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The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) is issuing this statement in response to false accusations made in a recently disseminated article concerning our work in the coming elections.

In the article, the author of the piece unfairly twisted the CDD’s position on pending elections to some vacant seats at the Senate and House of Representatives by falsely asserting that the Centre for Democracy and Development was making excuses for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The article states that

‘To excuse INEC’s refusal, Idayat Hassan, executive director of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), a non-governmental think-tank, argues that “no doubt the forthcoming 2023 elections have preoccupied the attention of INEC.’

This unfortunate misrepresentation goes at odds with the position of the CDD which is already on public record. These comments can be seen in a Punch newspaper, dated 9 August 2022, concerning the issue of vacant seats in the National Assembly due to the resignations of senators elected to the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) party. The article states that

“the Director of CDD, Idayat Hassan, also confirmed the position taken by Aigbe [CDDs senior programme officer] saying that the issue of representation is important, but no doubt the forthcoming 2023 elections have preoccupied the attention of the INEC.” However, she said, “it’s important they conduct elections into those constituencies not to deny constituents of representation.”

This statement has become necessary to ensure that the public is reassured about the independence, neutrality and impartiality of the CDD in the coming elections. Our work remains to serve as the ultimate catalyst in the transformation of the West African sub-continent into an integrated, economically vibrant and democratically governed community that assures holistic security to the population and is capable of permanent peaceful conflict management. To support this, over the years, CDD has strengthened the capacity of different stakeholders, including government agencies and parastatal and has also been very active in activities that will improve democracy and ensure lasting peace.

CDD is confident about the impact and effectiveness of its long-standing efforts to promote democratic and accountable governance. Its knowledge production on key issues have been leveraged to make vast improvements in Nigerian elections. The Centre has been vocal in offering criticism of electoral processes when merited, as it did in the 2019 general and off-cycle elections, as well as even stressing the need for INEC to remain vigilant after the recent 2022 Ekiti and Osun off-cycle elections. CDD statements on the elections speak to the realities of the process and consistently stress ways that election processes can be improved.

Over the years, CDD has robustly engaged the electoral process, and has used a vast array of methods including research, knowledge production and innovative tools to spotlight the issues in the electoral process. Our staff regularly traverse the country not just to promote democracy, but also to meet and engage citizens and build peace. We are committed to ensuring and enhancing democratic values at all levels of society in Nigeria, and accusations to the contrary are not only untrue, but seek to undermine our institutional credibility.

We are optimistic that our work already speaks for itself, and also hope that any concerns raised as a result of the article are addressed and assuaged. We also avail ourselves for direct comments for future articles to ensure a proper reflection of our position is documented.

Idayat Hassan


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