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LA VOIX DU MÉCONTENTEMENT: Médias, élections et délimitation des mandats constitutionnels

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Le présent numéro de West Africa Insight est consacré aux prochaines élections au Burkina Faso, en Côte d’Ivoire et en Guinée. On y découvre comment les médias, nouveaux et anciens, continuent de nourrir le débat sur les élections et la démocratie tant au Ghana qu’au Nigeria.

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Dans cette publication, Eloise Bertrand analyse les prévisions politiques de tous les partis en vue des élections de novembre 2020 au Burkina Faso, tout en mettant en doute la possibilité de tenir des élections sans une amélioration signicative de la sécurité dans le nord et l’est du pays.
Dans une autre partie de l’Afrique occidentale francophone, Gilles Yabi évalue les chances et les démarches en vue d’un troisième mandat pour les présidents Alpha Condé en Guinée et Alassane Ouattara en Côte d’Ivoire voisine.

Au Ghana, Ernest Armah examine pour sa part les répercussions qu’auront la technologie et les réseaux sociaux sur le processus démocratique en préparation des élections de n d’année.

Et enn, dans un autre article, Eromo Egbejule se penche sur la multiplication des tentatives visant à limiter la liberté d’expression au Nigeria, en insistant sur le fait que ce phénomène remonte aux années 1980 et qu’il est nécessaire que les médias se battent pour préserver l’espace des opinions divergentes.


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Taxation is fundamental to planning for citizen-centred development. However, the informal sector in Africa and particularly Nigeria is poorly integrated into taxation schemes. This neglect accumulates into cyclical developmental problems that affect provision of social services, maintenance of retail spaces and constantly debars the zeal for political participation and engagement in accountability mechanisms. Women artisans and vendors, operating in the informal sector, are particularly affected by these dynamics as this study, conducted in four states of Nigeria (Oyo, Imo, Niger and Kano), shows.


The intersection of women’s work and taxation necessitated interviews with officials at the ministries of women’s affairs at the state and revenue collectors at state and local government levels as well as interactions with women working in the informal sector. 12 focus group discussions, three per state, consisting of ten female respondents took place between October 2018 and February 2019. A key consideration for choosing the four selected states was the level of rural to urban migration; with cities home to diverse informal economic activities.

A clear finding is that women in the informal economy lack a good understanding of what tax is and how it should support the governance system. Sporadic and irregular collection undertaken by consultants working on behalf of multiple tax collecting bodies and state and local government levels adds to the confusion over the amount being collected, and for what purpose. Extortion is not uncommon when it comes to making payments. But the services gained from these payments are minimal.

All the women interviewed were assertive in their criticism of a lack of tailored local development. They cited the failure of the government to provide basic amenities to ease their existence as citizens as a reason not to willingly pay tax or see the benefits of making the contribution. Markets are neglected and although there are limited programmes in place to support women’s economic empowerment respondents were rarely aware of them. Yet, despite this, during election times, market women and artisans agglomerate to support male politicians in election campaigns based on the claims that they have the financial power to distribute money and other benefits.

To address these shortcomings, the report proposes some short term recommendations – focused on targeted tax education, working with women-led market associations to improve their political bargaining strength and women-led advocacy for spending on social services in commercial and trading spaces – along with some longer-term approaches that can support structures to build the skills and political engagement of women in the informal sector. Increased women’s engagement on the issue of taxation is seen as having a direct link to a growing interest in political participation through interest to ensure that revenue collected is being used to deliver the social services as promised.


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Nigeria has had a long-running battle with misinformation and disinformation. In times of health pandemics, misinformation, or false information shared unintentionally, becomes especially harmful. This was evident during the Ebola crisis in Nigeria; similar dynamics are coming to play with the current coronavirus [COVID-19] pandemic.

The Centre for Democracy and Development has been tracking misinformation from when the Ebola crisis hit to the current day. The patterns that emerged have shown that Nigeria will not just have to battle COVID-19; but it will have to face a battle of misinformation, which can be similarly deadly. One such instance has materialized already: the cases of chloroquine poisoning in Lagos which stemmed from a Trump statement advocating the use of chloroquine to deal with COVID-19.

From our engagement with misinformation during the Ebola crisis, we have gleaned that misinformation narratives are wide-ranging and subject to rapid change. During the Ebola crisis, narratives ranged from bathing in salty water to eating kola nuts as a treatment for Ebola. In the case of the novel coronavirus, as the situation has developed the misinformation narratives have also changed. In early February, when Nigeria had not recorded any confirmed cases, we saw stories such as: “African blood is immune to coronavirus”, a former Nigerian president allegedly calling coronavirus a hoax, and certain food items being labeled treatments for coronavirus.

Nigeria’s institutions are weak. The country has a history of low trust in government, low social capital, elite division, and low government responsiveness.  These leave the country especially vulnerable to the essential challenge coronavirus presents: optimally allocating relief during a health pandemic. The distrust in government also means that citizens are more likely to seek alternative solutions rather than look to the government to provide them. Misinformation propagates more rapidly in such an environment.

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Since the World Health Organisation has declared the COVID-19 outbreak an epidemic, it is worthy to look inwards to our context and examine the ways Nigerians confront health crises. If we look back to 2014, when the index case of Ebola was discovered, we find that the period was rife with misinformation and disinformation around health and treatment. Here we explore the false narratives that dominated the information ecosystem


CLAIM: Bathing in warm, salty water is an effective treatment

This story became the most common piece of misinformation around Ebola. It was trending on pretty much all social media platforms.

CLAIM: Take your back with Dettol, salt & hot water… Ebola is now airborne

This came from a twitter user based in Lagos

CLAIM: Kola nut has been found to halt Ebola virus in its tracks in laboratory tests

This story was reported by the Sun who misrepresented a BBC article from 1999 that suggested kola nuts might offer a solution. The BBC article only claimed that compounds from kola nut stopped virus multiplications in the lab. There were no such results in humans.

CLAIM: Homeopathic remedies can be highly effective in epidemics

This story came from a blogger who told his readers that his homeopathic remedies could treat the Ebola virus.


Nigeria, like the rest of the world, is facing the difficult challenge of mitigating coronavirus’ impact. Nigeria’s index case, an Italian man who arrived in Lagos on February 24 and was confirmed positive the next day, was discharged after nearly a month of treatment. As at the time of writing, Nigeria has 30 confirmed cases. Moving forward, as the virus spreads and testing intensifies, Nigeria will need to tackle health misinformation.

A challenge with misinformation is that it can come from otherwise credible sources. For example, on March 20th, U.S. President Donald Trump said that chloroquine had shown very encouraging results regarding treating coronavirus. Nigeria has since witnessed an increased demand for chloroquine, even though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration quickly clarified Trump’s statement to suggest that the drug’s effects were still being tested.

This is an overview of the most popular false stories on Coronavirus:

CLAIM: The former President Olusegun Obasanjo said ‘’there is no coronavirus in Nigeria, The minister of health cooks the story to defraud the Government, I want to see the Italian man, I wan get the virus too.”

The story turned out to be false as CDD fact-checkers established that the former President never made the statement. A fact check by a sister fact-checking initiative by Premium Times, Dubawa, also gave their verdict as false.

A similar claim was also attributed to the Sultan Of Sokoto Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar. A headline published by online blog on March 7, 2020, claimed the Monarch had said “Let me say the truth and die, the Italian Coronavirus man was paid to act the drama- Sultan Of Sokoto ’’ But clicking on the link, the news failed to mention the Sultan again. This has become a trend with news bloggers since the outbreak of the virus in Wuhan China. We are seeing a trend of using essential personalities and Coronavirus to create clickbait so unsuspecting internet users can visit their website and increase their traffic. 

PLATFORM: This story was spread on social media channels and online blogs

NARRATIVE FORM: This story was used as a means of discrediting the real threat of coronavirus

2. STORY: WHO Coronavirus Job Scam

A WhatsApp message that has been shared extensively, especially in WhatsApp Groups in Nigeria, is offering applicants $5-$100 to work daily 2-3 hours on mobile at the World Health Organization fighting Coronavirus.  


NARRATIVE FORM: Nigeria is currently undergoing huge levels of unemployment, especially with the youth population. This often leads to a high level of job scams where people receive messages about a job, and to get that job, they must pay a certain amount.

This story which was widely shared on WhatsApp was an attempt to exploit Nigeria’s unemployed youth for monetary gain.

3. CLAIM: Garlic and Pepper Soup Can Cure Coronavirus

Amongst others, the list includes drinking alcohol, regular sex, saltwater, and pepper soup as Coronavirus cures. However, there is no evidence to suggest that any of these can cure Coronavirus. Experts from the World Health Organization, Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control and leading epidemiologists around the world have maintained no treatments exist, yet.

According to the WHO’s website, ”Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, no evidence from the current outbreak eating garlic has protected people from the new Coronavirus.”

PLATFORM: WhatsApp and Facebook

NARRATIVE FORM: Nigerian citizens are scared away from public and private health centres due to cost. They are seeking alternatives. This story leveraged that.

  • CLAIM: Constant Sex Can Kill Coronavirus
  • CLAIM: African Blood is Immune to Coronavirus

On February 10, 2020, multiple sources including Abia Pulse News, Kenya Bulletin, African Daily Mail and CityScrollz published a story with the claim that the African Blood Genes are resistant to the Corona Virus. Following low reported cases of Coronavirus in Africa, multiple sources including Abia Pulse NewsKenya BulletinAfrican Daily Mail and CityScrollz published stories with the claim that the African Blood Genes are resistant to the virus.

The report claimed that the Chinese doctors released one Senou, a Cameroonian student who had been infected by the virus after he was cleared and confirmed cured. A UK-based specialist in infectious diseases and epidemics, Paul Hunter, told DW that the absence of Covid-19 on the continent (in early February) might be mainly due to luck. There is nothing special about Africa not having seen a case (at the time the info went viral) other than a pure chance at the moment. Through 26 countries in 2003 but failed to gain a hold in Africa. There is no such thing as the “African blood gene”, and therefore no evidence to support the claim that ‘African Blood Gene’ has immunity to the Covid-19 (Coronavirus).

PLATFORM: Online blogs, WhatsApp

NARRATIVE FORM: In early February, before the confirmation of COVID-19 cases in Africa, many were saying that Africans could not get the virus. This was the most popular of such stories.

CLAIM: A Driver Threatened to Spread the Virus in Nigeria

On February 28, 2020, Fact Checkers at the CDD spotted a story claim that Adewale Isaac Olorogun, the man who drove the index case (Italian) confirmed with COVID-19 from the Lagos airport to Ogun state, has run away from the hospital and is threatening to spread the virus across Nigeria. The story was circulated on a cloned Facebook page AIT Nigeria News Facebook page. The post had up to 2000 shares on Facebook and also distributed via WhatsApp and other platforms.

The story is false. The alleged Uber driver whose image was used on the post released a video to debunk the claim. The man who gave his name as Igwunube Jude is from Edo state.

PLATFORM: WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter

NARRATIVE FORM: This was a story intended to increase panic, and as well increase online traffic through the use of sensationalist content

CLAIM: 9 Cases of Coronavirus were never Confirmed in Lagos State.

The headline of a news report by an online blog Fox News Nigeria claimed 9 cases of the dreaded Coronavirus were confirmed in Lagos leading to 4 deaths. The same FoxNews Nigeria had reported a day earlier on February 8 with the headline Coronavirus hit Nigeria, Outbreak of Coronavirus confirmed in Nigeria. Checks by this Fact Checker, however, reveals the story is a copy edit of a news report by Vanguard Newspaper of February 9, the same day the story was published. The First case of Coronavirus was later reported in Lagos on February 28, exactly 20 days after the blog published the false claim. As of March 17, 2020, there are only three confirmed cases.

PLATFORM: WhatsApp and Facebook

NARRATIVE FORM: Like the story above, this was a story intended to increase panic, and as well increase online traffic through the use of sensationalist content

CLAIM: On February 28, 2020, a trending WhatsApp screenshot of a tweet by @NYSC_Office circulated on the social media platform claiming that fund earmarked for the payment of February allowance of National Youth Service Corps members had to be channelled to the fight of Coronavirus in Nigeria.

CDD fact-checkers spotted the trending message signed by the director-general of the NYSC, Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim.

A review of the NYSC’s official Twitter account @officialnyscng showed it was created in July 2018 with 46.1K followers while the handle peddling the misinformation was created in September 2019 with 158 followers.  CDD contacted an official at the NYSC, who confirmed the screenshot as false. The NYSC statement read: “A global issue such as the Coronavirus which represents a threat to humanity should not be reduced to an object of joke…. ’’.

PLATFORM: WhatsApp and Facebook

NARRATIVE FORM: This story feeds into the narrative about the non-functional and corrupt nature of Nigerian institutions.

CLAIM: TodayNG published a report that men should shave their beards to stay safe from the disease.

The report which was widely shared on the Twitter page of Nigeria Newsdesk on February 28, was spotted by CDD fact-checkers claimed that shaving beards are part of the preventive measures against Coronavirus. Research by fact-checkers in CDD showed that shaving beards are not part of the preventive measures against Coronavirus released by the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States of America. There has not been any scientific proof that shaving beards prevent people from contracting #coronavirus as claimed by TodayNG.

PLATFORM: Online blogs, WhatsApp and Facebook

NARRATIVE FORM: This was a story used sensationalist information to drive traffic to their website.

CLAIM: US President Donald Trump claimed at a White House briefing last week that the Food and Drug Administration had approved the “very powerful” drug chloroquine to treat coronavirus.

“It’s shown very encouraging — very, very encouraging early results. And we’re going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately. And that’s where the FDA has been so great. They — they’ve gone through the approval process; it’s been approved. And they did it — they took it down from many, many months to immediate. So we’re going to be able to make that drug available by prescription or states,” Trump said.

He added: “Normally the FDA would take a long time to approve something like that, and it’s — it was approved very, very quickly and it’s now approved, by prescription.”

However, the FDA after the briefing issued a statement saying it had not approved the drug for use against Covid-19 and is still studying its effectiveness against the disease.


Social media in Nigeria is powerful vector. We now know that WhatsApp is used as a means of public mobilisation by political actors. The role WhatsApp now plays is ubiquitous with the Nigerian lived experience; from family groups, to workgroups, political groups, and religious groups, Nigerians are all subject to the forwarded message. This forwarded message is often framed as a ‘warning’ or a ‘public notice’, we are compelled to take these seriously, or at the very least forward it as a way of showing that you also care. Research by CDD in states such as Kano, Kogi and Bayelsa, as well as at the national level, has established that WhatsApp has now taken the role of a primary source of information for many. Interestingly, WhatsApp messages, often find their source in the popular Nigerian messaging board Nairaland, or various online blogs whose intention is simply to drive traffic to their websites.

However, the power of WhatsApp shows that it can also be used to share positive messages. CDD’s research shows that it is important to provide an alternative to the deluge of misinformation on social media platforms. Therefore WhatsApp will inform our communication strategy and will be an important component in tacking health misinformation on the current coronavirus pandemic.


The damaging effect of fake news and disinformation on public health is grave, as such we recommend the following as steps for citizens to take:

  1. Always check the source of the information – only the NCDC and the Ministry of Health are the designated authorities on communications regarding COVID-19 for Nigerian citizens.
  2. Think before you forward.
  3. Do not self-diagnose and give advice on what someone else’s symptoms may be; if you believe someone might be at risk, encourage them to get tested.
  4. Do not engage in a ‘publish first, check later’ approach.


The Centre for Democracy and Development believes that a targeted approach to contain and mitigate for the potential epidemic in Nigeria must be targeted and as such we have defined three key areas that are necessary to tackle.

Interventions on disinformation

In focusing on addressing the false narratives on coronavirus, CDD in partnership with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) is working together as an authoritative independent team in providing clear, accurate and concise information especially when so little is known. This will complement official messaging from NCDC, the Federal Government and WHO where often there are trust issues and a need to repeat messaging from more than one source. Disinformation thrives in the absence of a trusted source, therefore it is imperative to give citizens an avenue to access up-to-date information

Policy and National Strategy

Improved public discourse should increase pressure and support for a greater investment of resources in Corona response and improved targeting where necessary. As per comments from the WHO it is also vital to begin to mobilise a “whole society” response.

What is the national response to a possible pandemic? Are there any indicators as to what policy adjustments the government can make to ensure that Nigeria is as prepared as it can be. Nigeria’s public health workforce and infrastructure at the moment show that it is grossly unequipped and underprepared to take on a national health crisis – there are very low to non-existent supplies of test kits for example. Lack of test kits means that it will be impossible to evaluate the true extent of infections. And even if we can assess cases, the lack of ventilators means that we will be unable to care for the high number of cases that will become critical, this lack will have serious consequences. While it is important to remember the efficient manner in which Nigeria dealt with the Ebola crisis, the evidence shows that we will need more than just a medical response. Pandemics require cooperation with the global biomedical community, they require institutions of trust that must be built now.


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The purpose of the paper is to review the main economic goals of the current government, examine the implementation of policies and programmes and broadly assess their effectiveness. The economic strategies and goals of the government can be gleaned from the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020, annual budgets, the Medium Term Economic Framework, Fiscal Strategy Papers and the stated monetary policy objectives of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). It should be noted that the ERGP was developed in 2017, after the two annual budgets of 2016 and 2017.
However, the processes of consultations were such that the priorities of the budgets fed into the ERGP and the ERGP in turn informed the subsequent budgets and strategy documents of the government. Hence, there is no sequential syllogism or absurdity in assessing the policy and programme performance of the government in 2016 and 2017, based on the objectives of the ERGP, even though the document itself had not been published.
Since there are many dimensions to the policies, the scope of the paper will selectively focus on the different dimensions of fiscal policy, monetary policy, as well as some specific key programmes such as the National Social Investment Policy (NSIP) and the many quasi-fiscal interventions implemented by the CBN.
Broadly speaking, the effects of policies on growth, diversification, employment generation, monetary and financial stability will be
discussed. Some of the strategic developments in the global economic scene have not been brought into the discussion. Much of the data that can be used as evidence for the effectiveness of the policies will be for the limited period, 2016-2018, but even then there are many gaps in the data. In particular, some of the information on revenue and expenditure, may be regarded as fairly tentative, since different sources can provide different figures due to differences in definition and conceptualisation. It is obvious that, in many cases, impact cannot be judged within this short time period, but only tentative trends may be discerned. It is hoped that the discussions can provoke much more rigorous introspection and evaluation, which can then encourage changes in design, approach, style, or even conception, as needed.
The paper discusses the background and context, before analysing the vision and objectives of the ERGP, and then the fiscal policy objectives and targets of the government. This is followed by a review of monetary policy and intervention programmes. The effectiveness of the fiscal policies is then assessed, including the social investment programmes and the Ease of Doing Business. The effect of monetary policy implementation is then reviewed, after which the dynamics of the employment situation is discussed. A brief summary and conclusion are used to draw out the reports main recommendations.

Gendered Contests: Women in Competitive Elections

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The history of women’s engagement in power and government in Nigeria reveal patterns of disadvantage in gaining access to both elective and appointive positions resulting from carefully orchestrated strategies of exclusion. While the historic 2015 alternation of power from a ruling to little it did to improve women’s political representation casts aspersion on its integrity and legitimacy. The 2019 general elections set a new the increased number of women aspirants. However, increased political participation did not translate to power gains for women. In fact, the electoral gains made in 2011 have subsequently been eroded over the last two election cycles. In 2019, as is historically the case in Nigeria, it was women who lost yet again a failure to attain the minimum one-third (30%) women’s representation stipulated in several regional and global conventions to which Nigeria is a signatory. This is often the case in the absence of intentionally established structures to lower the cost of entrance, safeguards against the culture of politics as a life-and-death venture. Instead, women’s progress in gaining access to political power was yet again diminished by an ever-expanding host of structural, functional, and personal factors.
In light of this election experience, it was no surprise that only seven women were appointed ministers in August 2019; a mere 17% of appointments made. Furthermore the ministerial portfolios assigned appointive positions as part of the power subjection. This way, women can be kept out of strategic positions, and men are able to take pleasure in “giving” women things rather than dealing with women’s successful political challenge. This was one of the findings of a gendered analysis of the 2019 electoral contests, which represents the sixth consecutive general elections in Nigeria since its return to democracy in 1999. The study highlights the opportunities and challenges posed by the proliferation of new parties in the political scene. It also points to the seeming intractability of patriarchal constraints, gender bias and stereotypes; the enduring disadvantage women suffer from exclusionary practices and structures within political parties; the constraining effect of women’s lack of access to resources; the impact of patronage linkages; and the impact of electoral violence on women’s political engagement. See also How Women Fared in 2019 elections
The study titled “Gendered Contests: Women in Competitive Elections” was conducted through a tripartite partnership between the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) African Studies Program, the Center for Democracy and Development (CDD) Nigeria, and Premium Times Nigeria.
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See Also on CDD library 


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“Social media has changed the face of politics in Nigeria.”¹ So said many political candidates, professionals, non-governmental organisation (NGO) and civil society actors, scholars and political advisers interviewed as part of this research project in the lead-up to, and the aftermath of, the 2019 presidential and gubernatorial elections. To what extent, though, is this true? Moreover, if it is true, how exactly has it changed politics – and with what effects on political discourse, information flows, campaign strategy, the democratic process and, indeed, election results themselves?
This research – funded by WhatsApp² – helps to provide some answers to these questions by focusing specifically on the role of WhatsApp in Nigerian electoral politics and Nigeria 2019 Election. Although the centrality of social media platforms to information flows around electoral processes globally is now widely acknowledged by scholars, practitioners, industry, commentators and even politicians themselves, WhatsApp’s influence has received far less attention in this regard than Twitter or Facebook.³
WhatsApp, a Facebook-owned private messenger application, is nonetheless playing an equally important, though harder to quantify role, in the spread of information during election campaigns and votes.⁴ Ahead of national elections in April and May 2019, for example, India’s political parties were pouring money into creating hundreds of thousands of WhatsApp group chats to spread political messages and memes.⁵
In Brazil’s 2018 election, candidate – and now president – Javier Bolsonaro’s campaign benefited from a powerful and coordinated disinformation campaign intended to discredit his rivals.
According to one academic, supporters used WhatsApp to “deliver an onslaught of daily misinformation straight to millions of Brazilians’ phones”.⁶ Even in countries where digital campaigning remains nascent, WhatsApp is playing an important role. Sierra Leone’s presidential vote in 2018 saw false rumours that were started on the platform appearing in national newspapers and on radio discussion broadcasts. Through word of mouth, telephone conversations or calls to popular radio shows, disinformation that originated on WhatsApp reached far beyond individuals with direct access to a smartphone.⁷ A similar phenomenon was noted in Malawi’s 2019 presidential election.⁸
In Africa, WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app in 40 countries, including Nigeria.⁹ Given the low data costs involved with usage and the simplicity of the application’s functions, it is fast catching-up with calls and text messaging as the most popular way of communicating in countries like Nigeria, where smartphones are available for as little as US $30. According to a civil society activist we interviewed in Abuja there has been “an explosion of WhatsApp use from 2015 to now … you give someone your number, the first thing that they ask you is: is that your WhatsApp number? It is taking over the communication landscape in Nigeria”.¹⁰ The data reflects this expansion.
Nigeria’s active social media users were estimated at 24 million in January 2019, a 26% increase on the number in 2018.¹¹ “I use WhatsApp more than I use the toilet,” remarked one user we spoke to, whilst another said that “it was the first thing I do in the morning and the last thing I do at night.”¹² 91% of individuals surveyed for this research, predominantly degree educated, urban residents, use WhatsApp.
It is therefore unsurprising that WhatsApp played a critical role in the spread of a range of “fake news” stories – or disinformation – during Nigeria 2019 election season, most notoriously the rumour that President Muhammadu Buhari had died and been replaced by a Sudanese body double named “Jubril”. The rapid spread of this story across WhatsApp and other platforms eventually prompted Buhari to address it directly.¹³
But while WhatsApp is often associated with the spread of false information it can also be a tool for accountability and monitoring; for improving the transparency of the electoral process. It can also offer opposition candidates a more level playing field when it comes to access to, and distribution of, information, and give youthful political activists an opportunity to enter and influence politics in a system often closed to those without wealth and extensive, elite networks.
The importance of finding a balance to ensure that the positive uses of the platform come to the fore and negatives are diminished is key in increasingly digital democracies like Nigeria.
Our research has therefore focused on answering four key questions, in the context of Nigeria 2019 election. It builds on the research and efforts of Nigerian researchers and civil society groups to counter online propaganda, which the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), with partners, has been at the forefront of:

  1. How is WhatsApp used by political candidates, their teams and supporters to tailor political

messages to local and electoral contexts, and with what impact?

  1. What strategies do different actors and communities use to disseminate messages via

WhatsApp during elections?

  1. How far are voters influenced by political messages shared on WhatsApp?
  2. To what extent do voters distinguish between “fake” and “genuine” news spread on WhatsApp

during Nigeria 2019 election?
In answering these questions, we adopted a mixed-methods approach, described in more detail below, and built on pre-existing research undertaken in Nigeria and elsewhere on the role of social media.
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By 2019 Supplementary Elections, Blog, latest, Nigeria Election 2019, Publication, PublicationsNo Comments


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.”


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.
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