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Edo Election - Centre for Democracy & Development

FACT-CHECK: No, Governor Obaseki's commissioner Not Sentenced to 10-Years Jail

By Fact Check

VERDICT: False

CLAIM: On September 10, 2020, fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) spotted a WhatsApp message claiming that Osaze Osemwegie-Ero, Governor Godwin Obaseki’s former Commissioner for Arts, Culture, Tourism, and Diaspora has been sentenced to 10-years imprisonment.

The post with the headline: BREAKING MEWS: “Osaze Osemwegie-Ero (Governor Obaseki’s commissioner for Art, Culture, Tourism, and Diaspora) SENTENCED TO 10YEARS IN PRISON, claimed that Osemwegie-Ero’s sentencing followed a failed appeal on Wednesday, September 9, 2020.

FACT: 

Investigations by CDD fact-checkers show that Osemwegie-Ero was not sentenced to 10-years imprisonment by a court as being spread on WhatsApp.

Also, aside from the broadcast on WhatsApp, no major Nigerian newspaper reported the claim.

Osemwingie-Ero was arrested and detained by France INTERPOL in November 2019 for alleged money laundering after he was found with $2 million dollars in cash.

His arrest was confirmed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

While there is no evidence of his conviction, the Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State, Charles Nehikhare, said the claim is false.

Speaking to CDD fact-checker, Nehikhare said a date for the case is yet to be decided by the court.

He also said that Osemwegie-Ero was no longer the commissioner for Art, Culture, Tourism, and Diaspora in Edo State.

CONCLUSION

CDD fact-checkers can confirm that the claim that Osaze Osemwegie-Ero was sentenced to 10-years imprisonment is false.

CDD is urging Nigerians to always verify the authenticity stories before sharing them. You can also forward suspicious messages for verification via WhatsApp to +2349062910568 or contact us on twitter @CDDWestAfrica

#StopFakeNews #StopDisinformation

Center for Democracy and Development West Africa| CDD West Africa

Ba’a Yankewa Kwamishina a Jahar Edo Hukuncin Daurin Shekaru Goma a Gidan Yari Ba!

By Fact Check

Tushen Magana:

A ranar Laraba, 10 ga watan Satunban shekara ta 2020, masu tantance sahihancin labarai na Cibiyar Bunkasa Demokaradiyya da Cigaba (CDD) sukaci karo da wani sako da ake yadawa a manhajar WhatsApp cewa Osaze Osemwegie-Ero wanda kwamishinan al’adu da bude ido da kuma harkokin ketare a jahar Edo an yanke masa hukuncin daurin shekaru goma a gidan yari.

Sakon wanda ya farad a jigo kamar haka: “Labari da dumi-duminsa: hukuncin daurin shekaru 10 yahau kan Osaze Osemwegie-Ero, kwamishinan ma’aikatar al’adu da bude ido da harkokin ketare na jahar Edo”. Hukuncin ya biyo bayan rashin nasara da kwamishinan yayi bayan daukaka kara a ranar Laraba, 9 ga watan Satunban 2020.

Gaskiyar Magana:

Binciken da CDD ta gudanar ya gano cewa ba’a yankewa Osemwegie-Ero hukuncin zaman gidan yari na tsawon shekaru goma ba kamar yadda ake yadawa a manhajar WhatsApp. Babu daya daga cikin manyan jaridun Najeriya da ta rawaito wannan labari.

A watan Nuwanban shekara ta 2019 yan sandan kasa-da-kasa na kasar Faransa sun kama Osemwingie-Ero bisa zargin almundahanar kudade da yawansu yakai dala miliyan biyu.

Hukumar yakar cin hanc da rashawa ta Najeriya wato Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) ta tabbatar kama Osemwingie-Ero.

Duk cewa ba’a gabatar da shaidun aiwatar da jita-jitar hukuncin tura kwamishinan gidan yari ba, jami’in yada labarai na jam’iyyar PDP a jahar Edo ya bayyana labarin hukunta kwamishinan a matsayin na bogi.

Da yake yiwa CDD Karin bayani, Nehikhare yace har yanzu ba’a saka ranar sauraron zarge-zargen da ake yiwa kwamishinan ba. Ya kara da cewa ahalin yanzu Osemwegie-Ero ba shine kwamishinan ma’aikatar al’adu da bude da harkokin ketare.

Kammalawa:

Sakon da ake yadawa cewa an yankewa Osaze Osemwegie-Ero na jahar Edo hukuncin daurin shekaru 10 a gidan yari karya ne! Binciken da CDD ta gudanar ya gano cewa wannan labari ne na bogi.

CDD tana jan hankalin mutane da su guji kirkira da yada labaran karya kuma akodayasuhe su rika tantance sahihancin labarai kafin yadasu

Zaku iya aikowa CDD labaran da kuke da shakku akansu domin tantance muku sahihancin su. Kuna iya aikowa ta wannan lamba +2349062910568 ko ta adireshin mu na Twitter a @CDDWestAfrica.

#AgujiYadaLabaranKarya

Center for Democracy and Development West Africa| CDD West Africa

Preliminary Statement on the Conduct of the September 19, 2020 Governorship Election in Edo State

By Press Release

Earlier today, voters across the 18 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Edo State headed to the polls to elect a Governor. The CDD Election Analysis Centre (EAC) has been receiving reports from our trained group of nonpartisan observers accredited by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). This preliminary statement provides an overview of our initial findings on the conduct of the election, and the extent to which poll officials, voters, and security officials adhered to key processes designed to govern the transparent and credible conduct of the election. This preliminary overview is based on data received from CDD observers on the field in Edo State.

INEC Logistics

The timely arrival of officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) alongside election materials is a major indicator of how well other aspects of the election process will be conducted. CDD observation shows that there was late arrival of INEC officials across the state. This led to the late commencement of the election in many parts of the state and was caused by poor logistics, such as late transportation of personnel and election materials to polling units.

CDD observers reported pockets of protests by ad-hoc staff who complained over such issues as non-payment of statutory allowances. This resulted in protests by ad-hoc staff led to lengthy delays in the polling process.

Poor Compliance With COVID-19 Protocols

CDD observers reported a general non-compliance by INEC poll officials and the voters with key protocols for preventing further spread of the novel Coronavirus. In exceptional cases where compliance was observed, it was limited mainly to the wearing of face masks.  The flouting of rule of physical distancing was the order of the day. There was complete inability of INEC to maintain the 2-metre rules as provided in her guidelines.

Vote Buying

One of the most worrisome trends during the election is the level of sophistication with which politicians engaged in the criminal act of vote buying. The tactics used by supporters of the major parties included inducements such as gifts of N1000 and N5000 in cash, Ankara fabric, spaghetti and other food items. Tickets were also given in lieu of cash for voters to vote and then return to use the ticket for collection of the cash.

Electoral Violence

It is pertinent to recall that in the pre-election period, CDD drew attention to the dangerous trend of outlandish claims of attacks by politicians that created a climate of fear of expected violence. CDD observers reported incidents of violence In Ikpoba Okha, Oredo, Esan West and Oriohomwan due to the activities of political thugs who disrupted voting in different polling units. In Ologbo, Ikhoba Okha LGA, for example, one person was reported to have been shot while in Ihomwonde LGA, Ward 5 PU 1, 2, and 3, conflicts erupted amongst party agents that resulted to disruption of the process.

Electoral Offences

CDD observers reported several cases of electoral offences in the course of the election. One reported incident occurred in polling Unit 03, Egureka Ward, Esan South-East LGA where an elderly man who attempted to vote with his son’s voter’s card was apprehended by the police, and of a man came to the polling unit with multiple, and ballot papers. 

Propaganda and Misinformation

The elections in Edo state has thrown up a number of interesting surprises. In the build-up to the elections, CDD had uncovered a combination of broad horizontal and vertical structures of information in both the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC), that flowed all the way down to the LGAs. These information influence structures used multiple messaging platforms and social media platforms to spread their partisan propaganda narratives to advance their electoral advantage or to discredit the other party.

On the actual election day, we had assumed that both parties would continue the tit-for-tat attacks that had characterised much of the election campaigns. Although this assumption was largely borne out, there were some interesting peculiarities that emerged.

Snapshot of online presence

The PDP proved to be far more active in their online presence. There was a clear party-driven agenda in spacing perceptions around electoral conduct. For example, PDP’s official twitter handle posted up to 10 tweets explicitly accusing the APC of misconduct such as vote buying, tampering with electoral materials, and voter interference. In many of those posts, they tagged the electoral management body – INEC. Conversely, the handle regularly uploaded posts of peaceful elections in PDP strongholds. The difference with the official APC handle was stark; there were zero tweets on their handle.

Although these zero tweets on their part might lead one to believe that the APC were unconcerned with shaping opinion, but that is not necessarily the case. It is however indicative of a clearly different set of priorities. The abundance of evidence revealing vote buying on a massive scale, shows that there is perhaps more of a desire to ‘win’ the elections, indicative of a strategic narrative later used by the APC. Looking beneath the surface however, we know that APC has a network of canvassers whose job is to spread narratives through WhatsApp groups, Facebook groups and on Naira land; therefore, one could say that APC’s information influence campaigns are more invisible than to non-existent.

Fact-checking

Considering the way the media landscape played out, we conclude that CDD’s fact-checking team opted to take a measured approach to countering disinformation during the elections. Our fact-checking was necessarily targeted at countering more visible disinformation because our guiding philosophy is not to popularise fake news that has no public traction.

While we found that many false news stories were variations of the same theme, our online tracking logged over 25 threads of fake news. During that time CDD released 5 fact-checks; perhaps the most overt piece of disinformation was the claim by PDP that the APC had hijacked electoral materials in Egor LGA and moved them to a hotel known as ‘Play house’. This was found to be false by our fact-checkers. Our biggest findings however have been in our general observations that, either through party agents, or the party themselves, the accusations of wrongdoing have not stopped. Social media posts have accused both parties of wrongdoing, they are either both lying, or both telling the truth, in which case, they are guilty either way.

Conclusion 

There was a lot of fear that the election would be conducted under high levels of violence by thugs. As of the time voting ended, the level of violence was minimal and most citizens who wanted to vote were able to do so. The election is now going into the critical phase of counting and collation of votes and we call on all stakeholders to keep the peace, respect the election guidelines and ensure that EDP 2020 will enter the annals of our electoral history as relatively free, fair and violence-free.

Signed:

Idayat Hassan, Director

Prof. Adele Jinadu, Head of EAC

DOWNLOAD STATEMENT HERE

POLL PREVIEW: EDO STATE'S 2020 GUBERNATORIAL RACE

By Publicaitons

The Edo governorship election scheduled to hold on 19 September 2020, is one of seven off-season elections across Nigeria’s 36states. Edo is strategic for national politics. Prior to June 2020, when Edo’s incumbent defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), it was the only state in the South-South geopolitical zone led by a non-PDP Governor. The election is high stakes for the two main political parties and could potentially have a bearing on the 2023 general elections.


In this report, the Centre for Democracy and Development analyses the political environment in the lead-up to the election, including voting trends, electioneering dynamics, and instances of political violence. The report also examines the political implications of the conduct and outcomes of the 2020 election for both Edo State and the country at-large.

DOWNLOAD FULL REPORT HERE

Shin Tsohon Shugaban Jam’iyyar APC Adams Oshiomhole Ya Zabi PDP a Zaben Gwamnan Edo?

By Fact Check

Gaskiyar Magana: Karya Ne!

Tushen Magana:

Angano wani hoto da ake yadawa a kafafen sada zumunta na zamani dake ikirarin cewa tsohon shugaban jam’iyyar APC na kasa, Adams Oshiomhole ya kada kuri’arsa ga jam’iyyar PDP a zaben gwamnan jahar Edo. Wani shafin Twitter mai suna  PDP Vanguard (@pdpvanguard) ya wallafa wata  magana kamar haka: “Tof ha! Oshiomhole da kansa @GovernorObaseki ya zaba!”

 Gaskiyar Al’amari:

Binciken da CDD ta aiwatar ya gano cewa hoton da ake yadawa din hoto ne da aka canza masa fasali ta hanyar yin anfani da na’urar zamani. Wadan su bidiyoyi da CDD ta nazarta game da yadda Adams Oshiomhole yayi zaben sa sun gano cewa ya kada kuri’arsa ne a mazabarsa dake karamar hukumar sa ta Etsako kuma bai nuna kuri’ar tasa.

A wani bidiyo da jariadar The Punch ya nuna yadda Oshiomhole yake tafiya zuwa a mazabarsa da kuma lokacing da yake jefa kuri’arsa a akawtin zabe. Ana iya hango bayna kuri’ar tasa lokacin da ya jefa ta cikin akwatin zaben amma ba’a iya ganin bangaren day a dangwala hannunsa.

Ba kamar yadda aka yayata cewa anga kuri’ar Oshiomhole kuma PDP ya zaba, abinda ya zaba din bai bayyana ba ballantana a iya gane abinda ya zaba.

Hoton da ake yadawa da ya nuna  cewa Oshiomhole ya zabi PDP hoto ne da aka canza fasalin sad an cimma wannan muradi. Bugu da kari, jami’in sa ido akan zaben na CDD yana runfar da Oshiomhole yayi zabe kuma ya tabbatar cewa hoton da ake yadawa din na karya ne!

#AgujiYadaLabaranBogi

You can send claims and messages to CDD for verification, messages can be sent via: +2349062910568.

#StopFakeNews

Center for Democracy and Development West Africa| CDD West Africa

FACT-CHECK: Did Only APC Participate in Vote-Buying During Edo Governorship Poll?

By Fact Check

CLAIM
A tweet from PDP’s official twitter handle posted a video claiming that APC agents are buying votes at polling units.

FACT
The video posted was posted by many others, and while it does not mention which polling unit and which ward, CDD’s official observers on the ground has observed vote buying happing across multiple wards. There is evidence to show that both parties are guilty of vote buying.

CONCLUSION
The claim by the PDP that only APC is participating in vote-buying at the Edo Governorship election poll is misleading. During the election process, both parties were involved in all forms of vote-trading.

You can send claims and messages to CDD for verification, messages can be sent via: +2349062910568.

#StopFakeNews

Center for Democracy and Development West Africa| CDD West Africa

Shin Jami’an Tsaro Sun Mamaye Hedikwatar Hukumar Zabe a Jahar Edo?

By Fact Check

Gaskiyar Magana: Labarin Yana Cike Da Rudani!

Da misalign karfe 8:30 na safiyar yau Asabat, 19 ga watan Satunban shekara ta 2020 jaridar Vanguard ta wallafa wani labari  mai taken: “Jami’an tsaro sun mamaye hukumar zabe a jahar Edo”.

Gaskiyar Magana:

An jibge ayarin jami’an tsaro a hedikwatar hukumar zabe ta kasa INEC dake birnin Benin a jahar Edo tun ranar 17 ga watan Satunban shekara ta 2020. Hadin gwiwar jami’an tsaro daga hukumomin tsaro daban-daban ne aka samar a hukumar zaben dan samar da tsaro kafin da lokaci dama bayan zaben gwamnan dake gudana a jahar Edon. Masu lura da yadda zaben ke gudana sun tabbatar da kamai yana tafiya daidai, dan haka labarin cewa jami’an tsaro sun mamaye hukumar zaben yana cike da rudani. Jami’an tsaron da aka jibge a hukumar zaben an samar dasu ne dan bada tsaro ga hukumar.

Kammalawa:

Labarin da jaridar Vanguard ta buga cewa jami’an tsaro sun mamaye hukumar zabe a jahar Edo yana cike da rudani.

CDD tana jan hankalin kafafen yada labarai da su guji bada labari ta hanyar jefa rudani a zukutan mutane dama gina labari da jigon da zai iya haifar da.

AgujiYadaLabaranBogi

Center for Democracy and Development West Africa| CDD West Africa

Shin Tsohon Shugaban Jam’iyyar APC Adams Oshiomole Ya Zabi PDP a Zaben Gwamnan Edo?

By Fact Check

Gaskiyar Magana: Karya Ne!

Tushen Magana:

Angano wani hoto da ake yadawa a kafafen sada zumunta na zamani dake ikirarin cewa tsohon shugaban jam’iyyar APC na kasa, Adams Oshiomole ya kada kuri’arsa ga jam’iyyar PDP a zaben gwamnan jahar Edo. Wani shafin Twitter mai suna  PDP Vanguard (@pdpvanguard) ya wallafa wata  magana kamar haka: “Tof ha! Oshiomole da kansa @GovernorObaseki ya zaba!”

 Gaskiyar Al’amari:

Binciken da CDD ta aiwatar ya gano cewa hoton da ake yadawa din hoto ne da aka canza masa fasali ta hanyar yin anfani da na’urar zamani. Wadan su bidiyoyi da CDD ta nazarta game da yadda Adams Oshiomole yayi zaben sa sun gano cewa ya kada kuri’arsa ne a mazabarsa dake karamar hukumar sa ta Etsako kuma bai nuna kuri’ar tasa.

A wani bidiyo da jariadar The Punch ya nuna yadda Oshiomole yake tafiya zuwa a mazabarsa da kuma lokacing da yake jefa kuri’arsa a akawtin zabe.

Ana iya hango bayna kuri’ar tasa lokacin da ya jefa ta cikin akwatin zaben amma ba’a iya ganin bangaren day a dangwala hannunsa. Ba kamar yadda aka yayata cewa anga kuri’ar Oshiomolen kuma PDP ya zaba, abinda ya zaba din bai bayyana ba ballantana a iya gane abinda ya zaba. Hoton da ake yadawa da ya nuna  cewa Oshiomole ya zabi PDP hoto ne da aka canza fasalin sad an cimma wannan muradi. Bugu da kari, jami’in sa ido akan zaben na CDD yana runfar da Oshiomolen yayi zabe kuma ya tabbatar cewa hoton da ake yadawa din na karya ne!

#AgujiYadaLabaranBogi

Center for Democracy and Development West Africa| CDD West Africa

FACT-CHECK: Were Electoral Materials in Egor LGA, Hijacked, Moved to Play House Hotel?

By Fact Check
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Egor-1024x1024.jpg

VERDICT: False


CLAIM: Multiple twitter handles including the official twitter handle of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) claimed that “In Ward 9, unit 15, Ego LGA, a leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Local Government Area (LGA) hijacked electoral materials and moved the polling booth to his hotel called “play house”.

Voters are not allowed to enter the hotel except you are an APC member. @PoliceNg, take note.’’


CDD fact-checkers discovered that the image used by the PDP is from the Facebook page of the hotel in question and it is from 2015.


Our observers on the ground confirmed that Egor Ward 9 unit 15 is actually, beside the Play House hotel and voting is going on peacefully as at 11 AM.


CONCLUSION

The claim is therefore false.

FACT-CHECK: Disregard Social Media Posts Announcing Results of Edo Governorship Election not From INEC

By Fact Check

VERDICT: Misleading Posts


CLAIM: A Facebook post that has been shared hundreds of times, reads, ‘’BREAKING News!!! Gov Obaseki in Early lead as results are being collated across the polling units in the 3 Senatorial zones in Edo State.’’


The post already has more than 600 likes, 232 comments and 81 shares at the time of writing this report.

FACT:

CDD wants to remind citizens that only the electoral umpire INEC, has the power to announce results of elections, any other result outside that, is unconfirmed and therefore misleading.


Also, at the time Hope for Nigeria made the post, about 4:00 PM, it was too early to tell who was leading in the election as most polling units were just beginning counting of votes.

They also did not provide any evidence to back their claim.

CONCLUSION
Misleading.


CDD West Africa is urging members of the public to disregard elections results that are not from the Independent National Electoral Commission.

FACT-CHECK: Can Fake Voters' Card be used in Edo State Governorship Election?

By Fact CheckNo Comments

VERDICT: False

CLAIM: On August 18, 2020, fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) spotted a report by multiple online platforms, including The Nigeran Post, which was attributed to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with the claim that the All Progressives Congress (APC) is printing fake Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVC) ahead of the Edo Governorship election.

The headline, “Edo 2020: APC Printing Fake Voters Cards, PDP alleges,” the report said the PDP accused the APC of involving in such activity because the party realised it would not win the election. The PDP further alleged that the Fake PVCs are intended to be used by the APC to rig the poll.

FACT:

Checks by fact-checkers at the CDD show that Only the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) produce Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVC) that can be used in any Nigeria election. In the past, INEC had clarified such claim, the Election Management Body on countless occasions, clarified that the PVC is coded to designated polling units and configured to specific and unique Smart Card Reader with robust security features. 

It is important to note that this is not the first time Nigerian politicians will raise and make such a false claim. During the 2019 general elections, INEC National Commissioner in charge of publicity, Barrister Festus Okoye, while reacting to allegations of the use of cloned PVC said such claim is only a ploy by politicians to pressure the Commission into disclosing the kind of security the Smart Card Reader possesses.

As stated in the INEC election guideline, the Smart Card Reader is used before voter’s accreditation to validate and authenticate the identity of the voter by cross-matching their fingerprints with data already stored in an embedded chip. Evidence suggests that the use of the Smart Card Reader has enhanced electoral integrity in Nigeria. The PVC is not transferrable, and any PVC not issued by INEC cannot be validated and authenticated for the purpose of voting in Nigeria elections, including in the Edo State governorship poll, scheduled to hold on September 19, 2020.

The claim by the PDP and reported on several media outlets that fake/cloned PVC will be used to rig the Edo state election is not correlated with the guideline released by INEC and therefore cannot be substantiated.

CONCLUSION: 

CDD can authoritatively confirm that any PVC not issued by INEC will not authenticate and/or be used for voting during the Edo 2020 election. The claim by the PDP that fake voters’ card can be used to rig the election in Edo is false.

CDD is urging members of the public to read beyond headlines before sharing any news report. 

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

New Allegiances, Familiar Faces A Preview of Edo’s 2020 Gubernatorial Election

By Blog, Publicaitons, UncategorizedNo Comments

As Edo State voters prepare to head to the polls for the 19 September gubernatorial election, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) is closely monitoring the democratic process.

CDD’s observation of the electoral process in Edo State, which is also informed by the guidelines of Nigeria’s electoral regulatory body, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), will provide citizens, the media and other stakeholders with an objective, non-partisan assessment of the voting environment.

The analysis will span the pre-election period, election day and the post-election period. The 2020 Edo State gubernatorial election is the first major election that INEC will conduct since the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

In addition to the disruption of lives and livelihoods, the pandemic holds significant implications for the electoral process.

Edo State has recorded 2,311 COVID-19 cases, with NCDC data indicating that there are currently 335 COVID-19 patients in the state, with 84 deaths confirmed so far.

DOWNLOAD FULL REPORT HERE

DOWNLOAD CCD’s SPEED NOTE ON EDO ELECTION HERE

De-escalate Growing Tension Ahead of Edo Election – CDD Tells Politicians

By Press Release, UncategorizedNo Comments

The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has called on politicians in Nigeria to de-escalate the tension building up ahead of the September 19, 2020, Edo state governorship election.

Highlighting some of the early warning signs which portend grave danger for the integrity of Nigeria’s electoral process and its outcomes, the CDD stressed that some activities exhibited by political actors in the state seek to undermine the election.

The CDD cautioned that if not urgently addressed, these challenges would compromise the elections and taint the sanctity of the vote.

In its pre-election briefing paper titled: New Allegiances, Familiar Faces A Preview of Edo’s 2020 Gubernatorial Election, the CDD observed that since the start of the Edo governorship election campaign, there has been rampant defacing or outright destruction of campaign billboards by supporters of rival partisan camps in the state.

The report said the trend, as documented by CDD observers on the ground, show that in the stronghold of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), campaign billboards belonging to the All Progressives Congress (APC) are targeted and defaced and vice versa.

CDD observers also reported that foot soldiers of politicians across the state, especially in rural communities, have engaged in the exchange of verbal abuses, hate songs and chants, capable of provoking violent confrontation at a localised level.

Calling for adoption of issue-based campaigns, the CDD said the dearth of engaging conversations, which will enable citizens, know the candidate and party with the best governance ideas had undermined the very essence of the electoral process. 

It also warned against the near-exclusive focus by candidates and key party figures on hauling personal insults has led to the rise of hate speech, fake news, and wanton destruction of campaign materials in the build-up to election day. 

While the Centre’s observations and interactions have suggested that there is a stockpiling of small arms and light weapons in the state, CDD said asides the July 25, 2020, violence which erupted at the King Square in Benin, there have been several minor skirmishes and near-violent incidents especially when rival party supporters are on campaign processions. In one campaign rally in Okpella town in Etsako East Local Government Area, an open display of arms was documented.

Top on the list of threats outlined in the report is the compliance challenges posed as a result of the disregard for Coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention protocols outlined in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) policy on conducting elections in the context of the pandemic. 

The CDD strongly condemns the attitude of political actors in Edo State, whose haphazard adherence to pandemic prevention guidelines was putting the lives of common citizens at risk. 

“Close observation of recent campaign rallies by both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State showed the parties disregarding precautionary measures for COVID-19 prevention. 

CDD observers noted that while some campaign rallies in Benin City, which were televised to a national audience, observed protocols such as the wearing of face masks and the observance of social distancing, political rallies in small towns and rural areas have largely ignored these requirements,” the report said.

Berating two major political parties – APC and PDP – in the state for their selective adherence to COVID-19 guidelines, the Centre said their activities are suggestive of the notion that the  lives and electoral objectives of politicians are more important than the health and well being of the citizen voters. 

CDD also considering these potential complications of the political parties’ action said there is a need for INEC to immediately start a strategic and effective solution to implementing its policy during the election.

“For instance, if a voter shows up at a polling unit without a face mask, how should ad-hoc staff respond to the situation without disrupting the elections?” the report queries.

“There is also a need to train INEC ad-hoc staff to enable them to understand what is required of them in the context of COVID-19 prevention on election day,” it added.

CDD notified of the dangers inherent in the fact that politicians and their supporters do not wear face masks or maintain physical distancing during rallies, a situation which it stressed would cast doubts on the existence of coronavirus among voters. 

This situation, the Centre inferred would likely expose ordinary citizens participating in the political process to the risk of contracting the deadly virus, especially because nationally, Edo State currently occupies the fourth position in terms of the number of COVID-19 infections. 

The report equally apprised INEC that it would have a difficult time implementing its COVID-19 protocol on the election day. 

The Centre tasked INEC to intensify its efforts in the area of training of ad-hoc staff to understand the new measures for COVID-19 prevention, and how to implement those measures at the polling unit level.

All election stakeholders were encouraged to conduct voter education programmes that communicate procedures for conducting the polls during the COVID 19 to voters.

Subsequently, complaints about alleged misuse of incumbency powers were also documented in the report; the CDD report expressed worries that the struggle over the control of the Edo State House of Assembly could further heighten tension in the state with the consequence of voter apathy. 

Having diagnosed the threats to the election, the CDD concluded that if elections were truly about service to the people, political actors would eschew the impunity, hate speech and mudslinging, which have characterised the build-up to the Edo election. 

CDD in its recommendations therefore urged political parties and their candidates to focus the conversation in the remaining period of the campaign on development and governance issues. 

It also called for the enforcement of provisions of the Electoral Act to prosecute political actors seeking to undermine the election.

On the spread of fake news, CDD urged INEC, political parties, the media, CSOs and community groups to engage the electorate in conversations which will highlight the problem of disinformation.

The initiative, CDD said must educate voters on how to identify and discountenance fake news, misinformation and disinformation; it equally called for dissemination of peace messages to reduce the tension and build voter confidence in the electoral process.

Signed

Idayat Hassan

Director

Engage in issue-based campaigns, not violent activities – CDD to politicians

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Ahead of the forthcoming governorship election in Edo state, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has urged political parties to engage in issue-based campaigns.

The Centre also urged the political parties to shun activities which may potentially incite violence among members and opponents alike.

In a communique released by the CDD on Friday, August 7, 2020, after a civil society organisations (CSOs) roundtable on the 2020 off-cycle governorship election in Benin, Edo state, the Centre said all political parties should agree to sign a peace treaty ahead of the polls.

The roundtable organised to examine the unfolding political events characterising the election also created a platform for civil society actors to interface with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on its preparedness in the lead up to the election. 

Urging politicians to comply with the rules and regulations governing the conduct of elections in Nigeria, CDD said there should be a deviation from character assassinations and an increased focus on engagement and development of the state.

The Centre also urged security agencies (particularly the Police) to hold perpetrators of the ongoing pre-election violence accountable as a necessary condition to encourage participation in the election.

The Police were also tasked to prioritise intelligence gathering and commit to mop up the Small arms and Light Weapons (SALWs) currently circulating in the state, and resist political influence. 

According to the CDD, security agencies should be wary of allowing the undue interference of political actors in the management of security situation and make necessary arrests in cases of organised violence stemming from political parties.

In addition, the electoral body was urged to implement a robust voter education programmes to promote the participation of voters at the polls, strengthen its engagement with CSOs in planning and implementing voter education programmes, as well as creating avenues for CSO actors to support the conduct of a credible election.

CDD also called on INEC to communicate frequently and in a sustained manner, with relevant stakeholders (including traditional rulers, CSOs, political parties, etc.) on any matter relating to the preparations for the forthcoming election.

INEC was also asked to work with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the Federal Ministry of Health and security agencies to enforce compliance to the commission’s Policy on Conducting Elections in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic.  

“Strict measures should be put in place to ensure full compliance of voters, ad-hoc staff and other actors in the election. These include the use of PPE materials, social distancing, infrared thermometers, and the provision of on-site health officials to inspect persons who display any symptoms of COVID-19,” the communique said.

Also, it added that there is be a strict implementation of INEC Framework on Access And Participation Of Persons With Disabilities (PWDs).

CSOs participating in election observation were urged to facilitate the signing of a peace treaty by political parties and their candidates ahead of the governorship election, observe the strict implementation of the peace pact if signed by the candidate and support the INEC in its voter education programmes to enlighten eligible voters on participating in the elections, and to dissuade individuals against election violence.

The CSOs were also called on to demand accountability from INEC, especially in the face of continued problems around the conduct of elections and prioritise civic education that focuses on mandate protection.

Traditional and religious leaders were advised to desist from making political statements or from publicly expressing support for any political parties and their candidates. 

“Such public statements could deepen the tensions that already characterise the election,” the communique added.

Organisations represented at the meeting include the Community-based Initiatives for a Brighter Tomorrow (CIBT), Solomon Sheperd Foundation (SSF), Willi Johnson Foundation (WJF), Association of Professionals for Family Health, Empowerment and Community Development (APFFHECOD), Unique Love for PWDI and Josemaria Escrivia Foundation (JOSEF).

Others are Edo Civil Society Organization (EDOCSO), Wise Sisters Charity Organisation, Initiative for Girls and Women Empowerment, Kairos Youth Empowerment Initiative, Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC Benin), Indomitable Youths Organisation (IYO), SOTHAWACA, Take a Cue Development Initiatives, Youth Empowerment Project, African Women Empowerment Guild (AWEG), Lift Above Poverty (LAPO), National Council for Islamic Affairs (NCIA),  Conference of NON Governmental Organisations (CONGOs), amongst others.

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NIGERIA THIS WEEK ENDING JULY 17, 2020

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Ahead of the governorship election in Ondo state, eleven (11) governorship aspirants of the All Progressive Congress (APC) have rejected the indirect mode of a primary election. They petitioned the party’s Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee (CEONCPC), rejecting the planned indirect mode of primary election slated on July 20.


The aspirants said, having traversed the length and breadth of Ondo State and interfaced with party members as aspirants, they can confidently inform that overwhelming majority of our party members prefer direct primary for the nomination of the party’s candidate for the 2020 governorship election.


The letter which contained other reasons why the candidates felt the indirect primary was not an option was submitted by Chief Olusola Oke, one of the aspirants, on behalf of others at the national chairman’s office.

Only the incumbent Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu who is seeking a second term did not append his signature. It was gathered that the aspirants were reacting to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) indicating that the indirect mode of the primary election had
been approved for the primary.

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