Ready to Run Movement Statement on High Cost of Nomination Forms and Internal Party Democracy

The Ready to Run Movement notes with concern the underhand practices that contribute to the high cost of securing party nomination forms and internal party democracy within political parties that undermines the emergence of youth (women and men) candidates in the 2019 general elections.

According to reports reaching the Ready to Run Movement, aspirants for House of Assembly and House of Representatives elections in some political parties are made to pay up to two hundred thousand naira (N200,000.00) each (apart from the cost of expression of interest and nomination forms) for screening in some states.

The Ready to Run Movement also condemns the worrisome tactics deployed by some state governors and party executives to thwart the political aspirations of young aspirants. In some states, nomination forms are sold to aspirants after approval has been given by the governor of the state. In other words, party executives cannot sell nomination forms to young aspirants until the approval of the Governor and party leaders is sought and secured. This practice is undemocratic and autocratic.

Internal party democracy is central to the quest for sustainable electoral democracy. The practice where political parties hold internal party primary contests but also proceed to select their nominees for office without regard for those primaries undermines the culture of democratic competition.

The Movement recognizes that political parties are essential to democracy as they provide a structure for the participation of young men and women as well as persons with disability in the electoral process. The lack of internal party democracy and high cost of securing party nomination undermines democratic participation of youth candidates in the 2019 general elections.

The Ready to Run Movement is borne out of the Not Too Young To Run campaign as part of efforts to further operationalize the Not Too Young To Run act in the 2019 elections.  With  Ready To Run, we are making a bold statement that young people can demonstrate excellent public leadership with immense capacity to address Africa’s governance challenges.

Signed

Ibrahim Faruk

On behalf of the Ready to Run Movement

Osun Poll: WatchingTheVote raises alarm over voter inducement, Releases Pre-election Observation findings

YIAGA Africa’s WatchingTheVote has raised alarm over of voters’ inducement ahead of September 22 governorship election in Osun state. This was revealed by Project Director, Cynthia Mbamalu WTV during a press briefing in Osogbo, the state capital.

According to Ms Mbamalu, WTV pre-election findings, observed that voters’ inducement through the distribution of money and gifts was visible in the state.

She said there was urgent need for all election stakeholders especially political parties to intensify campaign to discourage the act of voter bribery before and during the election.

WatchingTheVote pre-election observation also revealed that, electoral preparatory activities are ongoing in the State with over half (91%) of WTV LTOs reported witnessing election preparatory activities undertaken by INEC in the state.

‘While Youth, Women and PWD groups are actively engaging the political space through canvassing for votes for political parties and candidates in the state, Voter education messages targeted at women, youth and PWDs were not witnessed or heard of in Boripe Ila, Ifedayo Irepodun. Odo Otin, Orolu, Olorunda, Osogbo, Atakumosa East, Atakumosa West, Ife East, Ife Central, Ife South, Ife North, Ilesha West, Obokun, Oriade, Ayedaade, Ayedire, Ede South, Ejbigo, Irewole, Iwo and Ola-Oluwa LGAs’, she said.

She also urged political parties and their candidates to act within the ambits of the law and promote a positive political culture that would enhance peaceful election.

While urging the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to sustain voter education, Ms Mbamalu urged the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to invest in voter education as part of its mandate.

She advised electorate who have yet to collect their permanent voter cards to do so to enable them to perform their civil duty on the day of the election.

Besides, Ms Mbamalu said the group, as a way of promoting electoral integrity, had trained 60 trainers and would be deployed to all the 30 local government areas of the state.

She said that the trainers would in turn train 500 Watching the Vote Polling Units observers and 32 roving observers.

Ms Mbamalu said the group’s Watching the Vote Project would deployed the parallel Vote Tabulation methodology, which uses statistical principles, Information and Communication Technologies to provide systematic data on the quality of election day processes.

FACT SHEET: 10 things to know about Osun governorship election

It is barely a week to the gubernatorial election in Osun State.

The election is expected by many to be a close contest between five leading candidates though there are 48 candidates in the election, including four women.

Several crisis trailed the conduct of primary elections in different political parties, for instance, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) conducted two primary elections with two candidates emerging from same party.

Here are 10 major things to know about the coming election:

1. Few women, more men
Out of the 48 candidates contesting the governorship election, only four candidates are women. They are; Rufai Adebisi Mujidat of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Jegede Hannah Taiwo of the Nigeria Elements Progressive Party (NEPP), Ayodele Mercy Tosin of the Restoration Party (RP), and Adebayo Rasheedat of Peoples Alliance for National Development and Liberty (PANDEL).

The fact that only four out of 48 candidates are women further shows the low representation of women in Nigeria’s political space. In the 19 years of Nigeria’s recent democracy, no woman has emerged president, vice president or even an elected governor. In elective positions since 1999, a Fact Sheet by CDD shows that women have not reached 15 percent representation.

Osun has previously produced two female deputy governors. They are Titi Laoye Tomori and Erelu Obada.

2. Departure from two-horse race
Unlike in previous Osun governorship elections in which were two horse races (mostly between two contenders), Saturday polls will see several political heavyweights slug it out for the governorship position.

The vote is featuring five strong political actors flying different flags, they are Adegboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Nurudeen Adeleke of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Iyiola Omisore of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Fatai Akinbade of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), and Adeoti Moshood of the Africa Democratic Party (ADP).

Distribution of votes during 2014 governorship elections in Osun State.
It is important to point out that the three candidates who are flying the flags of ADC, ADP and SDP were formerly strong stalwarts of the APC and PDP.

3. Political realignment and voting pattern
Saturday polls will be interesting to poll watchers on account of the nature of political realignments and how those would affect the patterns of voting. In the previous governorship election in the State, the votes were largely divided among two major political parties.

The major political parties have been very strategic and calculating to gather votes beyond their stronghold and senatorial districts by picking their running mates outside their comfort zone. The last governorship election in the State in 2014 was between the incumbent governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and senator Iyiola Omisore.

Mr Aregbesola won overwhelmingly in Osun Central and West Senatorial Districts to emerge as the winner of the 2014 governorship election.

The presence of more than two strong contenders this time could push up the numbers of votes, and thereby result in an uptick in participation. The last time, Mr Aregbesola clinched victory in eight local governments in both Osun Central and Osun West senatorial districts and also emerged victorious in six local governments in his region, Osun East senatorial zone.

His challenger, Mr Omisore got majority votes from his strongholds (Ife East, Ife South, Ife North and Ife Central) all in Osun East senatorial zone and further won two local governments each in Osun West and Central Senatorial Districts.

4. A contest of South west political godfathers
The election is of high stakes to the political parties and godfathers, particularly of the South West extraction. It is a contest between the home-based and out of state godfathers. All the five leading candidates in the election are enjoying the patronage of at least one Yoruba elder, group or movement.

For instance, the leader of the Oodua People’ Congress endorsed the APC candidate while Afenifere elders have endorsed SDP candidates.

The standard-bearer of APC has been widely reported to be the cousin of the APC National Leader and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The SDP, the platform on which former Deputy Governor, Iyiola Omisore is running, has strong ties to former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Olu Falae.

On its part, the African Democratic Congress (ADC) has strong links to former President Olusegun Obasanjo who has been vocal in his criticism of the president, Muhammadu Buhari and the APC.

5. Number of registered voters
The number of registered voters in the State as at the first week of September is 1,682,495. This marked an increase of 271,122 (19.2 per cent) from the 1,411,373 registered voters in 2014 governorship election in the state.

List of former governors and their deputies.
The increase at senatorial districts level, however, differs as at September 2018. Although, Osun West has the highest percentage increase while Osun Central has the highest number of registered voters. In Osun West, the number of registered voters increased by 21.4 per cent (from 430,209 to 522,272 voters), while Osun East increased by 17.02 per cent (from 514,698 to 602,275 voters). For Osun Central, the number of registered voters increased by 17.4 per cent from 460,603 to 557,948 voters.

6. Number of PVCs collected
According to the electoral Commission, 1,127,866 people have so far collected their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) out of 1,668, 524 received in the State as at August 2018. This collection rate implies that there are over half a million PVCs (540, 658) yet to be collected by prospective voters as the clock ticks towards Election Day.

7. Party primary crisis, defections and litigations
All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Social Democratic Party (SDP) are entangled in intra-party crisis as a fallout of the controversial parties’ primaries conducted ahead of the governorship elections.

APC encountered several challenges following the adoption of direct primary method which was the first of its kind in the party’s history as party members chose the flag bearer from 332 wards.

The method was criticised by about 17 governorship aspirants of the party and many alleged that the method was adopted to favour Gboyega Oyetola, tagged to be the anointed candidate of the outgoing governor, Rauf Aregbesola and the party’s national leader, Bola Tinubu.

Kunle Rasheed Adegoke, an aggrieved aspirant, called for an outright cancellation of the exercise and also to stop INEC from recognising the outcome of the primary. He filed a case against APC & INEC before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Some aspirants pulled out of the race while the Secretary to the State Government dumped the party for Action Democratic Party (ADP) to become the sole flag bearer of the party.

Following his defection, several members of APC also left the party.

The PDP crisis is yet to be settled. The party’s flag bearer, Ademola Adeleke is still battling with a suit over his certificate by some aggrieved members of the party. Mr Adeleke emerged as the party’s flag bearer with seven votes more than that of Akin Ogunbiyi, who wrote a petition to the national body alleging fraud during the primary.

The factional crisis within SDP also became a subject of litigation as members loyal to Ademola Ishola faction sought for judicial intervention, asking for the nullification of the primary that produced Senator Iyiola Omisore as the party’s governorship candidate.

They argued that the primary conducted by the other faction was illegal, going by the earlier court order, secured by the Ademola Isola faction, flouted by Bayo Faforiji-led factional Chairman of the party.

Bayo Faforiji- led executives dismissed this claim, stating that the Ademola Isola faction is under suspension with the secretary, Jide Awe, by the national leadership of the SDP in Abuja and that the Bayo-led congress was supervised by INEC and national leadership of the party.

The case was struck out following settlement out of court by both parties involved.

8. Politics of zoning
In the lead up to the elections, zoning emerged as a significant factor as there were lots of agitation that power should shift to Osun West Senatorial District.

This is based on the claim that the zone is the most politically marginalised district since the creation of the State in 1991.

The clamour for power shift found its way into the political parties. In particular, in the APC, there was a strong clamour for power to shift to the West. It is also believed that the idea of the direct primary was first introduced in Osun State to defeat the progenitor of zoning. The clamour for zoning in the APC was so loud that twelve out of the seventeen governorship aspirants representing the Osun West jointly addressed a press conference rejecting direct primary and claiming it is to prevent them from emerging as Party candidate in the election.

Elected governors know Osun since 1991.
The zoning agitation has been backed by interest groups and traditional rulers. Towns such as Osogbo and Iwo have claimed marginalisation. For instance, an example is the July rally held by Concerned Iwo Land Youth for Actualization of Iwolokan Agenda.

Late senator Isiaka Adetunji Adeleke, who incidentally is the first executive governor of the state, ruled between January 1992 and November 1993 before his administration was short-lived by the military. He only governed for 22 months.

Bisi Akande followed this from Osun Central, and he spent four years as a Governor. Olagunsoye Oyinlola, also from Osun Central, ruled for seven and a half years while the current governor, who is from Osun East, will relinquish power in November after spending eight years.

As it stands, the PDP candidate Ademola Adeleke, Fatai Akinbade of the ADC, and Adeoti Moshood of the ADP are from Osun West senatorial zone. The APC is fielding Isiaka Oyetola form Osun Central, and Iyiola Omisore of the SDP is from Osun East. It will be interesting to see how this shapes the voting pattern.

9. Vote buying
Indications that Osun polls will be fraught with vote buying, a practice of paying voters to compel them to vote for particular candidates during an election is worrisome.

It has become a hot-button issue ahead of Saturday polls and the 2019 general elections, particularly after cases of vote buying were significantly reported in the recently conducted guber elections in Ekiti state. The two major parties in the election, APC and PDP, were culpable in it with videos showing how money was given to the electorates to influence their votes.

Already, an election observer and monitoring group, the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA Africa) in its pre-election findings, observed that voters’ inducement through the distribution of money and gifts was visible in Osun State.

10. Sixth governorship election in history of Osun State
The success of Saturdays’ polls will mark the sixth governorship election in Osun.

The state was carved out of the old Oyo State on August 27, 1991, by the military regime of Ibrahim Babangida.

The first democratically elected governor of the state, Isiaka Adeleke, took office in January 1992 and governed till November 1993, when the military junta of Mr Babangida dissolved all political offices, after the annulment of the June 12, 1993, presidential election.

The September 22, 2018 Governorship Election in Osun State would, therefore, be the sixth to be conducted since the creation of the state in 1991.

The poll, to be held by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), will usher in a successor to governor Aregbesola, whose tenure ends on November 6, 2018.

Osun is an off cycle election as a result of a post-election litigation arising from the widely condemned 2007 elections. The election was overturned by a decision of the Court of Appeal sitting in Benin, which saw Mr Aregbesola declared the rightful winner after three years of legal battle.

Source: Premium Times

We Will Overcome Vote Buying, INEC Assures

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has assured that it would overcome the menace of vote buying, which it described as cancer and a threat to the electoral process. Chairman of the commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, stated this in Abuja at a voter enlightenment programme, WatchingTheVote Election Series II, put together by the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA), with the theme: “Ending the Scourge of Vote Buying and Selling in Nigerian Elections.”

Chief Press Secretary to the INEC chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, in a statement issued yesterday, quoted c as saying that the challenge of vote buying was not just worrisome to the commission but also to the entire country.

Yakubu, however, expressed optimism about the commission’s ability to respond appropriately to the problem. He said the hydra-headed problem required the involvement of all stakeholders, including security agencies, political parties, civil society organisations, the media, and the citizens.

Yakubu stated, “We will overcome vote buying, just as we have risen to previous challenges to our electoral processes.

“We all have to come together to address this challenge. The truth is that buyers and sellers know that they are committing illegality, but nobody comes out to say, I am a vote buyer or I am a vote seller.

“Some of the infractions take place at the polling units. Some of them take place outside the polling unit on election day. Some even take place before elections through electronic cash transfer.”

The INEC chairman agreed with other speakers at the event, who attributed the emergence of vote buying to the improvement in the electoral process. He outlined some of the steps the commission had already taken to address the challenge.

According to Yakubu, “For the infractions that happen at the polling units, we are looking at the administration of our polling units such that it will be either impossible or difficult for voters to expose their ballot papers to agents of the vote buyers (for settlement thereafter). We are going to use the Osun governorship election in the next eight days to make a statement on vote buying.

“The second measure is to try to ban the use of some devices (in polling cubicles) that aid vote buying on Election Day, such as the mobile phones.”

Yakubu urged the security agencies to apprehend vote buyers and sellers and cooperate with the commission to prosecute them. He noted that even though the law empowered INEC to prosecute vote buyers, the commission lacked the capacity to arrest and investigate offenders.

Yakubu assured the people of Osun and other Nigerians that only the people’s votes would continue to determine the outcome of elections in the country.

One of the board members of YIAGA, Mr. Ezenwa Nwagwu, said vote buying had always been with the country, stressing, however, that it has gained some ascendancy in conversations now because the country’s elections are getting better.

According to him, “Politicians buy votes because the citizens are now the ones who decide the votes, unlike in the past when materials were taken to the houses of politicians and thumb printed. Now they are bringing the monies to the voting areas and it is important that we deepen on citizens’ engagement on this issue.”

Source: This Day

YIAGA calls for laws to address loopholes in electoral process

YIAGA Africa, a Civil Society Organisation on Friday called for laws to address loopholes in the electoral process especially vote buying.

Executive Director, YIAGA-Africa, Mr Samson Itodo made the call at the Watching the Vote (WTV) Series with the theme “Ending the Scourge of Vote Buying and Selling in Nigerian Elections” in Abuja.

Itodo, while presenting a document on “Duly Elected or Duly Purchased ‘’: a report on vote buying in the Ekiti election, said Nigeria’s democracy was under threat due to vote buying.

According to him, corruption is a societal challenge that manifests in every facet of life in Nigeria.

“It concerns conducts by the giver and the taker of inappropriate inducement as is the case with perpetrators of vote buying.

“Electoral laws must accommodate the various loopholes for corruption in the conduct of elections and see to the discharge of adequate punishment to offenders.’’

Itodo said this had become imperative because competence and character were no longer the parameters for assessing electoral candidates by Nigerians.

He said that cash-for-vote or “see and buy’’ was emerging as the major determinant of electoral choice which could undermine electoral choices and imperil Nigeria’s democracy.

He said that vote buying also had a tendency to aggravate corruption in public offices as those who hold public mandates were made to seek corrupt means of enriching themselves toward elections.

Itodo said that concerned by the emerging trend of see and buy, YIAGA Africa through its WTV project undertook a post-election investigation to examine the factors that facilitated it.

He said the study, which entailed identifying the chain of operation and methods of vote buying before, during and after elections as well as the implication, identified five drivers.

He listed them to be: Poverty and hunger, improved checks and balances in the electoral process by INEC as well as non-payment of workers’ salaries and pensions.

Others included failure of political office holders to fulfil campaign promises and neglect of rural communities in distribution of infrastructure.

The executive director said online transaction, various gifts and food items, suspicious empowerment programmes were some of the methods deployed to purchase votes during the Ekiti election.

He recommended behavioural change as the best measure against vote purchase and other electoral malfeasance.

He also advocated that political positions should be made less attractive by reducing perquisites that awaited successful candidates.

Itodo also called for poverty reduction, a comprehensive war on corruption, restoration of ideological bases for political parties, reversal of rising unemployment and promotion of good governance.

He further suggested improved management of election security, introduction of electronic voting system and enforcement of electoral laws among others

Source: NAN

Duly Elected or Duly Purchased? WatchingTheVote Launches Report on Vote Buying and Selling During Ekiti Guber polls

During the official launch of the report on Vote buying and selling at the Ekiti Governorship Elections, YIAGA AFRICA’s WatchingTheVote called for laws to address loopholes in the electoral process especially vote buying. The report was launched by the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu during the WTV election dialogue  Series with the theme “Ending the Scourge of Vote Buying and Selling in Nigerian Elections” in Abuja

While presenting the report titled “Duly Elected or Duly Purchased ‘, YIAGA AFRICA Executive Director, Samson Itodo said, Nigeria’s democracy was under threat due to vote buying and corruption is a societal challenge that manifests in every facet of life in Nigeria.

According to Itodo, Vote buying menace concerns conducts by the giver and the taker of inappropriate inducement as is the case with perpetrators of vote buying.  He said, the electoral laws must accommodate the various loopholes for corruption in the conduct of elections and see to the discharge of adequate punishment to offenders.’’

Itodo said this had become imperative because competence and character were no longer the parameters for assessing electoral candidates by Nigerians. He said that cash-for-vote or “see and buy’’ was emerging as the major determinant of electoral choice which could undermine electoral choices and imperil Nigeria’s democracy.

He said that vote buying also had a tendency to aggravate corruption in public offices as those who hold public mandates were made to seek corrupt means of enriching themselves toward elections.

Also speaking at the event, INEC Chairman Prof Yakubu assured that it would overcome the menace of vote buying, which it described as cancer and a threat to the electoral process.

Yakubu, however, expressed optimism about the commission’s ability to respond appropriately to the problem. He said the hydra-headed problem required the involvement of all stakeholders, including security agencies, political parties, civil society organisations, the media, and the citizens.

Yakubu stated, “We will overcome vote buying, just as we have risen to previous challenges to our electoral processes.

“We all have to come together to address this challenge. The truth is that buyers and sellers know that they are committing illegality, but nobody comes out to say, I am a vote buyer or I am a vote seller.

“Some of the infractions take place at the polling units. Some of them take place outside the polling unit on election day. Some even take place before elections through electronic cash transfer.”

The INEC chairman agreed with other speakers at the event, who attributed the emergence of vote buying to the improvement in the electoral process. He outlined some of the steps the commission had already taken to address the challenge.

According to Yakubu, “For the infractions that happen at the polling units, we are looking at the administration of our polling units such that it will be either impossible or difficult for voters to expose their ballot papers to agents of the vote buyers (for settlement thereafter). We are going to use the Osun governorship election in the next eight days to make a statement on vote buying.

“The second measure is to try to ban the use of some devices (in polling cubicles) that aid vote buying on Election Day, such as the mobile phones.”

Yakubu urged the security agencies to apprehend vote buyers and sellers and cooperate with the commission to prosecute them. He noted that even though the law empowered INEC to prosecute vote buyers, the commission lacked the capacity to arrest and investigate offenders.

YIAGA AFRICA PRE-ELECTION OBSERVATION FINDINGS AND PLANS FOR ELECTION OBSERVATION

YIAGA AFRICA PRE-ELECTION OBSERVATION FINDINGS AND PLANS FOR ELECTION OBSERVATION

Osun State, Nigeria- The period leading to 2018 Governorship election in Osun State remains a politically charged period with several pre-election activities for the 2019 elections underway. With 48 political parties contesting the 22nd September, Osun Governorship election and a total of 1, 682, 495 registered voters, the State presents important political dynamics to look out for especially considering that this is the last off-cycle elections before the 2019 general elections. YIAGA AFRICA under her Watching he vote project has remained one of the election observer groups engaging the election in the State with a pre-election observation which commenced in July 2018. As part of Watching The Vote (WTV) long-term observation effort, WTV Long Term Observers (LTOs) were deployed to all the 30 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Osun state on July 20, 2018 to observe the activities of the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC), voter education campaigns, political party campaigns and activities of marginalized groups. This report is the second in a series of four and covers the period of August 17 to 30, 2018. The results of the analysis of WTV observation are presented in subsequent sections.

Methodology

To achieve the pre-election observation, YIAGA WTV LTO’s are equipped with a checklist to observe and report on the electoral and political environment in the state. All YIAGA WTV LTOs are recruited from the LGAs within which they reside to observe electoral activities relating to voter education, political campaign activities, activities of marginalized groups (youth, women, and PWDs) and election-related violence in the pre-election period. Their reports cover activities of the INEC, political parties, National Orientation Agency (NOA), CSOs, women, youth and people with disabilities. The observers report on their observation findings on a bi-monthly basis via coded text messages to a YIAGA data centre.  Within reporting timeframes, observers also report on early warning signs and critical incidents demanding urgent attention as soon as they happen. YIAGA WTV pre-election observation (PREO) findings are not statistically representative of the entire state but do provide an indication of emerging trends during the pre-election period.

Summary of Findings:

For this reporting period, YIAGA’s WTV findings highlights some similar trends from the previous reporting period. Our findings indicate that:

  1. Voter inducement through the distribution of money and gift items were still visible in the state. It was either directly witnessed or heard of by 52% of the WTV LTOs reporting from 16 of the 30 which include: Boluwaduro, Boripe, Ifedayo, Irepodun, Ila, Ifelodun, Odo-Otin, Olorunda, Osogbo, Ilesha West, Ilesha East,f, Ayedire, Ejbigo, Irewole and Iwo LGAs of Osun state.
  2. Electoral preparatory activities are ongoing in the State with over half (91%) of WTV LTOs reported witnessing election preparatory activities undertaken by INEC in the state. The WTV LTOs were charged with the responsibility of observing INEC’s preparatory activities, including the collection of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs).
  3. Voter education messages targeted at women, youth and PWDs were not witnessed or heard of in Boripe Ila, Ifedayo Irepodun. Odo Otin, Orolu, Olorunda, Osogbo, Atakumosa East, Atakumosa West, Ife East, Ife Central, Ife South, Ife North, Ilesha West, Obokun, Oriade, Ayedaade, Ayedire, Ede South, Ejbigo, Irewole, Iwo and Ola-Oluwa LGAs
  4. Youth, Women and PWD groups are actively engaging the political space through canvassing for votes for political parties and candidates in Boripe, Ifedayo, Ifelodun, Odo-Otin, Orolu, Osogbo, Atakumosa West, Ilesha West, Ilesha East, Ede South, Irewole, Isokan and Iwo LGAs, Boluwaduro, Olorunda, Atakumosa East, Ife East, Ife North, Ife South, Oriade, and Ede South.
  5. Political parties’ campaigns especially, campaigns rallies are increasingly dominating the political space in the state. The dominant political parties in the state based on our observation are the Action Democratic Party (ADP), All Progressive Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Social Democratic Party (SDP) have extended their campaign rallies to more LGAs as compared to the WTV first observation period.

Concerns and Recommendations

  • YIAGA AFRICA calls the attention of all election stakeholders to the growing trend of Voter inducement as observed in the first and second report and remains a worrisome trend especially as we move closer to the Governorship elections. Voter inducement through the distribution of money and gift items was still visible in the state and as stakeholder there is need for more voter education against this trend. All electoral actors should intensify campaign activities to discourage the act of voter bribery in the coming elections as indicators abound.
  • Targeted voter education and messaging should be sustained by both INEC and CSOs. Watching The Vote also urges the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to invest in voter education as it is part of their mandate, under the law.
  • YIAGA -Watching The Vote call on all Parties and their candidates contesting the election to act within the ambits of the law and promote a positive political culture that will enhance our electoral democracy. Parties have the most role to play in curbing the trend of voter inducement and vote buying and promoting peaceful election.
  • YIAGA calls on the good people of Osun state who are yet to collect their PVC’s to take advantage of this window before the election and collect their PVC’s to vote on election day. As indicated by INEC, as of 10th September, 2018, a total of 1,222, 648 PVC’s have been collected while 454,458 PVC’s yet to be collected.

As an organization committed to promoting electoral integrity and active citizen’s engagement during the elections, YIAGA’s Watching the Vote has successfully trained a team of 69 trainers in Osogbo who will be deployed to each of the 30 LGA’s in the State to train the 500 Watching the Vote Polling unit observers and 32 roving observers that will be deployed to observe on Election Day. YIAGA’s Watching The Vote will also be training 30 LGA result collation center observers to be deployed to observe the collation process at the LGA’s. YIAGA will be releasing the next Pre-Election findings on the 18th of September 2018.

The primary goal of the WTV project is to promote credible, free, fair, and peaceful elections in Nigeria as well as building citizen’s confidence in a process that protects the sanctity of their votes. For Election Day observation, Watching the Vote will deploy the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology which uses statistical principles and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to provide systematic data on the quality of Election Day processes while also verifying the accuracy of the official results.

Signed

Cynthia Mbamalu

Project Director

YIAGA AFRICA, Watching the Vote Project

Safiya Bichi

Pre-Election Observation Manager

YIAGA AFRICA, Watching the Vote Project

Press Statement on the Status of Electoral Amendment Bill

Protocols

Introduction

Ladies and Gentlemen, it gives us great pleasure to welcome you to the YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote (WTV) press conference on the status of the electoral amendment bill.

In line with our firm commitment to electoral integrity and responsibility of providing citizens oversight on the electoral process, the YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote issues this statement on the status of electoral amendment bills.

Observations

YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote observes as follows;

  1. In line with its statutory mandate, the National Assembly proposed and passed amendments to the 2010 Electoral Act as amended. These amendments were transmitted to President Buhari for assent three times and the President declined assent to the bills sighting interference with INEC constitutional powers, drafting irregularities, cross referencing errors and competence of the National Assembly to legislate on local government elections
  2. The proposed Electoral (Amendment) Act, 2018 amends 42 clauses of the Electoral Act. No 6, 2010. The goal of the electoral amendment as enunciated in the explanatory memorandum to the bill was to;

 

  1. Restrict the qualification of elective office to relevant provisions of the constitution
  2. Recognize the use of Smart Card Readers and other technological devices in elections
  3. Provide for sequence of elections and party primaries
  4. A timeline for the submission of list of candidates; criteria for substitution of candidates
  5. Limit of campaign expenses
  6. Address the omission of names of candidates or logo of political parties

 

  1. The National Assembly however deleted some controversial sections highlighted by the President in the subsequent versions of the bill it transmitted to the President. These sections include Section 25 on sequence of elections and Section 152 on local government elections. The National Assembly also redrafted some clauses of the bill to address concerns expressed by the President.
  2. The latest rejection of the electoral amendment bill by the President was communicated to the National Assembly on August 30, 2018. This is the third time the President is declining assent to the electoral amendment bill.

 

Issues and matters arising

  1. The Electoral (Amendment) Act, 2018 bill forwarded by the National Assembly to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent in August 2018 contained only 15 clauses as opposed to 41 clauses in the original version of the bill. What happened to the remaining 26 clauses?

 

  1. In the version of electoral amendment bill transmitted to the President for assent in August 2018, the amendment to Section 49 legalizing the use of Smart Card Reader or any other technological device for accreditation of voters was omitted.

 

  1. YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote is concerned with the secrecy of the electoral amendment process. More worrisome is the failure of the National Assembly to inform the public on the amendments transmitted to the President for assent, as well as the silence on the part of President when a modified version of the electoral amendment bill omitting key amendments was transmitted to him. This signals a lack of commitment to electoral reform.

 

  1. YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote notes that non-conclusion of electoral amendments constitutes a major threat to the credibility of the 2019 elections. The executive and the National Assembly should rise above politics and conclude all amendments to the electoral act to safeguard the integrity of the 2019 elections.

 

  1. YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote is also concerned that some proposed amendments in the electoral law have implications for ongoing electoral activities conducted in line with the extant electoral law. This might be a subject of litigation if not properly managed.

Recommendations

  1. The Executive and National Assembly should work together to conclude all the electoral amendments by the end of September 2018. This includes ensuring key amendments that deepen the integrity of the electoral process are signed into law g. legal recognition for the use of card reader for elections.
  2. The President should fulfill his promise of promoting electoral reforms by expediously assenting to the electoral amendment bill when transmitted to him by the National Assembly.

 

Signed.

Ezenwa Nwagwu

Board Member, Watching The Vote Working Group

 Samson Itodo

Executive Director, 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.

 

ReadyToRun dialogue with political parties

READY TO RUN ENGAGES POLITICAL PARTIES ON YOUTH CANDIDACY AND PARTY PRIMARIES

As part of efforts to operationalize the Not Too Young To Run act, the Ready To Run movement engaged political parties on youth candidacy and party primaries as political parties commence primaries to select flagbearers for various offices in the forthcoming 2019 general elections.

Tagged, ‘Public Dialogue Series with Political Parties on Youth Candidacy and Party Primaries’, the engagement saw the movement organize a public dialogue with top officials of political parties with discussions centered around the need for candidate selection process to be fair and the emergence of youths as candidates.

The first of the public dialogue series was held in collaboration with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on 30th August 2018 at the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja. The event was graced by top officials of the party including the PDP national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, the PDP youth leader, Udeh Okoye, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki as well as young aspirants on the platform of the PDP.

The event which served as a platform for political party officials to interact with young aspirants in their party saw the PDP chairman pledge to further reduce the cost of nomination forms for young people vying for office on the platform of the PDP.

The 2nd edition of the public dialogue series which was supported by the European Union under its European Union Support for Democratic Governance in Nigeria Project, (EU-SDGN) was hosted in collaboration with the Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) on 6th September 2018. The event which took place at the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja had in attendance senior party officials from Ten (10) political parties. They include: African Democratic Congress (ADC), Young Democratic Party (YDP), Justice Must Prevail Party (JMPP), Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP), Social Democratic Party (SDP), Youth Party, Action Democratic Party (ADP), Young Progressive Party (YPP), Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN) and the YES Party.

Discussions ranging from cost of nomination forms to the emergence of youth candidates as party flagbearers were deliberated upon with the various parties making commitments to see an

The Public Dialogue Series is to serve as an interface not only for political parties and young aspirants in the party, but to also create a platform for youths and party leaders to come together and engage in conversations on the barriers obstructing youths within the party.

Not Too Young To Run leads March to demand Youth Candidacy

Not Too Young To Run Campaigners Distance Movement From Saraki’s Declaration

As part of efforts to promote youth candidacy and democratic party primaries, the Not Too Young To Run movement commenced a series of public town hall meetings with the leadership of political parties and young aspirants to address the challenges faced by young aspirants in securing party tickets. The movement scheduled three town hall meetings with the leadership of the All Progressive Congress (APC); People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and other parties. The first dialogue held today August 30, 2018 in Abuja with the leadership of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). The event had in attendance the Chairman of the party Mr. Uche Secondus; Senator Bukola Saraki, Hon. Udeh Okoye, National Youth Leader of the party. The event also was attended by young aspirants registered under the Ready To Run platform.

The young aspirants advocated for a reduction in the cost of party nomination forms and requested the party to uphold internal democracy in the conduct of party primaries. In his response, the Chairman of the PDP assured the young aspirants of their support for youth candidacy in the forthcoming primaries.

Whilst addressing participants at the town hall, Senator Saraki declared his intention to run for the office of the President in the 2019 elections. The movement wishes to express its disappointment with Senator Saraki for usurping a platform designed for young aspirants to dialogue with party leadership to advance his political ambition. We strongly condemn this act by the President of the Senate and dissociate ourselves from this political move.

As noted earlier, the movement reaffirms its identity as a non-partisan citizen led movement dedicated to the defense of democracy, political inclusion and transformative leadership. The movement restates its commitment to sustain its engagement with political parties to ensure youth candidacy and democratic party primaries.

Signed.

Not Too Young To Run Movement