) deployed to serve as ad hoc officials for the bye-election were subjected to poor welfare conditions. The RACs were not equipped with adequate facilities to cater to the welfare needs of the youth corp members on the eve of the elections. Poor handling of welfare demotivates the youth corp members and makes them vulnerable to enticement from politicians or individuals with vested interest.
  4. Unnecessary show of force by police officers: While security deployment remains fundamental in protecting lives and properties, it is important for security personnel deployed for elections to respect the right of the people to cast their votes freely and to polling officials administer elections without any form of intimidation, harassment or disruption. WTV observed incidences where security agents intimidated adhoc officials and voters. In some polling stations, security officials show up at polling stations with live ammunitions. This runs contrary to electoral guidelines and global standards for free and fair elections.
  5. Voter turnout: The bye-election recorded an abysmally low turnout of voters. Official data indicates the turnout rate for Bauchi 21.6%, Katsina 38% and Kwara 24.4%. The trend of a minority determining electoral outcomes and political leadership needs to be reversed.
  6. Vote buying and Secrecy of the ballot: WTV observers noted that the secrecy of the ballot was compromised in some polling stations visited. Despite the reconfiguration of the polling units, people could see how voters marked their ballot papers. WTV observers reported incidence of vote buying in polling stations across the three federal constituencies observed.

Watching the Vote Election Day Findings

Accreditation and Voting

  1. By 9:00am, accreditation and voting commenced in most polling units in the Bauchi, Katsina and Kwara state bye-elections.
  2. An average of 5 INEC officials were seen in all polling units that WTV observers visited and, on the average, 2 were women.
  3. APC and PDP party agents were seen in most of the polling units that WTV observers visited in Bauchi.
  4. APC, PDP and PRP party agents were seen in most of the polling units that WTV observers visited in Katsina.
  5. APC, PDP, PPN and UPN party agents were seen in most of the polling units that WTV observers visited in Kwara.
  6. Most of polling units visited in Bauchi, Katsina and Kwara had security agents present. However, WTV observers did not sight security agents at PU 15/1/ Magama Gumau Dada II, Tila Toro LGA, PU 9/2 Kofar Mai Unguwa, Tilden Fulani in Toro LGA and PU 14/1 Magama Gumau Fada II.
  7. Card readers were observed in all polling units visited in Bauchi, Katsina and Kwara States bye elections. All essential materials which includes the: register of voters, indelible ink-marker pen, polling official stamp, voting cubicle, ink pad, Form EC.8A Statement of Results and Form EC.40H Voter Information, were present as at the time WTV observers visited.
  8. The card reader functioned throughout during the time the WTV observers visited the polling units.
  9. No one was accredited to vote who did not have a PVC as at the time of our observation.
  10. In all the polling units visited, each voter’s PVC was checked against the Register of Voters.
  11. No one was accredited to vote who did not have a PVC as at the time of our observation.
  12. In all the polling units visited, every potential voter’s permanent voter card (PVC) and fingerprint was checked by the card reader, as at the time of our observation.
  13. In all polling units observed, Indelible ink was applied to the cuticle of voters within the time WTV observer visited the respective polling units. Voters were also seen to be given a ballot paper that are stamped, signed and dated by INEC polling official.
  14. Most polling units visited in Bauchi State were set up so no one could see how the voters marked their ballot papers. However, polling units 009/02 Kofar Mai Unguwa, Tilden Fulani, Toro LGA, Bauchi state and 06/01 New Post Office, Osi, Ekiti LGA, Kwara state were set up that someone one could see how the voters marked their ballot papers. In addition, many polling units in the LGAs where the bye-elections were conducted in Katsina State were set in such a way that people could see how voters marked their choices. For instance, in five (5) polling units visited in Ingawa LGA, Katsina State, WTV observed that people could see how the voters marked their ballot papers.

Results Collation Centers Findings

  1. An average of 7 INEC collation officials were present at the seven (7) LGA results collation centers that WTV observed, on the average 1 was a woman;
  2. Security personnel were deployed to all the LGA collation centers that WTV observers deployed to;
  3. APC & PDP party agents were seen at the LGA Collation center in Bauchi;
  4. APC, PDP & PRP party agents were seen at the LGA Collation centers in Katsina;
  5. APC & PDP party agents were seen at the LGA Collation centers in Kwara;
  6. In all the collation centers that WTV observed, Form EC 8Bs (Result Sheet) for all the wards were submitted to the collation officer;
  7. In all the LGA results collation centers that WTV observed, INEC officials collated the results by entering the votes in the original form EC 8C in words and figures.
  8. In all the collation centers that WTV observed, INEC official dated and signed the results forms
  9. APC & PDP party agents countersigned the results form at the LGA Collation center in Bauchi;
  10. APC, PDP & PRP party agents countersigned the results form at the LGA Collation centers in Katsina;
  11. APC & PDP party agents countersigned the results form at the LGA Collation centers in Kwara;
  12. INEC collation officials distributed copies of the form EC 8Cs to all party agents and security personnel present, in all the collation centers that WTV observed;
  13. An official completed the notice of result of poll poster EC 60E and displayed in six (6) of the seven (7) LGA results collation centers that WTV Observed. INEC collation officials did not post the copy of the results form for the public to see, in Kusada LGA collation center in Katsina State.
  14. There was no incident of intimidation, harassment or violence against voters, election officials, party agents, observers or security personnel in all the collation centers that WTV observed.
  15. There was no attempt to disrupt the collation process in all the centers that WTV observed.

Critical Incidents

  1. Incidents of Vote buying or bribery were reported in:
  2. Bauchi, Toro LGA in: Tilden Fulani Ward 2, PU Name – Kofar Mai-Unguwa, PU code 009; Katsina, Ingawa LGA, Yandoma Ward 2, Wangari PU, PU cood002;
  3. Katsina, Ingawa LGA in: Dugul Ward, PU – Dukuma TV Viewing Center, PU Code 005;
  4. Kwara, Ekiti LGA in: Osi Ward 01, PU Name – Post Office, PU Code 006; Kwara, Irepodun LGA, Oum-Aran Ward 06, PU Name – St. Paul Omu-Aran, PU Code 010;
  5. Kwara, Oke-Ero LGA in: Ekan-Nla Ward 02, PU Name – Oke Ilegun, PU Code 004.

  1. Threat of Violence:
  2. In 019, Magama Gani Primary school, Toro LGA, a party agent held polling official’s hostage and destroyed ballot papers during counting. The election at the PU was cancelled.

Recommendations

  1. Election Logistics Management: The success of every election depends on the ability of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to properly manage elections operations and logistics as well as ensure that every plan includes a detailed framework to cater to the needs of personnel deployed for elections. YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote calls on INEC to ensure adequate planning for election logistics. The commission should thoroughly investigate the reasons for the logistical challenges in the Toro federal constituency election and take appropriate action to avert sabotage of logistic arrangements during the 2019 general elections.
  2. Welfare of Ad-Hoc Officials: INEC needs to demonstrate commitment to the welfare of adhoc officials especially the NYSC members through early planning and adequate funding for welfare. Watching The Vote calls on INEC to institute an efficient mechanism to enforce and monitor the implementation of welfare plan for adhoc officials.
  3. Transparency and accountability in election security management: There’s need for greater coordination and transparency in the management of election security. To facilitate planning, security agencies should share deployment plans with INEC in a timely manner. All security agencies must uphold the principles of patriotism, neutrality, professionalism, accountability and mutual respect in election security operations. Interagency rivalry is a threat to peaceful and credible elections.
  4. Strict compliance with electoral law and guidelines: Watching The Vote calls on INEC to ensure polling officials are adequately trained before deployment. To ensure uniformity in compliance with electoral laws and guidelines during elections, the commission should strengthen its oversight/supervision mechanism on election day.
  5. INEC needs to ensure due diligence in the recruitment of adhoc officials for elections especially Supervisory Presiding Officer (SPOs). Their neutrality and integrity is critical for credibility of electoral outcomes.

Conclusion

YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote commends the voters who turn up to vote in the election for their resilience and peaceful conduct throughout the election. The electoral commission is commended for ensuring a successful election. However, YIAGA AFRICA would like to urge the electoral commission to thoroughly investigate the logistic challenges highlighted in this report as a confidence building measure. The stakes are high for the 2019 election; therefore, INEC and other electoral stakeholders must show commitment to free, fair and credible elections.

Democracy thrives when citizens exercise their right to vote in periodic peaceful and fair elections. YIAGA AFRICA urges security agencies especially the Nigeria police, Department of State Services and the Nigeria army to remain impartial and neutral in the management of election security. Security agencies must respect the constitutional right of citizens to cast their vote without any form of intimidation, harassment or threat.

With the commencement of the political campaigns for the general elections, YIAGA AFRICA expects a fully charged political environment. We wish to remind political parties that health and peaceful electoral competition deepens democracy. To this end we urge them to engage citizens in issue-based campaigns and refrain from hate speech and incendiary messages that could destabilize public peace. We call on Nigerians to actively interrogate the manifestoes of candidates and prepare to vote for candidates based on capacity, character and competence.

God Bless Nigeria.

Samson Itodo

Executive Director YIAGA AFRICA

Ezenwa Nwagwu

Member, Watching The Vote Working Group

For media inquiries please contact:

Moshood Isah

Media Officer, YIAGA AFRICA

Tel. +234 (0) 703 666 9339

Email: [email protected]

Learn more about #WatchingTheVote at www.watchingthevote.org or on social media on Facebook at facebook.com/yiaga.org or on Twitter @YIAGA.

Young Aspirants sharing their experience during political party Primaries

Lack of funds, zoning robbed us of our parties’ tickets –Young aspirants

Some young aspirants who vied for tickets of some political parties in the just-concluded primaries of the parties on Friday said they were cheated by leadership of the parties.

A House of Assembly aspirant in Zamfara on All Progressives Congress platform, Ms Amina Iliyasu, stated this on behalf of all affected youths at the Young Aspirants Experience Sharing Workshop in Abuja.

The programme was organised by the Centre of Legislative Engagement of YIAGA AFRICA and it was aimed at highlighting the experiences of young unsuccessful aspirants in the parties’ primaries.

Iliyasu said that the lack of internal democracy in political parties robed the youths of candidacy in forthcoming general polls.

She said that though people from her constituency wanted her to vie for that position, leaders of the party in the states were not happy because they felt she was too young.

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“Even though I won, I was asked to step down because of a zoning formula in the state.

“So, since the present governor is contesting for Senate position, and we are from the same constituency, I had to step down so the other zone could benefit.”

Iliyasu said that many women were marginalised in the primaries and that the women leaders did nothing to rectify the situation.

She called on the National Women Leader of APC, Hajiya Salamatu Umar-Eluma, to stand up and speak for women so they would not be left out in politics.

Another aspirant from Kano, Mr. Abdulhamin Liman, said that there was no APC primaries in the state, adding that aspirants were asked to bring money.

Liman said that as a young person, he was only able to raise N3m, so he lost to another aspirant that gave N20m.

A Peoples’ Democratic Party aspirant from Adamawa State, Ms Mary Frank, said that the primaries limited a lot of women and youths due to lack of funds.

Frank said that the act began with the fees placed on nomination and expression of interest forms in addition to discouraging words and acts.

She said that though some of them managed to pay for the forms, they were weeded out at some point.

Dr Ernest Ereke, Coordinator, YIAGA AFRICA Centre of Legislative Engagement, said that Nigerian youths clamoured for political inclusion hence the Not-Too-Young-To-Run law was enacted to enhance youths’ participation in elections.

Ereke, however, said that though a lot of young people indicated interest to run for offices and bought the very exorbitant forms, some of them were successful but were substituted.

He said that YIAGA AFRICA initiated the Ready-to-Run project in order to keep encouraging youths to participate, adding that it was imperative to organise the event for youths to share their experiences form the primaries.

Ms Yetunde Bakare, Senior Programme Officer, YIAGA AFRICA, commended the aspirants for vying for positions even though they did not succeed, adding that their stories would encourage youths in the future.

Bakare said that the group under the Ready-to-Run project would continue to provide feasibility support to young candidates contesting in the 2019 elections and make their voices heard, especially in the media.

She said that the group would also connect young candidates with organisations willing to support them with funds for the elections.

She said that 1,077 young aspirants registered under Ready-to-Run platform, and that only 297 purchased nomination and expression of interest form “because of the exorbitant rate of the forms’’.

She added that 117 of the aspirants emerged as candidates and urged all other young aspirants to register under the Ready-to-Run platform to create a network where they could support each other and also receive support. (NAN)

Source: The Punch

Young Aspirants sharing their experience during political party Primaries

2019: Our experiences in APC, PDP primaries – Young aspirants

Some young aspirants, who contested in the just-concluded election primaries of the two major parties, on Friday narrated their harsh experiences in their parties.

The aspirants spoke on the high prices of nomination forms, administrative charges, undemocratic party primaries and female stereotyping among other challenges as they shared their experiences and challenges in the course of seeking the parties’ tickets for the 2019 general elections.

They spoke at a programme organised by the Centre of Legislative Engagement of YIAGA AFRICA to highlight the experiences of young unsuccessful aspirants in the parties’ primaries.

The programme was held against the background of the high expectations that accompanied the passage of the Not Too Young To Run Bill by the National Assembly and the assent to it by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The law mainly slashed the minimum ages that qualify candidates for elective offices. But the aspirants found out there are many more hurdles before young people and women aspirants in the political space.

Amina lliyasu who contested for the Zamfara State House of Assembly blamed the All Progressives Congress (APC) women leader, Hajia Salamotu, for not showing much support for women aspirants, but applauded the wife of the president, Aisha Buhari , for her support for women who ran for different offices

“I would like to call out my party women leader for not doing enough to support women’s emergence as candidates in the party primaries,” Mrs Iliyasu said.,

”I would also want to use this opportunity to thank Mrs Buhari for her support, she tweeted on the high cost of the nomination form for the women in the APC,” she said.

Mrs Iliyasu said there was zero participation of women in politics in her state, noting that the nomination forms were too expensive. She said the people of her constituency wanted her to vie for the legislative seat but leaders of the party in the state felt she was too young.

“Even though I won, I was asked to step down because of a zoning formula in the state.

“So, since the present governor is contesting for Senate position, and we are from the same constituency, I had to step down so the other zone could benefit,” Ms Iliyasu said.

Another aspirant from Kaduna under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atinuke Maria, said she thought her party’s nomination forms were free for women but she later paid N200,000.

”I am a member for PDP and there was this general notion that forms for women were free and at the same time, we were asked to pay for expression of interest which in my own constituency we paid like N200,000.

”Expression of interest was actually N100,000 but they said we were going to pay for administrative. So that was another N100,000 paid, so that made it a total of N200,000,” she said.

For their male counterparts, they said they paid 700,000 for the state House of Assembly nomination form.

Bashir Zuntu, a House of Assembly aspirant under the APC said he paid N850,000, adding that he raised the funds through the assistance of family and friends.

”For APC , for the state Assembly, the cost for nomination form was N850,000. I raised some donations from my dad and friends,” he said.

Rabi Musa, an aspirant for the Kaduna State House of Assembly under the APC, said she paid N10,000 to each delegate in the primary, adding that her husband provided the money.

”For me, the person that supported me was my husband. Well, I actually thought the forms were going to be free for female aspirants because recently, we had the local government elections in my state and female aspirants did not even pay any money, except for the expression of interest and it was just N50,000.

”But in my case I had to use all my life savings, I had to cough out N475,000 at the end of the day for the forms, both the nomination and the expression of interest forms. For female and for male, it was N850,000. Also on the election day I had to give out N10,000 to each delegate for transportation.”

Another aspirant, Mary Frank, who ran for Adamawa State House of Assembly under the PDP, said she had the challenge of stereotyping from people and family, narrating how she sourced money through her savings and friends to participate.

“The males were paying N750,000 from my state and for me, I paid N250,000. The nomination is N100,000 and the administration (charge) for the state is N100,000 and for the local government is N50,000.

”People said to me that they have a female representative from the state House of Assembly and the House of Representatives and they have not done well and why should they also vote for her?’” she said.

Sanusi Shehu, an aspirant for the Katsina State House of Assembly under the APC, said he budgeted one million naira for the primaries and came back with just N7,000, adding that his late father who was a former local government chairman during the late General Sani Abacha era helped him raise the funds.’

”I bought a state House of Assembly ticket for N750,000 for the expression of interest form and N100,000 for the nomination form and also another N100,000 for the Katsina State APC headquarters, which is N950,000; and N30,000 for APC thugs.

Abdullahi Lima, an aspirant for the Kano State House of Assembly under the APC, said, ”Luckily for me in my own case, I was the only person going from my local government area. People thought I would win because it was direct primaries so the money was not difficult to come with.”

The Coordinator, YIAGA AFRICA Centre of Legislative Engagement, Ernest Ereke, asked the aspirants a yes or no question if the elections were free and fair.

Only Ms Atinuke from Kaduna and Mary Frank from Adamawa said ”Yes” while others said ”No”

Source: Premium Times

YIAGA AFRICA Centre for Legislative Engagement During an Performance Evaluation meeting with Cohort of experts

YIAGA AFRICA Commences Performance Evaluation of 8th National Assembly

The YIAGA AFRICA-Centre for Legislative Engagement (YIAGA AFRICA-CLE), in keeping with its mandate of developing a viable legislative institution, is leading several stakeholders from the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Academia, Legislature, Media, Enumerators and Data Analysts to evaluate the performance of the National Assembly in the systematic review of the activities of the National Assembly within its constitutionally ascribed responsibilities.

Part of the assessment criteria for the evaluation include: number of bills initiated and passed, number of pending bills, quality and usefulness of the bills, relationship with other arms and levels of government, engagement with Civil Society and openness of the Assembly, among others.

A ten-member technical working group to anchor the evaluation, be drawn from the standing Working Group of the CLE and lead by a Lead Consultant to be appointed by YIAGA-CLE, will carry out the evaluation of the National Assembly.

“The purpose of this evaluation  exercise to determine whether the National Assembly has been able to effectively and efficiently perform its constitutionally assigned responsibilities to Nigerians, determine the impact of the Assembly to the overall improvement of the quality of life of Nigerian citizens, and assess those factors responsible for the success and failure of the Assembly,” Dr Earnest Ereke, coordinator of the YIAGA Centre for Legislative Council, said today in Abuja at a National Working Group technical meeting.

The National Working Group, drawn from the National Assembly, the academia and the CSOs, which today validated legislative engagement tool kit, will also assess  factors responsible for the success and failure of the National Assembly, Earnest added.

Tagged Performance Evaluation of the National Assembly, YIAGA AFRICA, through its Centre for Legislative Engagement and with support from the European Union, will work to assess the efficacy of the internal process leading to the output –measured in terms of the effectiveness, efficiency and impact, Dafe Oputu, Program/Research Officer at YIAGA AFRICA-CLE said.

 

Youth Votes Count Campus Outreach Nsukka

Campus Outreach: 15,000 Varsity Students Pledge to Vote in 2019 Elections

YIAGA AFRICA, INEC, ECES, EU, Collaborate

At least 15,000 Varsity students have committed to participate actively at the upcoming 2019 general elections. The students cutting across six Universities from six Geopolitical zones in Nigeria. Also at least a total of 25,000 students across six Universities were provided opportunity to register at the just concluded Youth Votes Count Campus outreach held across all the six Geopolitical zones in Nigeria.

The Campus Outreach program organized by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in collaboration with YIAGA AFRICA AFRICA and European Centre for Electoral Support with the support of European Union in Nigeria reached out at least 15,000 students with the gospel of Youth participation in the electoral process.

Voter Education Volunteers and Celebrities at University of Nigeria Nsukka

The Voter education campaign which was launched in the University of Abuja has successfully reached out to at least 15,000 Students cutting across University of Lagos, University of Port Harcourt, Bayero University Kano and Modibbo Adama University. With the constant presence of Celebrities like Korede Bello, Bankole Wellington, Innocent Idibia, Uti Nwachukwu, Waje, Bright Okpocha, Chidinma Ekile, Helen Paul, Cobams Asuquo, and Ebuka Ubi-Uchendu the Campus outreach concluded its Voter Education  Campaign trail with another massive turnout by students of University of Nigeria, Nssuka as celebrities all turned up to encourage youths to participate in the electoral process.

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, during series of Outreach to the students reiterated the Commission’s commitment to always include young people as part of the commission’s adhoc staff. Prof Yakubu also encouraged young people to register and collect their Permanent Voters Card as he urges them to ensure to come out and vote on elections day.

While urging students to get their PVCs and come out to vote on election day, the INEC Chairman who was represented by Dr Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner in-charge of information and Voter Education, said the commission was committed to conducting credible, free and fair election in the 2019 General Elections.

Ambassadors at the Campus Outreach Nsukka

According to him, the country’s democracy to advance, Nigerian youths must be fully involved in politics. He said young people had the capacity, energy and intellect to be involved in the democratic process in order to positively influence and boost the country’s democracy.

“For the country’s democracy to advance, youths must channel their capacity and intellect in all electoral processes that will result in free and fair elections. “Youths are future leaders and the destiny of this country lies in their hands. “Every youth should have his or her Permanent Voters Card (PVC) ready to vote and protect the vote.

Also speaking, Amb. Ketil Karisen, Head of the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, said the aim of the bloc was to sensitise Nigerian youths on the essence of ensuring credible, free and fair elections in 2019.

“We are not supporting any party’s candidate or political party but our concern is to ensure credible, free and fair election.

“Since 1999, EU has spent over 100 million euros in support of elections in Nigeria.

“Nigeria is receiving the highest fund from EU because it is the most populous and biggest economy in Africa.”

The ambassador urged youths to resist any attempt to use them as thugs or accept any inducement for them to sell their votes during elections.

“Youths should resist any attempt to use them to cause violence in the 2019 General Elections.

“Youths should also sensitise people around them on the dangers of vote buying and resist any attempt by some politicians to lure them into any wrong doing,’’ he said.

Mr Emeka Ononamadu, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Enugu State, appealed to the electorate to ensure that they participated actively in the elections.

Ononamadu said records available to INEC in Enugu showed low turnout of voters in the 2015 General Elections.

“The last election had 1.4 registered voters in Enugu State but only about 500,000 people voted.

“Now for the 2019 General Elections, 1.9 million voters have registered, which is a sign that the people are determined to drive democracy in the state,’’ he said.

Also in a remark, the President of the Students Union Government in UNN, Mr Fortunatus Chimezie, commended the EU and INEC for organising the event in the institution.

Chimezie assured them that the students would vote wisely come 2019 and would not be involved in vote selling or election violence.

POLITICAL ANALYST

YIAGA Africa Initiative is looking for a passionate political analyst to conduct research on political ideas and analyze government policies, political trends and related issues. As a political analyst you should be able to study the development of political systems, research various political issues and critically analyze findings .

JOB RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Research political subjects such as foreign relations and political ideologies
  • Collect data from sources such as public opinion surveys and election results
  • Use statistical analysis to interpret research findings
  • Develop political theories based on research and historical documents
  • Forecast and critically analyse political trends and its implications for YIAGA Programs
  • Present research results by writing reports, giving presentations and publishing articles for the organization.

EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS AND QUALIFICATION:

  • Degree in Political Science or Studies , International Relations and any other related social science field.
  • A minimum of 3 to 5 years of working progressively experience in NGO or business related sector
  • Extensive Knowledge of the political climate in Nigeria and Africa.
  • Evidence of major analysis done in the last two years.

How to apply

Interested candidates should write not more than a two-page cover letter and send with a detailed resume as attached PDF documents to [email protected] on or before November 8, 2018. Only applications sent in the required format will be considered. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

 “YIAGA is an equal –opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of disability, sex, tribe, religion, etc. Qualified women are encouraged to apply”

CLICK HERE TO APPLY

CONSULTANCY SERVICES ON LEGISLATIVE STRENGTHENING

Position: Consultant (Legislative Research)

Duty Station: Abuja

Type of Appointment: Consultancy

Duration :Short Term

Closing Date: Sunday, 11th November 2018

 

YIAGA Africa’s Centre for Legislative Engagement (YIAGA Africa-CLE) is established with the goal of promoting the development of legislatures in Nigeria and across Africa by providing cutting edge solutions to emerging challenges of democracy and development that require practical results-focused research. By this call, YIAGA Africa -CLE is inviting qualified individuals to join its cohort of researchers in the field of Political Science, Law, International Relations, International Development, and Statistics.

The successful Consultant would amongst other things:

  1. Play a lead role in driving the YIAGA-CLE research initiatives.
  2. Conduct a review of policy and legislative framework on socio-economic development by the National Assembly

Requirements

  • Relevant academic background in the field of Political Science, Law, International Relations, International Development, Statistics or any other related field
  • Excellent analytical and critical thinking abilities
  • Exceptional writing and communication skills
  • Show evidence of completion of similar tasks in the last two (2) years.
  • Have adequate knowledge of existing regional and national frameworks and mechanisms applicable to legislative engagement

Application Procedure

Interested candidates are by this call requested to submit a Cover Letter stating relevant qualification desirable for award of the Consultancy, an updated CV (including evidence of completion of similar tasks) and other relevant supporting documents in a single mail to [email protected]aga.org with the subject ‘Expression of Interest- Consultancy’ not later than 11th November, 2018.

Only applications sent in the required format and stipulated time will be considered. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

“YIAGA is an equal –opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of disability, sex, tribe, religion, etc.

CLICK HERE TO APPLY