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West Africa This Week – A Weekly Highlight On Political, Security, Socio-Political and Health Happenings Across the West African Region

By Weekly ECOWAS Region UpdatesNo Comments


MALI, SENEGAL, AND BURKINA FASO
MALI


Political Dynamics
An acting Prime Minister appointed Following the compulsory imposed medical rest of former Mali’s Prime Minister, Choguel Kokalla Maïga, a decree of the Malian Transition President made public on August 21st has put Colonel Abdoulaye Maïga, as the present acting Prime Minister. Colonel Abdoulaye Maïga who is also the Minister of Territorial Administration is expected to combine the functions of Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization with those of the Prime Minister [1].


Choguel Kokalla Maïga had been facing criticism for several months from his former allies of the June 5 Movement-Rally of Patriotic Forces (M5-RFP), before information about his health circulated, evoking a stroke and then hospitalization in a clinic in Bamako. Following the unending speculations on his health, he was forced by his doctor to rest after 14 months of tireless work. Also, various groups and his allies also sought his resignation and he is strongly contested by the Malian opposition gathered in the Framework for the Exchange of Political Parties for a Successful Transition which had requested a Prime Minister that is non-partisan, consensual, competent, honest and with a proven knowledge of the political, economic and security dynamics of the country.


Mali acknowledges the definitive departure of Barkhane The Malian Transitional Government has acknowledged the final withdrawal of the Barkhane Force and promised more success in the fight against terrorism [2].


Recalling that France had unilaterally decided on June 10, 2021, to withdraw the Barkhane force from Mali by adopting a timetable, without consultation with the Malian authorities to which it was bound by Defense Accords, the Malian authorities justified the departure of France. Thus, Mali’s demand for the immediate departure of France forces on February 18 2022 was on the grounds of the seriousness of the above-stated act by France.


Furthermore, the authorities noted that “the deterioration of the security situation in Mali and in the Sahel is an immediate consequence of the intervention of France and its allies in Libya”. Hence, with the departure of Barkhane and the rise in power of the valiant Malian Armed Forces (FAMa), more successes will be engaged against terrorist groups, the security of the populations will be considerably improved and the assets will not weaken.


The Transitional Government also reiterated “its readiness to cooperate with all the States of the world in order to curb the terrorist threat, provided that this relationship falls within the framework of the [3] principles guiding public action in Mali, defined by HE the President of the Transition, Head of State, Colonel Assimi Goïta, namely: respect for the sovereignty of Mali, compliance with the strategic choices made by Mali, the defense of the interests of Malians in the decisions taken”.
Updates on the 49 Ivorian soldiers arrested in Mali Negotiations for the peaceful release of the 49 Ivorian soldiers arrested in Mali on July 10th are ongoing. Interventions and mediations have been made by the Togolese president, ECOWAS, AU, UN and other notable dignitaries but without attaining the much expected happy ending.


Nevertheless, on August 24th, the interparliamentary committee of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) met in Abidjan and 2 This was noted in a press release by Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga consequently, sent a delegation to Côte d’Ivoire and Mali on the dispute arising from the arrest of 49 Ivorian soldiers in Mali [3]. The interparliamentary committee hopes to use parliamentary diplomacy in order to achieve a peaceful settlement of this dispute between the two countries. Will UEMOA succeed in attaining a happy ending between Mali and Cote d’Ivoire, without Cote d’Ivoire meeting the conditions set by Mali? It can be recalled that the 49 Ivorian soldiers were tried on August 15 and charged with “attempting to undermine state security” by the investigating judge of the Bamako Anti-Terrorism Unit.
Bilateral Cooperation between Mali and Iran The Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hossein Amir Habdollahian, accompanied by the Iranian Vice President of Trade, Industry of Mining and Agriculture and more than 30 Iranian businessmen were in Mali from August 22 to 23 on a working visit [4].

Meeting with Malian authorities, exchanges were on strengthening Mali’s cooperation with Iran in defence, security, higher education and scientific research, rural development, mines, energy and water, health, transport, infrastructure, industry, trade, housing, town planning, culture and tourism, communication and of the digital economy. The Iranian Vice President of Trade, Industry of Mining and Agriculture underlined Iran’s preparedness to also intervene in Mali in the fields of cotton and meat processing as well as in the supply of basic necessities. Mali is said to be first in livestock at the level of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) space and second in the ECOWAS space but without meat processing plants and milk factories. The Iranian-Malian cooperation may thus be a win-win project with a lot of economic benefits.

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West Africa This Week – August 12th – 18th, 2022

By Weekly ECOWAS Region UpdatesNo Comments

A Weekly Highlight on Political, Security, Socio-Political and Health Happenings Across the West African Region

LIBERIA, SIERRA LEONE AND MALI


Macky Sall’s African Tour
President Macky Sall who doubles as the president of Senegal and the current president of the African Union went on an African Tour this week. While the French President, Emmanuel Macron, had targeted Benin, Guinea-Bissau and Cameroon for his African tour, Macky Sall will be visiting Mali, Chad and Gabon [1].

Consequently, he was in Mali on August 15 and was welcomed by the Malian Transition president, Colonel Assimi Goïta. The visit aimed at exchanging and working with the Malian authorities to ensure a successful transition, as well as supporting Mali’s integration in African and international activities. He used the opportunity to invite other African countries and the international community to support Mali in its relentless fight against terrorism.


LIBERIA


Political Dynamics
Liberia learns from Sierra Leone

The sudden political and violent unrest experienced recently in Sierra Leone because of citizens’ dissatisfaction with the poor economic and political situation of the country is serving as a lesson to other ECOWAS States. It can be recalled that similar unrest and protests were also experienced in Guinea, Mali, and Burkina Faso, before the democratic rule in these countries was eventually snatched by putschists. Taking a cue from the situation, organizations, individuals and political stakeholders and parties have taken to various platforms to advocate, reinforce democratic measures and call for peace. One of such is the opposition Alternative National Congress (ANC) in Liberia. The Party leader, Alexander B. Cummings, issued a statement on August 14 commending the restoration of calm and order in Sierra Leone while calling for respect for the rule of law and increased commitment to deepening the culture and values of democracy in Liberia and throughout the West African sub-region [2].


Liberian top officials involved in corrupt schemes
Three (3) Liberian government officials Nathaniel McGill, Sayma Syrenius Cephus, and Bill Twehway have been sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for their involvement in ongoing public corruption in Liberia. They have been accused of using public offices for their personal benefits, thus undermining democracy. The sanction aligns with the United States’ commitment to hold corrupt actors accountable and bolster anti-corruption efforts in the implementation of the United States Strategy on Countering Corruption [3].


Nathaniel McGill is Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Chief of Staff to President George Weah. He is reported to have been involved in numerous corrupt schemes, manipulated procurement processes, bribed business owners, received bribes from potential investors, and used government funds to run his own projects. Sayma Syrenius Cephus is the current Solicitor General and Chief Prosecutor of Liberia. Cephus is accused of shielding suspects of criminal investigations, tampering with and purposefully withholding evidence in cases involving members of opposition political parties to ensure conviction.

Similarly, Bill Twehway is is accused of orchestrating the diversion of $1.5 million in vessel storage fee funds from the NPA into a private account. He is the current Managing Director of the National Port Authority (NPA) and has been reported to have secretly formed a private company for loading and uploading cargo contracts. These three are sanctioned for being current government officials and involved in corruption schemes. Hence, all their property and interests in the United States are blocked and reported to OFAC. Additionally, at least 50% of entities they own directly or indirectly are also blocked.

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West Africa This Week

By Weekly ECOWAS Region UpdatesNo Comments

August 5th to August 11th 2022

A Weekly Highlight on Political, Security, Socio-Political and Health Happenings Across the West African Region

SENEGAL AND MALI

Highlights this week focus on the results of the Senegalese legislative elections, the possibility of a third term for Macky Sall, the internal strife in Mali’s M5-RFP, the Mali-Russia relation, and updates on the case of the 49 Ivorian soldiers arrested in Mali

SENEGAL

Political Dynamics

Legislative election results

The victory battle between the ruling coalition BBY and the opposition coalition Yewwi Askan Wi has final come to an end in favour of the opposition, with the ruling opposition losing the majority. Out of the 165 seats, BBY secured 82 deputies, a little below the 83 seats required for an absolute majority.  However, the main opposition coalitions also failed to win the majority of the National Assembly’s 165 seats. Yewwi Askan Wi and Wallu Senegal won 56 and 24 seats respectively, making a total of 80 seats. The remaining three seats were split among smaller parties and coalitions[1].

With the absence of an outright majority, and the President’s dire need of the majority, how will the presidential and the opposition coalitions manage the other three legislators? This has brought on an interesting twist to the Senegalese legislative history. Senegal has reportedly never had a National Assembly without an outright majority, and a Senegalese president has never governed without his party holding the majority[2]. The unfolding of events in the 14th Legislature is worth looking forward to. 

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CDD Slams NBC for Fining Trust TV, Others

By News, Press ReleaseOne Comment

PRESS STATEMENT

The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has condemned the imposition of the N5 million fine slammed on Trust Television and other media organisations by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) for airing documentaries that exposed terrorists and their activities.

Idayat Hassan

Trust TV is owned by Media Trust Group, a multimedia company that also publishes Daily Trust newspapers and other titles.

Also similarly fined by the NBC are Multichoice Nigeria Limited, owners of DSTV, TelCom Satellite Limited (TSTV) and NTA-Startimes Limited, for broadcasting a documentary by the British Broadcasting Commission (BBC) Africa Eye titled ‘Bandits Warlords Of Zamfara.’

But the CDD, in a statement on Saturday by her Director, Idayat Hassan, described the imposition of the fine as obnoxious, oppressive and suppressive, asking the commission to withdraw it immediately.

According to her, the fine is a reprehensible attempt to gag the media and infringe on citizens’ rights to free speech and information.

The statement reads: “We condemn, in the strongest terms, the imposition of the fine on Trust Television and other media outlets by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

“We are particularly alarmed at the speed with which took action without giving the affected media outlets time to respond and defend themselves.

“As the partner who supported Trust TV in producing the documentary, we unapologetically emphasise that the documentary was done and aired in the public interest. The documentary was based on years of field research, representing all affected communities and proffered pathways to ending the conflict. The calibre of persons featured in the documentary and those who attended the screenings, followed by a panel discussion, only speaks to our genuine interest in finding solutions to the conflict.

“As the country approaches the 2023 general elections, we urge the Federal Government to avoid doing anything that will threaten the media landscape or infringe on the citizens’ right to free speech and the right to know.

“We are shocked to see how the National Broadcasting Commission violated its procedures by not giving the affected media organisations the right to a fair hearing and acting without receiving any written complaints from anybody as required by its law.

“As a regulator, we expect the NBC to act independently and professionally without succumbing to political pressure.”

Signed

Idayat Hassan

Russian Influence in West Africa

By Blog, General, PublicationsNo Comments

By Cheta Nwanze

The hands-off approach of the US towards the African continent under the Trump administration, that has continued under Joe Biden and the continuation of failing European influence has afforded Russia the space to step up. Initially by strengthening regional military forces’ capacity to respond to the threat of Islamist groups across west and central Africa. What Russia stands to gain asides from conflict diamonds and mining rights, its increased influence and the numbers required for key votes in the United Nations General Assembly. The long term effect of this, though, is that democratic gains in West Africa, and indeed the whole of the African continent, could be pegged back as more countries look towards Russia for support.


While China’s spending power on the continent is unmatched, Russian re-entry builds on historic socio-political ties which date back to the Cold War era. During the Cold War the Soviet Union provided arms to revolutionaries in places like Angola and Congo seeking to overthrow colonial governments and their “puppet” successors. The Soviet Union’s interest in exporting its brand of Marxist-Leninism did not just stop at military and ideological support. It expanded that core into a more social enterprise drive model: offering scholarships to a whole generation of African scholars, academics, technocrats
and soldiers to be trained in Soviet institutions. The adoption of socialist economics in many an African state was a clear example of this influence. With the collapse of the Soviet Union these African
“socialist” states were starved of moral and ideological support as Russia retreated.


However, Russia has recently shown a renewed interest in Africa.2 A meeting co-hosted by the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, and his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, which was held in Sochi, Russia in October 2019, marked the very first Russia-Africa Summit. At that summit, Putin told a gathering of African leaders that Russia was “not going to participate in a new ‘repartition’ of the continent’s wealth; rather, we are ready to engage in competition for cooperation with Africa”. Renewed Russian interest in Africa has focused on two main areas of support: economic cooperation and military support.

Military Manoeuvres

The West is increasingly reluctant to sell arms to West African state actors based on concerns over how the weapons could be used to violate human rights. In 2020, the UK parliament asked Downing Street to investigate human rights abuses by the Nigerian government3 and security agencies against citizens.
Securing weapons has been a challenge for state security forces in Nigeria’s northeast and northwest, and in the Liptako-Gourma region4, which borders Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. Multiple reports have documented terrorists, operating as militia in these regions, carting away weapons after successful attacks on military facilities. This raises further concerns that arms could end up in the hands of non-state actors, who are even less accountable for their actions. The government in Moscow is less concerned about human rights given its record against its own people, and its continued
support for Soviet-era relics like Aleksandr Lukashenko in Belarus.


As the second-largest weapons producer in the world, Russia is a major supplier of arms to Africa: according to the think-tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, 13% of Russian arms are sold to African countries. The weaponry sold is predominantly secondhand equipment, such as combat helicopters, aircraft and surface-to-air missile systems. During the two-day summit in Sochi in 2019, the Nigerian government signed a contract6 with Russia for the supply of twelve Mi-35 Hind E attack helicopters, likely to be used in the fight against the jihadist movement, Boko Haram, in the northeast of the country. On 1 October 2021, Mali’s Interim Defence Minister Sadio Camara said that the country had acquired four helicopters, arms and ammunition from Russia in a contract agreed in December 20207 to support its armed forces in their battle with fighters linked to ISIL (ISIS) and al-Qaeda.
The inability of the modern state to find lasting solutions to the crisis has seen the country experience
three coups, with the latest happening early this year when the transitional government of Bah Ndaw was deposed by Col Assimi Goita who led last year’s coup that ousted deeply unpopular President Ibrahim
Boubacar Keita.


Russian private military contractors have also latched on to the security needs of West African states bordering the Sahel where Islamist insecurity is prevalent. In September 2021, a security deal between the mercenary Wagner Group, which is rumoured to have ties to the Kremlin, and the Malian state was agreed according to a report by Reuters. Under the terms of the deal, a thousand personnel are to be deployed to guard regime officials and their families with the Wagner Group paid an estimated 6 billion CFA francs ($10.4 million8) a month for its services. One security source working in the region said the mercenaries would also train the Malian military and provide protection for senior officials. An arrangement that angered French officials given its long-standing military support to the country. But anti-French sentiments in the Sahel have been rising among citizens9 given the inability of French troops stationed in the area to stem violence attributed to the Islamists.

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Democracy in Two Decades, 1999-2019: Reflections on Nation-Building
and Development in Nigeria

By DemocracyNo Comments

Democracy, in its most general conception as a system that guarantees popular participation,
transparency and accountability, represents an ideal towards which most political systems aspire.
The circumstances of developing countries of the global south where basic issues of human and
social existence – viable statehood, national cohesion, security, poverty, disease, employment,
literacy, and so on – are problematic however make democracy a difficult road to travel. Indeed,
for a long time when the ‘prerequisites of democracy’ perspective, whose adherents argued that
only societies that had reasonably high levels of socioeconomic development were the most
viable candidates for democracy held sway, the prospects for(liberal) democracy in developing
countries were considered low. The preponderance of authoritarian regimes all over Africa, Asia
and Latin America, the seeming imperviousness to democratic change that followed repeated
failures of demilitarization, re-civilianization and other popular modes of democratization in the
1970s and early 1980s, and the avowed suitability and successes of ‘developmental dictatorship’
(also called modernizing or developmental oligarchy) as a Third World model, provided some
empirical validation for this view. All that was before the ‘global democratic revolution’ of the
late 1980s and 1990s swept through the bastions of authoritarianism in Eastern Europe, Asia, and
Africa, and produced in its wake, the diffusion of democracy all over the world.
The ‘revolution’ offered the opportunity for scholars to revisit conventional wisdom on
democracy and democratization. From an African and Nigerian point of view, perhaps the most
important strand of the reexamination, and one which challenged the sequential assumptions of
the prerequisites of democracy perspective, had to do with the democracy-development nexus.

For Richard Sklar (1987), one of the leading lights of the new thinking, democracy as a political
means, is a facilitator of development, and socioeconomic development is not a necessary
condition for democracy. To think of democracy this way is to give content and meaning to the
aspiration and struggles for it in the global South. In other words, the drive towards democracy is
not simply to fulfil an ideological aspiration (such as democracy for its own sake), but to build a
meaningful capacity for development, one that enables the free rein of participatory rights,
creative energies and entrepreneurship, and above all, accountability. Another important strand,
which complemented the emergent utilitarian conception of democracy nicely, was the argument
that democracy entailed a lot more than elections. The point of the argument is not to deny the
centrality of the franchise and free and fair elections, and the fact that elections provide a
barometer for gauging the quality and growth of democracy, but to avoid the ‘fallacy of
electoralism’ or the tendency to focus on elections as the most important aspects of democracy
and equate successful elections especially those in which incumbents lose with democratic
growth, at the expense of the larger contextual and utilitarian dimensions of democracy (Karl,
2000).


These ‘new’ ways of thinking encouraged a conception of democracy that emphasizes its
problem-solving and utilitarian value and benefits, what are now more popularly referred to as
the ‘dividends of democracy’. The persistence of state fragility that reduced capacities to deliver
on basic functions and obligations and sent some countries into desperate intensive care mode
further reinforced the emancipatory and empowering expectations of democracy. The dividends,
measured in terms of the value added to the material wellbeing and security of citizens, social
cohesion and national integration, institution-building, conflict management, anti-corruption
drives, and the like, have gained traction in assessments of fledgling and emerging democracies
for the simple reason that, as is becoming increasingly clear, it is when democracy can
demonstrably make a positive difference in the conditions of the state, government and wellbeing
of citizens that it stands a good chance of being sustained, defended, and consolidated (cf.
Przeworksi et al, 1996 for ‘what makes democracies endure?’). The social, economic, electoral,
and legal-constitutional reforms that have become instruments and concomitants of democratic
governance are to be seen in the light of giving material content to democracy a la dividends.
These are the kinds of complexities, challenges and expectations that make democracy
such an engaging subject for Nigerian and African scholars. They provide a useful backdrop for
reading this edited volume and locating the analyses in its 28 chapters. The book ties democracy
to nation-building and development, and the various contributors assess the journey so far in the
first twenty years of the latest phase of Nigeria’s democratic experience. The fact that this
experience has been the longest and most enduring offers the opportunity to ask the empirical
question posed by Przeworski et al: ‘why has democracy endured? in the Nigerian context. If, as
the contributors believe, the twenty years have witnessed debilitating pathologies ranging from
economic mismanagement, vote buying, corruption and weak institutions to exclusion of women
and youth, electoral violence, anomalous party politics and judicial infractions, the question of
why democracy has endured becomes even more apposite. Perhaps there is something in
Nigeria’s democracy that has worked in spite of the numerous problems. We may not find all the
answers in this book, but the editors do well to not only acknowledge the challenges, but to offer
problem-solving pathways to the future by exploring areas where the country still needs to
improve as it moves into a third decade.

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FIRST INTERIM STATEMENT ON THE JULY 16, 2022 OSUN STATE
GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION BY THE CDD ELECTION ANALYSIS CENTRE
(CDD-EAC)

By Election, Press Release, PublicationNo Comments

With voting in the 16 July 2022 Osun State Governorship election already underway across the 30
Local Government Areas of the state, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) through its
Election Analysis Centre (EAC) has been closely observing the election. CDD-EAC deployed 300
trained and accredited observers who are currently collecting data on key aspects of the day’s voting
and voting related process. The objective of the CDD-EAC doing this is to determine through
evidence based analysis, the credibility of the election in meeting and satisfying canons of electoral
integrity under Nigerian laws and international codes and standards.


The observations that follow are based on preliminary findings of the conducts and procedures on the
election day.


General Environment of the Election
The CDD-EAC notes the signing of the peace accord by thirteen out of the fifteen political parties
taking part in the election and other measures aimed at ensuring the election is hitch free. The decision
by the political actors to commit to an agreement, which enjoins them to do their part in ensuring a
violence-free election is laudable. Although pockets of disagreements between party agents and INEC
officials were reported by our observers in a few polling units, these were largely resolved. CDD-EAC
similarly notes that in the build up to today’s governorship election, a number of consultations and
strategy sessions involving the Election Management Body and the relevant security agencies were
held under the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES). These
consultations were observed to have happened at both national and state level; added to this is the
deployment of 21,000 police officers to the state. We hope these measures contribute to the peaceful
conduct of the election.


INEC Preparedness and Deployment
Data from the CDD-EAC observers indicate that 97 percent of INEC officials had arrived at their
polling units by 8:30am. It further shows that 79 percent of INEC poll officials addressed voters
before the 8:30am official time of poll opening. CDD-EAC data indicates that in at least 92 percent of
polling units observed critical election materials like ballot papers, Biometric Voter Accreditation
System (BVAS) devices, results sheets, ballot boxes and the voter register were available for the
conduct of the election – a marked improvement over the 83 percent recorded in Ekiti.
CDD-EAC notes that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) took some steps to
address some of the gaps identified in the Ekiti State governorship election last month. INEC has
embedded officials of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in the INEC
situation room in Osogbo to help address issues around deployment of personnel and movement of
voting materials. The Commission similarly conducted mock accreditation exercises in Osogbo,
Borife, Ede, and Egbedore to test the preparedness of the trained staff and the efficiency of the BVAS.

Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS)
The mock accreditation exercise carried out by INEC to ensure the readiness of the 5,306 BVAS
machines appears to have worked, with CDD-EAC officials noting that there was a BVAS machine
and compliance in 99% of the polling units visited, with two polling units in Ife Central and Irepodun
reporting the absence of BVAS machines at 9:30am.


Electoral Offences
CDD-EAC observers reported cases of political party agents campaigning, and canvassing for votes
near the polling unit in 14 LGAs, which represents 9.6 percent of the polling units observed. These
acts which contravene the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 were mostly reported by observers in
Ife Central, Odo Otin, Osogbo, Oriade and Irepodun. CDD-EAC observers also reported seeing
unremoved campaign posters at some polling units, just as political party agents openly canvassed for
votes.


Fake News
CDD-EAC Fake News Hub for the July 16, Osun State Governorship election has been closely
watching online and offline spaces with the objective of tracking and fact-checking fake news and
misinformation. A number of fake news stories, misleading captions for images, and the sharing of
dead online links are being used by partisan actors to mislead voters or to possibly depress the vote in
areas in which the political opposition is perceived to have some strengths. CDD-EAC fact-checkers
have also documented claims and counter-claims by political actors over allegations of vote buying.
Using online tools, and a range of verification techniques, CDD-EAC fact-checkers have been
working to independently fact-check online and offline misinformation capable of undermining voter
confidence. One of the major fake news stories, which began trending as voters headed to the polls
this morning, is the claim that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Ademola Adeleke had
been sacked by a court. CDD-EAC fact checkers verified and found this claim to be false. CDD-EAC
fact-checkers also spotted a claim that one of the major opposition parties’ candidates was asking
voters to swear an oath that voters voted for him before he would pay them. CDD-EAC fact-checkers
found nothing on the circulated image to lend credence to the claim. Our fact-checkers also noted that
the image, which was circulated to make the claim, was taken at the point the candidate was casting
his vote.


Conclusion
CDD-EAC observers will continue to keep a close watch on the election up till when voting ends, and
counting and collation of results begin. Further updates on findings will be provided at the end of
voting.


Signed:
Professor Adele Jinadu, Chair, CDD-EAC
For Media Enquiries, contact:
Mr. Damien Ihekoronye
Coordinator, Election Analysis Centre (CDD-EAC)
(+2348087185684 | idamian@cddwestafrica.org )

Overview of Key Issues in the Pre-Election Period for the July 16, 2022 Osun State
Governorship Election

By Election, NewsNo Comments


Introduction
The second of two off-cycle governorship elections for 2022 will be conducted by the
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Osun State, on July 16, 2022. The
election is the seventh in the state since the return of the current democratic dispensation in 1999 following a Court of Appeal verdict, on 26 November 2010, Osun’s elections moved
from the general election cycle to an off-cycle polls. Rauf Aregbesola served two terms (2010 – 2018), and was succeeded by Gboyega Oyetola, who now seeks a second term as governor.


The July 2022 Osun State gubernatorial elections will be the second to be conducted under
the amended Electoral Act, 2022. There are 1,955,657 registered voters for the coming
elections, which is a vast increase from the 1,246,915 voters that decided the 2018 elections
and records a 36% increase in voters registered. Voters in Osun State go to the polls for Saturday’s governorship elections to either re-elect an incumbent governor, who is a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) or change control of the state to any of the fifteen opposition parties, led by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who produced a former governor of the state (2003 – 2010). However, a major
difference in this election is the strength of third party candidates and the possible impact it
might have on the electoral results. In 2018, the Social Democratic Party, represented by
Iyiola Omisore, was a prominent candidate and won several Local Governments in the
populous Ife area. Omisore has since moved to the APC and, as a result, the CDD EAC
observes that of the other party candidates, none is able to command a significant level of
support to avoid an APC or PDP win. The CDD-EAC notes that there are 15 political parties
fielding candidates for the election. None of the governorship candidates and six of the
deputy governorship candidates are women, just as the age range of the candidates indicates a
low participation of the youth.


Following on from a successful exercise during the June 2022 Ekiti State governorship
elections, the CDD-EAC will be closely observing the electoral process with the objective of
collecting data to support evidence-based analysis of key aspects of the Osun State
governorship election. Similarly, the CDD-EAC will also host a fake news hub for the
purpose of tracking and countering fake news and misinformation as it affects the election.
Pre-Election Observations Based on the observation of the CDD EAC in the pre-election period, the following are the key trends, which will play a major role in the successful conduct of the polls:


Review of INEC’s Preparedness
Voter turnout will affect the legitimacy and acceptance of the Osun 2022 elections. As at 10
July 2022, INEC reported that only 1,479,595 million of the 1,955,657 registered voters had
collected their permanent voters cards (PVC). This equates to 76% of voters registered and
the low number led to INEC extending the deadline for collecting PVCS to 14 July – two
days before the elections. INEC’s preparations for the election extends to the resources
deployed and areas outlined for the election. 5,305 BVAS machines have been deployed to
cover 3,763 polling units across the 30 Local Governments in the state. The CDD-EAC will
observe if the number is sufficient to ensure that voting is carried out efficiently and if any
technical difficulty is dealt with promptly. The CDD-EAC also notes that because of the
increased size, number of polling units, LGAs and registered voters, the Osun elections
provides a sterner test of INEC’s capacity, when compared to the June 2022 Ekiti
governorship elections.


Finally, the CDD-EAC notes the need for a re-run in the 2018 Governorship elections. This
incident led to some concerns about the result because of the PDP candidate’s defeat, after
leading the first day of the poll and the small margin between the two candidates. Ahead of
the 2023 elections, the CDD-EAC hopes that the conduct of the Osun governorship election
will raise no doubts of INEC’s ability to conduct free, fair and credible elections.
Use of Technology by INEC.


The CDD-EAC notes that the 16 July 2022 Osun State Governorship election is significant
because it will be the last preliminary election as the INEC prepares for the 2023 general
elections. The election also reaffirms precedence that has been set under the Electoral Act
2022 concerning guidelines and regulations for the conduct of elections. The CDD-EAC
commended the progress recorded during the Ekiti elections by INEC and election
stakeholders. Highlighted areas include the high rate of officials arriving at polling units on
time and the high usage of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) – which resulted
in quick accreditation numbers and brief issues in relation to the review of issues raised. This
led to the prompt release of results via the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV). However,
Ekiti’s elections were still marred by incidents of vote buying, violence and a few instances
where voters were allowed to cast their votes without being authenticated by the BVAS. The
CDD-EAC remarks that consolidating on the progress made, and addressing the areas for
improvement, will be key for the credibility of the process.


Emphasis of zoning over issues
The CDD-EAC is concerned about the lack of an issue-based campaign by the major
candidates. In the build up to the 2022 elections, a major area of consideration is zoning –
since 1999, both Osun Central and Osun East senatorial zones have produced governors,
while Osun West has not done so. The PDP candidate, Adeleke, is from the Osun West zone
has based a campaign on representation via this zoning principle.


Incidents of Violence and Insecurity
The CDD-EAC also expresses worry about recent instances of violence, such as the report
that gun men recently attacked the home of the Labour Party’s candidate, Yusuf Sulaimon
Lasun. The home of the Accord Party candidate, Akin Ogunbiyi, was set on fire and the PDP
has reported that police officers arrested some of their members without cause in Osogbo, as
well as in Ije-Ijesha and Etioni in Ori Ade and Atakumosa Local Government Areas
in Osun state signed a Peace Accord on the 13th of July 2022, there is need for a proper
security analysis that will map out hotspots of violence. This is pertinent as the state is
notorious for cultism and street gangs that can easily be appropriated for violence especially
during the ongoing ASUU strike. With current security realities, the Osun election will
require a greater deployment of security personnel. It is hoped that the recent signing of the
peace accords by the governorship candidates will ensure that their supporters refrain from
violent activities regardless of the result of the polls.


Impact of National Politicians
The Osun election is not just the last dress rehearsal before the 2023 general election but also
hosts a number of national figures that can influence the conduct and outcome of the election.
The presidential candidate of the ruling APC, Bola Tinubu, is from the South-West
geopolitical zone, while the former interim national chair of the party, Bisi Akande, is a
former governor of the state. Likewise, the PDP has shown more interest in the Osun
election, when compared to the Ekiti governorship polls. Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, the national chair
and Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate alongside other PDP governors have attended
rallies in Osun. This has raised fears that there might be an increase in vote-buying and the
use of security forces to intimidate the opposition and voters.


Voter Inducement
Despite the 2022 Electoral Act, the spate of vote-buying has not reduced. This was evident in
the Ekiti governorship election and likely to be worse in the Osun gubernatorial election. In
2018, three men were arrested for vote-buying by police officers and the International Centre
for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) recorded instances of PDP agents partaking in such
activities. CDD-EAC observers during the June 2022 Ekiti Governorship Elections noted
several instances of vote buying and calls for stronger monitoring by INEC.


Fake News and Misinformation
An increasing aspect of concern is the prevalence of fake news, misinformation and
inflammatory rhetoric. These issues can lead to incidents of violence and reduced voter
turnout depending on the impact. An instance during the June 2022 Ekiti Governorship
Election was the report that a frontline candidate had withdrawn and endorsed another. While
CSOs and the CDD strived to circulate the fact that this was not the case, the impact on votes
cannot be ascertained. The CDD-EAC has deployed resources to track any instance of fake
news so that prompt verification can be carried out as necessary.


Lastly, the CDD-EAC hopes that all critical stakeholders in the election process, from INEC
to traditional leaders and relevant security agencies, work together to ensure a credible
election in Osun. CDD-EAC observers will be on ground to provide real-time information
and data that will inform subsequent reports respectively. Although 13 of the 15 political parties participating in the gubernatorial election

NOMINATION OF CDD FOR THE INTERNATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION EXCELLENCE AWARD

By BlogNo Comments


The Centre for Democracy and Development has been nominated for the International Anti-Corruption Excellence Award 2022 (www.aceaward.com) in which, the Centre nomination fits into the category of Lifetime/Outstanding achievement.


This is because, over the last three years, CDD has implemented Nigeria Anti-Corruption Agencies Strengthening Initiative Project (NACASIP) funded by Macarthur Foundation. The broad objective was to strengthen and calibrate the operational capacities and efficiencies of the key ACAs in Nigeria to enable them effectively counter corruption through prevention, investigation, prosecution and asset recovery. Within the context of the insidious complex corruption problem in Nigeria; the CDD support has not only been phenomenal and a game changer; it has assisted the ACAs to up the ante in the fight with ground breaking achievements CDD supported the ACAs by deploying state-of-the-art technological equipment including hardware and software, computers, and digital forensic equipment necessary to help timeously detect fraud, track money laundered and analyze complex financial transactions associated with stolen wealth. Technology deployed has helped to reduce turn-around time in investigations leading to the expeditious prosecution of offenders and recovery of humungous resources with a positive impact on national budget performance. The use of technology in fighting corruption became a game changer.

The EFCC and ICPC alone recovered the sum of roughly NGN900 billion (about $2.2 billion) in stolen assets over the last two decades and secured a total of 3,362 convictions between 2010 and 2020. This was a remarkable and significant improvement over previous years within the same period.
The NFIU was upgraded with an enhanced go-AML schema to facilitate efficient financial reporting by financial institutions. This improved the quality of suspicious transactions reports and analytical products generated therefrom which produced financial intelligence that enhanced the tracking of stolen assets.
CDD’s creation of a Central National Web Portal linked to the websites of the ACAs was a major innovation which enabled the ACAs to build partnerships, synergize work, share information and disseminate their activities and enhanced public buy-in and support. Public awareness galvanized support for the ACAs through increased intelligence reports and tips by citizens that greatly help to burst corruption schemes in the public space and reduced the misappropriation of money budget for public projects.


The decline of public ethics and morals is a major hindrance to fighting corruption in Nigeria. CDD gave it a major boost by supporting the ICPC and TUGAR in driving public education and value reorientation with the printing and dissemination of the newly approved National Ethics and Policy on Integrity Policy and the development of the Explanatory Manual of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers. These documents perhaps for the first time provided a clear road map to guide public officials on how to comply and indeed the public to identify infractions which may be reported.


The support to the sub-national ACAs of Kaduna and Jigawa states has expanded the frontiers of anti-corruption and added a new impetus to the fight against graft at that level and filled a yawning gap in the national fight against corruption. The visibility, awareness and impact created are already shown with the spate of other sub-national states enacting anti-corruption laws and setting up anti-corruption agencies.
On the whole, CDD support to the ACAs has changed the anti-corruption landscape in Nigeria by enhancing collaboration, partnerships, energization, and policy harmonization and facilitated the monitoring and evaluation of national anti-corruption performance in line with UNCAC.

Significantly, the support has enabled anti-corruption sustainability through the capacities and efficiencies built; partnerships fostered domestically and internationally leading to the recovery of huge stolen assets. Given this, kindly help disseminate on your various network platforms.

West Africa’s coup d’états: Impacts and Implications

By Blog, Conflict, CoupNo Comments

In August 2020, Mali’s democratic government was overthrown by the military. A second coup, in May the following year, saw Colonel Assimi Goïta take full control of the transitional authority. But the elongated transitional period proposed raised concern among democracy watchers in the region. Concerns that have only grown following coup d’états in Guinea, Burkina Faso and the apparent attempt by security forces to oust the elected government of Guinea-Bissau in early 2022. This series of articles offers some reflections on the impacts and implications of these events at both domestic and regional levels.

The first piece, by Idayat Hassan, highlights how coups in the region cannot be disconnected from the failure of governance which continue to be beset by an inability to address insecurity, tackle corruption or deliver comprehensive socio-economic benefits to their citizens. Gilles Olakounlé Yabi asks what more the Economic Community of West African States could be doing to proactively reduce the risk of military interventions in politics in the region. He argues that for the regional body to be a more effective defender of democracy, it must support member states to become more transparent and accountable to their citizens.

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PRESS STATEMENT TO COMMEMORATE THE AFRICAN UNION ANTI-CORRUPTION DAY

By Blog, Conflict, News, PublicationsNo Comments

THEME: “STRATEGIES AND MECHANISMS FOR THE TRANSPARENT

MANAGEMENT OF COVID-19 FUNDS”

The Centre for Democracy and development is pleased to join the Africa Union and its
esteemed governments, as well as other stakeholders in commemorating this year’s African
Union Anti-corruption Day, slated for 11th July 2022. The theme “Strategies and Mechanisms
for the Transparent Management of Covid-19 Funds” is not only apt, but very important at
this time as it seeks to draw global and continental attention to the need to address a
disturbing corruption problem associated with Covid-19 pandemic which severely tasked
many economies and brought social and even political dislocations in Africa.
CDD commends all African countries that have signed and ratified the African Union
Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC) which was adopted in
Maputo, Mozambique on 11 July 2003 and came into force in 2006. CDD also commends the
countries that have enacted laws and created independent anti-corruption agencies to tackle
corruption.


Corruption is still an unnerving problem in Africa and indeed the major cause of
underdevelopment. CDD urges all states to work towards complying with the provisions of
the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption (AUCPCC) and
indeed other similar multilateral instruments such as the UNCAC as well as relevant
international resolutions. There is also an urgent need for member states to collectively take
steps to diligently implement the recommendations of the Mbeki report on Illicit financial
flows which found that the African continent suffers an annual loss of over $50 billion as of
2015 through illicit financial flows (IFFs). That figure has since risen to over $80 billion. It is
pertinent to note that through corruption and mismanagement, some of the Covid-19 funds in
Africa may have become a source of illicit financial flows to countries in the North.


It also remains concerning that national and continental transparency initiative and efforts to
stem the unbridled illicit financial flows from Africa to the Northern hemisphere has been
embroiled in complex international politics. While noting that the problem of illicit financial
flows cannot be solved post-haste, Africa must continue to stand together and push for a
world order that discourages resource and trade price manipulation structured to fritter
resources from Africa and keep the continent perpetually undeveloped. Corruption and illicit
financial flows are twin evils which continue to constrain Africa’s progress and development.
Regrettably, the utilization of Covid-19 funds has also become a major source of Africa’s
corruption conundrum.

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Quitting Banditry, Exiting Conflict: Pathways, Options and Way Forward

By Blog, Human Rights, PublicationsNo Comments

Since 1999 Nigeria has conducted periodic elections and in 2015 witnessed the first democratic transfer of power from one political party to another. This democratic progress has seen the expansion of the frontiers of political participation and provided citizens with an opportunity to expand civic engagement. At the same time these developments have been challenged by increasing poverty, unemployment and conflict. From Boko Haram in the northeast; to the secessionist violence of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in southeast; to the oil bunkering activities of Niger Delta militants; to the prevailing ethno-religious tensions and conflict in north-central; and the violent armed banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling in the northwest, Nigeria is beset by insecurity. These violent conflicts continue to push the country towards failure, collapse and even disintegration.

The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has taken a leading role in nurturing Nigeria’s democracy through cultivating peaceful co-existence, supporting conflict resolution and peace-building and aiding conflict mitigation effort. One of its key strategies for achieving this objective has been sustained community engagement. This is again at the heart of its approach to supporting efforts to reduce the threat of conflict in Nigeria’s northwest. As part of ongoing interventions a two-day community engagement and roundtable event was organised on ‘Quitting Banditry, Exiting Conflict: Pathways, Options and the Way Forward’ in Sokoto. Its key objective was to generate ideas regarding possible pathways and policy options to address the violent armed banditry in the geo-political zone.

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Five Things to Know About Biodun Oyebanji, Ekiti Governor-Elect

By Blog, Election, Fact Check, Fact Checks, NewsNo Comments

The candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Biodun Oyebanji, has been declared the winner of Saturday’s Ekiti governorship election.

Declaring the winner, Prof. Oyebode Adebowale, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) returning officer, said Oyebanji polled a total of 187,057 votes to win the election.

He said Oyebanji had certified the requirement of the law and was, therefore, declared the winner.

“That I, Prof. Oyebode Adebowale, hereby certified that I am the returning officer of the Ekiti 2022 Governorship Election held on June 18.

“That Biodun Oyebanji, the candidate of APC, having satisfied the requirements of the law, is hereby declared the winner and returned,” Adebowale declared.

Here are fiv things to know about the governor-elect.

Birth

Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji, fondly called BAO, is a politician and member of the All Progressives Congress, who was born on December 21, 1967 in Ikogosi-Ekiti, Ekiti State. He is 54.

Education

He earned a Bachelor of Science (BSc.) degree in Political Science from the Ondo State University (now Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti) in 1989 and continued his quest for honours at the University of Ibadan, Oyo State in 1992 where he bagged a Masters Degree (M.Sc) in Political Science (International Relations & Strategic Studies).

Former lecturer

Oyebanji started his professional career as a lecturer at the Department of Political Science, University of Ado Ekiti, where he worked for four years (1993 –1997) and later proceeded to work as the manager, Treasury, and Financial Services at the defunct Omega Bank Plc (now Heritage Bank) till May 1999.

Ex-Ekiti SSG

Until his decision to run as Governor of Ekiti, Oyebanji was the Secretary to the Ekiti State Government under incumbent Governor Kayode Fayemi.

Family

He is married to Mrs Oyebanji, a princess in Ado Ekiti and associate professor at the University of Ibadan.

FACT CHECK: Did Lamido, Daughter, Son Win PDP Primaries?

By Blog, Constitution, Fact Check, Fact Checks, NewsNo Comments

Verdict: False

Claim:

A viral post suggesting that a former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, his daughter and son contested and won Senate, governorship and House of representatives seats.

A version of the well circulated post reads:
“✓Sule Lamido won for Senate.
✓His son won for Governor and
✓His daughter won for Rep.
✓All under PDP in Jigawa state.
✓If this is Tinubu, some people will visit UN headquarters to submit petition of threat to democracy,”

The post has generated several reactions from Nigerians.

Reacting to the post on his Facebook handle, one Engr. Hameed Olalekan wondered why people complained bitterly about Tinubu whose wife, Oluremi, is a senator.

“Lamido and Sons Nigeria Ltd,” another Facebook user, Hauwa Ahmadu, wrote.

A Twitter user, Kemi Biodun lamented saying, “Greedy fellows and tomorrow they will be complaining about Tinubu.”

One Qudus, @Qdpaper2, also tweeted that Lamido, his son and daughter contested and won PDP primaries.

He stated, “Sule Lamido is contesting for Senate, his son Mustapha Lamido is contesting for governor, his daughter is contesting for House of Representatives.

“All of them won their primaries. Family business! Change the name to Tinubu and see the reaction of online mob.”

Verfication Process:

Checks by Daily Trust has shown that neither Lamido nor his daughter contested any elective position in Jigawa State.

However, at the recently concluded primary of the Peoples Democratic Party in the state, the governor’s son, Mustapha Lamido, won the PDP governorship ticket.

Mustapha defeated his challenger, Sale Shehu, a former junior Minister for Works, polling all the 829 votes cast.

Mustapha expressed joy at the victory.

“I most sincerely accept this nomination with humility, modesty and determination,” he said.

He also described the congress as historic.

“As we move to the next stage of campaign and elections, I ask you to trust me, work with me, campaign with me and vote for me so that we can make the state great again. And I count on you to come out massively to vote for PDP.

“I urge all of us to avoid politics of division and disunity. The interest of the state is far and above any personal or sectional interest.

“To our traditional rulers and elders, I have great respect for them and will consult them regularly on issues that will assist in moving the state forward. I pledge to campaign peacefully, but vigorously, I therefore as for your support and prayers,” he said.

Daily Fact Check

Conclusion

The claim that former governor Sule Lamido, his daughter and and son contested and won the PDP tickets is misleading as only his son contested and won the PDP governorship ticket.

FAKE NEWS IN WEST AFRICA – FLOWS, FACILITATORS AND FIXES

By Blog, Election, Fact Check, Fake News, Human Rights, News, PublicationNo Comments

The spread of falsehoods across information ecosystems in West Africa is growing. Although enabled by increasing access to social media and the internet across the region, the flow of fake news is not simply confined to online spaces but moves between offline and digital environments with regularity and ease. A rumour that is started by an online influencer on Facebook, once trending, can become a topic of debate and discussion for television or radio talk shows, broadening its audience. These debates, in turn, are then discussed and debated in gathering spots such as markets, atayah bases, okada stages or grins enabling them to disseminate through well-established word of mouth rumour networks. Completing the circle, these offline rumours can then be transposed back online and can either be further skewed to disinform or simply reinforce an already circulating falsehood.

The way information flows between online and offline networks is critical for understanding how fake news spreads and influences actions across West Africa. So
too is trust. Information that a recipient deems to be from a trustworthy source – be that the original source of the information or the individual who last shared it – remains fundamental to decisions about what is true and what is not, along with whether the information aligns with existing beliefs and biases. These factors are increasingly well understood by those involved in the
purposeful spreading of falsehoods online across West Africa particularly on issues relating to politics and health.

This report draws on the findings of 15 studies undertaken in 2021 covering all members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Information was gathered through desk-based research, key informant interviews, focus group discussions and the authors’ experiences of using social media platforms. This regional report draws out some of the key trends from those studies. It highlights the individuals or organizations involved in the spread of falsehoods, the tactics they seek to employ, and the influence and impact that they are having. It then draws attention to the range of approaches adopted so far to respond to the ‘fake news’ threat. It concludes by offering recommendations to key stakeholders about what more can — and should — be done.

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FACT CHECK: Are Gun-Wielding Protesters in Viral Video Fulani’s from Nigeria?

By Blog, Cohesion, ECOWAS Fake News Reports, Fact Check, Fake News, Human RightsNo Comments

Verdict: False

Claim:

A 30-second video has gone viral across various social media platforms with the caption “Fulani is ready, are you.”

The video shows women and men wielding guns and chanting in an unfamiliar language. The lead singer holds a microphone with a flag attached to her veil.

Verification Process

Checks by CDD/Daily Trust revealed that the video first appeared online on 12th March, 2022 in a Facebook post tagged as “raising disciples, training indigenous missionaries involved in rehabilitation of destitute children.”

Another post on Facebook was made condemning the video with the caption “why can’t these dancing women be educated for future building; the community leaders should be arrested immediately.”

Another post was made using the same video which suggested that the Fulanis are giving guns to their women to kill Yoruba people.

The post whose caption was written in Yoruba read, “Please take note, the Fulani are giving guns to their women to kill Yoruba people. We need to pray that we don’t have all these political jobbers again. We need to let political jobbers know that there won’t be an election in Yorubaland! Our safety is paramount at this point. #Freedom #Yorubanation.”

This triggered comments as many people alleged that the Fulanis were responsible for the massacre at a Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State, weeks ago.

However, going by the flag seen in the video it appeared that the protesters are of an ethnic group in Ethiopia called the Afar and scattered across Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti.

The Afar people belong to an ethnic group that has been clamoring for an independent nation for almost half a century now and has a Facebook page: “Afar People’s Force” which is active with multiple videos similar to the viral one.

Conclusion

CDD/Daily Trust can confirm that the video in circulation was not made in Nigeria and the claim that the people in the video are Fulanis from Nigeria is false.

FACT CHECK: Did Arthur Eze Promise to Mount 200,000 Cameras In All Polling Units?

By 2023 Elections, Blog, Election, Fact Check, Fake News, PublicationsNo Comments

Verdict: FALSE

CLAIM:

A screenshot making the rounds claims that the founder and Chairman of Atlas Oranto Petroleum, Prince Arthur Eze, has volunteered to mount 200,000 cameras in all the polling units in Nigeria.

It reads: “Presently one of the richest Africans and Prince Arthur Eze has volunteered to mount 200,000 cameras all over polling units in Nigeria and has said that he won’t be alive for Peter Obi to be rigged out. He also said yesternight that he is donating first installment of $500 million to Obi campaign organization, wahala be like bicycle, we go shake Nigeria. Thanks Ozoigbondu.”

Verification Process

Currently there are 176,846 polling units across Nigeria as mapped out and demarcated by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). This number is in contrast with the planned 200,000 cameras for all polling units stated in the claim.

Probing further, available information shows that one may pay about $600 to install four or more wireless cameras, a recording system, and Cloud and Smart capabilities. Analyzing this number and cost, it is established that the cost of setting up 200,000 cameras is equivalent to $3 million.

According to multiple sources, Arthur Eze’s net worth is estimated to be around $5.8 billion. Although the amount for installation of the cameras including the claim on donating $500 million for Obi’s presidential campaign would not be difficult for Prince Eze to provide, it should be noted that he did not make the claim as circulated by social media users and blogs.

Conclusion

CDD/Daily Trust can confirm that there is no evidence that Prince Arthur Eze made the claim. The information should be disregarded by members of the general public.

FACT CHECK: INEC Doesn’t Operate Voter Registration Centers in Niger Republic

By Blog, Election, Fact Check, News, VoteNo Comments

Verdict: False

CLAIM:

A Facebook user, @Emmanuel Onwubiko, made a post alleging that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) operates voter registration points in Niger Republic.

Full Text: “Rather than talk anyhow, can we investigate the claim that INEC is currently operating voter registration points in Niger Republic. Is this rocket science?”

Under the comment section, another Facebook user, Fami Ajala also commented by saying “It is alleged that there are about 21 INEC offices operating in Niger Republic.”

Similarly a Twitter user, Nche Nwanbunike had also posted that INEC was having 21 voter registration units in the neighbouring Niger Republic and also blaming the nation’s media for being silent on the matter.

Verification Process

In verifying the claim, CDD/Daily Trust went through the websites INEC to find out if registration centers were extended to Niger Republic, but found out that all the registration points are domiciled in the 36 states of the country including the federal capital territory.

CDD/Daily Trust further reached out to the electoral body to verify the claim. Subsequently, INEC described the social media post that the commission has ‘21 INEC registration centres in Niger Republic as false and unsubstantiated.

Mr. Rotimi Lawrence Oyekanmi, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, simply told Us that “such post and similar falsehoods should be ignored.”

Oyekanmi, said, “The post was an unsubstantiated allegation made by a Twitter user, Nche Nwanbunike. The person who made such post should be asked to prove it.”

There has been calls for INEC to extend the June 30 deadline for the continuous voter registration (CVR) amidst a court ruling asking INEC not to close the CVR registration.

CDD/Daily Trust reports that ahead of the 2023 general elections, there is a growing interest among Nigerians to obtain Permanent Voter Cards.

Conclusion

After thorough investigation, we can confirm that there are no polling units in Niger Republic and the claims should be ignored.

THREATS TO STATE INTEGRITY AND SOCIAL COHESION IN NIGERIA

By Blog, Cohesion, Event, Fact Checks, General, Human Rights, News, Publication, RescueNo Comments

Nigeria is confronting a number of critical political and security challenges that are raising serious questions about its identity and survival as a democratic federal republic. First, there is a dramatic breakdown in security that has created a climate of disillusion in the state as a protector of citizens.

Threat to State Integrity

Secondly, there is a breakdown of social cohesion in Nigeria with stress lines emerging at the levels of the family, community and state.

Thirdly, there is a significant rise and expansion religious, fueled in part by disinformation and hate speech that circulates across traditional and social media. Fourthly, there is frustration about the country’s political and economic direction, with citizens believing the system is stymied by a reckless political class that is corrupt, self-serving and manipulative. Finally, Nigeria’s elite consensus on federalism and the federal character principle as a guarantee against group discrimination and marginalization is badly shaken.

INSECURITY IN NIGERIA

The state of insecurity in Nigeria has reached unprecedented levels. On a daily basis, well coordinated
commando-like operations by gunmen are organized against rural communities where people are kidnapped for ransom, houses burnt, and property looted. Similar attacks are also conducted against the army and
police. These attacks are now occurring in virtually all geopolitical zones in the country. According to Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara state, there are no fewer than 30,000 gunmen spread across more than 100 camps in and around his state alone. These bandits collected N970 million as ransom from the families of their kidnap victims – over 1,100 – in the eight years between 2011 and 2019. During the same period, they killed 2,619 people.

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