11th edition of her flagship programme, Nigerian Political Parties Discussion series today, 22nd of February 2018

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  • Feb 24, 2018
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The Centre for Democracy and Development held the 11th edition of her flagship programme, Nigerian Political Parties Discussion series today, 22nd of February 2018. The event was held at the Sheraton Hotels, Abuja and televised live on AIT. Mrs Kadaria Ahmed moderated the programme, which had representatives from three different political parties, including  Diran Odeyemi of PDP, Aderinsola  Abiola of APC, Mark Adebayo of KOWA and Mr Shehu Wahab of INEC as guest speakers. The theme of Discussion was: Internal Party Democracy, who fares better amongst Political Parties in Nigeria.

Ahmed noted that, “Internal democracy in political parties is considered a key ingredient for a fully functional and effective democracy in any society.” She highlighted several questions that should determine if a political party is democratic, including, how do they run their affairs? Who funds them? How are the administrative officers selected or elected? How inclusive are the party’s policies towards young people, women and People with disabilities? She further insisted that it was time for parties to set clear goals on how to develop the nation ahead of the 2019 elections and ensure that dividends of democracy were delivered to the people.

Mr Shehu Wahab, a Deputy Director, at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), said that the commission is concerned with Political Parties following the rules that builds internal party democracy, such that, Party congresses are held and the mass of party members are involved in the party processes. He stated that, while Nigeria began to have a stable democracy in terms of the modalities of Party processes since 1999, INEC’s job to ensure credible elections can be disrupted by Political parties who do not abide by rules regarding funding and inclusiveness.

According to, Idayat Hassan, the Director of Centre for Democracy and Development West Africa, the NPPDS was organized in a bid to start relevant discussions ahead of the 2019 elections and determine what the various political parties had to offer the Nigerian populace. She noted that a forum like this was very important because, we cannot even have the delivery of public goods and services if we do not institutionalize political party system and its goals in our democracy.

“We want to start looking at all the processes of the political parties so that Nigerians can know how parties run, how inclusive they are and how democratic in the real sense they are,” the Director said.

 

 

Sierra Leone Votes: The Top Contenders Barring any last minute decision by the Supreme Court, Sierra Leone will hold presidential, legislative and local government elections on March 7, 2018.

Barring any last minute decision by the Supreme Court, Sierra Leone will hold presidential, legislative and local government elections on March 7, 2018. This will be the fourth elections since the end of the civil war in 2002 and the first since the Ebola epidemic. The incumbent, Ernest Bai Koroma, having served two terms is barred by the constitution for contesting for a third term.

Although sixteen candidates, including 2 women, are vying for the presidency, only three stand any realistic chance of winning the election. Koroma’s handpicked successor and ruling All People’s Congress (APC) candidate, Samura Kamara is the favourite. A former foreign and finance Minister and ex governor of the Central Bank Sierra Leone, Samura’s chances looked dimmed when he was eliminated in the first round of the elections for the presidency of the African Development Bank. He however bounced back and regained Koroma’s trust and was anointed by Koroma over all the other 28 plus challengers within the APC. His selection has not led to any major defections from the ruling party although many remain unhappy with the selection process.

Kamara’s main challenger is expected to be Julius Maada Bio of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP). The former military leader who ruled Sierra Leone for three months in 1996 having overthrown his former boss and friend, Valentine Strasser, is contesting his second election. He lost in 2012 to Ernest Bai Koroma polling 37.4% of the vote in the second round as opposed to Koroma’s 58.7%. A split in the SLPP, plus divisions over the selection of the running mate and some of its parliamentary candidates may seriously affect Bio’s chances of winning, though he sounds pretty confident of victory and says they will not accept the results if the election is not credible.

The dark horse in the presidential race is the National Grand Coalition’s Kandeh Yumkella. The former Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Ex. United Nations Under-Secretary-General and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All is a serious contender to break Sierra Leone’s two party hegemony. Although his party was launched only 3 months ago, he has been able to mobilize a disgruntled base suffering the economic hardship and austerity. He has been pulling significant crowds especially in Freetown. In a bid to get him off the ballot, the ruling APC enforced a hitherto ignored provision of the constitution on citizenship. The provision purports to bar dual nationals from contesting for parliament and therefore the presidency. A case against him has been filed in the Supreme Court by the Assistant to the Secretary General of APC in his private capacity. The hearing is expected later this month and may likely determine whether the election is postponed and whether he remains on the ballot.

Other candidates in the race include former Vice President Samuel Sam Sumana, who is expected to do well in his home district of Kono but not so well elsewhere, and former internal affairs minister and king maker in the 2007 elections, Charles Margai.
None of the candidate is expected to acquire the required 55% of the valid votes necessary for an outright first round victory. A runoff is expected two weeks after the first round’s results are announced. The outcome of the elections may very well be determined in the four walls of the law court building in central Freetown.

Idayat Hassan is the Director of the Abuja based Centre for Democracy and Development, an OSIWA partner.

 

Nigeria’s 2019 Elections: Preparations, Politics and Prospects In February 2019, Nigerians will vote in the country’s sixth election since the return to democracy in 1999

In February 2019, Nigerians will vote in the country’s sixth election since the return to democracy in 1999. The stakes will be high, as immediate security and economic pressures combine with longer-term policy challenges such as population growth and employment provision, and environmental degradation and land management, in a context in which patronage, political settlements, and at times intimidation and violence, remain strong determinants of outcomes. Citizens, and especially those who will be eligible to vote for the first time and who were born after the 1999 transition from military rule, will demand more of their elected officials, as recession, inflation, conflict and insecurity have taken their toll.

Much depends on the preparations of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the lead up to the elections to produce a credible process. But the conduct of political parties, their primaries later this year and the space they create for women’s participation, as well as the independence and sharpness of the media and an involved and vigilant civil society, will be significant influences on the conduct of this election and more widely on Nigeria’s future.

Idayat Hassan, director of the Centre for Democracy and Development, will discuss INEC’s preparations, give her assessment of the importance of these elections for young people and women, and offer her view of the influence of political parties on how events in Nigeria will unfold in 2018 in the lead up to the elections next year.

CDD joins YMCA to launch Barrowmeter,The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) joined its partner, Young Men Christian Association Computer Training Centre and Digital Studio (YMCACTC&DS) in the Gambia

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  • Feb 15, 2018
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The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) joined its partner, Young Men Christian Association Computer Training Centre and Digital Studio (YMCACTC&DS) in the Gambia, to officially launch Barrowmeter (www.barrow-meter.org) on Tuesday 13 February 2018.  The Barrow-Meter is designed to measure the performance of President Adama Barrow against the 65 campaign promises contained in the coalition party’s manifesto that brought him to power.

The campaign promises made by the Barrow-led coalition government focuses on economic stabilisation and sustainable development, social services, good governance, democracy and rule of law, human rights and justice, national reconciliation, etc.

According to Baboucarr Ceesay, Barrowmeter’s project manager, “it is imperative for the citizens of The New Gambia to prevent a repeat of Yahya Jammeh’s regime that lacked accountability, respect for human dignity and power that repose in people”. He enjoined Gambians to deeply reflect on the 22 years of Yahya Jammeh’s rule, acknowledge our failure as citizens, and invent innovative and proactive measures to demand accountability from Barrow-led coalition government.

The Barrowmeter, is a tool to hold the incumbent government in The Gambia accountable to campaign promises. The Barrowmeter is available online as a web portal and mobile app can also be downloaded by citizens to keep tab on any advances made by the administration towards fulfilling its promises. Beyond the online platforms, citizens will be engaged through town hall meetings, community radio talk shows and there will be an engagement with parliamentarians and municipal authorities.

Yusuf Shamsudeen, who represented the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD-West Africa) at the event and project officer of Buharimeter, rationalise the promise tracking initiative as measure to reposition governance in West Africa. According to him, politicians come to power unprepared and spend years trying to understand the problems and possible ways of addressing them.

This is not good for democracy in the region, he emphasized. Voters vote for political parties and their candidates base on their outlined political agenda espoused in the party manifesto. The electoral choice of citizens is mostly influenced by what politicians say they will do, if elected. Thus, it has become imperative to advance discussion around the extent to which the promises are fulfilled.

He however warned that while this has gained popularity around the world, managers of promise trackers should be conscious of the need for objectivity, reliability of sources of data for analysis, and sought for partnership for effective mobilisation of citizens around findings. These are defining factors for successful implementation of the project, he said.

Mr John Njie’s, Chairman of The Association of Non-Government Organisation (TANGO), Gambia, applauded the launch of the online platform and opined that it is timely at a time when civil society in the Gambia are grappling with means of making good governance a reality in the country. He emphasised the need not to forget the political history of the country. In his words “Our political history is our best teacher”. Politicians cannot be trusted to carry their promises through with mass of citizens demanding for accountability. He stated, this is the reason Barrowmeter was launched.

This was followed by entertainment from Black Magique and closing remark from Coordinator of YMCA’s Computer Training Centre and Digital Studio, Mr Poncelet Ileleji.

Why Do Think Tanks Matter

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  • Feb 15, 2018
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The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) Tuesday 30th January 2018, hosted the launch of the 2017 Global Think index annual Report Launch with the theme “Why Do Think Tanks Matter”. The event was one in a series held in over 100 cities across the globe by 175 organizations.

The Lead Speaker, Prof Ibeanu Okechukwu; a National Commissioner  with Nigeria’s National Electoral Commission spoke on the role of Think Tanks in democracy and nation-building.

His presentation was focused on answering the question of what a Think Tank is and the roles they play in re-engineering a better society.

Prof Ibeanu emphasized that Think Tanks are an extension of the society from which they spring from and therefore should produce knowledge that is solution based. He said. ‘’ In my humble opinion, Think Tanks are alternative Centre for education. They occupy the central opposite between universities. Think Tanks will need to develop and cultivate a link between Think Tanks and Universities which is what most Think Tanks don’t do in Nigeria except for CDD and that is why they are the only one in the index’’

The Professor of Political Science and former Dean, Faculty of the Social Science, University of Nigeria Nsukka believe that ‘’ for a think Tank to be effective, it requires capacity and resources’’. He called on Think Tanks on the continent to find a way to document knowledge on the continent which he believe will go a long way to help the continent and her posterity.

The event was attended by partners, friends and other the Civil Society.