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CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS IN NIGERIA – Impact Assessment Study

By Blog, Competitive Research, PublicationsNo Comments

Since the attainment of independence in 1960, civil society groups have contributed decisively towards enabling and enhancing national independence, for instance in the mobilizations against the Anglo Nigeria defense pact, judged to be against the national interest; as well as in the anti-structural adjustment program protests and movements under the military dictatorship of General Ibrahim Babangida. Civil society did what it could to hold the military governments accountable by organising citizens to demand the return to democracy in the 1990s. Since the return to civil rule in 1999, it has been in the forefront of constitutional reform processes to promote inclusion, participation, and improved quality of representation and governance.

As a result of the opening of the civic space brought about by the global wave of democratization and the increased international funding opportunities that came with it, developing countries in the past two decades, have witnessed the mushrooming of civil society organisations (CSOs). Most credible CSOs are primarily involved in advocacy or service delivery with some combining both. These represent diverse ideologies and while some are membership-based and exclusively concerned with issues of particular interest to their members, others adopt a broader approach, relative to their objectives, to either reform or transform the system.

More recently there has been a trend of CSOs either specifically established by the government to advance its interests or those that are co-opted to do so; what orthodox practitioners derogatorily refer to as government non-governmental organisations (GNGO). However, this abuse of the sector is not limited to governments as there have also been numerous cases of bad CSO actors not associated with governments.

However, on the whole community and state actors both acknowledge that civil society has made positive contributions towards ameliorating the sufferings of Nigerian. Evidence from existing literature, as well as findings from focus group discussions and key informant interviews existing literature, as well as findings from focus group discussions and key informant interviews undertaken for this project, show that CSOs have played and continue to play a pivotal role in Nigeria’s development in the past two decades.

It was noted that CSOs have increasingly stepped in to replace a receding, and in some cases, nonexistent state with respect to the delivery of basic, often life-saving, services. Key contributions identified included in the role they have played in humanitarian assistance; influencing policy towards more pro-people legislation; reshaping the attitudes of traditional and cultural practices; improving the publics awareness of human rights, providing economic support to agriculture and trade sectors; supporting skills acquisition initiatives; and support for internally displaced persons and communities. Finally, CSOs are also an important provider of well-paid jobs and employment opportunities.

The study found there to be an overwhelming consensus that civil society plays a complimentary role to the state. At the same time, it was noted that tensions in state-CSO relations do exists. These are often generated in the context of advocacy, and demands for transparency, accountability and the defence of human rights of citizens rather than around initiatives of service delivery. Whilst the state and CSOs work together on a regular basis, the reports findings underscore the need to also include private sector actors in wider development processes to address Nigeria’s myriad of challenges.

Further recommendations include the need for improved and more participatory community and citizen engagement strategies from CSOs; sustained efforts to build an understand between the state and civil society about how they can better work together and not as adversaries; a recognition by states like Nigeria to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens on a daily basis; and the need for domestic civil society groups to set the priority agendas for their countries, rather than have these imposed by external funders. Finally, efforts should be put in place by CSOs to initiate a commonly endorsed Peer Review Mechanism based on a voluntary code of conduct and of practice – for the purposes of mutual support, mutual learning, and strengthening transparency and accountability within the sector itself.

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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

CDD Fact Check: Does Nigeria Have About 190k Polling Units?

By Fact Check, Fact Checks, Fake NewsNo Comments

VERDICT: False

CLAIM: CDD fact checkers spotted a trending tweet by Daniel Bwala, a lawyer and until recently served as a special adviser on legal matters to the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege.

On August 1, 2022, Mr. Bwala claimed there are about 190,000 polling units in Nigeria. He also maintained that a minimum of three-party agents are required at the polling unit.

The tweet reads: “There are about 190k polling units in Nigeria. A party needs a minimum of 3 agents in each polling unit; 570k human beings in total. “That’s structure existing not on social media. Anyway, it will be clearer as we approach elections. Insult is not a substitute for structure”.

FACT CHECK PROCESS: CDD Fact check on the claim indicated that Daniel Bwala’s data were inaccurate. As at August 2, 2022, the tweet has garnered over 3,000 (626 retweets, 190 Quotes and 2,333 likes) engagements and still growing.

According to the Election Management Body, there are 176,846 polling units listed on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) website. INEC, on June 16th, 2021, removed polling units from ‘inappropriate’ places and worship centers across the country. The commission’s chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this at a meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in Abuja.

At the meeting, he unveiled the locations of the newly created 56,872 Polling Units (PUs) and also announced other electoral arrangements. With the creation of the new PUs, Mr. Yakubu said, Nigeria now has 176,846 full-fledged polling units against its initial 119,974 PUs in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). He pegged the total number of polling units removed from ‘inappropriate places’ at 749.

Mr Bwala also claimed a party needs a minimum of three party agents in each polling units. Fact check on INEC’s pocketbook for party agents, clearly state that a political party is limited to one agent in each of polling units, as against three agents claimed by Mr. Bwala.

CONCLUSION: CDD fact-checkers can confirm that there are 176,846 polling units in Nigeria and not about 190,000. Additionally, there is a limit of one agent rather than three per polling unit as claimed by Mr. Bwala.

Mr.  Bwala’s data on his tweet are wrong and therefore false.

As the country heads to 2023 general elections, there are several misleading contents online, CDD therefore urges citizens and voters to be careful of content they share, online and offline.

FACT CHECK: Did National Grid Collapse 18 Times In 2022?

By Fact Check, Fake NewsNo Comments

CLAIM: The national grid has collapsed 18 times in 2022

VERDICT: False

CONTEXT: An online news site published a news report on its website saying the “National Grid has collapsed for the 18th time in 2022.”

VERIFICATION: In verifying the claim, Daily Trust chronicled the number of times the national grid collapsed in 2022 and found out that it was five times this year, and not 18 times. The latest system collapse being the fifth this year, occurred around 12 noon when the grid went blank. Before now the country experienced similarly collapse on 14 March, 9 April, 10 May and 12 June respectfully.

WHY WE FACT CHECKED THIS: This claim was fact checked to provide the facts to citizens to avoid inflammatory statements leading to potentially volatile responses.

FACT CHECK: Did Hollywood Actor, Tom Hanks, Endorse Peter Obi?

By Fact Check, Fake NewsNo Comments

CLAIM: Tom Hanks, a Hollywood actor, has endorsed the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi

VERDICT: False

CONTEXT: A post that has been in circulation on social media claims that Tom Hanks, a Hollywood actor, has endorsed the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, via a tweet.

VERIFICATION: Checks by our partners at Daily Trust revealed that the post in circulation is false. Interestingly, the last time Hanks tweeted with his verified handle was two years ago, on 22 May, 2020.

Also, the claim that Americans had a standing ovation is false and misleading as there was no account of such in the media.

We can confirm after verification that the post in circulation suggesting Tom Hanks made a tweet endorsing Peter Obi is false.

WHY WE FACT CHECKED THIS: Political campaigns are the source of misleading information, designed to promote or denigrate candidacies. The Centre has fact-checked this to avoid misinformation playing a part in the electoral process.

FACT CHECK: Did APC National Secretary, Iyiola Omisore, Share Money During the Election?

By Fact Check, Fake NewsNo Comments

CLAIM: APC National Secretary, Iyiola Omisore, was spotted distributing cash to voters during Osun Election.

VERDICT: False

CONTEXT: A video has surfaced online showing the National Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, Iyiola Omisore, distributing cash and clothing materials to a crowd at an open space decorated for an event. In the video, the politician can be seen wearing a green traditional attire with a cap to match sharing N2,000 to individuals, mostly women. The post was made on 14th July, 2022, and had been retweeted several times.

VERIFICATION: To investigate the claim, our partners at Daily Trust carried out a key frame analysis of the video using InVid, an online video verification tool, which revealed that the video had been on the internet since 2014.

The video was first posted by YNaija in a report titled, “#OsunDecides: Thousands gather in Osogbo as Omisore shares cash.” Part of the report reads, “There were thousands of people at the field beside the OYESTECH training centre in Osogbo this afternoon. They were there to receive a sum of money per person from the Omisore Youth Support Foundation (OYSF).”

The result of the investigation revealed that the video alleging that Omisore was buying votes in today’s governorship election in Osun State is an old video aimed to disinform as such should be disregarded as it is false.

WHY WE FACT CHECKED THIS: CDD fact checked this to avoid swaying voters and to avoid complications when result of the election is published.

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

Fact Check: Is APC Buying PVC from Voters to Use on Election Day in Osun State Election?

By 2023 Elections, Election, Fact Check, Fake News, PoliticsNo Comments

VERDICT: FALSE AND MISLEADING

CLAIM: On July 7, 2022, fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) spotted a claim trending in Osogbo and around the State of Osun that the All Progressives Congress (APC) is mopping up and buying Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) from Voters to use on election day. The trending story also alleged that the party was working with Independent National Commission (INEC) to be able to use proxies to present PVCs which will count for votes for their party. 

FACT CHECKING PROCESS: CDD fact checkers reviewed the trending claim to ascertain its validity. Fact checkers could not independently verify that the APC in Osun state was buying and mopping up PVCs from voters of the state to use same on election day, scheduled for Saturday, July 16, 2022. However, Fact Checkers reviewed the INEC accreditation and voting process which has been widely publicized in its Election Guidelines and Regulations.

INEC introduced the Bi-Model Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) to detect fraud in the accreditation and voting process. BVAS is now used to ascertain if the PVCs presented at the polling unit, truly belong to the persons presenting the cards and that PVC must correspond with those in the register of voters in that polling unit. The allegations that the party was buying or mopping PVCs of voters, with the aim of using proxies to present the PVCs and vote will therefore be a difficult task. Since INEC introduced BVAS, the use of Incidence Form has been abolished. During the 2018 election in Osun state, Incidence Forms were used to authenticate and accredit voters, whose fingerprints failed.

To validate these findings, the accreditation process for the 2022 Osun elections has four (4) steps which were used during the Ekiti State governorship elections held on Saturday, July 18, 2022.

The steps include the following:

  1. BVAS will be used to capture fingerprints of the card bearer (i.e. the voter)
  2. There will be a request for the voter to place his/her finger on the fingerprint scanner of the BVAS for authentication.
  3. If the voter fails to be authenticated using his/her fingerprint, they will proceed to step four.
  4. Authentication of voters using the Photo option; will ensure that the intending voter will be captured automatically by the BVAS for facial authentication.

Where/When BVAS fails to authenticate the intending voter, that voter will be unable to vote in the election, because authentication failure is the same as non-accreditation.   

 

CONCLUSION: CDD fact-checkers can confirm that the claims that APC was buying or mopping up PVCs from Voters to use on election day is FALSE, as evidence has proven that a PVC can only be used by the owner. CDD is urging members of the public, particularly voters in the state of Osun to independently verify trending stories, especially on blogs and social media platforms, before sharing same.

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.

Read full document below

FACT CHECK: Did Peter Obi’s Son Step on a Nigerian Flag?

By 2023 Elections, Fact Check, Fact Checks, Fake NewsNo Comments

Claim: Peter Obi Son was seen stepping on a Nigerian Flag

Verdict: False

Context: A tweet containing a picture of a young man wearing a face mask and stepping on a Nigerian flag has gone viral. The photo is captioned “This is Peter Obi’s son, the IPOB in them is further confirmed in the clothes wear and marching on our green white green flag and the same father is campaigning to rule Nigeria?”

Verification: Our partners at Daily Trust, during investigation came across a tweet from Doyin Okupe, Director General of Peter Obi’s campaign organization stating that “This is not Peter Obi’s son. No amount of falsehood will dampen the current wave of support for Peter Obi. See what they’re sharing in the north to Scare people from Peter Obi.” debunking the viral claim.

Peter Obi’s media office also responded to the viral tweet saying that “Every day, the desperation of the opposition is becoming stronger. Their latest mischief is the circulation of a picture, most probably contrived, of a young man in Biafra apparel standing on Nigeria’s flag and passed it as Mr. Peter Obi’s son. We wish to state that the said young man is not Mr. Peter Obi’s son, who, by his strict upbringing marked by rigorous discipline, understands what civic duty and responsibilities entail.

The statement further stated that “Mr. Oseloka Obi is about six feet and taller than his father; while the young man they used for the mischief is slightly above 5 feet. The Peter Obi Media office calls on those seeking elective posts and their supporters to always be guided by the right ethics at all times. Mr. Oseloka Obi is about six feet and taller than his father; while the young man they used for the mischief is slightly above 5 feet

Why We Checked This: The forthcoming Nigerian general election of 2023 will be dominated by rumours, fake news and unsubstantiated reports. Many of these comments will be at improving or impairing the reputation of presidential candidates. Sadly, the divisions in our politics also extend along ethnic and religious fault lines that can lead to conflict and violence if left to fester. The claim is fact checked to remove bias like this from affecting the choice of the citizens at the poll in the general election.

A Call for a Forensic Company to Supply & Install Forensics Laboratory Equipment.

By Business, Job Vacancy, VacanciesNo Comments


The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) was established in the United Kingdom in
1997, and registered in Nigeria in 1999, as an independent, not-for-profit, research training,
advocacy and capacity-building organisation. The purpose was to mobilise global opinion and
resources for democratic development and provide an independent space to reflect critically on
the challenges posed to the democratisation and development processes in West Africa. Our goal
is to serve as the ultimate catalyst in the transformation of the West African sub-continent into an
integrated, economically vibrant and democratically governed community that assures holistic
security to the population and is capable of permanent peaceful conflict management.


Theme: A Call for a Forensic Company to Supply and install Forensics Laboratory
Equipment and Anti-Corruption Support Programme under The Nigeria Anti-Corruption
Agencies Strengthening Initiative Projec
t, Phase II (NACASIP II) implemented by CDD.


Location: Abuja-Nigeria
The Project
The Nigeria Anti-Corruption Agencies Strengthening Initiative Project (NACASIP II) seeks to
contribute to increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of Anti-corruption Agencies (ACAs) in
the fight against corruption, primarily through targeted capacity building, support for forensics
and evidence gathering, peer learning, information sharing, forging synergy and coordination
amongst the ACAs. The support focuses on five core ACAs amongst the over twenty-four
institutions with an anti-corruption mandate in Nigeria. The support will strengthen the ACAs to
perform their core duties of investigation, enforcement and prevention.


Key Responsibilities
 The Consultant will be responsible for planning, designing, supplying, configuring,
installation of hard/software, setting up a forensic laboratory, and transfer of technical
expertise to the anti-corruption agency by providing adequate training and maintenance
of equipment.
 Based on the need of the respective ACA, purchase, supply and set up key project
forensic laboratory equipment for the organization in line with the manufacturer’s
specification
Training of personnel: Identify and train key relevant staff members of the selected
ACA on the use and maintenance of the equipment which must be accompanied with
detailed training manuals/tools and modules to be used and a post-installation and
maintenance mentoring program
 Lead in the installations of hardware and software and other key equipment.
Reporting: Prepare and submit periodic activities, delivery and installation reports to
CDD on the ACA.
 Impact Assessment: The consultants shall prepare periodic impact assessment progress
reports and activity reports in line with guidelines from the ACA.

2
Qualifications and Personal Attributes
The Consultant shall possess competencies in the following areas:
 Relevant IT Project Management skills and experience
 At least 10 years of cognate experience in implementing similar assignments in the area
of Digital and Financial Forensics, Laboratory setup & Management for reputable public
or private sector organizations; such assignment should have been done in the last three
years.
 At least a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology, Accounting/Audit, Social
Sciences or similar studies, and relevant professional certifications (e.g C.ITP, PRINCE2/
PMP, CISA, CRISC etc). Experience in successfully delivering similar assignments in
Nigeria or developing world context is an added advantage.


Application Closing Date
The closing date for the application is 22nd July 2022


Method of Application
Interested and qualified candidates should forward a proposal and budget to:
recruitment@cddwestafrica.org using “PROCUREMENT” in Capital Letters as the Subject.

A Call for a Forensic Company to Supply & Install Forensics Laboratory Equipment For the Examination of Chemical Samples

By Business, Job Vacancy, Projects, VacanciesNo Comments


The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) was established in the United Kingdom in
1997, and registered in Nigeria in 1999, as an independent, not-for-profit, research training,
advocacy and capacity-building organisation. The purpose was to mobilise global opinion and
resources for democratic development and provide an independent space to reflect critically on
the challenges posed to the democratisation and development processes in West Africa. Our goal
is to serve as the ultimate catalyst in the transformation of the West African sub-continent into an
integrated, economically vibrant and democratically governed community that assures holistic
security to the population and is capable of permanent peaceful conflict management.


Theme: A Call for a Forensic Company to Supply and install Forensics Laboratory
Equipment For the Examination of Chemical Samples under The Nigeria Anti-Corruption
Agencies Strengthening Initiative Project, Phase II (NACASIP II) implemented by CDD.


Location: Abuja-Nigeria
The Project
The Nigeria Anti-Corruption Agencies Strengthening Initiative Project (NACASIP II) seeks to
contribute to increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of anti-corruption Agencies (ACAs) in
the fight against corruption, primarily through targeted capacity building, support for forensics
and evidence gathering, peer learning, information sharing, forging synergy and coordination
amongst the ACAs. The support focuses on five core ACAs amongst the over twenty-four
institutions with an anti-corruption mandate in Nigeria. The support will strengthen the ACAs to
perform their core duties of investigation, enforcement and prevention.


Key Responsibilities
 The Consulting company will be responsible for planning, designing, supplying,
configuring, installation of hard/software, setting up a chemical forensic laboratory, and
transfer of technical expertise to the anti-corruption agency by providing adequate
training and maintenance of equipment.
 Based on the need of the respective ACA, the consulting company will purchase, supply
and set up key project forensics chemical laboratory equipment for the organization in
line with the manufacturer’s specification
Training of personnel: Identify and train key relevant staff members of the selected
ACA on the use and maintenance of the equipment which must be accompanied with
detailed training manuals/tools and modules to be used and a post-installation and
maintenance mentoring program
 Lead in the installations of hardware and software and other key forensic chemical
laboratory equipment.
Reporting: Prepare and submit periodic activities, delivery and installation reports to
CDD on the ACA.

2

Impact Assessment: The consulting company shall prepare periodic impact assessment
progress reports and activity reports in line with guidelines from the ACA.

Qualifications and Personal Attributes
The Consultant shall possess competencies in the following areas:
CDD hereby request the following information with relevant supporting documents, among
others:
i. Evidence of Certificate of Incorporation issued by the Corporate Affairs Commission
(CAC) including the most current status of Forms CAC2 and CAC7;
ii. Evidence of Company Income’s Tax Clearance Certificate for the last three (3) years
valid till 31st December 2021;
iii. Evidence of current Pension Compliance Certificate valid till 31st December 2022;
iv. Evidence of current Industrial Training Fund (ITF) Compliance Certificate valid till 31st
December 2022;
v. Evidence of current Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) Compliance Certificate
valid till 31st December 2022;
vi. Evidence of Registration on the National Database of Federal Contractors, Consultants
and Service Providers by submission of Interim Registration Report (IRR) expiring on
31/12/2022 or valid Certificate issued by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).
vii. Sworn Affidavit disclosing whether or not any officer of the relevant committees of the
Economic & Financial Crimes Commission or the Bureau of Public Procurement is a
former or present Director, shareholder or has any pecuniary interest in the bidder and to
confirm that all information presented in its bid are true and correct in all particulars;
viii. Company’s Audited Accounts for the last three (3) years – 2019, 2020 & 2021;
ix. Evidence of financial capability to execute the project by submission of Reference Letter
from a reputable commercial bank in Nigeria, indicating a willingness to provide credit
facility for the execution of the project when needed;
x. Company’s Profile with the Curriculum Vitae of Key Staff to be deployed for the project,
including copies of their Academic/Professional qualifications (relevant document
showing evidence of dealings with manufacturers, permit to operate as oil industry
service company in the relevant bid area etc.)
xi. Verifiable documentary evidence of at least three (3) similar jobs executed in the last ten
(10) years including Letters of Awards, Valuation Certificates of Job Completion and
photographs of the projects;
xii. List of Plants/Equipment with proof of Ownership/Lease (where applicable);

3

xiii. Any other information deemed necessary by your good office e.g. work with any
defense or security organization


Application Closing Date
The closing date for the application is 22nd July, 2022
Method of Application
Interested and qualified candidates should forward a proposal and budget to:
recruitment@cddwestafrica.org using “PROCUREMENT” in Capital Letters as the Subject.

Below is an updated list of the Proposed Item

VACANCIES: REQUEST FOR CONSULTANT

By VacanciesNo Comments

Job Position: Consultant

Industry type: NGO

Job Location: Maiduguri

Contract term: Temporary

Job Summary:

Project Title:  Supporting Northeast States Reintegration and Reconciliation Initiatives

The Project:  The project aims to support ongoing federal and Northeastern states reintegration programs by mobilizing evidence-based analysis and knowledge production that will inform policy for strengthening traditional justice system in post-Boko Haram insurgency. Government policy and decision makers need the best possible knowledge and evidence based on their efforts to implement locally relevant approach to transitional justice focusing on addressing the past atrocities committed by Boko Haram terrorists and promote the successful reintegration of ex-Boko Haram combatants. One-way CDD seeks to contribute to this process is to facilitate and conduct evidenced based research in the three most conflict affected states in northeast, region namely Borno, Yobe and Adamawa (BAY) states which findings will guide the state government in the implementation of transitional justice measures.

Activity: the research involves a harmonization of existing transitional justice works and documents via extant desk review to identify gaps and undertake a fieldwork-based perception study and stakeholder mapping on traditional justice system across the three states.

Key Responsibilities & Deliverables

  • Work with Research Team members to conduct desk review on and harmonized all existing policy documents on transitional justice that will be provided by the Centre
  •  Lead team of research assistants in the conduct of fieldwork for data collection in specified locations and duration to be determined by the Centre
  • Work with Enumerators and CDD team in mapping local context methodology including division of each state into cultural zones for traditional justice system
  •  Work with research team to carry out draft data analysis
  • Postproduction and presentation of final report

Academic Qualifications:

  • A minimum requirement of master’s degree in any Social Sciences discipline is required, with years of experience in research. Additional training or experience in a broad range of related fields including working in advancing research and knowledge production with civil society organizations on transitional justice is a key priority and invaluable requirement for the job. Also, a Ph.D would be an added advantage

Experience:

  • Applicant must possess a minimum of 7 years’ experience in cogent academic research or working with a think tank in advancing evidenced-based research in conflict settings
  • Proven experience in conducting mapping and/or ethnographic fieldwork study and impeccable skills in data collection, desk review, data analysis and report writing.
  • Proven experience in the usage of computers and office software packages (MS Word, Excel, etc.) is a requirement.

Criteria

  • Consultant/Researcher must be a resident of the research location and familiar with the culture and local languages of the area
  • Researcher must be conversant with the best practice in conducting research including adherence to the ethics in conducting research, conflict sensitivity and the “Do No Harm” principles
  • Female researchers are highly encouraged to apply for gender balance and equality

Duration

  • Successful applicants are expected to work for the period of three months commencing July to September 2022

Method of Application

CDD invites interested and qualified consultants to apply. A Curriculum Vitae and Cover letter of not more than 3 pages (in word or pdf format) of interested Consultants should be sent by mail to: recruitment@cddwestafrica.org on or before 10th July 2022.

Note

  • This position is based in Maiduguri but may involve travels to other northeastern states.
  • Only applications submitted via email will be considered. Scanned applications will be disregarded.
  • Only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.
  • CDD is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Female candidates and people living with disability are STRONGLY encouraged to apply for this opportunity.

Report of Training of Hakimai and Ardo on Peacebuilding & Conflict Resolution in Kaduna State

By Blog, Conflict ResolutionNo Comments

Under the Project of: Strengthening the Delivery of Peace and Security (SDPS) Project

Background

Kaduna State’s unfortunate history of violent conflict has been driven by religious and ethnic conflicts and long predates the recent spate of rural violence and banditry that has engulfed in North-western region of the country. Incidents have often stemmed from indigene-settler, farmer-herder and Muslim-Christian conflicts. This history has sadly been amplified by the media and political commentators, which has only led to more kidnapping, attacks on rural communities and killings by bandits in the region.

Because of these different fault lines, armed banditry in the state has often been misinterpreted in different ways when compared to other frontline states with lesser history of ethnic and religious violence. Every violent incident, whether a kidnapping or a killing, is unique but is always seen through the lens of religious conflict – which only serves to inflame the situation and ignore how complex the situation really is. Given their unique position as custodians of culture and history, as well as leaders in the community charged with maintaining peace, traditional leaders in Kaduna State – the Hakimai and Ardo – are at the centre of such issues as either victims or peacekeepers.

The important role that these traditional authorities play in maintain peace and social cohesion cannot be overstated. Because they lead their communities directly, they are often in touch with grassroots issues and engage with the masses and have often had experience dealing with conflict resolution in their territories. This means that they are key stakeholders in ensuring the success of any public policy-focused social Programme and its expected implementation. The failure to effectively leverage these traditional conflict resolution and peacebuilding architectures in the state is partly responsible for the escalation of this violent conflict in Kaduna State.

In order to correct this error, and in line with its mandate, the Centre of Democracy and Development (CDD), in partnership with the Centre for Peace Studies at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, organised a two-day capacity building training for selected Hakimai and Ardo in Kaduna State on peacebuilding and conflict resolution under its Strengthening the Delivery of Peace and Security (SDPS) Project.

Justification and Objectives

The background provides apt justification for this training session. Within the parameters and contours of armed banditry and kidnapping, violent ideological groups, such as Boko Haram, ISWAP and Ansaru, are exploiting existing religious, ethnic and indigene-settler tensions to infiltrate Kaduna State.

The Abuja-Kaduna train attack and numbers of passengers currently under captivity is a case in point. This growing trend is existentially why this training is being anchored by the CDD. The situation requires more urgent and effective proactive measures. And, the best point to start is from the Hakimai and Ardo, who are the custodian of peace and conflict resolution. The main objective is therefore, to build the capacity of traditional leaders (see concept note) to strengthen their knowledge and expertise to understanding the challenging dynamics, trends, dimensions and complexities of all types of conflicts in Kaduna State and to contribute meaningfully towards peace building and resolution using all necessary traditional and religious mechanisms as differentiated in various communities and religious domains.

Read the Full Report Below

The Resignation of the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the State of the Judiciary

By Blog, Constitution, PublicationNo Comments

Press Statement by the Forum of Fellows of the Centre for Democracy and Development

Date: Monday, 4th July 2022

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad, resigned his appointment on 27th June 2022 and the next in line, Olukayode Ariwoola, was sworn in the same day in an acting capacity, as is the practice. The manner of the resignation – voluntary or forced – and the reason for it – ill-health or cover up for corruption – have raised critical questions on the state of the judiciary. Even more important is the circumstances of the said resignation, the letter from his peers that was leaked to the media.

Fourteen Justices of the Supreme Court had written to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Tanko Muhammad, lamenting the parlous situation in the court. In this first-of-its-kind protest letter in the 58-year history of the apex court, the justices chronicled the operational challenges that have almost crippled the efficient adjudication of cases at the court. The aggrieved justices led by the second most senior judge of the Supreme Court, Olukayode Ariwoola, listed the problems to include vehicles, electricity tariff, supply of diesel, Internet services to their residences and chambers, and epileptic electricity supply to the court. The jurists further noted that “we find it strange that despite the upward review of our budgetary allocation, the court cannot cater for our legitimate entitlements”.

The justices also complained that for three years the CJN withheld assent to the rules of court, thereby slowing the dispensation of justice. They saw the situation as “the peak of the degeneration of the Court; it is the height of decadence and clear evidence of the absence of probity and moral rectitude.” The import of this leaked letter is that the CJN had lost the respect of virtually the entire justices of the Supreme Court. 

Even more disturbing is that since the “resignation”, there have been allegations, rumours and innuendos in connection with the former CJN, including rumours of bribery and undue interference of his family in the work of the Supreme Court. Although there is no evidence to back this, the speculations suggest that he did not resign of his own volition.

We can surmise from these that all is not well with the Supreme Court. It would be recalled that CJN Tanko Muhammad’s predecessor, Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen, was suspended on the 25th of January 2019, following a questionable prosecution by the Code of Conduct Tribunal, at a time also that the residences of several judges, including Justices of the Supreme Court, were raided by security operatives. There is strong evidence of the Executive getting involved in activities that interfere with the independence of the judiciary. In other words, there is a challenge to the constitutional principle of separation of powers and the integrity and the independence of the judiciary. The not so hidden hands of the Presidency have also been often seen in the appointment and removal of judicial officers. Indeed, the same can be said of the relationship between State Governors and the judiciary at the state level.

The Forum of Fellows of the Centre for Democracy and Development therefore make the following observations:

  1. The crises in the Supreme Court reflect a significant challenge with the operations of the principle of the separation of powers and it is important for all democratic forces to strive to maintain the independence of the judiciary.
  2. In recent years, several high-profile mid-night attacks on the houses of senior judicial officers, including justices of the Supreme Court has indicated Executive agency in the harassment and intimidation of the judiciary.
  3. The process of appointment of judicial officers, from the lowest levels right up to the Chief Justice of Nigeria has become politicised and integrity and competence are no longer core criteria in the selection process. The outcome is that there is a steady decline in the quality of judicial officers;
  4. The powers of the Chief Justice of Nigeria are excessive within the Supreme Court and the National Judicial Council. The same is true of the State Chief Judges in relation to the State judiciary. These should be reviewed to reflect a more collegiate approach among peers.
  5. There is a very high level of corruption in our society which clearly has penetrated the judiciary and threatens to compromise the whole system of justice delivery.
  6. Many judges have become very cosy with politicians and prominent members of society, and no longer keep to the age-old principle of maintaining a healthy distance from political and social networks.

Based on the foregoing, the Forum recommends that:

  1. Defending and protecting the principle of separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary should constitute a principal plank of advocacy by all democratic forces and organizations.
  2. The process of appointing judges at all levels, including the CJN, should be reviewed and made more open with a focus on competence and integrity.
  3. The excessive powers of the Chief Justice of Nigeria in the control of the Supreme Court and the National Judicial Council should be reviewed and transformed into a more collegiate system.
  4. The conditions of service of judicial officers, especially Judges and Magistrates at all levels, should be improved and their tenures properly guaranteed to insulate them from political and societal pressures and corrupting influences.

Signed

CDD Fellows

Professors Adele Jinadu, Jibrin Ibrahim and Okey Ibeanu

Communiqué de presse : Rapport Sur Les Fake News en Afrique

By Fact Check, Fake NewsNo Comments

Le Centre pour la Démocratie et le Développement (CDD) a publié aujourd’hui sa dernière analyse des
défis posés par les fake news à l’écosystème de l’information en Afrique de l’Ouest. Fake News en
Afrique de l’Ouest : les flux, les facilitateurs et les impacts’ s’appuie sur une série de rapports nationaux
publiés au cours du premier semestre 2022.


Le rapport, rédigé par Idayat Hassan, directrice du CDD, et Jamie Hitchen, rédacteur en chef du CDD et
chercheur honoraire à l’Université de Birmingham, détaille les individus ou organisations impliqués dans
la diffusion de fausses informations, les tactiques qu’ils cherchent à employer, ainsi que l’influence et
l’impact qu’ils ont. Il examine également les approches employées jusqu’à présent pour répondre à la
menace des fake news.
Principales conclusions de l’étude


 La diffusion de fausses nouvelles dans les écosystèmes d’information en Afrique de l’Ouest est
en augmentation. Bien que favorisée par l’accès croissant aux médias sociaux et à l’internet dans
la région, le flux de fausses nouvelles n’est pas simplement confiné aux espaces en ligne mais
circule entre les environnements hors ligne et numériques avec régularité et facilité.


 La manière dont les informations circulent entre les réseaux en ligne et hors ligne est essentielle
pour comprendre comment les fake news se propagent et influencent les actions en Afrique de
l’Ouest. Il en va de même pour la confiance. Les informations qu’un destinataire considère
comme provenant d’une source digne de confiance – qu’il s’agisse de la source originale de
l’information ou de la personne qui l’a partagée en dernier lieu – restent fondamentales pour
décider de ce qui est vrai et de ce qui ne l’est pas, et pour déterminer si l’information correspond
aux croyances et aux préjugés existants.


 Les sept principaux groupes engagés dans la diffusion de fausses informations sont les militants
politiques, les influenceurs en ligne, l’État, les entreprises de médias, les cabinets de conseil
spécialisés, la diaspora et les États étrangers.


 Pendant les élections, la lutte d’influence sur un public en ligne toujours plus nombreux est
amplifiée, les acteurs politiques recrutant de plus en plus de “cyber-guerriers” nationaux ou de
spécialistes de la communication régionale et internationale pour leur donner un avantage
électoral.


 Les réponses à la prolifération croissante des “fake news” dans l’écosystème de l’information
sont mises au défi par le fait que l’État n’est non seulement pas un acteur impartial, mais qu’il
s’engage aussi soit dans la diffusion et la création de faussetés, soit dans la restriction intéressée
des flux d’information en ligne.


 Les États d’Afrique de l’Ouest ont cherché à mettre un frein aux fake news en limitant l’espace,
soit par la fermeture de plateformes ou d’Internet, soit par la mise à jour de la législation existante

  • ou la création de nouvelles lois – pour faire face à la désinformation numérique.
     Mais la réglementation numérique dans la région reste principalement utilisée comme un outil
    politique. Si la réglementation peut faire partie de la solution pour lutter contre les mensonges,
    cela n’est vrai que si elle est supervisée par un arbitre crédible et indépendant.
     Une recommandation essentielle est l’amélioration de la culture numérique des citoyens
    ordinaires par le biais de campagnes de sensibilisation du public, d’initiatives de vérification des
    faits et de révision des programmes d’enseignement. Des citoyens généralement plus instruits
    seront mieux placés pour arbitrer entre le vrai et le faux lorsqu’ils seront confrontés à de
    nouvelles informations en ligne ou hors ligne.
     Une pression accrue sur les entreprises de médias sociaux pour qu’elles modèrent efficacement
    leurs plateformes contre les discours haineux et les faussetés, aura un impact transformateur sur

la réduction non seulement des fausses nouvelles en circulation en Afrique de l’Ouest, mais aussi
du degré d’acceptation des faussetés par ses citoyens.


Pour parler avec les auteurs de ce rapport ou si vous souhaitez examiner les 15 études nationales
produites dans le cadre de cette série. Veuillez contacter Esther Yusuf
(eyusuf@cddwestafrica.org) / Ndifreke Ferdinand (nferdinand@cddwestafrica.org)
+234(9)2902304

Fake News in West Africa: Flows, Facilitators and Fixes

By Fact Check, Fake NewsNo Comments

The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has today published its latest analysis of the
challenges posed by fake news to the information ecosystem across West Africa. ‘Fake News in West
Africa: Flows, facilitators and fixes’ builds on a series of country level reports released in the first half of
2022.
The report, authored by CDD’s director, Idayat Hassan and Jamie Hitchen, CDD’s editor-at-large and an
Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham details the individuals or organisations
involved in the spread of falsehoods, the tactics they seek to employ, and the influence and impact that
they are having. It also discusses the approaches employed so far to respond to the fake news threat.
Key findings from the study


1. 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.


2. 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.


3. The seven main groups engaged in the spread of falsehoods are political activists, online
influencers, the state, media enterprises, specialist consultancy firms, the diaspora and foreign
states.


4. During elections, the battle for influence over an ever growing online audience is amplified, with
political actors increasingly recruiting domestic ‘cyber warriors’ or regional and international
communication specialists to give them an electoral advantage.


5. Responses to the growing proliferation of fake news in the information ecosystem are challenged
by the fact that the state is not only not an impartial actor, but that it also engages either in the
spread and creation of falsehoods or in the self-serving restriction of online information flows.


6. West African states have sought to clamp down on fake news by limiting the space, either
through platform or internet shutdowns or through updating existing — or creating new —
legislation to deal with digital disinformation.


7. But digital regulation in the region is still primarily used as a political tool. Whilst regulation can be
part of the solution to tackling falsehoods, this is only true if it is overseen by a credible and
independent arbiter.


8. Critical recommendation is improving the digital literacy of ordinary citizens through public
awareness campaigns, fact-checking initiatives, and revised education curricula. A generally
more educated citizenry will be better positioned to arbitrate between true and false when
encountering new information either online or offline.


9. More pressure on social media companies to effectively moderate their platforms for hate speech
and falsehoods, will have a transformative impact on reducing not just the fake news in circulation
in West Africa, but the degree to which falsehoods are embraced by its citizens.


To speak with the authors of this report or if you have an interest in reviewing the 15 country level
studies produced as part of this series.

Please contact Esther Yusuf (eyusuf@cddwestafrica.org)

FACT CHECK: Has Zulum Been Picked as Tinubu’s Running Mate?

By Fact Check, Fake News, NewsNo Comments

Claim: An image of APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, raising the hand of Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, has led to rumours that Zulum has been picked as the vice-presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress.

Verdict: False

Context: After winning the June 2022 APC presidential primaries, Bola Tinubu submitted Kabiru Masari as a placeholder running mate to beat the INEC deadline for registration of running mates. However, he has till July 15 to substitute the name and has been in negotiations with party officials to determine who he will tap to run with him. As a southerner, it is expected he will field a northern running mate, but there has been speculation and concern about picking a fellow Muslim.

Verification: During a recent event to mark the birthday celebration of Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Tinubu confirmed he was still searching for a running mate while celebrating the relationship between the Speaker and his deputy. Furthermore, no official statement has been made on either the candidate or the party’s social media platforms. Finally, the Borno APC chapter has also not commenced work on substituting Zulum as their governorship candidate.

Why We Checked This: Religious tensions have long led to incidents of violence in the country. The possible selection of Zulum could lead to issues in other Northern regions, either by aggrieved leaders or communities. It is also important that false information is curtailed in the lead up to the 2023 general elections.