Youth Votes Count with MI, Waje, Banky W, Korede Bello and Uti

YIAGA AFRICA, INEC, EU Take Campus Outreach to Yola as M.I, Waje, Banky W, Uti, Korede Bello Light Up Event

The YouthVotesCount Campus Outreach came alive once again, this time at Modibbo Adama University of Technology (MAUTECH), Yola as Jude “MI”, Banky W, Waje, Korede Bello and Uti Nwachukwu turned up to engage the students on how to enhance youth participation in the electoral process.

With so much excitement, gusto and enthusiasm, students trooped into the Multi-Purpose Hall of MAUTECH as they leveraged on the opportunity to engage high Electoral Commissioners and Celebrities on issues relating to challenges and prospects of Youth Participation in the electoral Process.

Waje speaking during the Campus Outreach in Yola

This is the fifth in the series of Campus Outreach Program organized in Collaboration with the  Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), European Centre of Electoral Support and support from the European Union in Nigeria. Having hosted the Campus Outreach in the University of Abuja, University of Lagos, Bayero University Kano and University of Port Harcourt, the campus outreach in Yola also provided opportunity to reach out to more young people especially students on the values of participating in the electoral process.

 

Banky W speaking during the Campus Outreach in Modibbo Adama University Yola

The Chairman of INEC Prof Mahmud Yakubu represented by National Commissioner for South-West Prince Adedeji Solomon reminded Nigerians that it was just 128 days to the general elections with 91 registered parties out of which 89 conducted their primaries.

Speaking during the event, European Union Ambassador to Nigeria, Ketil Karlsen said democracy is only strong as the participation of the citizens and the youth constitute 60 percent of the citizens while urging young people to participate in the electoral process. According to Ambassador Karlsen, participating in the electoral process is about good education, security, employment and other amenities saying a lot is at stake. He further urged the students to collect their Permanent Voters Card, engage in intellectual debates about the electoral process and vote on election day.

Also, INEC head of Voter Education and Publicity Barrister Osaze Uzzi decried the fact that, despite High percentage of young people in the Voters Register, policies doesn’t reflect aspirations of young people. He then reiterated that social media engagement is good but the best way to participate is by registering, collecting your Permanent Voters Card and voting on election day. According to Barrister Uzzi, INEC do not count retweets and likes as Democracy is all about Participation and the way to participate is to vote.

Students Volunteer at the Youth Votes Count Campus Outreach Yola

All the celebrities took their turn to share experience and lessons on why youth participation in the electoral process has become pertinent. Banky W who spoke passionate about enhancing youth participation in the electoral process said that votes are beginning to count and that is why politicians do everything possible to buy votes from the electorates. While discouraging Nigerians from selling votes, the award winning Banky W said, the oldest trick used by politicians is to deceive you that your votes won’t count, so they can buy the low voters that turnout.

Similarly, Uti Nwachukwu warned that if young people don’t act towards security their future, our children will complain to us the way we complained to our parents while MI Abaga warned against Godfatherism saying, the situation of governance currently shows godfatherism has failed thus young people have to define their own realities by getting involved in the process.

The lady in the team, Waje also ensured that young women committed themselves to participating in the electoral process. Speaking enthusiastically to the loud cheering of female students in the hall, said women must seat where decisions that concern them are being discussed because women are what makes this nation great.

Students also registered and volunteered to educate their peers to get involved in the electoral process

 

Not Too Young To Run Press Conference on Outcome of Party Primaries and Youth Candidacy

STATEMENT BY THE NOT TOO YOUNG TO RUN MOVEMENT ON THE CONDUCT OF PARTY PRIMARIES AND YOUTH CANDIDACY

Ladies and gentlemen of the press,

The conduct of primary elections to select candidates for various positions to be contested in the February 16 and March 2 2019 General Elections by political parties was held in line with the Election Timetable released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the 2019 elections. As required by the timetable Political Parties were to conclude with their primaries by the 7th of October 2018 and commence the onward submission of the list of candidates to INEC. This process kick starts the real contest for elective office in the general elections as the conduct of primaries remain the only process recognized by law for the selection of candidates by the Political Parties.

The role of political parties in our electoral democracy cannot be overemphasized as they constitutionally remain the only platform for the emergence of leaders into elective offices to form a government in Nigeria. As a movement committed to the defense of democracy and promotion of youth political inclusion, the Not Too Young To Run movement closely followed the conduct of the primaries to assess the role of the political parties in promoting youth candidacy and the performance of young aspirants during the primaries.

For the movement, the signing of the Age Reduction Bill into Law by the President in may 2018 was not only historic but the beginning of a new wave of youth political participation as witnessed for the first time in our history since transition to democracy a positive trend of young men and young women aspiring to run for office and younger candidates taken up responsibilities to challenge the status quo. This gave birth to the Ready To Run campaign and for us remains a major win that has ignited a new spirit of patriotism amongst Nigerian youth ready to run for office and contribute to National Development. However, the success of the Not Too Young to Run can be further advanced by the political parties taking intentional steps to ensure that the primaries are democratic, free, fair and transparent in such a way that every aspirant especially young people have a fair chance of emerging as a candidate and having access to the ballot.

OUR OBSERVATIONS

#NotTooYoungToRun working with the Ready To Run young aspirants remained in close communication with the young aspirants to provide support as they run for office and document their experiences as young aspirants. This provided the movement with more insight into the conduct of party primaries. Notably, the conduct of political party primary is regulated by a legal framework which includes the; Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Electoral Act 2010 (as amended in 2015), INEC Guideline for the Conduct of Party Primaries, Party Constitution and Party Guideline Regulating the Conduct of Primaries. While the Electoral Act provides for parties to adopt either a direct or indirect method of primaries, cross-cutting principles across the legal framework on Party Primary include the need for primaries to be democratic, open, transparent and inclusive. These principles were however put in jeopardy by the conduct of some Political Parties during their primary election as observed by the Not Too Young To Run movement. The movement observed the following:

  • High Cost of Nomination: The movement observed with disappointment the high cost of Nominations fees imposed by most of the political parties with the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) taking the lead as the parties with the most exorbitant fees required from aspirants for their nomination to contest the primary election. This remains worrisome as the supposed party in government and the major opposition party regardless of the advocacy and engagement by the movement for the parties to promote youth candidacy closed their political space by imposing fees that invariably excluded young people and women. It is important to note that the high cost of nomination was not limited to the APC and PDP as we saw other parties follow suit with some difference in their party cost without due consideration to nomination fees that are reasonable and justifiable within our economic context.
  • Undemocratic Primaries: Party primaries are supposed to be a model for democratic elections in Nigeria influencing elections in such a way that the demand for credible and transparent elections will be driven by the political parties. The trend of undemocratic primaries is therefore worrisome as more parties brazenly flaunt the Guidelines on the conduct of primaries designed to ensure transparency and fairness. Some of these include:
    1. Imposition and Substitution of Candidates: the decision by some party leaders to impose candidates on the party, exclude other aspirants from contesting or substituting candidates who successfully won the primary election is beyond undemocratic but a grave injustice to electorates whose choice for leaders will be limited to individuals who fraudulently emerge as the party candidates. Reports from the young aspirants indicates that a young aspirant in APC in Bauchi State after winning majority of votes during the primaries was substituted with another aspirant who had a lesser share of the votes cast.
    2. Manipulating the process of the conduct of primaries: as observed some of the political party’s primaries at the State level were hijacked by the party leadership to ensure that popular aspirants were rigged out of the primaries especially for young female aspirants. This was done by either disrupting the conducting the primaries where an aspirant was seen to be winning votes or denying the delegates or changing list of delegates to put an aspirant at a disadvantage. This was an experience of female aspirant running under the PDP in Kaduna whose aspiration to represent her constituency was unjustly cut short by the party leaders by manipulating the delegates list and suppressing delegates who supported her aspiration.

 

  • Exclusion of Young women and Young men: as experienced by some of the young aspirants, parties were directly and indirectly restricting the participation of young women and young men. This was done in two major ways:

 

  1. Refusing young aspirants party nomination and omission of names of aspirants after due purchase of nomination forms: by either refusing to give the party ticket to contest the primaries even when they were willing to pay all nomination charges and purchase the party tickets. It is rather worrisome that some of the parties still operate state structures where the party leadership, some few money bags or some Governors take undemocratic decision regardless of the wishes of the party members. Some of the young aspirants were told with no regard to democratic principles that they could not purchase the party tickets because there was already an anointed candidate or preferred choice of candidate. We have more reports of this incidence from young aspirants who intended to run under the APC in Kano, Ogun and Zamfara States, aspirants under the PDP in Kano State and FCT-Abuja, and another who intended to run under the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) in Anambra State.
  2. Unjust Screening of Aspirants: the process of screening is important for the conduct of primaries to ensure that only aspirants who satisfy the party requirement contest in the election. However, such screening process must ensure equal treatment of all aspirants, fairness and transparency in such a way that no aspirant will be unjustly screened out. This was hoverer not the case in some parties. For instance, one of the young aspirants was screened out by the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) on a supposed claim of the party he is young and have not contested the election before.

 

  • Money Politics: The movement observed with dismay the blatant inducement of delegates and party members with money by some of the candidates during the primaries to manipulate the process and influence the votes. This is a worrisome trend as it poses major threat the development of our electoral democracy and undoubtedly worked a disadvantage to credible and competent youth and women who contested the primaries.

 

OUR DEMANDS

The movement hereby demands as follows:

  • That the Political Party Appeal structures should ensure that the grievances of young aspirants during the primaries are as a matter of urgency heard and addressed immediately to ensure justice;
  • That Political Parties support youth candidates to ensure that they emerge victorious in the election;
  • That the Courts treat as urgent, pre-election matters and expediently hears and give their decision on pre-election cases before the court.
  • That the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) makes public the report from the monitoring of the party primaries clearly highlighting the votes of each aspirant from the primaries;
  • That young men and women candidates who successfully emerged from the primaries remain vigilant to ensure that they are not substituted at the point of transmission of candidates lists to INEC;
  • That voters should be guided by their conscience and do not vote for parties that do not represent youth interest;
  • That voters remain objective in voting for young women and young men with character, competence and capacity regardless of their party affiliation.

 

Any attempt to further substitute names of young candidates who have secured their party nomination will attract political consequences.

We celebrate the young men and women who have secured their nomination to run for various offices across the 36 states of the Federation and the FCT. The Movement will continually celebrate and support youth candidates across all parties who have secured their party nomination.

The Not Too Young To Run Movement reaffirms its identity as a non-partisan, citizen-led movement dedicated to the defense of democracy, political inclusion and transformative leadership. THE MOVEMENT WILL NOT ENDORSE ANY CANDIDATE OR POLITICAL PARTY FOR ANY REASON.

 

Signed

Not Too Young To Run Movement

Zonal Program Officer, Watching The Vote, YIAGA AFRICA

Party Primaries and Matters Arising ahead of 2019 Elections- Idris Mohammed

 Recently, the All Progressive Congress (APC) and People Democratic Party (PDP) along with other political parties conducted their primary elections as required by the electoral law and constitution of Nigeria which provides that political parties can conduct primary election or adopt consensus candidate that will compete. The essence of primary election is to give party members/delegates the opportunity to have their say in the process, test the popularity of the aspirants and to present a candidate to the citizens.

Meanwhile, political parties in the just concluded primary elections adopted one of either direct or indirect method of selecting a candidate. The APC for example used the direct method were registered card-carrying members of the party elect candidates to fly the flag of the party at various positions during elections. All registered members are expected to be allowed to vote in the primary election to elect the party’s representative in the general elections. The indirect primaries which was adopted by the PDP empowers group of voters called delegates to elect party representatives at various levels of elections. While both methods have its advantages and disadvantages, both parties largely abused the guidelines of the process even as both methods were combined in certain quarters to suit certain interest.

Despite the 10-page rules and regulation produced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to guide the conduct of primary elections in Nigeria, politicians and their political parties are always in the game of manipulating or violating guidelines. Observation reports from YIAGA AFRICA shows that majority of delegates were less interested in the quality and competency of their candidates, as the process became highly monetized. As a matter of fact, it was reported that delegates openly revealed that they are more interested in knowing the amount to be received than the quality of aspirants. Unfortunately, this trend of monetization of votes cuts across a handful of political parties.

At the moment, there are political upheavals in some states as a result of irregularities in the party primaries.  Zamfara for example is a typical example where perceived has led to the ongoing impasse between the APC and INEC. Also, in Kano and Imo state, where the godfathers alleged appointed their son in-laws to be the candidates as Kaduna state continue to endure the tussle between the Governor and the Senator, with the first lady Aisha Buhari complaining of impunity in Adamawa, while Delta and Oyo states amongst others continue to swim in murky political waters. Automatic tickets and poor internal democracy amongst issues relating to exclusion of youth and women may also be the reason behind the political crisis in majority of the states.

It is shocking that money continue to play major role in the eyes of the delegates than the integrity and quality of the candidate. Media reports alleged that money in foreign currencies was shared in the venue of PDP primary election as the primaries may have been determined by the highest bidder. This will send wrong signal to the forth-coming general elections in 2019.

To make it worse, our political atmosphere is not favourable to young people especially women with the high cost of nomination forms demanded by political parties. This meant most of the young people were seen in the venues of the primaries as either party delegates, mobilisers or  ad-hoc staff but not the aspirants. This leaves youth under the umbrella of unpopular political platforms, even though some people are of the opinion that popular candidates can contest in any party platforms but Nigerians are more interested in the party than the candidates.

Delegates should take issue-based politics rather than money in electing the candidates as this will produce competitive and competent leaders with vision and principles that will steer this country out of the present situation to the more promising and progressive atmosphere. It is now left for the Nigerians to vote wisely and vote the candidates with integrity that will take this country to the Promised Land.

Idris Mohammed is a zonal Program Officer with YIAGA Africa wrote from Abuja.

He tweet @idpyar

Mail: [email protected]

Osun Town hall

YIAGA AFRICA Organises Town Hall, Charge Youths to take part in governance

As part of its effort in Promoting Youth Inclusion in Governance for Development, YIAGA AFRICA with the support of Ford Foundation is currently organising town hall meetings across Nigeria. During the meeting in Osun state organised by the State Coordinator on Campaign Advocacy and Movement building, Olukemi Akinyemi, Youth in the state were charged charged to show more interest in governance and participate in the development of the society making positive impacts in their various localities.

This was the thrust of a townhall meeting organised by a youth agenda advocate, Oluwakemi Akinyemi in Osogbo, Osun State with supports from Yiaga Africa and Ford Foundation.

The townhall meeting which was attended by youths and stakeholders in the State focused on Promoting Youth Participation and Inclusive Governance for Development.

Akinyemi said the objectives of the Townhall meeting was to educate the people of the state on the need to mainstream youth in political leadership and decision-making process.

“This Townhall meeting was aimed at providing platform for the youth to speak about issues relating to democracy and how policies/laws can improve youth political inclusion,” she said.

“It is also intended to provide a unique avenue to enlighten the citizen on youth Affirmative Action in democratic and governance processes.”

The Osun State Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Olusegun Agbaje commended the organisers of the townhall meeting.

Agbaje, represented by INEC’s Head of Department in charge of Civil Society Organization, Muideen Olaniyi also appealed to the youths in the state to be productive and contribute their quotas to the development of the state

Source: Daily Trust

Moshood Isah YIAGA AFRICA MEDIA OFFICER

Worrisome Decrease in Voter Turnout Despite Improved Election Conduct– Moshood Isah

The controversy that shrouded the outcome of the just concluded Osun Governorship elections amidst lack of confidence in the electoral commission may just be another reason behind diminishing turnout in Nigeria’s election ahead of 2019 general elections. Since the 2015 general elections, statistics have shown that while the Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC) may have steadily improved in deployment of materials and conduct of elections generally, this has not translated into increased voter turn out during elections. This is no doubt a worrying trend ahead of the upcoming 2019 general elections.

With just over 29million Nigerians coming out to vote in 2015 and just over 15million determining the President out of 67 million registered voters, , it is left to be seen if the current 84 million registered voters will translate into increased total votes cast. Unfortunately, recent off circle elections does not give a good indication.

Since after 2015 elections, Nigeria has successfully conducted up to six Governorship elections, three of which came within the last one year, with the latest one being the just concluded Osun Governorship election. Interesting trends and exciting figures were recorded across all three elections. On 18thNovember, 2017 the Independent National Electoral Commission conducted a Governorship election in Anambra amidst very low turnout with the incumbent Governor of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA)- Willy Obiano emerging victorious. This was followed by the Ekiti Governorship elections held on 14th July 2018 with opposition party All Progressive Congress defeating the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP). There are still reactions trailing the results from the just concluded Osun Governorship elections after supplementary polls in seven Polling Units cutting across 4 Local Government where elections were either cancelled or did not hold.

From all the off-circle governorship elections, available data from YIAGA AFRICA who observed all the off-circle Governorship elections after 2015 shows that Independent National Electoral Commission has consistently improved on deployment of election materials to polling units. Having deployed over 500 observers to sampled polling units, YIAGA AFRICA – Watching The Vote Project, is the largest citizen movement on credible election observation. Reports from the data shows that in the just concluded elections in Osun State, as at 9:00 am on election day, 95% of polling units had commenced accreditation and voting.  This is a slight improvement on the 91% observed in Ekiti State few months ago.  Interestingly, during the Anambra Governorship elections, as at 10:00am only 75% of polling units were opened and by 12:00 noon 92% of polling units were opened.

The steady increase in percentage in commencement of accreditation during elections shows appreciable improvement in the deployment of sensitive materials to polling units. More so, the creation of Registration Area Centres (RACs) at various wards has also enabled faster deployment of electoral materials to polling units.

However, the inconsistent nature of turnout of voters for elections should be a source of worry ahead of the 2019 general elections considering what is being recorded in the off-circle elections pre and post 2015 general elections.  The 2018 Osun Gubernatorial polls saw the highest number of political parties ever to compete for an election in the history of Nigeria’s democracy with 48 parties presenting candidates for the elections compared to 20 we had in 2014. Interestingly an additional 200,000 prospective voters registered to vote which increases total number of registered voters from 1.4 million to over 1.6million.

Unfortunately, these interesting figures doesn’t match with the voter turnout for the 2018 Osun Governorship elections. As a matter of fact, Voter turnout dropped from 54% in 2014 to 45% in the just concluded elections. The situation in Anambra state last year was even more discouraging as less than a quarter of the total number of registered voters participated in the November 2017, governorship election. The Returning Officer of the election, Zana Akpagusaid, a total of 2,064,134 residents registered as eligible voters for the election with the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. Of this number, only 457, 511, about 22.16 per cent, came out on Election Day to be accredited.

Similarly, with a registered voter of over 1.6 million, the Ondo state Governorship elections in 2016 recorded 35 % voter turnout having seen about 585 thousand people coming for accreditation.  While Ekiti State Governorship elections recorded just over 44 percent turn out in 2018 compared to 50% turn out it recorded in 2014, Kogi State similarly presented just less than 40 percent of registered voters for its Governorship election that was conducted between November and December 2015 which is relatively poor.

In a nutshell, since after the 2015 general elections, all the off-circle elections conducted has not crossed the 50% voter turn out mark. This is worrisome because the electoral commission on its own part has made effort to improve in the conduct of elections since introduction of the smart card reader and use of Registration Area Centres which has enabled early deployment of materials. While INEC is the main body responsible for administering elections in Nigeria, It is pertinent to know that without effective deployment of security and other stakeholders, the commission may just be working in a vacuum.

Moshood Isah is the media officer of YIAGA AFRICA

 

Advocacy visit for SCRAP C

#Upright4Nigeria: YIAGA Africa Takes Anti-Corruption Crusade to Borno, Kano and Kaduna States

It is no more news that Nigeria ranks 148 out of 180 countries assessed in 2017 Corruption Perception Index report on the perception of the state of corruption in the country. Out of 100 points signaling maximum transparency and no corruption, Nigeria scored 27 points.  This is despite the highly touted anti-corruption campaign by the Current administration. According to the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DIFID) 2015 study on Corruption and Poverty in Nigeria, corruption in the public sector remains a sore spot in Nigeria’s quest to instill transparency and accountability in the polity. The study also reveals that corruption is the basis for failure in social service delivery like power supply, and collapse of infrastructure. On the other hand, there is no political will to fight corruption in the workings of the polity, especially at the states and local government levels.

It is against the backdrop that YIAGA AFRICA through the Strengthening Citizen’s Resistance Against Prevalence of Corruption (SCRAP C) Project began anti-corruption sensitization programs across Nigeria. The SCRAP-C project which aims to influence social norms and attitudes that help corruption thrive in Nigeria with a view to effect a social change kicked off its sensitization campaigns with Civil Society Organisation and Media parley in Borno, Kano and Kano state.

The Project which is funded with UK aid is led by an ActionAid led consortium made up of Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Centre for Communication and Social Impact (CCSI), with strategic implementing partners including YIAGA Africa, is designed to contribute to a reduction in corruption because of changing public attitudes that increasingly disapprove of corrupt practices.

We also seek to build public demand and attitudes for anti-corruption through strengthened and organized collective and individual actions and voices. Through its strategy, the campaign will have national and state specific engagement in Kaduna, Kano (extending activities to Jigawa), Lagos, Enugu, Borno and Akwa Ibom.

Thus, in carrying out advocacy around initiatives that strengthen the resistance of young people against the prevalence of corruption in Kaduna, Kano and Borno states (which is within its implementing purview), YIAGA Africa had in September met with over 45 youth based civil society organizations and media outfits to further amplify the anticorruption campaign.

During the CSO-Parley, our accountability and social justice department team lead, Tracy Keshi, charged the various CSO groups on the necessity of the anti-corruption campaign as it seeks to influence social behaviors among citizens, hence promote zero tolerance for corruption and impunity across board. She noted that it was necessary to tackle the issue of corruption using the bottom-top approach as the project seeks to advance the idea that changes in social behaviors among citizens is a better strategy in reducing corruption in Nigeria.

We are also glad that various CSOs and Media pledged their commitments in ensuring that the project serves its purpose, especially in helping to close the information gap among citizens as it relates to corruption and its damaging effects on the society.  They further thanked the organizers for the initiative, citing that the decision to have included Borno among the other two states was timely, considering the insurgency that had bedeviled the state in recent years. Stakeholders in Borno felt that the state stands more to benefit as the campaign will help improve citizens’ consciousness on the effects of corruption in their community and how they can contribute in stopping the scourge.

In recognizing that at the center of this project is the promotion of collaboration and networking with different stakeholders involved in the campaign against corruption and impunity in Nigeria, YIAGA Africa leveraging on its relationship with the anti-corruption agencies paid a courtesy call to the zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Borno State, Kano and Kaduna States respectively. During the visits, the team, led by its program officer Tracy Keshi informed the commission of the SCRAP C project.

Mrs. Keshi during the meeting with noted that it was important for citizens especially in rural areas to be well informed about what the anticorruption agency is doing as regards to the anti-corruption campaign and how they can also be actively involved and collaborate with the commission in the anti-corruption war. She assured the commission of YIAGA Africa and it’s supporting partners commitment on this regard.

During the meeting which was held at the EFCC Zonal office in Maiduguri, Mr Jiddah who received the team on behalf of the Head of Operations lauded the initiative, thus stating that project is timely to improve anticorruption activities in a bid to reduce corruption in Nigeria. The meeting was attended by principal officers of the EFCC Maiduguri office. Mr. Jiddah, in expressing the commission’s commitment believes that the SCRAP C‘s strategy in closing the information gap among citizens and especially youths is timely and a welcomed development.

Similar meetings were held with Mr. Muhuyi Rimingado, the Executive Chairman Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission, as well as the Kaduna State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice Barr. (Mrs) Umma Hikima, who in their separate meetings at their respective states lauded the initiatives and expressed their commitments to the project. Mr. Rimingado stated that the commission was doing its best in ensuring that corrupt elements, especially in the educational sectors are flushed out. He considered the educational sector as very vital, stating that if corruption isn’t tackled properly, it will be passed on to learning students who then move on to the larger society

These engagements were followed by a robust two-day training workshop on “evidence-based reporting of corruption” in the three aforementioned states, as well as campaign sensitization and anti-corruption solidarity walks/rally across the respective states to raise awareness on values of Integrity, Honesty and Transparency. The capacity training had a total of for 83 participants from 77 Civil Society organizations and Media outfits in attendance. The training which had very engaging practical sessions, enhanced the Knowledge of the trainees and further expanded their capacity – particularly in the use of the Freedom of Information Act(FOI), 2011, as well as Social Audit as social accountability tools in leading behavioral change movements in their various localities in order to achieve the goal of the SCRAP C project.

 

There was Anti-Corruption sensitization rally organized by YIAGA Africa in partnership with numerous CSOs/CBOs across the three states. The walk which was done in the spirit of solidarity of the anti-corruption war saw over 500 young people held peaceful rallies in support of the Upright4Nigeria campaign. Interestingly, despite the security challenges in places like Maiduguri, youths still came out in their numbers in support of the anti-corruption campaign, and no challenges were faced as there were adequately protected by the security agencies.

In Kano, participants moved from the Emir’s palace to Kofar mata, through Kofar Nasarawa, Kurmawa, prison and back to Emir’s palace. The sensitization in Kano targeted the two (2) major markets in the state which are the Kasuwar Rimi and Kofar wambai/ Kantin Kwari. In Kaduna, Participant moved through Yakubu Gowon way to Ahmadu Bello way through Ibrahim Taiwo road, Lagos Street to Mangal Plaza/ Leventis round about and back to Yakubu Gowon way. In Borno, conscious of the security situation, participants converged at Ramat square and had different anti-corruption sensitization messages in placards and banners displaying their support. Anti-Corruption messages were well interpreted by the people as it was translated from English to pidgin and Hausa, and other native languages which are predominant in the respective three states.

Youth Affirmative Action Debate Lagos

YIAGA AFRICA Takes Youth Affirmative Action Discourse  to Nigerian Universities

The passage of the #NotToooYoungToRun law has amongst other things opened the political space for young women and men and young persons with disabilities to participate in decision making process. The #NotTooYoungToRun law has inspired a new wave of youth political participation with more young people inspired to run for elective office and actually take the bold step towards becoming candidates in the 2019 general elections. This new wave however poses the question of availability on the availability of credible and competent youths with integrity and content to occupy political offices.

In the last two months, YIAGA AFRICA’s Youth department with support from Ford Foundation as part of the Promoting Inclusive Governance for Development (PIG-D) Project organized a series of debate competitions in Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria. The debate competition focused on Youth Affirmative Action. Two (2) Institutions competed against each other in each geopolitical zone on the motion: ‘Competent youths are unavailable for competitive politics in Nigeria’.

The debate competition adopted the oxford style debate system where each team had two (2) speakers and three (3) rounds of debates. The first round was argued by the 1st speakers of both sides and lasted for a total of 20mins, the 2nd round was argues by the 2nd speakers of both sides and lasted for a total of 14mins and the 3rd and final round was argued by the 1st speakers of both sides and lasted for a total of 10mins.

 

The first of the debates in the North-West region was between Kaduna State University (KASU) and Bayero University, Kano State (BUK).  During his opening remark at the first debate, YIAGA AFRICA Senior Program Officer, Youth, Ibrahim Faruk thanked the students and members of the audience for coming to witness the debate. He also introduced the motion for debate and outlined the fact that the age reduction law was recently passed but there still lingers a question in Nigeria: Are young people competent? He advised that the audience listens with rapt attention as the debate will build consciousness towards both positions (affirmative and opposition) after which the audience will have the opportunity to make their own contributions.

 

The North-West debate competition set a good structure and an excellent precedence for the subsequent debates that followed in the coming weeks. The arguments for and against the motion had the judges scratching their heads as they compiled the results.

KASU was announced as the winners of the North-West edition of the debate. The announcement of KASU as the flagbearer for the zone was followed by a resounding applause from the students as it was well deserved victory over the hosts who were gracious in defeat and displayed sportsmanlike behavior.

 

The second debate in the series was the North-Central debate which held at the University of Jos, between the host and University of Abuja. In his remarks at the debate, Faculty Adviser, University of Jos, Panmark Lere explained the need for young people to be involved in politics in Nigeria.

After a closely contested debate where both side presented strong arguments in support of and against the motion, the University of Abuja team scored the highest number of points and bragging rights to represent the zone at the Finals of the Debate.

The Youth affirmative action university debate also held in the South-South where both University of Uyo and University of Calabar slugged it out as they dissected issues relating to competence of youth in a competitive political terrain like Nigeria. Having presented a superior argument, the University of Calabar was announced winner by the panel of Judges.

The debate in the South-East also lived up to expectation between Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Unudike (MOUAU) and Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) who both did justice to the topic, “Competent youths are unavailable for competitive politics in Nigeria’. At the end of the debate, the host Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Unudike (MOUAU) clinched the prize on behalf of the zone.

University of Lagos and University of Ibadan also went head to head in the South West zone edition of the debate that provided a viable platform for discourse on policy issues provides an avenue to promote inclusiveness and garner the opinion of the young people in universities.

The debates have elevated the discourse within the University communities especially as political parties select candidates for the 2019 general elections.  With these debate competitions, young men and women have shown that debates remain as a viable platform for discourse on policy issues and provide an avenue to promote inclusiveness and garner the opinion of the young students.

Idris Muhammed

2019 Elections: Imperativeness of Voter Education on Vote buying – Idris Muhammed

  Electoral process is the main pillar of democracy just as as the voter is the most important stake holder in the election process. The main aim of electoral process is to ensure free, fair and credible election and to establish the legitimacy and sense of belonging to the elected. As the 2019 general election is fast approaching, voter behavior is paramount looking at the nature of the previous elections especially regarding the scourge of vote buying and selling

In more ways than one, former  chairman of  Independent Electoral Commission, Proffessor Attahiru Jega made effort to sanitize and strengthen the Nigerian electoral system especially with the initiation of the card reader which has reduced election malpractice. With the invention of card reader, the unpatriotic changed their pattern from ballot box snatching, multiple ballot, vote rigging etc to the business of buying the vote the electorates. Sometime the politicians do follow voters to their houses and trade their either permanent voters card or buying their vote with condition of taking an oath that they are going to vote for them on the election day, this is because they found out that some of the voters will collected their money but they ended up voting their own choice. The recent menace of vote buying has been described by Civil Societies as the new form of rigging

Voter education remains one of the most important role of electoral commission in Nigeria as it ensures citizens are provided with basic information about participating in elections. With the unfolding scenario of voter inducement, the responsibility of voter education doesn’t lie with the electoral commission alone. Civil Society Organisations, political parties, National Orientation Agency and citizens alike need to up the ante on voter education against vote buying and selling.

Looking at the recent gubernatorial election in Ekiti state and Osun state, the electorates need to be more informed especially in the aspect of selling their vote. Ekiti State was characterized by multiple cases of voter inducement by the major political parties. Domestics and foreign observers expressed their concern where they accused the politician for inducing voters with money and gifts before and during election. Electorate sadly and unfortunately turned their votes to commodities of trade and boldly struck deals with political party agents willing to pay the highest price in the presence of law enforcement officers.

Though, the Nigerian police force said that they have arrested some of the actors involved in the vote buying but up till this moment none of them have been charged to court in order to be lesson to others. In a nutshell, the activities in Ekiti and other states including the recent election in Osun is worrisome.

The current situation of lack of payment of salary by many state Governors may have been another catalyst to vote selling by electorates. The main remedy to this problems remains voter and civic education with a long term view to widening peoples’ horizons on how their vote is linked to other things that happen in their lives into the future. Once people understand there is strong link between their votes and their future, they may decide to reconsider their stand on exchanging their votes for a token.

The social behavioral communication change designed towards voter education in Nigeria is going in may not have been channeled to the right direction. It’s now left for INEC and other relevant authorities to re-design their strategy to make electorate more inform on their civic right and the implication of selling their mandate to the politicians in exchange of insignificant amount of money.

Civil society organizations must be allowed to report any issue that is capable of disrupting the rules  and regulation of election and electoral process to the election management body.

Idris is a Zonal Program Officer with YIAGA AFRICA

 

Osun election: YIAGA AFRICA Validates INEC Results, Decries Harassment during Supplementary Elections

Having successfully deployed 500 Polling Unit Observers, 31 roving observers and 30 Collation Observers for the Osun Governorship elections, YIAGA Africa’s WatchingTheVote  has validated the official results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) saying, the  announcement on votes cast for the Osun gubernatorial election is overall consistent with its observation.

Speaking during the results announcement Press Conference, Dr Aisha Abdullahi, Co-Chair of YIAGA Africa’s Watching The Vote Osun Election Observation Mission, said this in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday.

Abdullahi said the group’s Watching The Vote (WTV) project was an initiative to monitor the credibility of elections across the country, using its Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) Method.

She said that the PVT produced an estimated range based on the untainted polling unit results collected from a representative statistical sample of polling units.

She said this range was calculated, using long-established statistical formula.

“However, because the PVT is based on the untainted results from polling units, the official results must fall within the PVT’s estimated range for them to reflect the ballots cast at polling unit.

“Thus, if the official results fall within the PVT’s estimated ranges, then the official results accurately reflect the ballots cast at polling units but if the official results fall outside the PVT’s estimated ranges, then the official results were changed. ”

 

Abdullahi said that YIAGA Africa deployed 500 stationary observers in pairs to a representative statistical sample of 250 polling units and 31 mobile observers located in all 30 LGAs of Osun.

“The WTV Result statement is based on reports from 247 of 250 which is 99 per cent sampled polling units.

“YIAGA AFRICA had noted in its pre-election statement that the Osun Governorship election would be keenly contested and largely determined by swing LGAs and a small margin in the difference of votes between the top contesting parties.

“Our preliminary estimates indicated that turnout for the Osun gubernatorial election will be between 45.0 and 47.8 per cent based on official turnout figures collected from the statistical sample of polling units across the 30 LGAs in the state.

“As such YIAGA Africa can verify that INEC’s official turnout of 45.7 per cent falls within WTV’s estimated range and accurately reflects the turnout of voters.”

Abdullahi said that at dawn on, Sept. 23, YIAGA Africa WTV findings had also indicated that no party or candidate would receive more than 37.4 per cent of the vote share.

She said that based on the total votes announced so far by INEC, YIAGA Africa’s statistical analysis considering the margin of errors showed that the All Progressives Congress (APC) should receive between 33.6% and 37.4 per cent of the vote.

She said that the Action Democratic Party (ADP) should receive between 5.7 per cent and 8.9 per cent of the vote.

She added that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should receive between 32.5 per cent and 36.9 per cent of the vote while the Social Democratic Party (SDP) should receive between 15.1 and 19.7 per cen of the vote.

Abdullahi said that the rejected ballots fell outside YIAGA AFRICA’s range of 4.1 per cent to 5.3 per cent but given the rerun to be held at cancelled polling units and the closeness of the election, it likely did not affect the overall outcome.

“It is important to highlight the counting process at polling units was transparent and included representatives from the political parties that received the most votes.

“At 98 per cent of polling units, the polling officials showed how every ballot paper was marked to everyone present.”

Abdullahi said that during counting, in 96 per cent of polling units, there were no recorded incidents of intimidation, harassment against the polling officials.

She said that by 4:00 p.m., counting of gubernatorial ballot papers had finished in 78 per cent of polling units and at 99 per cent of polling units APC, PDP and party agents countersigned the result forms.

On average, 12 polling agents were present at the observed LGA Collation Centres during the collation process and they countersigned the results.

 

She said that in all 30 collation centres, no party agents disagreed with the results declared.

Abdulahi said that YIAGA Africa WTV for the Osun election focused on providing information on the election day process to build citizens confidence and to verify the accuracy of the official results.

She said that the importance of the result statement was hinged on the need to ensure that the official results for the Osun gubernatorial election truly reflected the ballots cast at polling units.

She said that YIAGA Africa was committed to confirming the official results if they reflected the ballots cast at polling units and exposing manipulation if the results were changed during the collation process.

However, after deploying 13 stationary observers for the Osun supplementary Governorship election, YIAGA AFRICA WTV reported that, political thugs prevented its observers from monitoring the election in certain polling units and that the observers could only gain access to such units when foreign observers arrived with a security contingent and that the domestic observers were still prevented from witnessing the counting and posting of results in certain location.

YIAGA said political thugs also deprived media practitioners from accessing and using mobile phones at the polling unit until the afternoon when the issues were resolved.

According to WTV observation findings, “In PU 002, Alapata Village, Oyere – II Ward 10, APC party agents were seen distributing cash and food to prospective voters within the vicinity of the polling unit.”

“In PU 004 Idi Iya, Olofun Orolu Ward 8, APC agents distributed cash to voters and security agents in a location not more than 100 feet from the polling units.

“YIAGA Africa Watching The Vote calls on the voters of Osun to remain calm and be peaceful as INEC works to collate and announce the results.

“YIAGA Africa also urges INEC to carry out timely investigations into the critical incidents at Ward 8, Kajola Village, PU 001 Orolu LGA that may have undermined the credibility of the polls in this location.

“YIAGA Africa calls on INEC to make public the data from the E-Collation and E-Transmission of results from the polling units at the polling unit level and in a timely manner.

“YIAGA Africa urges contesting political parties to call on their supporters to remain calm and where parties may feel aggrieved with the outcome of the election, such party should seek legal redress through the official channels.

“YIAGA calls on the security agents to remain alert, vigilant and neutral during this period and to apprehend and prosecute perpetrators of electoral violence especially those who prevented voters, observers and media practitioners from accessing some of the polling units.

“YIAGA calls on the media to promote credible and objective reportage of the supplementary elections.

“YIAGA Africa commends the people of Osun for maintaining the peace in the State throughout the period of the election.

 

“YIAGA would like to thank the people of Osun who volunteered to serve as non-partisan election observers on behalf of all the people of Osun,” the statement read

Not Too Young To Run Movement kicks against automatic tickets, calls for free and fair party primaries

In the days ahead, political parties will conduct primaries to field candidates for the 2019 general elections. Whilst some of the parties have published timetables for the conduct of their primaries, others are yet to make their timetable public. The movement notes with concern, actions by some political parties to impose candidates through the issuance of automatic tickets or ‘consensus’ candidacy. This is in addition to the high cost of forms imposed by some of the political parties.

This development has become a major threat to the participation of youth, women and persons with disability. The imposition of candidates and issuance of automatic tickets reflect a lack of respect for democratic principles and norms, and its reduces the competitiveness of electoral politics. As party primaries begin, the Not Too Young To Run Movement recommends as follows;

1. Parties should uphold the principles of transparency and accountability in the conduct of primary elections.
2. Parties must provide credible list of delegates and ensure party members are accessible to aspirants, observers and the media.
3. The venue of the primary elections must be made public to all aspirants and other stakeholders.
4. Late hour changes to delegate list and venue of party primaries should be avoided. Changes should be made only after due consultations with stakeholders especially aspirants and their agents.
5. Parties should provide leadership and demonstrate commitment to discourage vote buying as well as enforcing spending limits for campaigns and sanctioning members who use money or gift items to compromise delegates.

The Movement urges all political parties to remain accountable to the commitments made to uphold democratic primaries and reiterates that any form of imposition or irregularities in the primaries would attract political consequences. Any party that discards the youth, does so at its own peril

Signed
Not Too Young To Run Movement