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CDD Ranked High Among Sub-Saharan Think Tanks

By Press Release

January 31, 2021

Abuja, Nigeria

CDD Ranked High Among Sub-Saharan Think Tanks

A new ranking by the Global To Go Think Tank Index of the University of Pennsylvania has ranked the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) as the top-rank civil society think tank organisation in Nigeria.

The 2020 report released Thursday, January 28, 2021, also rated CDD as number 11 in Sub-Sahara, moving up from its 16th position in the institution’s last report. CDD takes the lead after Ethiopia Policy Studies Institute (PSI) FNA Ethiopia Development Research Center and African Economic Research Consortium (AERC, Kenya) which ranked nine and 10 respectively.

Following CDD on the table of top 15 Sub-Saharan think tanks are the Centre Ivoirien de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (CIRES) (Côte d’Ivoire), Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) (South Africa), Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE) (South Africa) and the  Institute for Security Studies (ISS) (South Africa) on 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th positions.

Next on the list from Nigeria are the Africa Heritage Institution (Afri-Heritage) and the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) on 20th and 24th positions. The institution through its Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) of the Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania said the research was conducted based on the role policy institutes play in governments and civil societies around the world.

Referred to as the “think tanks’ think tank,” TTCSP said it examines the evolving role and character of public policy research organizations and over the last 30 years, the program has developed and led a series of global initiatives. The initiatives include helping to bridge the gap between knowledge and policy in critical policy areas such as international peace and security, globalization and governance, international economics, environmental issues, information and society, poverty alleviation and healthcare and global health.

Led by James C. McGann, the institution’s added that TTCSP continually seeks to improve the nomination and selection process while keeping several things in mind.

“The Index’s aim is to produce an inclusive and far-reaching report of international think tanks,” the Institution said.

Reacting to the ranking, the Director of CDD, Idayat Hassan, said while this is a pat on the back for the many work done by the Centre to strengthen democracy and improve good governance in Nigeria and the West African region, this is also a call to do more.

Hassan said: “This means more and more work for us at the CDD, but the fact remains that we at the Centre will not relent in our effort to promote the values of democracy, peace and human rights in Africa, particularly in the West African sub-region.”

The 2020 Global Go To Think Tank Index (GGTTI) marks the fifteenth year of continued efforts by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) at the University of Pennsylvania to acknowledge the important contributions and emerging global trends of think tanks worldwide.

For media enquiries, please contact cddabv@cddwestafrica.org cc nibeh@cddwestafrica.org or phone 08021476979

Idayat Hassan

Director

FACT-CHECK NEWSLETTER ENDING AUGUST 16, 2020

By Fact Check, UncategorizedNo Comments

As the world is coming to terms with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and people adapting to the new normal, misinformation surrounding the disease prevention and its treatment is now on the decline.

However, a review of most of our fact-checks shows that we are back to other forms of disinformation.

In the north, we countered a false story that a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was appointed Khalifa of Tijjaniyya religious set in charge of Africa.

Also, during the past week, online scammers sent messages to unsuspecting members of the public that the CBN had approved funds for disbursement to citizens. The report urged those who want to benefit from the relief fund to call a number released to the public.

Also, in a widely published claim, several news outlets published reports that the Federal Government of Nigeria has abandoned the printed National Identity cards in favour of digital identity.

We have fact-checked these claims below to keep you informed:

FACT-CHECK: Has Former Emir Sanusi Been Appointed Khalifa of Tijjaniyya in-Charge of Africa?

On Monday, August 10, 2020, fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) spotted several Facebook and WhatsApp posts claiming that the past Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, has been appointed the Khalifa of Tijjaniyya in the African region. 

The claim by several blogs and individuals followed the former Emir’s visit to the family of the renown cleric and founder of Tijjaniyya movement, Sheikh Ibrahim Inyass, in Senegal.

Hausa Reporters claimed Sanusi inherited his position from his grandfather by assuming the post of Khalifa of Tijjaniyya in Africa and Emir of Kano.

In its report, Hausa Info and Opera News claimed Sanusi was appointed as successor to Sheikh Tijjani Inyass during his visit to Senegal.

On August 6, 2020, Sanusi left for Senegal to condole with the family of Sheikh Inyass over the death of the last son of Sheikh Ibrahim, the founder and leader of Tijjaniyya sect, Sheikh Tijjani Inyass. 

Checks by the CDD show that the former Emir was not appointed successor or Khalifa of Tijjaniyya in Africa as widely reported.

When contacted, Maryam Hamisu, a media aide to the former Emir, told CDD fact-checkers that Sanusi was not appointed as the Khalifa of Tijjaniyya in the African region. 

Maryam said: “We also saw the news of his highness appointment as the successor of Tijjaniyya in Africa on social media, it is the work of admirers. But the truth of the matter is that the claim is untrue”.

Read Full fact-check here

FACT-CHECK: Is CBN Sending N85,000 COVID-19 Relief To Nigerians?

On Sunday, August 9, 2020, fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) spotted text messages urging Nigerians to contact a mobile number to claim their COVID-19 relief fund.

The messages claimed that the fund approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will be sent to different categories of Nigerians (not clarified) at either N45,000 or N85,000 each.

According to the second message, the N45,000 relief fund will be sent through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

The message read in part: “Congratulations Youth empowerment, due to covid_19 you’ve been approved to receive N85,000 from the CBN contact to claim your prize +23408038673870”.

Investigations by CDD fact-checkers show that the purported message did not emanate from the Federal Government or the CBN as claimed.

The message, clearly handiwork of fraudsters is a means used to lure people into given providing access to their bank details and other personal information.

Calls put through the mobile phone number showed that it was registered on truecaller as Felsu Azezat. Several calls  made to the line was not answered or returned as at the time of publishing this fact-check.

Also, checks by the Centre show the fraudsters used different numbers to contact people with the same message and different contact numbers to reach out to for prizes listed for claims.

Further checks by the centre show that CBN has already given out loans through the right channels. The beneficiaries of these loans are agricultural loans, Micro, Small and Enterprises Development Fund (CBN MSMEDF Loan).

Read full report here

Has the FG Dumped the National ID Card and Replaced it with Digital Identity? 

On Thursday, August 13, 2020, multiple news sources published a claim that the Federal Government of Nigeria has dumped the use of the National Identity Card for Digital Identity. 

One of the headlines read ‘’ FG dumps Plastic National Identity Card for Digital Identification’’

The claim published by various news organisations including Vanguard, the Sun, Legit.ng and Daily Trust claimed the Federal Government abandoned printed ID cards for Digital mode of identification.

The reports attributed the claim to the Minister of Interior and Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Citizen Data Management and Harmonisation, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.

The Federal Government of Nigeria did not say it has dumped the printed Identity Card currently in use by citizens.

A statement by the Minister said the presidential committee had recommended that the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) exclusively collect biometric data of all Nigeria.


According to Aregbesola, all agencies capturing identity data should be directed to commence full enforcement of National Identitification Number (NIN) as a requirement for accessing their services.

A review of the statement by CDD fact-checkers shows that the minister never said that the printed identity cards would be dumped by the Federal Government.

Aregbesola said the data collected should be stored alongside its licensees; exclusive in the National identity database.

He also called for the discontinuance of biometric data storage of new registration by all agencies and institutions in Nigeria. 

The committee also recommended a mandatory use of the National Identification Number (NIN) by all Mobile Network Operations (MNOs) for issuance of Subscriber Identification Module (SIM).

The use of NIN, the committee said should be in effect from June 30, 2021, and subject to the issuance of NIN by NIMC to at least 80 per cent of the population and NIN as a unique identifier for all public servants.

To further verify the claim, CDD fact-checkers reached out to the Press Secretary to the Minister of Interior, Mrs Jane Osuji, who said the claim was misleading.

Osuji said the Minister never said the country was going to discontinue issuance of printed cards.

“No, that headline is misleading, I don’t even know how they came about such a headline,” Osuji said.

The claim that the Federal Government of Nigeria has dumped National Identity cards or replaced the National ID cards with Digital Identity is misleading.

Read the full report here

DOWNLOAD NEWSLETTER HERE

CDD is urging members of the public to seek clarification on all information they receive.

You can also forward suspicious messages for verification at +2349062910568 or contact us on twitter @CDDWestAfrica.

#StopFakeNews #StopDisinformation

Center for Democracy and Development West Africa| CDD West Africa

Sorting Fact From Fiction : Nigeria's 2019 Election

By Blog, Nigeria Election 2019, PublicationsNo Comments

Nigeria 2019 Election Fact-File

The Centre for Democracy and Development’s Election Analysis Centre (EAC) for the 2019 presidential and gubernatorial elections, represented the first attempt in Nigeria at running a rigorous fact-checking process before, during and after the electoral process of both presidential and gubernatorial elections. CDD’s specific mandate was to provide a filter and check on viral stories, that were demonstrably false. Or to confirm, with sources and justification, if certain events were true or with fact (s). To do this CDD worked in collaboration with the National Democratic Institute and the Premium Times. However, there is scope for greater collaboration with other like-minded institutions such as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the future. Nigeria 2019 Election Fact File

Methodology: Nigeria 2019 Election Fact File

Our methodology to achieve ‘Nigeria’s 2019 election fact-file’ during the elections, was a highly focused version of our usual fact-checking process. A small team of seven individuals each had individualised functions. We had two spotters who monitored the online space, including Facebook groups, Twitter accounts and WhatsApp groups. The groups we monitored had already previously been tagged in our ever-expanding database as sources of disinformation, through research and online mapping efforts that will be described further below. The spotters would then forward news stories that were popular (for example over a hundred shares on Twitter) to the fact-checkers.
This ensured that we highlighted and countered stories that were significant and prevented us from popularising false information [without fact (s)] that may not have reached a wide audience until our fact-check. The process for checking the validity of a story during the elections was facilitated by our nationwide-wide network of election observers² in each of Nigeria’s 36 states plus the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). This meant that our fact-checkers could reach out to an observer in any state to confirm a story. Once the validity of a story was verified, the fact-check itself would be written and sent to our designer to be turned into an infographic. This infographic was published on Twitter³ with all the relevant hashtags to ensure better reach and visibility (Methodology employed for Nigeria 2019 election fact file).

Spotters vs Fact Checkers for Nigeria 2019 Election

Monitoring the online landscape is not just relevant for fact checking, but allowed our research team to collect examples of hateful, inflammatory or false content; find groups that were spreading it; and track trending topics and disinformation campaigns online. Groups and accounts that we initially found led us to more, which if significant were added to our list online sources to be observed in future. In our online monitoring, we were able to identify three key content types that we subsequently focused on:

  1. Election logistic
  2. Election-related violence videos
  3. Conspiracy theories

Images or videos were analysed using tools such as reverse-image search to verify their origins and see if the content had appeared elsewhere. The fact checking process for a single story could take up to one hour and involved detecting a trending story – sometimes shared on private WhatsApp groups⁴, reaching out to our observers in the field and then designing and publishing the fact-check. Our standard format was in the form of an infographic that clearly showed the material being fact-checked, whether it be a picture, or a headline or a tweet. We chose infographics because the format allows us to convey information in an easily consumable form. Our tracking showed that our infographics had on average, 20 interactions on Twitter. In looking for sources of fake news, we were able to map the partisan nature of the online landscape. (Nigeria 2019 Election Fact File)
Download: Sorting Fact from Fiction.
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WhatsApp and Nigeria’s 2019 Elections: Press Release

By Blog, Nigeria Election 2019, Press ReleaseNo Comments

WhatsApp both strengthens and undermines Nigerian democracy, says UK-Nigeria research team

Research findings were released today by a UK-Nigerian research team examining the role of WhatsApp in Nigeria’s 2019 elections. Drawing on citizen surveys and interviews with political campaigns, the report underlines the ways in which WhatsApp has promoted the spread of “fake news” around elections, but has also strengthened accountability and promoted inclusion in other areas.
At the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja, Nigeria, on Monday 29 July, researchers from the Centre for Democracy and Development (Nigeria) and University of Birmingham (UK) presented key findings from a WhatsApp-sponsored research project on the role of WhatsApp in Nigeria’s 2019 elections. The report, WhatsApp and Nigeria’s 2019 Elections: Mobilising the People, Protecting the Vote, is available in full at http://bit.ly/2GAJSRF.
WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app in 40 African countries, including Nigeria, due to its low cost, encrypted messages, and the ability to easily share messages with both individuals and groups. The aim of the research project was to shed light on how the app is influencing Nigerian elections, particularly in light of concerns – in Nigeria, and across the globe – about social media usage and the spread of so-called “fake news”.
Dr Jonathan Fisher (University of Birmingham) led the research team, which included Idayat Hassan (Centre for Democracy and Development), Jamie Hitchen (Independent Consultant) and Professor Nic Cheeseman (University of Birmingham). The research consisted of 50 interviews with political campaigns, activists, scholars and experts in Abuja, Oyo and Kano and a citizen survey (n=1,005) and focus groups in Oyo and Kano states.
Focusing in particular on governor races in Oyo and Kano, the research found that:

  1. Organization: The political use of WhatsApp is becoming increasingly sophisticated and organized at the presidential level. By setting up multiple overlapping WhatsApp groups, organizations such as the Buhari New Media Centre (BNMC) and Atikulated Youth Force (AYF) – set up to support, respectively, the campaigns of President Buhari and his main opponent, Atiku Abubakar – can send messages to tens of thousands of people at the touch of a button by forming hundreds of groups of 256 members. Things look very different below the national level, however, where a significant proportion of activity remains informal. This limits the ability of formal structures like parties to set and control narratives at the local level. Dr Fisher says that:

“Our research shows that while WhatsApp replicates existing political patron-client networks to some extent, it is also helping less traditional power-players to enter the political arena – particularly tech-savvy youth.”

  1. Content: Different types of content shared via WhatsApp have varying impacts depending on who they have been shared by, and how they are presented to the user. Idayat Hassan says that:

“The format, style, source and the content of a piece of information shared or received on WhatsApp all have a critical impact on how far they reach, and how far they are believed…pictures and videos are increasingly influential.”

  1. Networks: Offline and online structures are interlinked, reinforcing and building on each other in ways that are important to understand. As a result, in many respects WhatsApp amplifies the significance and influence of networks that already exist within Nigerian politics and society. Jamie Hitchen says that:

“The interaction between information shared on WhatsApp and the offline context is a crucial part of the digital eco-system, and challenges claims that the platform has revolutionised political campaigning.”

  1. Impact: WhatsApp is used to both spread disinformation, and to counter it. One of the most notorious messages of the election – the false story that President Buhari had died and been replaced by a clone from Sudan – was widely circulated on WhatsApp. But candidates also used WhatsApp to alert citizens to false stories and to “set the record straight”. Professor Cheeseman says that:

“Social media platforms are both a threat to democracy and a way to strengthen it. WhatsApp is being used to spread “fake news” on the one hand, and run fact-checking campaigns and election observation on the other. The challenge is to reduce risks without undermining the way that social media can strengthen accountability and promote inclusion.”
The research also underlines that, particularly at the sub-national level, while WhatsApp gives candidates an electoral advantage, social media alone cannot win an election. Instead, the most important thing for a candidate is to be an authentic leader of the community – to be present and accessible. This means that a candidate’s ground campaign remains the most important thing to get right. Thus, while WhatsApp has transformed the electoral environment, it has not revolutionized it.
The research findings suggest both short- and longer-term recommendations:
In the short-term, making it easier for individuals to leave WhatsApp groups and report disinformation; reinforce the ability of group administrators to set standards; target digital literacy training to social influencers and strengthen WhatsApp’s ability to understand the risk of misuse by opening an office in the African continent.
In the longer-term, state and federal governments should invest more in digital literacy as part of the national curriculum, while political campaigns should develop social media codes of conduct for future elections. Online protection of data and civil liberties should also be enhanced in Nigeria, and beyond.
Read Similar Articles
 
Further information:

  • Media Manager (University of Birmingham): Hasan Salim Patel

Email:      h.s.patel@bham.ac.uk
Telephone:  +44 (0) 121 415 8134 / +44(0)7580 744943

  • Nigeria Contact (Centre for Democracy and Development): Idayat Hassan

Email: ihassan@cddwestafrica.org
Telephone/WhatsApp: +234 (0) 703 369 0566

  • UK Contact (University of Birmingham): Dr Jonathan Fisher

Email: j.fisher@bham.ac.uk
Telephone/WhatsApp: +44 (0) 7894 452 788
 

Sorting Fact From Fiction

By Blog, Nigeria Election 2019, PublicationsNo Comments

The Centre for Democracy and Development’s Election Analysis Centre (EAC) for the 2019 presidential and gubernatorial elections represented the first attempt in Nigeria at running a rigorous fact-checking process before, during and after the electoral process of both presidential and gubernatorial elections. CDD’s specific mandate was to provide a filter and check on viral stories that were demonstrably false. Or to confirm, with sources and justification, if certain events were true. To do this CDD worked in collaboration with the National Democratic Institute and the Premium Times. However, there is scope for greater collaboration with other like-minded institutions such as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the future.
Monitoring the online landscape is not just relevant for fact-checking, but allowed our research team to collect examples of hateful, inflammatory or false content; find groups that were spreading it; and track trending topics and disinformation campaigns online. Groups and accounts that we initially found led us to more, which if significant were added to our list online sources to be observed in future. In our online monitoring, we were able to identify three key content types that we subsequently focused on:

  1. Election logistic
  2. Election-related violence videos
  3. Conspiracy theories

Images or videos were analysed using tools such as reverse-image search to verify their origins and see if the content had appeared elsewhere. The factchecking process for a single story could take up to one hour and involved detecting a trending story – sometimes shared on private WhatsApp groups⁴, reaching out to our observers in the field and then designing and publishing the fact-check. Our standard format was in the form of an infographic that clearly showed the material being fact-checked, whether it be a picture, or a headline or a tweet. We chose infographics because the format allows us to convey information in an easily consumable form. Our tracking showed that our infographics had on average, 20 interactions on Twitter. In looking for sources of fake news, we were able to map the partisan nature of the online landscape
Download: Sorting Fact from Fiction.

[rt_animated_link_style animated_link_style=”two” animated_link_anchor=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cddwestafrica.org%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2019%2F07%2FSORTING-FACT-FROM-FICTION.pdf|title:Sorting%20Fact%20from%20Fiction||” animation=”swing” extra_class=”link” extra_id=” Sorting Fact from Fiction“]

Did former governors gang up against Goodluck Jonathan?

By Fact CheckNo Comments

Verdict: False
Claim: On 5th June, a story appeared on the website – ‘saharanews.co’ which made a number of spurious claims. The claims were that northern governors accused GEJ of killing northerners, and prevented the sales of arms to Nigeria which could have aided in the war against Boko Haram, the article further claims that since Buhari is now president the embargo has been lifted.
 
Fact: Investigations by CDD fact checkers found that the post was copied from the popular Nigerian message board – Nairaland. The reason the U.S. under Obama had an embargo which prevented the sale of arms to Nigeria, was because of the existence of the Leahy Law. The Leahy Laws or Leahy amendments are U.S. human rights laws that prohibit the U.S. Department of State and Department of Defence from providing military assistance to foreign security force units that violate human rights with impunity.
This law has been heavily criticised by President Buhari. He has also not responded to organizations, like the Amnesty International’s reports of human rights violations by the Nigerian military, especially in the north east.
 
Conclusion: The claim is entirely FALSE, former governors did not work with former President Obama to deprive Nigeria the sales of arms to fight Boko Haram.

CDD Fact Check: How valid is the claim that APC has 14 Governors Inaugurated on 29 May 2019 and PDP 15?

By UncategorizedNo Comments

VERDICT: TRUE
THE CLAIM: A claim has been spotted circulating on social media, including WhatsApp that the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), which is the main opposition party in Nigeria had 15 governors inaugurated on May 29, 2019 and the ruling party, the All Progressive Congress (APC) had 14.
THE FACTS: On May 29, 2019, (former democracy day) now referred to as Inauguration day is set aside for the swearing-in of elected officials in the Executive Arm of government. 29 state governors and deputy governors took oath of office to govern their states for the next four years. CDD Fact Checkers reviewed the website of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and found un-updated list (https://www.inecnigeria.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/2019-GENERAL-ELECTIONS-LIST-OF-GOVERNORS-ELECT-AND-DEPUTIES.pdf) of elected governors and deputies in the 2019 general elections. Fact checkers also reviewed media reports and internal CDD observers’ reports, following the conclusion of supplementary elections and the Supreme Court Judgement of Zamfara state APC primary election.
Aftermath these reviews; the APC had sworn-in governors in 14 states (Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Plateau and Yobe). The PDP has 15 states (Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo, Oyo, Rivers, Taraba and Zamfara) where their elected governors took oath of office.
Conclusion: The claim that APC has 14 and PDP has 15 governors sworn-in on May 29, 2019 is TRUE.

Was Nigeria minimum wage $120 in 2010 more valued than $83 in 2019?

By Fact CheckNo Comments

Verdict: Partially True
The Claim: A WhatsApp post questioning the monetary value of the new minimum wage has gone viral. The post reads; “Nigeria minimum wage in 2010 was N18, 000 ($120). In 2019, the minimum wage is N30, 000 ($83). They won’t show you this”.
Following the signing of the new National Minimum Wage Act by President Mohammadu Buhari on the 18 April 2019, the new Act provides for payment of N30,000 minimum wage, which increased from N18,000, but a claim alleging that the value of the new minimum wage is less than the previous minimum wage when converted to dollar went viral.
The Fact: In January 2011, former president, Goodluck Jonathan sent a Minimum Wage Bill to the National Assembly, proposing N18,000 as the National minimum wage. On February 23, 2011, the Senate amended the National Minimum Wage Act, thus increasing the minimum wage from N7, 500 to N18, 000. The bill was finally signed by the president in March, 2011.
Our analysis of exchange rate data of dollar to Naira from the  Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) website for the month of March 2011 indicates that the average central rate for the month was N150.49/$1. Thus, at the time the former President signed the Minimum Wage Bill into law, the dollar equivalent of the N18,000 minimum wage was $119.6. This is approximately $120.
However, as at the day (18 April 2019) that the incumbent president signed the new law, CBN exchange rate was N306.45/$1. By implication, the N30,000 new minimum wage, if converted to dollar, amounts to $98 approximately.
However, using the purchasing power parity (PPP), the value of N18,000 minimum wage will be $58.7. Exchange rates can quickly change which artificially changes the values of currency. The PPP of a currency is the quantity of the currency needed to purchase a given unit of goods. The purchasing power of N18,000 in 2011 has changed in value.
For instance, The cost of a bag of rice in 2011 sells for around N6,500. In 2019 the same quantity of rice is selling above N15,000. The N30,000 ($97.9) minimum wage is therefore of greater value than N18,000 in present time.
Conclusion:  Though the claim that Nigeria minimum wage in 2011 was N18, 000 ($120) is PARTIALLY TRUE, but using the purchasing power parity calculation, the claim that N18,000 is of greater value than N30,000 in 2019 is false.
 

Did INEC Threaten to Award Presidential Election Victory to Atiku?

By Fact CheckNo Comments

Verdict: FALSE

The Claim:

CDD has spotted a story claiming that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has threatened to award the election victory to the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2019 presidential elections. The claim was made on April 9, 2019, by the dailyadvent. It says that PDP and their presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, who is challenging the outcome of the presidential elections, have filed an election petition and that President Muhammadu Buhari, has till April 16, 2019, to respond to the petition. And that the court of Appeal has issued out a last warning to INEC and APC that they have till Thursday to file their responses to the election petition.

The Facts:

CDD fact-checkers investigated the story and discovered that the story is copied from punchng.com and uses a sensationalist headline to imply a different meaning. The blog report attributed their claim to an anonymous source, alleging that Buhari, INEC, and APC were yet to respond to the petition. Whereas, the Punch attributed a similar demand in their report to a valid source who informed its reporter that the party would respond to the petition before the 21 days deadline.
Also, the law is clear on how the election result declared by INEC can be invalidated. Only a court of competent jurisdiction can renounce a candidate’s victory and announce another as the victor once INEC has issued the certificate of return by INEC. Meanwhile, neither has the Presidential Election Tribunal given any judgement on the petition filed by PDP and its candidate nor did INEC declare any presidential election result different from the one earlier declared that saw Muhammadu Buhari of the APC won his closest rival, Atiku Abubakar of PDP,  with a margin of 2.9 million votes.

Conclusion:

The law is clear on how electoral outcome can be invalidated, Only a court of competent jurisdiction can renounce a candidate’s victory and announce another as the victor once INEC has issued the certificate of return. The 2-month old blog, dailyadvent, lacks credibility and should in no way be taken seriously.

REQUEST FOR CONSULTANT

By Blog, UncategorizedNo Comments

REQUEST FOR CONSULTANT
Project Title: De-radicalization, Counter- Terrorism and Migration in Northeast Nigeria (DCM Project)
The Project: The project aims to support the security agencies and civil society organizations in developing and disseminating counter-radical narratives to radical ideologies of fundamentalist groups in Nigeria.  It intends to address increasing distrust between the security agencies and the communities which has further accentuated the emergence of extremists and rendered ineffective government’s counter-terrorism measures, including the prevention of irregular migration. This Project will therefore focus on capacity-building and networking first for critical security institutions involve in stabilizing the geographical areas recovered by Nigerian government through its security institutions. The activities will be carried out across ten communities in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe who have been to be viable communities for the project. The concerned Agencies are: The Nigeria Police Force (NPF); Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Force (NSCDF); National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP); and the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS).
Activity
In an effort to effectively contribute to the of de-radicalisation and countering violent extremism (CVE) knowledge bank in Nigeria and the world over, a knowledge product containing good practices on countering violent extremism and the impact the DCM Project has made to the CVE landscape in Nigeria will be produced.
 
The centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) is hiring consultants to develop the knowledge document.
 
Key Responsibilities:

  • Propose a draft outline of the content of the Knowledge Product based.
  • Collect the relevant practical examples, comparative cases studies, videos and documentation
  • Facilitate a Methodology and Validation meeting
  • Develop a final version of the Knowledge Product after validation

 
Academic Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in Administration or in any Social Sciences discipline. Additional training or experience in a broad range of related fields, such as mental health and stress related issues;

Experience:

  • Minimum of 7 years’ experience in training and development of training materials;
  • Proven experience in research and development of knowledge product documents Proven experience in writing manuals, booklets or similar training materials;
  • Proven and extensive experience in designing and developing reports and knowledge documents to finalized status;
  • Proven experience in the usage of computers and office software packages (MS Word, Excel, etc.) is a requirement.

 
CV of interested Consultant must be sent by mail to recruitment@cddwestafrica.org using CONSULTANT in capital letters as title of mail  before March 15 2017
 
Project Title: De-radicalization, Counter- Terrorism and Migration in Northeast Nigeria (DCM Project)
The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) is hiring consultants to conduct monitoring and evaluation of its project activity in the North East, Nigeria.
 
The Project: The project aims to support the security agencies and civil society organizations in developing and disseminating counter-radical narratives to radical ideologies of fundamentalist groups in Nigeria.  It intends to address increasing distrust between the security agencies and the communities which has further accentuated the emergence of extremists and rendered ineffective government’s counter-terrorism measures, including the prevention of irregular migration. This Project will therefore focus on capacity-building and networking first for critical security institutions involve in stabilizing the geographical areas recovered by Nigerian government through its security institutions. The activities will be carried out across ten communities in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe who have been to be viable communities for the project. The concerned Agencies are: The Nigeria Police Force (NPF); Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC); National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP); and the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS).
 
Scope of Work
To design monitoring and evaluation tool to assess change in knowledge and impact of the project. The consultant shall also be responsible for conducting on spot checks on the project activity to ensure it conform to design. Review, analyse and develop M&E plan and report to be submitted not longer than three days after completion of each activity.
 
Academic Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree preferred with substantial experience in M&E design and work. Previous M&E engagement in the North Nigeria is an added advantage.

Experience:

  • Minimum of 5 years’ experience in training and development of M&E tools;
  • Proven experience in research development and evidence based report writing
  • Proven experience in the usage of computers and office software packages (MS Word, Excel, etc.) is a requirement.

 
CV of interested Consultant must be sent by mail to recruitment@cddwestafrica.org using CONSULTANT in capital letters as title of mail  before March 15 2017
 

Will Ghana Follow Nigeria’s Example of Voting for Change?, By Idayat Hassan

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The issues that will define the 2016 Ghana general election are the same problems that plagued Nigeria in the 2015 general election: unemployment, corruption, incessant power outages or lack of electricity, a dual tax burden on the working class, an increasing debt portfolio and dearth of infrastructural development.

Ghana, West Africa’s poster child for democracy, goes to the polls on Wednesday December 7 to elect new leaders. As the presidential election draws closer, the word on the street is that it will be a straight contest between the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the National Patriotic Party (NPP). It is as yet uncertain whether the Nkrumaist elements can claim enough votes to emerge as a third force in the electoral system.

The last election, held in 2012, featured the same leading presidential candidates: incumbent President John Mahama (NDC) and opposition leader Nana Akufo Ado (NPP). Just like neighbouring Nigeria, John Mahama assumed office as the president of Ghana following the death of his principal, Atta Mills. In a tightly run race, Mahama emerged as the winner of the December 2012 election. Same candidates, same scenarios, and the NPP candidate is also running for the third time in twelve years (in another similarity, Nigerian counterpart Muhammadu Buhari ran for president four times before emerging as the winner in 2015). 
The campaign slogans of the political parties pervade the air: the NDC is running its campaign with the mantra “transforming lives” while the opposition NPP is running a “change agenda”. Can Ghana recreate the change experienced in Nigeria last year, when opposition defeated incumbent? Even as controversial Nigerian governor, Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti state, several days ago called on Ghanaians not to fall for the change mantra because change has brought problems to Nigeria, the question remains: can change be replicated in the Ghana election?
There are around 25 political parties contesting in the general election, with only seven candidates in the presidential election (six representing political parties and one as an independent). This is an improvement on the initial four candidates cleared by the Ghana Electoral Commission (EC). The EC had previously disqualified 12 presidential nominees from contesting in the election due to issues including errors on forms, forgery, incomplete forms, different signatures of nominees and invalid endorsement. This led the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) and (NDP) to approach the court and, ruling in their favour, the EC was mandated to allow disqualified candidates to correct mistakes on their nomination documents.
In fact, there have been recurrent problems surrounding the EC in the run up to the election. The first skirmish between the people and the EC commenced with the introduction of the new logo by Ms. Charlotte Osei on assumption of office as the chair of the Commission. The Ccommission was criticised in several quarters for introducing a new logo instead of concentrating on updating the voters’ register, while some even attached diabolical connotations to the logo.
The Ghanaian election has, however, been completely judicialised. This is inspiring, and should serve as a very interesting lesson to her neighbour, Nigeria. One such interesting case is the use of National Health Insurance (NHIS) cards as a means of identity verification when voting. In 2014, the plaintiff (Abu Ramadan and Evans Nimako) obtained a perpetual injunction restraining the EC from using NHIS cards as identity cards for voter registrations. However, the plaintiff again approached the Supreme Court for an order requesting the EC expunge from the voters’ register the names of all persons who registered and voted in the 2012 election using their NHIS card as proof of identity. In delivering its judgement, the Supreme Court ordered the deletion of the names of all those who registered with NHIS cards and further ruled that the EC remove the names of all other ineligible persons, including the names of deceased persons. The EC nevertheless refrained from rendering the voter register invalid.

The lack of trust in the EC and its leadership is a worrisome development, alongside other accusations and counter-accusations of abuse of processes. The EC has also been accused of favouring a particular political party. The leadership of the EC has a lot to do to debunk the allegations levelled against it…

Another issue generating rancour between the EC and the political parties is the special vote and its procedure for the election. The special vote allows registered voters who aren’t able to vote at their polling unit on election day, to apply to vote on an appointed day ahead of the election day. At first, an initial 65,000 people were announced to be on the list. However, this list was updated to 114,813 people and has now been increased further to 127,394 people. There are allegations that new people – specifically, newly recruited police officials – were added to the list, less than 42 days before the election, and after the legal time limit for registering. This has led some political parties to argue that the EC is not conforming to its own rules and regulations, including the Ghanaian Constitution of 1992.
A further problem faced by the EC is that it was sued with relation to the special voting procedure. This occurred because three members of the NPP approached the court requesting that the results of the special voting be announced at the closure of the polls. However, the Supreme Court dismissed the suit. Altogether, in no small way has the EC of Ghana come under serious attack from the political parties. Even so, it is commendable that at every point in time such matters have been addressed in court. It must be pointed out that the plethora of cases brought before the court have caused concern among many pundits and citizens, leading to widespread doubt that the election would be held according to schedule.

 

The lack of trust in the EC and its leadership is a worrisome development, alongside other accusations and counter-accusations of abuse of processes. The EC has also been accused of favouring a particular political party. The leadership of the EC has a lot to do to debunk the allegations levelled against it – whether founded or unfounded. It must immediately prioritise building trust in the system and winning the hearts of citizens.
As election day draws closer, Ghanaian politicians are securing endorsement left, right and centre. Endorsement has been pouring in from celebrity artists, chiefs, business moguls, and even men of God are no exception. In fact, Rev. Prophet Owusu Bempah of the Glorious Word Power Ministry prophesied that the NPP Presidential Candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, would win the 2016 election.

 

As is the case with many politicians across Africa, President Mahama has been utilising the power of incumbency to unveil new projects. These mostly involve physical infrastructural development across the country but also include controlling media spaces with his adverts and billboards plastered across the country. This is complemented by the Rock Da Vote concerts hosted by Ovation International. The concerts, which can be likened to the concerts organised by Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN), showcase the infrastructural development of President Mahama. To further complement Ovation International’s efforts, popular Nigerian comedian, Osuofia, was also invited to Ghana to campaign in support of President Mahama.

Does either of the two leading political parties in Ghana have the magic wand to resolve the major problems plaguing the country? That will be decided by Ghanaians when they go the polls to choose between the slogans of “change agenda” or “transforming lives”.

The stakes in the election are so high that the two leading political parties, NPP and NDC, are busy promising El Dorado, to woo voters. For instance, the NPP have promised to build a factory in each district of the country. In an attempt to counter this promise, the NDC have promised to pay members of the 216 Assemblies in Ghana salaries as against the existing practice of sitting allowance. Citizens groups have been playing a key role in holding these politicians accountable by keeping records of the promises they have been making. IMANI Centre is already running extensive analysis of the Ghanaian election by tracking the political parties’ manifestos and how they match citizens’ expectations. We can all but expect the group to initiate a promise-tracking mechanism like Nigeria’s Buharimeter to monitor the implementation of campaign promises of the eventual winner of the election.
In an unfortunate challenge to free speech, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), John Kudalor, in May, considered the idea of Ghanaian authorities shutting down social media platforms during the election. This was in spite of the fact that Ghana is the first country in West Africa to announce its election results on Facebook. In 2012, the results of the presidential election were announced via Facebook after the EC websites went down due to technical challenges. It would have been a sad occurrence if West Africa’s beacon of democracy had allowed Mr. Kudalor’s idea to sail through.
The Ghanaian election has also been replete with political violence. The sudden phenomenon of henchmen has creeped into the polity. These are mostly local vigilantes loyal to the leading political parties. Prominent amongst these groups are the ruling NDC’s “Azorka Boys” and the opposition NPP’s “Bolga Bull Dogs” and “Invincible Forces”. However, the NDC continues to claim that they have no vigilante groups, while the NPP has argued that the lack of equity on the part of security forces makes keeping local vigilantes loyal to their cause inevitable.
Only a few days before the election, the atmosphere is tense after disputes between the NPP and NDC. The NPP has made new allegations against the NDC presidential candidate and his brother for attempting to bribe the NPP Northern Region Vice Chair, Bugri to leave the NPP. Bugri alleged he was offered several SUVs and money to blaspheme NPP and its candidate in the election. This has generated a lot of backlash between the two parties, with calls for investigation and prosecution.
The issues that will define the 2016 Ghana general election are the same problems that plagued Nigeria in the 2015 general election: unemployment, corruption, incessant power outages or lack of electricity, a dual tax burden on the working class, an increasing debt portfolio and dearth of infrastructural development. Does either of the two leading political parties in Ghana have the magic wand to resolve the major problems plaguing the country? That will be decided by Ghanaians when they go the polls to choose between the slogans of “change agenda” or “transforming lives”. However, what people really crave is a glimmer of hope.
Idayat Hassan is the director of the Centre for Democracy and Development, Abuja and tweets at @hassanidayat

ECOWAS and Nigeria Working More Closely To Attain Greater Stability in West Africa

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ECOWAS and the Federal Republic of Nigeria have stressed the need to continue working together for the stability, peace and security of the West African region.
The renewed faith in closer collaboration was voiced by both the Chair of the Authority of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the Nigerian Leader President Muhammed Buhari at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja, Nigeria on the 5th of December 2016.
Chairperson Sirleaf, also the president of Liberia was in Nigeria to be updated on the focus, direction and challenges of the work at the ECOWAS Commission. In the course of her mission, she met with senior officials of ECOWAS institutions as part of preparations for the reports to be made at the Summit of the Authority of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government planned for December 2016 in Abuja.18
Conferring with President Muhammadu Buhari at the instance of the ECOWAS Commission President Marcel de Souza, Chairperson Sirleaf said she cherishes the opportunity to brief the Nigerian leader on some of her findings during two days of consultations with the commission and to also share with him issues of political and economic development as well the maintenance of peace and stability.
“I can also accept his wise counsel as to how we all go about working together as a unified region towards achieving our goals” She added
Responding, president Buhari congratulated Chairperson Sirleaf for her forthrightness in handling ECOWAS affairs and the growing stability in the region despite the many challenges that the Commission and other ECOWAS institutions are grappling with.
Pledging Nigeria’s support for ECOWAS initiatives aimed at achieving greater integration, President Buhari agreed that the situation in the region is relatively stable but stressed the need for patience and accommodation while persuading all “to show appreciation of the efforts of ECOWAS in making sure that more attention is paid to security and development”
At an earlier meeting with staff of the ECOWAS Commission, chairperson Sirleaf urged the ECOWAS workforce to continue to raise the community banner aloft and to take ECOWAS up in the global arena with commitment to high work ethics and standards as well as unflagging dedication to duty.
The ECOWAS Commission staff responded positively to president de Souza’s submission that “human resources is the best capital any organization can have”. The Staff Representative Dr. Tony Elumelu extolled the leadership qualities of Madam Sirleaf and shared the optimism of the ECOWAS workforce of a better deal in the days ahead.
Conferring with the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament Mustapha Cisse Lo and senior17 officials, President Sirleaf who took in briefings on the Parliament’s programmes and strides, stressed among others, the need for a closer look at resource mobilization as compelled by changing global situations. She accepted to receive a high powered parliamentary delegation in Monrovia in April 2017.
Chairperson Sirleaf also met the President of the ECOWAS Court of Justice Jérôme Traoré and other judges of the Community judicial Institution. After a closed door session, she urged ECOWAS Community judges to protect the rights of citizens noting that if all is done to protect such rights, there would be no need to seek redress in another institution.
Maintaining that equity must also be gender sensitive, she told the gathering at the Community court room: “Justice is a fundamental right of every individual and every state. We have felt the result of injustice and have seen how it can manifest negatively on the progress of societies”
President Sirleaf who was flanked at all the events by President de Souza, the vice president of the ECOWAS Commission Mr. Edward Singhatey, Liberian Foreign Affairs Minister Marjon Kamara, Commissioners in charge of ECOWAS Departments and other senior officials, rounded up her familiarization tour by assuring the media that ECOWAS would do all it can to be on top of all the economic and political challenges in the region including complex situations such as has arisen in Guinea Bissau.
While in Abuja, Chairperson Sirleaf was also given gifts (an artwork of the famous artist Modupeola Fadugbe) by the ECOWAS staff an another by the women of the ECOWAS Court of Justice in solidarity with her vision, exemplary leadership and sensitivity to gender matters.
President Sirleaf is the pioneer female leader to chair the Authority of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government and also the first in that capacity to meet directly with an assembly of staff of ECOWAS
 
 
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The Northern Nigerian Governors symposium in USA

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The Northern Nigerian Governors symposium in USA

Northern Nigerian GovernorsThe Northern Nigerian Governors symposium in USA, upon the invitation of the United States Institute for Peace (USIP), met for three days in Washington DC.
 
The symposium was attended by the governors of Adamawa, Borno, Bauchi, Sokoto, Niger, Taraba, Kwara, Zamfara, Plateau, and Deputy Governor of Kano.
The governors were led by the Chairman of the Northern Nigerian Forum, Governor Shettima of Borno State, and they met with Senior US government officials, including US Secretary of State, John Kerry and Head of USAID, Condoleezza Rice.
 

The meeting was declared open by Deputy Secretary Anthony Blinkey, who emphasized the
importance of local leadership and local solutions to national challenges. He charged the governors to work closely with President Buhari. According to him, Nigeria is not just important to West Africa but the world, and he promised that the Government of the United States would continue to partner with and support Nigeria. He called on the governors to partner with necessary stakeholders, in particular the civil society, and to harness Nigeria’s youth bulge positively. According to him ‘Nigeria can grow only when the states grow’.

 
In a very fruitful meeting, the governors had the opportunity to place a wish list before Secretary Kerry. At the top of the list was education, in particular education for the girl child, as well as agriculture, healthcare and electricity. They also had the opportunity to meet National Security Adviser to President Obama;Head of USAID, Condoleezza Rice; and businesses in the US. My only hope is that the governors commence immediate follow up on all the promises.
 
Aside from the special meeting, the members of the Senior Working Group – a group of twelve set up by the USIP comprising Nigerian elder statesmen and women – had the opportunity to interact with the governors. During the meeting, the governors demonstrated significant levels of commitment to the development of their states,Northern Nigeria and Nigeria as well. I only hope this is matched with political will.the-northern-nigerian-governors-symposium-in-usa-viviangist-com-1
The governors identified poverty as the main unifier in the North. Therefore they all agreed that there is an urgent need to lift the North out of endemic poverty, which is also the driving force behind the incessant conflicts in the region. While violent conflict is prevalent in the majority of the states, conflict dynamics vary from state to state. They linked the conflicts to perceived marginalisation, alarming inequality, unemployment and low literacy rates.
Improving access and quality of education dominated the discussion throughout the three-day meeting. One of the identified challenges was the over 10.5 million children out of school, a number the governors believed to have increased by at least another million with the BokoHaram insurgency in the North East. According to the governors, if nothing is done immediately to improve enrollment and retention in schools, the prospects for the region over the next ten years will be bleak.
The governors agree that all the states are working assiduously to ensure the girl child is at the top of their agendas.According to them “unless girl child education is prioritised, the human development indices of the North will continue to decrease”. They believe that education of the girl child will reduce child marriages andvesicovaginal fistula and lead to increased development outcomes politically and economically. One of the ways they identified to immediately improve educational outcome is cooperation: let states jointly establish and manage institutions.
What I found most fascinating about the discussion was the fact that the governors recognisedthat their citizens have little or no trust in them. They acknowledge that this is a result of the bad governance previously experienced in several states. To redress ththe-northern-nigerian-governors-symposium-in-usa-viviangist-com-2is, some states are working very hard on building trust and accountability. Some of the measures they mentioned are radio townhall meetings, budget monitoring and implementation, passage of the Public Procurement Act, establishment of theBureau for Peace and Reconciliation, and establishment of aZakat (alms-giving) Board to collect and redistribute money amongst the poor..
The governors identified the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as a window of opportunity that they are keying into to bolster development.
The early part of the third day was dedicated to an open webinar on Northern Nigeria beyond BokoHaram; during this session, the public had the opportunity to ask the governor questions online. Two questions struck me the most: one on state police was answered with a general consensus that state police have become necessary considering the security demands in the country. Another question aboutwomen in politics was answered by several of the governors identifying culture as a challenge. However, they also explained that they are surmounting the challenges by reserving appointive positions for women in their cabinets.
In a meeting with civic business leaders, the governors had the opportunity to learn about initiatives which they can tap into immediately. One such opportunity is the U.S African Development Foundation (USADF), a five year MOU collaborative platform to economic development scheme for vulnerable communities, the scheme requires a $500,000 matching grant from the state. The governors were also advised to coordinate better with local and international partners. .The Northern Nigerian Governors symposium in USA
The issue of improving the business climate for domestic and foreign investors also came up for discussion during the three-day forum. It was agreed that buying into the Federal Government Ease of Doing Business Agenda would engender much needed economic opportunities for citizens.
The meeting didn’t end without focus on the North East. The ongoing humanitarian situation in the region is dire, with 1,000 children dying on a weekly basis.If not urgently addressed, over 10,000 children may die by December. TheGovernor of Bornodisplayed much dexterity and mastery of the matter at hand. According to him, over1,450,000 IDPs are living in host communities in Maiduguri alone. He called for immediate attention to be given to IDPs in host communities to avert a humanitarian crisis.
A key take away from the meeting is the leadership question.Until good leadership is in place in the region,theNorth cannot develop and, without the states, Nigeria cannot develop.
On a lighter note, I was really impressed by the governors and theirdemeanour throughout the meeting.On arrival at Washinghton DC, I saw governor Tambuwal wheeling his own suitcases. At the opening itself, the Chairman of the Governors Forum, Shettima, made it clear that it was a difficult decision to attend the meeting as Nigeria is in recession and citizens may not understand the need for governors to participate.
All the governors attended the meetings throughout: participating every day from 8am often until as late as around 7pm. In a complete departure from previous years, the governors either attended alone or with just one aide. I also had the opportunity to arrive or depart from the venue with some of the governors, and nobody travelled in a limousine but instead used the everyday taxis of Washington DC.
I can only hope the commitment displayed by the governors to lift Northern Nigeria out of poverty and ensure the region’s development are matched with equal action in their states.
Idayat Hassan is the Director of the Centre for Democracy and Development.
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