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Did Soludo Say Peter Obi’s $20m Investment Is Now Worth $100m? Claim:

By Blog, Constitution, Election, Fact Check, Fact Checks, Featured, General, latest, NewsNo Comments

Claim:

A Facebook user, @Lamentations of a Bishop, on Sunday posted a story alleging that the current Anambra State governor Mr. Charles Soludo, said that Mr. Peter Obi’s $20 million investment in Anambra is worth $100 million today.

Verdict: FALSE

Verification: While verifying this, Daily Trust went through the verified Facebook and Twitter handles of the governor to see if he made such claims but nothing was found.

Further checks by Daily Trust revealed that the governor had gone to the comment section of the post to debunk the claim.

On his verified Facebook page, @Charles Chukwuma Soludo, the Anambra governor’s reply reads: “Where did you read or hear me make such comments. This Fake News has been roundly debunked by my team. We can always carry on with the campaign for our preferred candidates without consciously misleading the reading public. The report is false and never emanated from me,” he said.

Background

Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra state is the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the forth coming presidential election.

Mr. Obi is regarded as one of the successful businessmen in Nigeria with franchise spread across the country.

He is also the former governor of Anambra state.

Conclusion: Following the rebuttal by the Anambra state governor, Daily Trust affirms the claim to be FALSE.

This Fact Check is done in collaboration with the Center for Democracy and Development (CDD)

Did Chidozie Nwankwo the AAC candidate step down to support Valentine Ozigbo the PDP candidate?

By Election, Fact Check, latest, NewsNo Comments

VERDICT: False

CLAIM: CDD came across news reports from championnews.com.ng, 247ureports.com, naijalumia.org and gistmaster.com with a claim that the candidate of African Action Congress (AAC) has stepped down from the governorship race to support the People Democratic Party (PDP) Candidate.

FACT CHECK PROCESS: In order to authenticate this sensitive allegation, CDD fact-checkers reached out to the campaign organization unit. CDD was able to contact Dr Chinedu Ifeakor, a member of the Chidozie Nwankwo (The AAC governorship candidate) campaign delegate who was able to confirm that the claim is false and that Chidozie Okonkwo is still running for governor with the African Action Congress (ACC).

CONCLUSION: CDD can confirm that the claims made by the various news outlets and blogs are false.

#CDDFACTCHECK

You can forward suspicious messages for verification via +2349062910568 or contact us on Twitter @CDDWestAfrica

#StopFakeNews #StopDisinformation

Center for Democracy and Development West Africa| CDD West Africa

WhatsApp and Everyday Life in West Africa – Call for Contributors

By Blog, General, latestNo Comments

We are looking for contributions for an edited book volume tentatively titled, ‘WhatsApp and Everyday Life in West Africa’. 

The edited volume aims to cover a range of topics from politics, misinformation and elections; to how WhatsApp is used for healthcare, by businesses and as a source of news; to how it can facilitate love, family connections (and disputes), spiritual/religious connections and support women’s empowerment. (Call for contributors CDD)

We are looking for pieces between 5,000 and 7,000 words in length for inclusion in the edited book volume. They can either be personal experiences or build on research already being done. The idea would be for the pieces to be rigorous and detailed without being academic or overly theoretical. This is a paid opportunity. (Call for Contributors CDD)

If you have an idea please submit a 250 word abstract and a piece of previously published writing to publications@cddwestafrica.org, with the subject line – WhatsApp in West Africa.

The deadline for the submission of abstracts is 30 June 2020.

We will aim to select the ten pieces we intend to commission in July.

If you have further questions please direct them to the email above

CDD Call for Fellowship Applications

By Blog, Job Vacancy, latestNo Comments

The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) is now accepting fellowship applications for 2021-2022. CDD’s fellowship program aims to bring together people working in areas related to democracy and development from across a broad range of disciplines. CDD commits to leveraging its profile and resources in West Africa and internationally to advance CDD fellows’ research and reputation.

 CDD will award two types of fellowships:

  • Residential Fellowships, including:
    • Six-month,
    • One-year fellowships, including two named and fully funded fellowships.
  • Non-residential fellowships, which are typically long-term (longer than a year).

Residential Fellows

CDD expects that residential fellows will work on a project relevant to CDD’s thematic areas; be open to collaboration with CDD staff, including holding training sessions for staff on new conceptual frameworks and methodologies; and present within and outside CDD on their projects. Residential fellows are expected to be physically present on the CDD premises for the entire duration of the fellowship.

We welcome projects around our core thematic areas of democratic governance and people-centred development in West Africa. We interpret these areas broadly; apply even if you feel your project idea does not directly address these themes. This fellowship round, we are especially interested in scholars with expertise and experience in the intersection of politics and technology (for example, how increased digitization in African countries will affect state-society relations). We are also keen on projects that look at the political economy of health crises (for example, how government allocation of health aid can affect voting outcomes).  

The two named fellowships are fellowship positions attached to the annual lectures that two eminent fellows are expected to give under CDD auspices. The fellows will work actively in the various year-long activities of the annual lecture, culminating in written work suitable for publishing in a respected journal. We will give more information on the named fellowships after the annual lectures have been unveiled—this means that right now applications for the named fellowships are not being accepted.

Non-Residential Fellows

The Non-Resident Fellowship aims to support experienced civil society professionals and academics to work on innovative projects which their current work environment may not be conducive to. CDD will provide the full range of its capacity to develop projects from ideation to execution. While we generally accept residential fellows in cohorts, we deal with non-resident fellows on an individual basis. This does not preclude working with other fellows and staff; CDD highly encourages collaboration where possible. While non-resident fellows are not typically expected to report to CDD, we can arrange for short-term stints at the office where necessary.

Bottom of Form

Qualifications

As CDD is in the nascent stages of an expanded fellowship program, we have just a few guidelines for application:

  • We are only accepting applications from PhD students or post-doctoral scholars whose research is relevant to CDD’s thematic areas.
  • We are not accepting applications from Nigerian citizens or Nigerian dual citizens for our residential fellowships. Nigerians and Nigerian dual citizens are welcome to apply for non-residential fellowships.
  • We encourage women, West Africans, and Africans studying West Africa to apply.
  • Proficiency in English is required, proficiency in French is a strong plus.

Stipends

CDD will award a modest stipend to a small number of applicants, specifically those who can demonstrate financial need. The stipends may vary depending on the length of the program. We do not expect that most fellows will receive CDD funding. We are able to provide references for external grants or other kinds of support. All fellows under the named fellowship will receive full funding—right now, named fellows are not being accepted.

Questions

Questions about the fellowship should be directed to fellowship@cddwestafrica.org

How To Apply

Applicants should send to fellowship@cddwestafrica.org:

  • A resume or C.V.
  • A personal statement not more than 1000 words long that responds to the following:
    • What is the project you propose to implement?
      • This should address the problems the project seeks to solve, the methods you might employ, and the beneficiaries of your research project.
    • How is CDD uniquely positioned to facilitate your project?
      • We are looking for broad indications here. For example, CDD’s work on politics and technology is emergent, although we are keen to take fellows in this area.
  • How does your personal background inform and influence your research?
  • A copy of a relevant publication
  • Indicate whether you are applying for funding or not. If you are, append any information demonstrating your need to the application.
  • The email subject line should be formatted as “fellowship application for [indicate length of fellowship] starting [indicate preferred date: mm/yyyy]”

We also require a letter of reference sent directly from the referee to fellowship@cddwestafrica.org

We accept applications on a rolling basis. We aim to respond to complete applications within 4 weeks.

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Memorandum on Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation Bill 2019 (SB 132) to The National Assembly

By Blog, latest, Press ReleaseNo Comments

The Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation Bill, 2019 (SB 132), passed the second reading of the Senate in November 2019. Leading the debate on the Bill at the plenary session, Sen. Mohammad Sani Musa (APC: Niger) explained that the Bill aims to mitigate the threat of false information spread on the internet by monitoring online spaces. Considering the increasingly important role internet activity plays in determining citizen wellbeing, interventions to control such activity must be wholly justified. After research and review of the Bill, CDD has concluded that the Bill should not pass. In this memorandum CDD outlines three main arguments against the Bill’s passage and suggests three alternative courses of action.

Cases against the Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation Bill

  1. A Business Case

Nigeria needs to diversify its economy. By stifling internet access for online businesses, access blocking orders can inadvertently work against this diversification.

Internet access promotes economic growth in Nigeria. Online platforms, including social media platforms, make it possible for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to locate and transact with customers. An “access blocking order” as found in Clause 12, subclause 3 empowers the Law Enforcement Department to “direct the NCC [Nigerian Communications Commission] … to order the internet access service provider to take reasonable steps to disable access by end-users in Nigeria.” The Bill is ambiguous about how targeted the disabling of access by end users will be; however, access blocking orders can stifle economic activity at any level of granularity. Access blocking orders will interfere with business operations of these SMEs if the orders block social media platforms. CDD surveyed Nigerians’ social media habits in late 2019 and early 2020; platforms such as Instagram and Facebook doubled as online businesses for many respondents.  Furthermore, blanket access blocking orders will affect businesses for whom internet access is an important part of their business model even if they do not transact via social media. In 2017, Cameroonian authorities repeatedly shut off access to the internet in certain regions of the country. Innovation hubs, education and healthcare services and money transfers, which rely on internet access, were negatively affected to the tune of more than $38 million.[1] We question whether the potential economic tradeoffs associated with access blocking orders are justifiable?

2. A Human Rights/Democratic Case

The Bill does not provide for a standard of effective investigation in the determination of contraventions of its provisions. A low burden of proof coupled with the scope for subjective judgements is a recipe for abuse that could ultimately contravene freedom of speech. This is worsened by an under-resourced and digital-apathetic police force, who are unlikely to use a publicly available methodology for selecting cases. Furthermore, targeted correction regulations go against data privacy norms in certain areas.

The Bill provides for a low burden of proof in the determination of contraventions of its provisions. For example, the Bill provides for subjective judgement as to whether the transmission of false statements of fact is likely to, amongst others, incite feelings of enmity, hatred towards a person or ill-will between groups of persons. Providing for subjective judgements without a standard of effective investigation opens up the Bill to abuse. Such abuse will ultimately contravene freedom of expression as protected under Section 39 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Nigeria is a signatory. There is a more explicit consideration for burden of proof in the case of varying or canceling a regulation issued; clause 15 subclause (2) provides that “the Law Enforcement Department may vary or cancel the Part 3 Regulation under sub Clause (1)…on the Law Enforcement Department’s own initiative provided there is overwhelming sufficing evidence necessitating this variation or cancellation” (emphasis added). The burden of having “overwhelming sufficing evidence” should apply at both the introduction and the withdrawal of a regulation, and the process for establishing this evidence should be explicit and rigorous.

The designation of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) as implementer of the Bill is operationally dubious. Implicit in the Bill is that NPF is expected to surveil the entire Internet to identify false statements. An NPF which the Inspector General of Police and Police Service Commission have both stated is grossly underfunded and understaffed is unlikely to discharge this duty adequately.[2] Additionally, if one takes the funding proposal it recently submitted to the House of Representatives as an indicator of its priorities, the lack of a request for funds to enhance digital capacities is telling.[3] An under-resourced and digital-apathetic NPF suggests the methodology for selecting false statements of fact will be open to political influence, contravening Section 17 of the 1999 Constitution which enshrines equality before the law.

Finally, the exercise of “targeted correction regulation” may go against best practice data privacy principles. Directing internet intermediaries to send correction notices to all end users who accessed a false statement or subject material via their platform can amount to an unethical tracking of user activity.

3. A Security Case

Nigeria currently has an insecurity problem. Access blocking orders could deter online intelligence gathering through both blocking internet access and possibly stimulating the development of an online information black market.

One of the aims of the Bill, as stated in Clause 1(e) is to “enable measures to be taken to detect, control and safeguard against coordinated inauthentic behaviour and other misuses of online accounts and bots”. However, access blocking orders could work against digital surveillance operations for security purposes. The mechanism is clear: this type of censorship removes access to information for end users, stopping them from interacting online and providing digital evidence of coordination of both disinformation and higher security alert operations. The nature of security operations does not allow for certainty, but one can reasonably assume that online intelligence gathering has come to form an integral part Nigerian security agencies’ defence strategies.  Furthermore, the use of the access blocking orders could inadvertently stimulate the development of an online information black market. The technologies internet service providers use to restrict internet access can be circumvented through the use of VPNs, TOR and other online privacy tools. In 2018, Cameroonian authorities ordered an internet shutdown of Anglophone regions, which resulted in many citizens taking to these privacy tools to circumvent the shutdown.[4] Use of privacy tools would further conceal digital interactions and hinder security operations.

Alternatives to the Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation Bill

  1. Demand side (end-user) interventions[5]

In focusing on those who produce and distribute disinformation, the Bill represents a supply-side intervention. However, given the decentralized nature of disinformation’s production, a supply-side intervention amounts to cutting the head off a hydra. A robust response would consider interventions to bolster the end-user’s ability to critically engage with and judge the veracity of information.  The demand for disinformation is driven by the psychology of news consumption and opinion formation. The disconfirmation bias suggests that people are unlikely to accept information that conflicts with their pre-existing beliefs. Thus, correction notices[6] are likely to be viewed as government-controlled media and may even reinforce beliefs that false stories are true. Rather than getting involved directly, the government should fund critical thinking and digital literacy training for both child and adult education. Such critical thinking training should explicitly address the biases that contribute to the demand for disinformation. Beyond national and state education ministries, the National Orientation Agency could seek to introduce awareness of and techniques to mitigate these biases into the national consciousness.

2. Fake-news-proofing platform algorithms[7]

Disinformation is inadvertently fueled by the algorithms that sort search results and the feeds or docking pages of many social media platforms. While the specific features that form the weights of the algorithms are typically unknown, it is evident that more popular posts or results are more likely to be prominently displayed. Unfortunately, fake news posts are often designed to “go viral” with the aim of appearing on as many people’s feeds as possible. But social media platforms and search engines may not have incentives to introduce adjustments to these algorithms on their own; popularity does drive engagement, and engagement is the core of their business models. Here the government can step in to mandate technical provisions for algorithms such that they mitigate “gaming”, that is, including certain features in posts to stoke virality regardless of veracity.  There are also machine learning algorithms that, based on previous instances of news verified as false, predict the falsehood of a given statement with reasonable accuracy.[8] This arena need not, indeed should not, be the exclusive preserve of academics and technologists. Nigeria needs to invest in its technical capacity to understand and contribute to 21st century technologies, because those who spread disinformation are already doing so.

3. Accreditation for content creators

In one of CDD’s key informant interviews on the issue of fake news, a senior member of  the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) suggested accreditation of online content creators under their auspices. The official asserted that many of their extant processes for dealing with journalists could benefit online content creators without great modification, including training in norms of ethical journalism and peer-driven sanctions for breaking those norms. This arrangement would also enable the government to deal with the NUJ as the representative for online content creators.


[1] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/cameroon-internet-shutdowns-cost-anglophones-millions-180123202824701.html

[2] https://punchng.com/police-need-n944-9bn-to-protect-nigerians-says-ig/

[3] Ibid.

[4] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/cameroon-internet-shutdowns-cost-anglophones-millions-180123202824701.html

[5]This section draws heavily from https://www.ned.org/demand-for-deceit-how-way-we-think-drives-disinformation-samuel-woolley-katie-joseff/

[6] A provision of the Bill (Clause 7) that involves a person found to declare false statements declaring that the false statements are indeed false and including the actual fact in the situation and/or where to find it.

[7] This section draws from https://law.yale.edu/fighting-fake-news-workshop-report

[8] http://news.mit.edu/2019/better-fact-checking-fake-news-1017

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS TO PARTICIPATE IN THE HACKATHON ON COMBATING DISINFORMATION AND MISINFORMATION IN KANO STATE

By Blog, latestNo Comments

In recognition of the harmful effects of disinformation and its impact on the nation; the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) is calling for entries to design solutions to address this menace.

Eligibility criteria

The call is open to computer programmers, interface designers, project managers, social media influencers, amongst others. Females, youth and persons living with disability are strongly encouraged to apply.

Application is strictly for those living in Kano state.

Application procedure

Application opens on the 8th of February and closes on the 21st of February 2020. For submission of an entry, the assigned person should complete the application form.>>> https://forms.gle/HFxeK5DBMLPS7fot6

Selection process

To participate in the hackathon, the applicant MUST complete the application form attached and respond to all compulsory questions (marked*). 

PLEASE NOTE: Only selected applicants will be contacted.

Inquiry

For further inquiry, please contact Aliyu Dahiru Aliyu, Programmes Officer, via adahiru@cddwestafrica.org and 09039128220.

About CDD

The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) was established in the United Kingdom in 1997 and subsequently registered in Lagos – Nigeria in 1999 as an independent, not-for-profit, research, training, advocacy and capacity-building organisation. The Centre was established to mobilise global opinion and resources for democratic development and provide an independent space to reflect critically on the challenges posed to the democratisation and development processes in West Africa, and also to provide alternatives and best practices to the sustenance of democracy and development in the region.

CDD envisions a West Africa that is democratically governed, economically integrated. The mission of the Centre is to be the prime catalyst and facilitator for strategic analysis and capacity building for sustainable democracy and development in the West African sub-region.

Apply here

COUNTING THE VOTES: WARD-LEVEL COLLATION DURING NIGERIA'S 2019 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION – A POSTMORTEM ANALYSIS

By 2019 Supplementary Elections, Blog, latest, Nigeria Election 2019, Publication, PublicationsNo Comments

BACKGROUND

The collation of results has been a much-exploited weakness in Nigeria’s election process, since the country’s return to democratic civilian rule in May 1999. Collation is the process by which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) aggregates and tabulates polling unit-level results via a multi-layered process, starting from the ward level, through the local government and state levels, to the federal level at the INEC national headquarters.
The integrity of this collation process is fundamental to the overall success and credibility of Nigerian elections. If conducted in a transparently organised and well-regulated way, collation will produce credible election results and boost voter confidence in the process. In the 2019 elections, however, civil society observers all across Nigeria saw a collation process that was chaotic, vulnerable to manipulation and, in some locations, violently disrupted and unnecessarily opaque.
The documentary evidences that informed the in-depth analysis in this report were gathered from the INEC accredited 8,809 observers CDD and its partners deployed during the 2019 elections. In addition, the Zabe SR (software) was further used in collecting data during the elections. Other sources of data include from CDD partners across the civil society organizations and the media, and also from the outputs from CDD Election Analysis Centre.”

THE CULTURAL, ECONOMIC, LEGAL AND POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT AFFECTING COLLATION OF RESULTS

Although this report is about the collation of results during the 2019 general elections, it is important not to isolate the collation process from the broader cultural, economic, legal and political environment for the conduct of elections in the country. The violence, disruptions, and compromised collation of election results detailed in this report is symptomatic and should be understood in the general context of the typical do-or-die, zero-sum approach to political and electoral competition in Nigeria, the deepening poverty and infrastructure deficits in the country, and the culture of political and legal impunity it has tended to encourage and even reward. While the highlighted challenges that constraint INEC for conducting credible elections is acknowledged, the electoral umpire cannot be totally exonerated being a major stakeholder in the country’s electoral system. How logistic arrangements are made during elections, interactions with stakeholders are coordinated, amongst other mandates of INEC, could create a very tensed atmosphere that discourages conduct of credible elections. Nevertheless, the burden to finding lasting solution to challenges bedeviling elections in Nigeria lies with all the actors including INEC, citizens, political parties, civil society organisations, the media, security agencies etc. All stakeholders must work collaboratively to re-define our socio-political and economic environment. This is a major message from this report.
Download Report: COUNTING THE VOTES WARD-LEVEL COLLATION DURING NIGERIA’S 2019 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: A POSTMORTEM ANALYSIS 
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CALL FOR PAPER- Democracy in Two Decades, 1999-2019: Reflections on Nation Building and Development in Nigeria

By Blog, General, latest, NewsNo Comments

The Department of History, University of Ibadan & The Centre for Democracy and Development, Cordially invite Contributors for the Book Project On;Democracy in Two Decades, 1999-2019: Reflections on Nation Building and Development in Nigeria”

Call for papers
After a long struggle spanning more than a decade against military dictatorship, Nigeria returned to democratic rule in May, 1999. Nigeria’s democracy has not only evolved but matured in two decades despite its many challenges. Accounts of what has changed between 1999 and 2019 are crucial to understand how democracy is driving the process of nation-building and business of development in Africa’s most powerful nation. Democracy remains one of the major political systems of governance and promotes nation-building in terms of active participation of citizenry.
The spate of transition to multi-party democracy in Nigeria since 1999 has transformed elections. As a nascent democracy, the country and its people have had to struggle with the real tenets of democracy. However, the history of competitive multi-party elections in Nigeria over the years indicates a process often marred by pre- and post-electoral crises which arise from electoral manipulations or lack of confidence in the electoral process.
The return to democracy was received with genuine enthusiasm among the masses who perceived the moment would usher in rule of law, social justice, equality and development. That aspiration has been dashed due to economic crisis, insecurity and social tension. The hope for fundamental political and economic change waned. Is the colonial past of despotic governance under the indirect rule system and ‘representative chieftaincies’ hunting contemporary democratic practice? To what extent did the long years of military rule influence current democratic conducts and misconducts? Is Nigeria a good example of federal democratic state or unitary democratic state? How do we assess civic culture and viability of democratic institutions?              In what ways are the various arms of government strengthening or undermining democratic values and principles.  Scholarly papers are welcome to discuss Nigeria’s democratic process since 1999 and how it has shaped the process of nation building and development.
Sub-themes

  1. Electoral reforms
  2. Governance and accountability
  3. Militarism, Insurgency, Irredentism  and brigandage in a democracy
  4. Democracy and freedom of speech
  5. Corruption and anti-corruption in a democracy
  6. Party politics
  7. God Fatherism and politics
  8. Democracy and social movements
  9. Democracy and civil society
  10. Democracy and nation-building
  11. Democracy and development
  12. Women in power and politics
  13. Democracy and the judiciary
  14. Democracy and the executive
  15. Democracy and the legislature
  16. Democracy and the military
  17. Case studies of dividends of democracy
  18. Changing nature of Intergroup relations in a democracy
  19. Democracy and peace-building
  20. Democracy and the youth
  21. Democracy and human security

And many more.
 
Authors are encouraged to generate empirical data for the analysis in their chapters. The chapters, which should not exceed 10,000 words are to be written in conformity to high academic standard using the conventional APA reference style, Times New Roman, 12point font, double spaced and justified.
Each chapter contribution is expected to adhere to the following guidelines: Abstract,  Introduction, Brief Literature Review and Theoretical Framework/Perspective, Main Body of the Chapter, Implications of the thematic focus on democracy, nation-building and development, Recommendations, Conclusion, References and Appendices (where applicable).
 
Chapter contributions should be sent to the editors on or before 15 August, 2019.
 
Editors:
Dr. R. O. Olaniyi                                 
Department of History, University of Ibadan.
Email: rasolaniyi@gmail.com
Idayat Hassan
Centre for Democracy and Development, Abuja
Email: media@cddwestafrica.org
Download PDF here

10 things to know about Osun governorship election

By Fact Checks, latest, NewsNo Comments
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.
PREMIUM TIMES has examined the five major contenders, how they emerged and their experience in politics.
The winner will succeed outgoing governor, Rauf Aregbesola of the APC.
The Centre for Democracy and Development, CDD, in partnership with PREMIUM TIMES will bring you a comprehensive coverage of the election.
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).

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.

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.

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.
The names of the parties and their candidates as presented by INEC are as follows:
1. Party – Accord
Governor – Julius Olapade Okunola
Deputy Governor – Azeez Kayode Jimoh
2. Party – AA
Governor – Ogunmodede Adeloye
Deputy Governor – Adepoju Timothy Adetunji
3. Party – ABP
Governor – Oludare Timothy Akinola
Deputy Governor – Halimat Bunmi Ibrahim
4. Party – ACD
Governor – Genga Afeni
Deputy Governor – Oni Esther Oluwatoyin
5. Party – ACPN
Governor – Rufai Adebisi Mujidat
Deputy Governor – Agboola Peter Oluremi
6. Party – AD
Governor – James Olugbenga Akintola
Deputy Governor – Abdulhakeem Oyeniyi Bello
7. Party – ADC
Governor – Fatai Akinade Akinbade
Deputy Governor – Arowolo Oladele
8. Party – ADP
Governor – Adeoti Moshood Olalekan
Deputy Governor – Durotoye Adeolu Akinbola
9. Party – AGA
Governor – Kehinde Olufemi Lawrence
Deputy Governor – Lawal Oluseyi Afusat
10. Party – AGAP
Governor – Adejola Adebayo Rufus
Deputy Governor – Adebayo Adewale Olaolu
11. Party – ANRP
Governor – Alarape Babatunde A.
Deputy Governor – Adelu Ayoade David
12. Party – APA
Governor – Adeleke Adesoji M.A
Deputy Governor – Agbonmagbe Tosin Omowumi
13. Party – APC
Governor – Adegboyega Isiaka Oyetola
Deputy Governor – Benedict Olugboyega Alabi
14. Party – APGA
Governor – Oluwatoki Adetokunbo Adedayo A.
Deputy Governor – Adefila Mary Olaitan (Nee Olaleke)
15. Party – APP
Governor – Ekundayo Ademola Precious
Deputy Governor – Ojo Olugbenga Samuel
16. Party – BNPP
Governor – Olapade Olajide Victor
Deputy Governor – Dunmade Adejoke Wuraola
17. Party – C4C
Governor –Ilori Titus Oluwafemi
Deputy Governor – Alabi Temitayo Kadijat
18. Party – DA
Governor – Mutiu Abiodun Ibrahim
Deputy Governor – Fafioye Hammed Abiodun
19. Party – DPC
Governor – Aderemi Aree
Deputy Governor – Onitayo Yemisi Mary
20. Party – DPP
Governor – Solomon Ayodeji Oni
Deputy Governor – Issa Ademola Aderibigbe
21. Party – FJP
Governor – Babatunde Salako Joseph
Deputy Governor – Onifade Saheed Alade
22. Party – GDPN
Governor – Adetipe Adebodun Abiola
Deputy Governor – Ajiboye Funke
23. Party – GPN
Governor – Rafiu Shehu Anifowose
Deputy Governor – Oluwatoyin Adebayo
24. Party – HDP
Governor – Adedoyin Adegoke Joshua Oluwole
Deputy Governor – Olawale Adesoye Adewumi
25. Party – KP
Governor – Fabiyi Oluseyi Olubunmi
Deputy Governor – Ibrahim Adekunle Akande
26. Party – LP
Governor – Babatunde Olaniyi Loye
Deputy Governor – Aderonke Adebayor Jabar
27. Party – MMN
Governor – Raphael A. Feranmi
Deputy Governor – Ariyo Sunday Sina
28. Party – MPN
Governor – Lawal Ganiyu Akanfe
Deputy Governor – Idowu Kayode Olusegun
29. Party – NCP
Governor – Kamarudeen Kalemi Abiodun
Deputy Governor – Lawal Temitope Serifat
30. Party – NPC
Governor – Olaniyi Anthony Fadahunsi
Deputy Governor – Abdulrasheed Afusat Olanike
31. Party – NEPP
Governor – Jegede Hannah Taiwo
Deputy Governor – Rebecca Adeleke Oladepo
32. Party – NNPP
Governor – Adefare Segun Adegoke
Deputy Governor – Adeyeye Nurudeen Adeyemi
33. Party – PANDEL
Governor – Adebayo Rasheedat
Deputy Governor – Ajibola Fatimat
34. Party – PDC
Governor – Kolawole Rafiu Ojonla
Deputy Governor – Oladapo Deborah Oluwatoyin
35. Party – PDP
Governor – Ademola Nirudeen Adeleke
Deputy Governor – Albert A. Adeogun
36. Party – PPA
Governor – Adedokun Musbau Olalekan
Deputy Governor – Ibrahim Bukola
37. Party – PPC
Governor – Ifeolu Kehinde Adewumi
Deputy Governor – Sunday Makinde Babawale
38. Party – PPN
Governor – Akintunde Adesoji
Deputy Governor – Akanmu Saheed Abiodun
39. Party – PRP
Governor –Badmus Tajudeen Adefola
Deputy Governor – Olajire Gbolahan
40. Party – PT
Governor – Adegboyega Aderemi
Deputy Governor – Usman Omobolaji Taofeek
41. Party – RP
Governor – Ayodele Mercy Tosin
Deputy Governor – Adejumo Mukaila
42. Party – SDP
Governor – Iyiola Omisore
Deputy Governor – Lawal Azeez Olayemi
43. Party – SNP
Governor – Ayoade Ezekiel Adegboyega
Deputy Governor – Omolade Anike Adebayo
44. Party – SPN
Governor – Alfred Adegoke
Deputy Governor – Lameed Gafar
45. Party – UPN
Governor – Adediji Olanrewaju Adewuyi
Deputy Governor – Alabi Ola-Olu Adeniyi
46. Party – UPP
Governor – Odutade Olagunju Adesanya
Deputy Governor – Karonwi Festus Olamilekan
47. Party – YDP
Governor – Adebayo Adeolu Elisha
Deputy Governor – Aleem Atinuke
48. Party – YPP
Governor – Adetunji Olubunmi Omotayo
Deputy Governor – Salawu Kareem Adeniy

Charter on Democracy and Governance will help Nigeria

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Charter on Democracy and Governance will help Nigeria

 
Unarguably, democracy and good governance go hand in hand to achieve justice and equity for the citizens.
In spite of this, observers note with concern that good governance seems to be eluding African countries, including Nigeria occasioned by endemic corruption, among other malpractices.
In a bid to remove impediments to good governance in Africa, the African Union 8th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government in 2007 adopted the African Governance Architecture (AGA) and African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG).
The motive of African leaders in adopting these documents is to stimulate adherence to the universal democratic values and principles which include respect for rule of law and human rights.
One of the objectives of the charter is to ensure that change of government is achieved through constitutional provisions.
Nigeria adopted ACDEG in 2007 and ratified it in January 2012 but it has yet to implement the charter.
A training for journalists entitled: “Mobilising Civil Society Support for the Implementation of AGA and ACDEG’’ organised by Actionaid Nigeria, a non-governmental organisation in Abuja recently was part of the steps toward ensuring implementation of the charter.
The charter has 42 provisions on virtually all the principles of democratic governance, inclusive of accountability.
It further provides that parties to the charter shall establish the necessary conditions to foster citizens’ participation, transparency, access to information, freedom of the press and accountability in the management of public affairs.
It has ample provisions on vertical and horizontal accountability measures to strengthen democracy on the continent.
One of the facilitators at the training, Mr Yusuf Shamsudeen, said that by ratifying the charter, Nigeria had expressed its willingness to implement the documents.
Shamsudeen, a Programme Officer with Centre for Democracy and Development, noted that implementation of the charter was imperative for Nigeria because the core values of its democracy were under threat.
According to him, Nigeria’s democracy is plagued by weak institutions, leadership problems, poverty, human rights abuse, corruption, unemployment and conflict, among other challenges.
“Nigeria, being a state party to the instrument, is bound to adhere to its core principles by domesticating ACDEG and AGA in the country because it stands to benefit greatly from it.
“By domestication, it means national laws should be formulated, if not available, and certain actions should be taken by the government to implement ACDEG principles in the country.
“This charter will take away the weaknesses of Nigeria’s democracy and strengthen its electoral processes, create equality, increase adherence to rule of law and human rights, among other systems.
“It will also eliminate all forms of discrimination and enhance fundamental freedom, while enhancing rights of persons with disabilities, women, minority, migrants, refugees, displaced persons and other marginalised social groups,’’ he explained.
Shamsudeen observed that the charter has all the necessary ingredients for the accomplishment of democratic accountability in Nigeria, if implemented.
He said that for the principles of ACDEG to be achieved, state parties must be committed to the provisions of the charter as stated in the framework.
“As part of the commitment, political and public sector institutions must be strengthened to deliver democratic dividends, be accountable and responsive to the needs and aspirations of the citizens.
“Also, elected government officials and public servants must see accountability as an obligation and part of the democratic rights of the citizens,’’ he said.
He insisted that civil society and the media must play their role by compelling elected and appointed government functionaries to be accountable to the people.
In this regard, Mr Tunde Aremu, a Consultant to Actionaid Nigeria, enjoined the media to effectively discharge their watchdog responsibility by holding leaders accountable in the implementation of policies, programmes and projects.
Aremu entitled his lecture at the training: “Understanding the Articles and Provisions of ACDEG and its Relevance to the Nigerian Democracy’’.
He said: “As journalists, you are the only profession that the constitution gave a responsibility to and that is to monitor the government and hold it accountable to its responsibilities, as expressly stated in Section 22 of the 1999 Constitution.
“You are to act as the watchdog of the society and ensure that the government implements agreements it signed up to, especially the ACDEG and AGA Charter’’.
He also said that journalists should highlight the socio-economic challenges confronting the people in their reportage as well as interrogate government policies and programmes with a view to engendering development and improvement in the general well-being of the people.
Participants in the training, therefore, noted that achieving this goal will require investigating governments, companies, organisations and individuals in order to uncover, present and publish reports on facts that people try to hide.
Mrs Nkechi Okoronkwo, the Acting Editor-in-Chief, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), also presented a paper entitled: “Fundamentals of Investigative Journalism’’ in which she underscored the importance of investigative reporting.
She told the participants in the training that the job of journalists was to let people know about happenings in the society and around them.
She observed that in many cases, people in government and positions of authority attempted hiding facts.
“It is the duty of journalists to uncover these hidden facts and inform their readers or listeners accordingly.
“In many other cases, governments, companies, organisations and individuals try to hide decisions or events which affect other people.
“Such actions border on selfish motives such as corruption, compromise, misappropriation, underhand dealings, abuse and breaking the law, among others.
“People have a right to know about the society in which they live; they have a right to know about decisions which may affect them, even if people in power want to keep them secret,’’ she said.
Okoronkwo said that people in power, whether in government, the world of commerce, or any other group in the society could also abuse power, be corrupt, steal money, break laws and do all sorts of things which harm other people or they might just be incompetent and unable to do their jobs properly.
“Such people would usually try to keep this knowledge secret and it behoves journalists to expose such abuses.
“It is also the responsibility of the media to watch how well people in power do their jobs, especially those elected into public offices,’’ she advised.
Okoronkwo, therefore, urged journalists to constantly ask whether such people were keeping their election promises and if not, they should be exposed.
She urged the media to be diligent in its duty, respect the ethics of the profession, fact-check their reports and present only the truth to the public.
According to her, when the media discharges its duties effectively and efficiently, the government will sit up, the rule of law will be upheld, policies will be diligently be implemented and the nation will be better off.
In his remark, Mr Arome Agenyi, the Campaign and Advocacy Officer of Actionaid Nigeria, said: “ACDEG and AGA are developed to assist African countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
He also said that the training was organised to enlighten journalists about the charter and equip them to communicate the importance of the charter to the government and the general public through the publication of reports on the principles of ACDEG.
He said that effective implementation of ACDEG objectives could be achieved only if conscious efforts were made to promote comprehensive ratification and domestication of ACDEG across the continent.
All in all, participants in the training called for the implementation of ACDEG to address the critical challenges plaguing African nations such as corruption, lack of accountability, disrespect for rule of law and human rights abuses, among others.(NANFeatures)

How Buhari’s PFI programme boosts fertiliser supply for farming in Nigeria

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How Buhari’s PFI programme boosts fertiliser supply for farming in Nigeria

 
Ogbonnaya Chukwu, the general manager, Ebonyi State Fertiliser and Chemical Company Limited (EFCCL) sat behind a busy desk in his scantily-furnished office as he spoke glowingly about the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative while a generator coughed outside.
“Last year the company joined the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative (PFI) of the federal government and since then the company has grown through leaps and bounds and is now making serious impact, not only in Ebonyi State but in the South-east geo-political zone and in the South-south states,” Mr Chukwu said proudly.
Mr Chukwu said the fertiliser plant, set up 14 years ago with a capacity to produce 40 metric tonnes of fertiliser every hour, soon went comatose due to poor demand as a result of the proliferation of imported fertiliser.
 

But in 2016, the state government breathe life back into the dying plant after it invested N100 million towards its revival which allowed the plant to participate in the PFI.
In a swift turnaround, between April and August 2017, the plant, produced 100,046 bags of fertiliser as demand continued to soar, Mr Chukwu said.
In order to meet that demand, the EFCCL is now constructing two new warehouses and a new blending facility.

The Presidential Fertiliser Initiative

During the visit of the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI to Nigeria in December 2016, the federal government and the Moroccan government facilitated a partnership between the Fertiliser Producers and Suppliers of Nigeria (FEPSAN) and the OCP, a state-owned Moroccan phosphate producer.
The agreement was aimed at breaking the country’s reliance of the importation of compound fertilisers,
which has replete with corruption, hoarding and has left the government with billions in
unpaid debt.
The partnership was mandated to help achieve the local production of one million metric tonnes of blended Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium (NPK 20:10:10) fertiliser for the wet season farming, and an additional 500,000 metric tonnes for dry season farming.

According to the PFI, blending plants are to be supplied the four components of producing the NPK
The PFI caters exclusively for the production of NPK which is also referred to as a “multi-nutrient” fertiliser as opposed to “single super phosphate and urea, which are already being manufactured in the country.”
Due to the discount negotiated with OCP, local blending plants are able to produce the finished products and deliver to farmers at N5,500 per bag. The blending plants are paid a blending fee of N620 per bag for their effort. Dealers who buy the bag at N5000 are allowed to make N500 as profit for each bag sold.

MISSION D’OBSERVATION ELECTORALE DE L’UNION AFRICAINE POUR L’ELECTION PRESIDENTIELLE DU MALIEN 2018 DECLARATION PRELIMINAIRE Sur l’observation du 2ème TOUR

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MISSION D’OBSERVATION ELECTORALE DE L’UNION AFRICAINE POUR L’ELECTION PRESIDENTIELLE DU MALIEN 2018 DECLARATION PRELIMINAIRE Sur l’observation du 2ème TOUR

 

INTRODUCTION

1. Le 12 août 2018, les électeurs maliens étaient appelés aux urnes pour le deuxième tour de l’élection du Président de la République. Cette élection qui met en lice les deux candidats arrivés en tête du premier tour tenu le 29 juillet 2018, s’est déroulé sur l’ensemble du territoire et à l’extérieur dans un calme relatif. Toutefois des incidents sécuritaires, bien qu’isolés et les conditions climatiques de certaines localités ont empêché le vote dans un nombre résiduel de bureaux de vote.
2. Les résultats définitifs du premier tour proclamés le 8 août 2018 par la Cour Constitutionnelle ont en effet qualifié les candidats Ibrahim Boubacar KEÏTA avec 41, 70 % et Soumaïla CISSE avec 17,78 % pour se présenter à ce second tour.
3. Comme avant et lors du premier tour, trois (3) experts analystes et six (6) observateurs de long terme de l’Union Africaine ont suivi l’évolution du processus avant d’être rejoints par 30 observateurs de court terme ainsi que huit membres du personnel de la MISAHEL, soit un total de 48 personnes.
4. Les quarante-huit (48) observateurs de l’Union Africaine ont été déployés dans le district de Bamako et les régions de Koulikoro, Kayes, Sikasso, Ségou, Mopti, Gao et Tombouctou. Dans le cadre de leurs activités, ces observateurs ont suivi le processus de validation des résultats et la gestion du contentieux du premier tour. Ils ont poursuivi leurs interactions avec les acteurs électoraux tant à Bamako qu’à l’intérieur du pays, ainsi qu’avec les membres du corps diplomatique accrédité au Mali. Enfin, ils ont procédé à une observation directe du deuxième tour du scrutin, du processus de dépouillement et des opérations de centralisation des résultats.
5. La présente déclaration est une évaluation préliminaire du contexte électoral qui a prévalu entre les deux tours, du déroulement du scrutin du second tour, du dépouillement et du début de la centralisation des résultats. Elle sera suivie d’un rapport exhaustif qui sanctionnera la fin de la Mission de l’Union Africaine pour l’observation de l’élection présidentielle de juillet-août 2018 au Mali. Rapport qui sera transmis aux autorités de la République du Mali et publié sur le site de la Commission de l’Union Africaine.
I- CONSTATS ET OBSERVATIONS D’ENTRE DEUX TOURS
A- Contexte politique
6. Le contexte politique d’entre les deux tours a été principalement marqué par les vives réactions de l’opposition exprimées à l’issue de la publication des résultats provisoires par le Ministère de l’Administration Territoriale. Une « coalition »qui s’est formée autour du chef de fil de l’opposition a régulièrement dénoncé des irrégularités qu’elle a relevées lors du 1er tour du scrutin, a mis en cause l’indépendance de la Cour Constitutionnelle et a formulé un certain nombre d’exigences pour la suite du processus. Avec l’implication de la communauté internationale, le Gouvernement a satisfait à la plupart de ces exigences parmi lesquelles il faut citer :
– La publication de la liste détaillée des bureaux où le vote n’a pas pu se dérouler pour cause de violence ou toute autres raisons ;
– La publication des résultats bureau de vote par bureau de vote ;
– Le remplacement de certains assesseurs de l’opposition par des personnalités désignées exclusivement par le candidat de l’URD, seul représentant de l’opposition au deuxième tour de l’élection ;
En revanche, la demande de l’opposition tendant à obtenir un report de l’élection n’a pas reçu un écho favorable.
7. A l’issue de la proclamation des résultats définitifs par la Cour Constitutionnelle, il ne s’est pas formé une alliance pour le soutien de la candidature du chef de fil de l’opposition. Quelques candidats non qualifiés pour le deuxième tour se sont plutôt prononcés en faveur du soutien au candidat de la majorité.
B- Aspect Sécuritaire
8. La mission a suivi avec une attention particulière l’évolution de la situation sécuritaire. Dans la période d’entre deux tours, celle-ci a malheureusement été marquée par des attaques, des embuscades et des affrontements intercommunautaires ayant fait de nombreuses victimes dans les régions de Ménaka et de Mopti.
9. Dans le cadre des préparatifs de ce second tour, le Gouvernement a annoncé des mesures plus appropriées de sécurisation du scrutin suite à une évaluation du déroulement du premier tour et en prenant en compte les recommandations faites par les missions d’observation. Mesures consistant en l’augmentation de l’effectif des éléments et en un réaménagement du dispositif de sécurisation des bureaux de vote. La mission a relevé l’effectivité de ces mesures supplémentaires, notamment dans la région de Mopti.
10. Le scrutin du deuxième tour s’est ainsi déroulé dans de meilleures conditions sécuritaires qu’au premier tour. Toutefois, la mission déplore les quelques incidents isolés qui se sont produits, dont le plus grave a couté la vie au président du bureau de vote du village d’Arkodia dans le cercle de Yanfouké à quelques kilomètres de Tombouctou.
C- Administration électorale
11. Des efforts de correction des faiblesses relevées durant le premier tour dans l’administration électorale ont été manifestes. Ainsi, avec le soutien de la MINUSMA, le matériel électoral supplémentaire a été acheminé à l’intérieur du pays. Certains bureaux de vote ont été déplacés à des endroits plus sécurisés. La Mission apprécie à leur juste valeur les Instructions du Ministre de l’Administration Territorialedu7 août 2018, rappelant aux autorités administratives leurs devoirs de neutralité et celui d’implication des partis politiques dans la décision fixant l’emplacement et le nombre de ces bureaux de vote, afin de garantir l’inclusivité et la transparence dans l’organisation des élections
12. Bien que la publication des résultats bureau de vote par bureau de vote ait dissipé les tensions, la mission a relevé certaines disparités entre les résultats électroniques et les procès-verbaux physiques. Si les disparités notées ne sont pas de nature à changer l’ordre des candidats proclamé, une attention particulière sera nécessaire pour éviter ces types d’erreurs lors de la centralisation et la transmission des résultats du deuxième tour.
13. Le communiqué publié le 11 août 2018 par le Ministère de l’Administration Territoriale autorisant le remplacement de certains assesseurs de l’opposition par ceux désignés par le candidat Soumaila Cissé a été une mesure de décrispation du climat politique. Elle est cependant révélatrice de l’insuffisance d’encadrement légale de pareille situation dans le système électoral malien.
D- Contentieux électoraux et résultats finaux du premier tour
14. L’article 86 de la Constitution malienne dispose que la Cour Constitutionnelle statue obligatoirement sur la régularité de l’élection du Président de la République dont elle proclame les résultats. La Loi organique n°97-010 du 11 février 1997 modifiée par la Loi n° 02-11 du 5 mars 2002 et le règlement intérieur de la Cour Constitutionnelle du 28 août 2002 déterminent la procédure, les conditions de recours et les règles de gestion du contentieux de l’élection présidentielle.
15. Vingt- deux (22) recours et une mémoire en défense ont été enregistrés par la Cour Constitutionnelle à l’occasion du premier tour de l’élection présidentielle.
Les recours visaient principalement à faire redresser des résultats ou à les faire annuler partiellement, voire totalement et à récuser certains juges de la Cour Constitutionnelle.
Les principaux griefs invoqués par les requérants portent sur :
– Diverses irrégularités et violations de la Loi électorale par des agents électoraux et certains candidats ou leurs partisans, la corruption, l’achat de vote des électeurs, la non disponibilité dans les bureaux de vote des cartes d’électeur non retirées, la violence armée ayant empêché la tenue du scrutin dans certains bureaux, la composition irrégulière de certains bureaux, l’absence d’assesseurs de l’opposition, le bourrage d’urnes, l’absence de scellée et l’annulation abusive de bulletins de vote, l’utilisation abusive et irrégulière de procuration, Le déplacement irrégulier de bureau de vote, la non fiabilité du fichier électoral, la réforme de la loi électorale faite en violation du Protocole de la CEDEAO sur la démocratie et la bonne gouvernance et enfin la partialité de certains membres de la Cour et la violation de la Loi par ces derniers.
Il faut noter que la totalité de ces requêtes était dirigée contre le candidat de la majorité.
16. Dans son arrêt rendu le 8 août 2018, la Cour a déclaré irrecevables pour forclusion, c’est-à-dire introduites hors délai, Dix-neuf (19) requêtes sur les 23 enregistrées. Le nombre si élevé de rejet pour forclusion a préoccupé la Mission, étant entendu que la totalité de ces requêtes proviennent d’avocats professionnels. Aussi, a-t-elle constaté que la combinaison de l’article 32 nouveau de la Loi organique sur la Cour Constitutionnelle qui prévoit que cette dernière peut être saisie « durant les cinq (5) jours qui suivent la date du scrutin, de « toute contestation sur l’élection du Président de la République ou des députés » et de l’article 16, paragraphe 1 du Règlement Intérieur de cette même institution qui lui, parle de « toute contestation sur les opérations de vote de l’élection du Président de la République ou des Députés » a pu donner lieu à des interprétations divergentes.
Il est souhaitable que les règles de procédures dans une matière aussi sensible que les élections et devant une haute juridiction dont les décisions ne sont susceptibles d’aucun recours ne souffrent d’aucune ambiguïté.
17. Suite à l’examen au fond, la Cour Constitutionnelle a rejeté les 3 autres recours comme mal fondés et a proclamé les candidats Ibrahim Boubacar KEÏTA avec 41,70 % et Soumaïla CISSE avec 17, 78 %, qualifiés pour se présenter au second tour avec un taux de participation de 42,70 %. La Mission d’observation électorale de l’Union Africaine a pris acte de ces résultats que les candidats de l’opposition ont déclaré n’être pas conformes au vote des maliens. Bien que l’opposition ait mis en cause l’impartialité de la Cour dans la plupart de ses déclarations, elle n’a pas manifesté une réaction déplacée, ce que la Mission note avec satisfaction.
E- Campagne électorale
18. L’article70 de la Loi n° 2016-048 du 17 octobre 2016, modifiée autorise l’ouverture de la campagne après la proclamation des résultats définitifs du premier tour qui a eu lieu le 8 Août 2018. Le deuxième tour étant fixé au 12 aout, précédé d’une journée de silence électoral, les candidats n’ont eu que 48 heures pour faire leurs communications de campagne. Quelques caravanes et rassemblements ont été observés et des communications par agence de presse étaient réalisées. Aucun incident n’a été signalé. Il y a lieu de relever que cette période est très courte et ne peut permettre aux candidats de mobiliser efficacement les électeurs autour de leur candidature. Il y a nécessité d’une réforme de la Loi.
F- Médias
19. Certains acquis du premier tour du scrutin ont largement été consolidés. Le diagnostic dressé par la Haute Autorité de la Communication (HAC) sur la couverture des activités électorales du deuxième tour, indique que les journalistes ont globalement été responsables et objectifs en accord avec le code de bonne conduite signé.
20. Toutefois, la fermeture de Renouveau FM, radio privée, par les autorités pour le motif de « d’incitation à la révolte et à la haine tenus par le chroniqueur Youssouf Mohamed Bathily, lors de son émission dans la nuit du 31 juillet au 1er aout 2018 », a été perçue comme une atteinte à la liberté de la presse et de l’expression. La mission se félicite de la réouverture intervenue à la veille du second tour.
21. Les hommes de médias, la population malienne ainsi que tous les usagers ont constaté les difficultés d’accès à internet et aux réseaux sociaux qui résultent vraisemblablement d’une restriction. La mission en appelle aux autorités de mettre tout en œuvre pour faire cesser cette restriction.
G- Société civile
22. L’effervescence qui a caractérisé les activités de la société civile dans le processus électoral pour la participation citoyenne et l’apaisement, constatée avant le premier tour a baissé en intensité. La plupart des organisations a tout de même maintenu les observateurs sur le terrain. L’amenuisement des ressources parait expliquer cette baisse d’activité. La mission exhorte les partenaires à maintenir et intensifier les appuis multiformes aux organisations de la société civile qui constituent un acteur capital de la mobilisation citoyenne et de la quiétude du déroulement des élections.
II- CONSTATS ET OBSERVATIONS DU JOUR DE VOTE
23. Déployés dans 7 régions et les communes du district de Bamako, les observateurs de l’Union Africaine ont suivi les procédures d’ouvertures des bureaux de vote, le déroulement du scrutin, la clôture et le dépouillement dans 241 bureaux de vote dont 213 en milieu urbain et 28 en milieu rural.
24. Ouverture des bureaux : malgré la pluie qui s’est abattue sur Bamako le matin, la quasi-totalité des bureaux de vote ont ouvert à l’heure. Il en est de même à l’intérieur du pays. Quelques problèmes ont été relevés ici et là comme dans le bureau de vote n° 1 de l’école Lafiabougou dans la Commune IV de Bamako où, la confusion entre deux assesseurs de l’opposition portant le même nom, a déclenché une dispute et retardé la procédure d’ouverture de 30 minutes. Des vérifications ont été faites et le titulaire a été autorisé à exercer ses fonctions.
25. Matériel électoral : le matériel nécessaire aux opérations de vote était disponible dans tous les bureaux visités, les urnes bien scellées et les cartes d’électeurs non retirées disponibles dans les bureaux.
26. Personnel électoral : Les membres du bureau de vote étaient présents à l’heure d’ouverture et 35% étaient des femmes. Les observateurs ont noté une sensible amélioration de leur maîtrise des procédures de vote et de dépouillement, un engagement et une bonne volonté dans l’exercice de leur mission. Cependant, dans plusieurs bureaux, les assesseurs désignés par le candidat Soumaila Cissé arrivaient en retard et trouvaient qu’ils ont été remplacés par les présidents de bureaux. Cette situation est sans aucun doute due à l’intervention dans les derniers moments, du communiqué autorisant la désignation de nouveaux assesseurs. Il est établi dans la pratique électorale que les décisions ou instructions de dernières minutes perturbent les agents dans la gestion des bureaux de vote.
27. Accès aux bureaux de vote : Généralement situés dans des écoles, les bureaux de vote étaient globalement accessibles aux personnes vivant avec handicap et aux personnes âgées. Dans certains centres toutefois, comme celui de l’école Djikafane, des bureaux étaient situés au 1eret 2èmeétage et donc difficiles d’accès aux personnes vivant avec handicap et aux personnes âgées.
28. L’atmosphère aux alentours des bureaux de vote : l’atmosphère était calme autour des bureaux visités et les observateurs ont noté que la plupart d’entre eux ont bénéficié d’une présence effective des forces de sécurité. Rares sont les centres, comme celui de l’école de Kolokani, où les forces étaient absentes.
29. Affichage des listes d’électeurs : les listes d’électeurs n’étaient pas affichées devant les bureaux de vote dans la quasi-totalité des centres. Les Responsables des bureaux et des centres ont expliqué que les listes affichées lors du premier tour étaient censées servir également pour le deuxième tour. La Mission voudrait faire remarquer que l’affichage des listes devant les bureaux est une exigence légale et que les agents électoraux devraient prendre toutes mesures nécessaires au respect de cette règle.
30. Présence des délégués des candidats et des observateurs : dans tous les bureaux, le scrutin s’est déroulé sous la supervision des délégués de la CENI, en présence des délégués des deux candidats. Les observateurs de la Cour Constitutionnelle, ceux des organisations de la société civile nationale (COCEM, POCIM, Caritas etc.), ainsi que les observateurs internationaux de la CEDEAO, de l’Union Européenne, de l’OIF, de la MINUSMA, de certaines ambassades accréditées auprès du Mali ont été rencontrés dans les bureaux de vote.
31. Participation électorale (Participation des femmes, jeunes, personnes vivant avec handicap) : Les femmes maliennes étaient les plus observées au niveau des queues le jour du scrutin. Les jeunes ont participé plus comme agents électoraux ou délégués des candidats que comme électeurs.
32. Clôture et dépouillement : Comme lors du premier tour, les processus de clôture et de dépouillement se sont passés sans incident majeur dans la plupart des bureaux visités. Ils se sont déroulés sous la supervision des représentants de la CENI, en présence des électeurs et des délégués des candidats qui ont signé les procès-verbaux et ont obtenu copie. Toutefois, la mission a relevé l’inobservation de certaines règles telles que le non affichage des récépissés des résultats devant les bureaux de vote.
III- Centralisation des résultats
33. Les observateurs ont été autorisés à assister à la centralisation des résultats dans les cercles et le district de Bamako qui s’est fait avec la participation des représentants des deux candidats en lice. La Mission va continuer le suivi du processus de centralisation jusqu’au résultat définitif qui sera proclamé par la Cour Constitutionnelle.
CONCLUSION
34. La Mission d’observation de l’Union Africaine salue le calme qui a prévalu pendant ce deuxième tour du scrutin. Elle félicite le gouvernement malien pour les efforts supplémentaires d’amélioration et de sécurisation du processus. Ces félicitations s’adressent également à toute la classe politique et au peuple malien qui, malgré les divergences manifestes de point de vue sur certains aspects du processus, ont pu faire preuve de retenue. Elle les encourage à privilégier l’option du dialogue et du recours aux voies légales pour le règlement de tous différends.
35. La Mission relève assurément que l’affluence aux bureaux de vote était faible et voudrait exhorter le peuple malien à s’impliquer davantage dans le processus électoral.
36. Des accusations de fraude ou de tentatives de fraude ont été portées par les deux camps l’un avers l’autre. La Mission ne détient à ce stade aucun élément tangible et invitent les parties à utiliser les procédures légales en la matière pour faire la lumière sur ces cas.
37. Au vu des éléments d’appréciation dont elle dispose et en considération de tout ce qui précède, la Mission d’observation électorale de l’Union Africaine considère que cette élection s’est déroulée dans des conditions acceptables.
Recommandations
Dans le but de contribuer à l’amélioration du système électoral malien, la Mission d’Observation Electorale de l’Union Africaine formule les recommandations suivantes :
 Au Gouvernement :
– privilégier la recherche de consensus avec les acteurs politiques dans le règlement des points de divergences ;
– Engager des réformes légales et structurelles d’envergure, dans un cadre consensuel, pour améliorer la gouvernance électorale ;
– Poursuivre les efforts pour le renforcement de capacité des agents électoraux aux procédures de vote et de dépouillement ainsi que la tenue des documents électoraux ;
– tenir compte des personnes âgées et vivant avec handicap dans le choix de l’emplacement des bureaux de vote ;
– faciliter l’identification des membres des bureaux de vote en les dotant de matériel et équipement de visibilité ;
– engager une action consensuelle afin de rendre le fichier électoral plus fiable et restaurer la confiance entre les acteurs politiques,
– organiser dans la mesure du possible les élections dans les lieux où le vote n’a pas pu se tenir telle que prévu par la loi électorale;
– poursuivre en lien avec la société civile la sensibilisation des populations en faveur de leur implication dans le processus électoral et l’apaisement ;
 Aux acteurs politiques :
– poursuivre dans la voie du dialogue et de la concertation pour le règlement de tous différends pouvant naître du processus électoral ;
– éviter la publication des résultats avant les autorités compétentes et recourir aux juridictions compétentes pour le règlement de tout contentieux électoral ;
 A la société civile :
– poursuivre son travail d’éducation civique et de sensibilisation de la population, des autorités et des acteurs politiques à maintenir un climat post électoral paisible et à sensibiliser les populations a une participation plus accrue aux prochaines échéances électorales;
– encourager les leaders religieux à réitérer leurs appels à la cohésion sociale, aux respects des institutions pour des élections apaisées;
 A la communauté internationale :
– poursuivre et renforcer son appui multiforme aux acteurs locaux du processus électoral ;
– renforcer son soutien technique et matériel aux autorités maliennes dans leurs efforts pour l’instauration de la paix et de la sécurité sur toute l’étendue du territoire ;
Fait à Bamako, le 13 Aout 2018
Pour la Mission,
S.E. Thomas Boni YAYI
Chef de Mission

Why are anti-corruption success stories still the exception?

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Why are anti-corruption success stories still the exception?

 
After decades of fighting corruption, measured by hundreds of new (or renewed) commitments, institutions and laws, as well as by millions of euros spent, success stories are still the exception, not the norm. This raises the question, what does and does not work in fighting corruption?
In their book Transition to Good Governance (2017), authors Muniu-Pippidi and Johnston analyse ten countries that successfully reduced corruption. Their conclusions could give anti-corruption campaigners sleepless nights, because anti-corruption measures are not necessarily what explain their success.
For example, the authors found no evidence to support the widely held belief that placing restrictions on political party finance contributes to reducing corruption. More shockingly, the authors argue that some anti-corruption instruments “might even prompt more illegal practices or measures that can be applied everywhere”. The book concludes that structural aspects, such as political agency and modernisation of the state, play a significant role in determining whether anti-corruption efforts are successful or not.
It seems the desire to abuse entrusted power for private gain is stronger than any governance system.
A second piece of research undermines the argument that correlates decentralisation and reduced corruption. ‘Decentralisation, Multilevel Governance and Corruption’, developed by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) in collaboration with the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) in Bangladesh and the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in Nigeria, shows that local elections and forms of government do not necessarily imply less corruption. Not only is corruption a consequence of poor decentralisation implementation, it also shapes local forms of decentralisation.
Two important conclusions can be drawn from these studies: corruption not only adapts to particular circumstances, but the circumstances may also adapt to established corruption dynamics; and measures that exclusively target corruption do not always make a difference.

Press Statement: August 14, 2018

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Press Statement:
August 14, 2018
CDD CONDEMN THE ARREST AND DETENTION OF SAMUEL OGUNDIPE OF THE PREMIUMTIMES
The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) condemn in strong terms the detention of Samuel Ogundipe of the Premium Times. This case again points to the intolerance and clamp down on the media, thoughts and fundamental rights by the Nigerian Police Force (NPF). The constant attempt to intimidate journalist to cover the truth, against the oath of speaking, search and unveiling the truth, men of the press have sworn to uphold is not just inimical to democracy but the sustenance of our hard fought and won democracy in Nigeria. As Walter Lippmann noted in Liberty and the News, “There can be no higher law in journalism than, to tell the truth, and shame the devil.”
CDD call on the Nigerian Police Force under the leadership of Inspector General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Kpotun to immediately release Samuel Ogundipe. The protection of a source is a sacred trust journalist uphold. Samuel Ogundipe has the right to protect the secrecy of informants’ information.
We immediately call on the Inspector General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Kpotun Idris, to respect the fundamental rights of journalists and unconditionally release of Mr Ogundipe from unlawful arrest and detention and bring to an end to all forms of harassment of the fourth estate of the realm.
Release Mr Samuel Ogundipe now!
Signed:
Idayat Hassan
Director

Ezekwesili, CSOs plan new coalition to restructure Nigeria’s leadership

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Ezekwesili, CSOs plan new coalition to restructure Nigeria’s leadership

 
A coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) under the umbrella, Summit of the Alternatives (SOTA), said on Monday that it was working on a political coalition to restructure Nigeria’s leadership ahead of 2019.
Oby Ezekwesili, one of the members of the group, and convener, Red Card Movement, made this known at a news conference on the SOTA summit in Abuja.
Mrs Ezekwesili said that the move became imperative because since 1999, several political parties had exhibited a distinct lack of ideology, thereby merely using politics as a platform to seek electoral offices that translated to personal wealth.
She said the group would partner with the other 66 political parties besides Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) to change the leadership narrative in the country.
“Nigeria’s political system and her leadership have not delivered optimal service for the people in spite of the scale of monetary, natural and human resources abundant within.
“Bereft of vision, the same class comprising generations of a decadent political elite, has undermined the quality of Nigeria’s political leadership in both military and democratic governments.
“The SOTA is in response to the security, political and socio-economic crisis that currently plague Nigeria; the Red Card Movement and other CSOs are partnering to host a gathering termed “Summit of the Alternatives.’’
Mrs Ezekwesili said that Nigeria was in a precarious situation and needed a sense of urgency to take action, considering the citizens demand for quality leadership.
She said if Nigerians did not immediately fix the leadership crisis that its democracy had continued to suffer, citizens should have absolutely no basis to expect anything different from previous elections.
She said the missing link to Nigeria’s development had always been the quality of leadership.

 

“So, we decided that rather than citizens waiting for the usual cyclical pattern of the candidature of poorly prepared people to govern the country at all levels of elected offices in the 2019, we, as citizens, will work together to define a pathway where the electorate, especially, will begin to think of the quality of candidates that they will be prepared to vote for.
“They will also begin early in the game to send a clear signal to our political class that we no longer want incompetent people, people without credibility or charter to rule us.’’
Mrs Ezekwesili said that citizens now wanted the political system to pay attention to important attributes in identifying quality leadership as achieved in places like Singapore.
She said Singapore started its developmental journey about the same time with Nigeria but had now left Nigeria so far behind, adding that what accounted for it was the quality of leadership.
Also speaking, Nya-Etok Ezekiel, one of the conveners, said that the motive was to fix the leadership crisis of Nigeria’s political space and to arrest governance failure.
Mr Ezekiel listed the group’s leadership criteria as character, competence and capacity, adding that these values would not be negotiated.
He said the crucial meeting would begin to address the transformation of Nigeria’s political leadership through the deliberations of patriotic Nigerians who believed in and sought brighter future.
The coalition comprised of Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Enough is Enough, Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA)-Africa, among others.
(NAN)

Abuja Declaration on Fake News,Misinformation and Disinformation Ahead of the 2019 General Election

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ABUJA DECLARATION ON FAKE NEWS, MISINFORMATION AND DISINFORMATION AHEAD OF THE 2019 GENERAL ELECTIONS

  1. The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) with support from Fredrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) and MacArthur Foundation organized a 2-day international conference themed: Democracy and Disinformation: How Fake News Threaten Our Freedom and Democracy. The conference was held from 7 to 8 August 2018 at Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Abuja.

 

  1. The conference gathered in Abuja over 100 experts (locally and internationally), civil society actors, media practitioners, bloggers, government officials (including the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC; National Orientation Agency, NOA; Ministry of Information, etc.), to mention a few, to deliberate on the phenomenon of fake news, misinformation and disinformation; their effects on Nigeria’s democracy; and how these could be mitigated.

 

  1. As Nigeria’s 2019 general elections are fast approaching, we are deeply concerned about the likely negative impact of fake news, misinformation and disinformation on the conduct of violence free elections. Currently, the country’s political landscape is tense, given the increasing security threats in different parts of the country, perceived marginalization, anger, confusion and economic challenges. There is a tendency that political actors can take advantage of these gaps either to misinform, disinform, promote apathy or skew voting choices for the forthcoming elections.

 

  1. Bearing in mind that social media is the fastest means of spreading fake news. With a growing number of internet users in Nigeria from 28 million in 2012 to 103 million in May 2018, and that at least 41% of these people use WhatsApp, for example, fake news spread in a speed of light and has capacity to negatively influence public opinion. The recent report also revealed that Facebook users in Nigeria has increased to 26 million active users per month.

 

  1. Recognizing that the controllers of news today are not the government but private companies. For instance, Facebook has data of over 2 billion people and therefore controls how information is managed. Facebook and other social media channels emphasize on what narratives drive the more traffic and make the most money without taking cognisance of issues that encourage conflict and violence activities. South Africa is an example of how a narrative was pushed to show that the biggest problem in that country was the Africans who controlled the land – a narrative that was amplified beyond anything else and this had major impact on the people.

 

  1. Admitting that the society is in a post-truth era where fake news is being promoted above news with empirical proofs. It is considered as a deliberate war against facts, governance, peace and security. Fake news on social media platform is gradually penetrating into the print and broadcasting media. Due to wide and quick reach perception and potential of provoking reactions almost instantaneously in a polarized society, hate and dangerous speech in the media is hazardous.

 

  1. Acknowledging that fake news and hate speech is not only a threat to democracy but also to peace, security and cooperate existence of Nigeria. Fake pictures and videos have also contributed their parts in stoking conflicts in Nigeria. All of these interfere with choices of the people and stoke conflicts in the midst of peace as they are being deliberately peddled to cause division and tension in the polity to put Nigeria backward.

 

  1. Acknowledging that, in some case, genuine news is used as fake news depending on political atmosphere at the time of its usage. Whichever way a message or story is used, what is significant is our capacity to develop an effective counter-narrative mechanism to correct misinterpretation and misrepresentation of facts.

 

  1. Admitting that fake news is not only consumed by those who have access to internet and social media, or elites. Fake news is also widespread amongst uneducated group who have access to tradional media (including radio and television) and could be reached through word-of-mouth advertising. Thus, there is a need for the development of holistic strategy to prevent its widespread.

 

  1. Noting that lack of good governance, transparency and accountability created crisis of trust in the country. This has immensely contributed to the manner at which citizens consume and respond to fake news in Nigeria. In a country where there is total absence of trust in government, independent national electoral commission (INEC), political parties, security agencies, etc, there is a high tendency that false information widely shared will not be logically interrogated before being circulated.

 

  1. Affirming the importance of sensitizing and educating the people, media and all major stakeholders about fake news and how they can respond to it as a tool for fighting the problems of fake news rather than regulating the space.

 

  1. Supporting good and transparent governance closes the gap between supply and demand of information, helping to reduce the vacuum that creates fake news rather than regulating the space. Nigeria’s institutional regulations are more about punishment than standards, best practices and values that are objectively driven and any attempt to regulate social media is almost a waste of time because it is perceived as an open space that does not require regulation.

 

  1. Expressing concern that government may clamp down on freedom of speech, press and opposition under the guise of checking the spread of fake news and any attempt to support such regulations will empower the state to further descend into dictatorship thereby taking away freedom of press and speech

 

  1. Admitting that fake news is a global phenomenon, with developed nations like UK and US battling with it, we may not be able to curb fake news problem, rather efforts should be geared towards reducing its impacts in the society.

 

  1. Calling upon the government to understand that there is no need for any legislation or laws to be developed for regulation, all it needs to do is to enforce existing laws on regulations, which in itself are also vague, considering for instant the use of the word ‘Insult’ on the Cybersecurity Act, to which different meanings can be ascribed to it.

 

  1. Emphasizing that Nigeria’s regulation should place premium on creating standards and community practices and guidelines that drives the media space (including the social media) rather than being punitive. This is because government regulation is more about punishment than standards, best practices and values that are objectively driven.

 

  1. Stressing the need to further research on the causes, patterns/dynamics theories and drivers of fake news as to build evidences and a body of knowledge and understanding on how we can address the problem. Social media channels are spending so much money to check the danger of fake news. They would not be doing all of these if it was not a threatening phenomenon.

The recommendations and conclusions generated from the 2-day conference include but not limited to the following:

       1.Transparency in governance should be encouraged so as to discourage rumour mongering and spread of fake news.

  1. Structures of national unity through which programmes and policies that advance cohesion and integration should be promoted
  2. To counter hate speech and fake news, we need to promote traditional media freedom, safety of journalist, pluralism and so forth
  3. People should apply tools of verification to unbundle fake story and realizing the mechanisms of manipulation that are being applied. Recipients of fake news should apply common sense and verify the source of any news stories before they are shared
  4. To tackle fake news, digital education and literacy is very important
  5. One of the biggest solutions to fake news is the strong, vibrant and credible media houses because if there are credible and trusted sources, citizens will go to those sources for information and disregard other sources.
  6. As a longer term strategy, civic and political education is incredibly important
  7. Training whatsapp group administrators to ascertain the veracity of information shared
  8. Election monitoring/observation in a coordinated manner
  9. We need to be clear about the definitions of fake news before we talk about regulation
  10. There is a need to look at data protection and privacy
  11. Enhance people’s involvement on political issues
  12. How do we make messages appeal to our audience, we need to think about partnerships
  13. There is a need for transparency

Jega Seeks Stiffer Penalty Against Declaration of Fake Results in 2019 Polls

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Prof. Attahiru Jega, former Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has urged the Federal Government to proffer stiffer laws against declaration of fake election results.
Former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, has canvassed stiffer penalty against declaration of fake results in the media.
Coming ahead of 2019 general election, he said there was the need to curtail the ugly trend where self-serving politicians declare fake results in the media.
Jega said the issue was capable of leading to bloodshed, as witnessed in the recent Ekiti governorship poll, which was won by Dr. Kayode Fayemi.
The former INEC chairman spoke during a two-day international conference as part of a team of panelists.
The theme of the conference was: Democracy and disinformation: “How fake news threaten our freedom and democracy in Nigeria.”
It was organised in Abuja by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD).
Jega called for the enactment of laws, as well as adherence to subsisting legislations to achieve the goal, noting that the ugly trend couldn’t be tackled through mere civic education of critical stakeholders.
INEC’s National Chairman, Prof. Yakubu Mahmoud acknowledged the challenges in implementing subsisting laws to curtail misdeeds in the polity.
He promised to liaise with stakeholders to strengthen existing legislation in the electoral process to tackle problems associated with hate speech and fake news.
Represented by a national commissioner, Prof. Okechukwu Ibeano, he promised that INEC would improve on its performance in the Ekiti and Anambra polls.
This, he, said was necessary through an early declaration of results to erase suspicion and doubts amongst the citizenry in the 2019 poll.
Yakubu lamented the penchant by politicians to reject results that are unfavourable to them.
He promised to ensure that results on Form E60E declared at polling units are duly signed, pasted, and snapped by polling officials and political party agents in the upcoming polls.
Meanwhile, Borno Youths and Students Association Forum (BOYSAF) have canvassed a reduction in fees for obtaining presidential nomination form.
National President of Students Association of Polytechnics and Colleges of Education (SPACE), Muhammadu Hassan, who made the call yesterday at a news conference in Maiduguri, said the N10 million, and N12 million set by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is too high for youths to meet.

CDD is Set to Host a Conference on How Fake News Threatens Nigeria’s Democracy and Freedom.

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Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD),  is set to host a conference on how fake news threatens Nigeria’s democracy and freedom.
As 2019 general election approaches, the conference will facilitate discussion around fake news, misinformation and disinformation, their effects on Nigeria’s democracy, and how it could be mitigated.
Starting 9am each day, the two-day conference will hold on August 7 and 8, 2018 at the Sheraton Hotel & Towers in Abuja.
In a statement signed on Thursday by Idayat Hassan, CDD’s director, experts, renowned journalists, civil society actors, academia, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and government officials will participate in the conference.
“The timing of this conference is crucial especially as our elections are fast approaching and it is essential to prevent the circulation of fake news and disinformation,” she said.
The discourse will also include cyber security, impact of fake news on journalism and democracy, implications of fake news on freedom of press and speech, and the role of social media in the fake new crisis.
Lai Mohammed, minister of information, will chair the conference.
The keynote speakers are Is’haq Modibbo, director general, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), and Attahiru Jega, former INEC chairman.
Simon Kolawole, chief executive officer of Cable Newspaper Limited, Oby Ezekwesili amongst others are expected to chair discussion panels in the conference.
The event will be streamed live on the CDD’s Facebook page and anchored on Twitter with the hash tag, #FakeNewsConf2018.