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CDD Calls on Political Actors to Ensure an Issues-based Political Campaign

Press Statement October 3, 2022

CDD calls on political actors to ensure an issues-based political campaign

  • Charges parties and candidates to desist from electoral disinformation, misinformation and weaponisation of fake news
  • Tasks INEC and NPC to institute a fact check hub
  • The countdown to the 2023 Nigerian general elections has intensified, with the recent commencement of presidential and national legislature campaigns. While campaigns are at an early stage, frontline pro-democracy think tank, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) joins other stakeholders in calling for issues-based discussions during this campaign period. With an estimated 95 million registered voters deciding 1,491 election contests, including a term-limited president, it is important for governance issues affecting citizens to be at the forefront of the political debate.
  • CDD urges political parties, candidates and their supporters to focus on the issues affecting the country’s governance and development. These include challenges in the security and economic sectors, and its result impact in other areas of governance, such as education, health, power and agriculture among others. Debates that prioritise religious and ethnic division only serve to distract citizens from making informed decisions while voting, especially since these issues do not discriminate along religious or ethnic lines.
  • CDD recently released a report titled ‘Nigeria’s presidential polls: A SWOT analysis’, which highlighted several key areas that could make or mar the conduct of the elections. In line with some of the findings outlined in the analysis, the CDD therefore charges political actors to desist from promoting political violence which is inimical to Nigeria’s development. Politicians must consider Nigeria first, far and above their personal aspirations.
  • CDD notes that the current nature of campaigning is cause for concern. The period has been dominated by a proliferation of electoral disinformation, misinformation and the weaponization of fake news. This rising trend poses the biggest threat to the peaceful pre- and post-election conduct of the elections. This is because fake news and disinformation has the potential to further fragment the country and skew the electoral outcome. This could play a part in affecting the legitimacy of the elections and the leaders who emerge from the process.

In recent years, CDD has increasingly raised concerns on the potentially disruptive influence of
disinformation on elections. The Centre has noted the common forms of disinformation in
elections include the dissemination of false information to discredit political opponents or to
influence voters and the voting process. These in addition to the falsification and/or manipulation
of contents, polling data, delegitimization of electoral institutions, including INEC, the Nigeria
Police and other state agencies.

CDD stresses that the spread and impact of disinformation is a global concern and a threat to the
sustainability of democracy globally. This is why we urge stakeholders to come to terms with the
fact that that disinformation may have a significant impact on the outcome of an election.

However, we are optimistic that that the participation of all 18 registered political parties in the
signing of the National Peace Accord, which includes aiming to desist from peddling fake news
and disinformation, shows a commitment by politicians to commit to addressing this issue. It is
why we believe it is important the Nigeria Peace Committee and INEC should institute a fact check
hub to monitor the peddling of fake news by political parties, its candidates, and supporters before,
during and after the general elections and sanction defaulters of the Peace Accord appropriately.

Finally, we urge all voters, social media, citizens journalists, and mainstream media executives to
always fact check information before sharing. We all share responsibility of curbing fake news, to
ensure that we can all reap the dividends of our continued democracy.

Idayat Hassan

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