, 48 tweets, 41 min read Read on Twitter

Keeping Track in 2019: Votes, #FakeNews, and Security in West Africa

#Senegal #Mali @Usmaan_Aali @ea_akin @HassanIdayat @PR_Senegal @SenegalVote @KamissaCamara
Nigeria’s 2019 Election:
What Are We Missing?
Vote buying. Thuggery. Rigged primaries. Logistical
failures. Official misconduct. Ballot box snatching.
Budget delays. Voter apathy. Intimidation. Turnout
suppression. Inconclusive results. Bribed officials
These and many other challenges routinely undermine the credibility and smooth conduct of elections in Nigeria.
@Usmaan_Aali @ea_akin @HassanIdayat @PR_Senegal @SenegalVote
Yet looking beyond these nagging threats to #Nigerian democracy, there are issues flying under the radar that are not getting enough attention. Are some of the biggest threats to Nigeria’s democratic development - already fairly uneven since 1999 - being overlooked?
Understanding Nigeria’s undulating #democracy: To understand the importance of the 2019 elections to Nigeria’s democratic story, it is worth looking back at polls held since the country’s 1999 return to civilian rule. @JDevermont @EromoEgbejule @saratu @HassanIdayat
Over the past two decades,
the integrity of Nigerian elections has been somewhat tidal—
characterised by a pronounced ebb and flow
@briticoyemo @HassanIdayat @Naijavote @MayeniJones
Starting with the 1998/1999 transitional #elections that resuscitated the country’s democratic institutions, #democracy lagged through the troubled 2003 polls up until the shambolically rigged 2007 “election”.
The 2007 polls represented a democratic nadir. Following a failed attempt to secure himself an unconstitutional third term, Olusegun Obasanjo sought to install a malleable successor via a stage managed vote. @OOFoundation @HassanIdayat
Observing that it was “programmed to fail,” a coalition of pro-democracy civil society organisations concluded, “we do not believe that any outcome of the elections can represent the
will of the people.
A democratic arrangement founded on such fraud can have no legitimacy.” Using fabricated and
opaque tallies, the Independent National Electoral Commission (@inecnigeria) nevertheless certified the results.
The 2011 elections marked an upswing in Nigeria’s democratic trajectory and restored domestic and international confidence in the country’s electoral institutions. New @inecnigeria chairman Attahiru Jega was a key figure in this upturn.
Post-election #violence was nevertheless severe: riots by disgruntled voters in northern #Nigeria sparked ethnic religious violence that killed over 800, according to Human Rights Watch.
In the run-up to 2015, @inecnigeria rolled out two key reforms aimed at enhancing the integrity and credibility of Nigerian elections: continuous voter registration and permanent voter identification cards that enabled voters to be accredited electronically at their polling unit
By 2015, @inecnigeria had institutionalised Jega’s reforms. These significantly reduced many of the worst and most conspicuous forms of rigging evident on voting day.
#Nigeria’s democratic tide now appears to be ebbing once
again. 2018 off-cycle #governorship elections experienced notable problems. In #Ekiti State, vote buying by both parties was systematic.
#NigeriaDecides2019 @seunonigbinde @Kendhammer @HassanIdayat @ChidiOdinkalu @saratu
In #Osun State, the excessive presence of security operatives cast doubt on the credibility of the
result. Imposition, bribery, and misconduct marred the recent major party primaries as candidates battled to get their name on the various tickets ahead of 2019.
Looking beyond elections, Nigerian democracy is languishing by a number of other important measures:
1. Press Freedom
2. Rule of Law
3. Respect for Human Rights.

@DrJoeAbah @HassanIdayat @MatthewTPage @BusinessDayNg @NDI #NigeriaDecides
@TheEconomist 2017 #Democracy Index ranked #Nigeria among the least free democracies worldwide, pegging it only marginally
higher than states deemed authoritarian—like Nigeria was
before 1999.

@Africanelection @ecowas_cedeao @HassanIdayat
The 2019 election is very much an antediluvian contest between two perennial candidates. To most Nigerians, President @MBuhari (age 75) and former vice
president @atiku (age 72) are well-known quantities.
They first achieved national prominence in the 1980s
before settling into supporting roles in the 1990s.
@MBuhari served as head of the country’s Petroleum Trust Fund
during the corrupt and oppressive Abacha regime (1993-
1998). @atiku, meanwhile, was an acolyte of Shehu Musa
Yar’Adua, a retired general who emerged as one of Abacha’s
staunchest adversaries.
Undercard races: Governorships and Senate
In the governorship races, the @APCNigeria and @OfficialPDPNig appear relatively evenly matched. Even though both parties are lumbered with unpopular incumbents —Cross River and AkwaIbom for the PDP or #Bauchi and #Katsina for the APC
—They likely will eke out second terms. Imo State—a nominal @APCNigeria state in the @OfficialPDPNig heartland—likely will flip, whereas PDP-controlled #Gombe State will be a target of the APC.
In #Zamfara State, the @APCNigeria risks losing a safe seat after squabbling between the party’s national headquarters and state chapter left it embarrassingly unable to nominate its candidate before the @inecnigeria deadline.- @MatthewTPage in West Africa Insight
From a policy standpoint, the personal integrity, and legislative skills of individual senators and representatives will matter
Unfortunately for #Nigeria’s future prosperity and socioeconomic development, Nigeria’s major parties have nominated
some especially disreputable figures as gubernatorial candidates.

@ndielections @NgagedCitizens @ConcernedNIG @Connected_dev @YIAGA
This is especially problematic for the @APCNigeria, which came
into power on an anti-corruption platform

@HassanIdayat @DrJoeAbah @Laurestar @APCYouthWing @Africmil
@inecnigeria IN THE EYE OF THE STORM:
Every election cycle, INEC faces huge domestic and international pressure to organise and execute smooth and successful polls amid extraordinarily challenging conditions. #WestAfricaInsight #NigeriaDecides2019
@MatthewTPage @proshare
Federal and state politicians, security personnel and saboteurs within @inecnigeria itself seek to compromise the integrity of its work. #WestAfricaInsight

@NDI @CorruptionFACT @Retweet
Relentlessly targeted by inducements, intimidation and political interference, @inecnigeria understandably struggles to conduct clean and credible elections at 120,000 polling units across a vast country with challenging operational logistics. #WestAfricaInsight @MatthewTPage
Adding to these perennial challenges, the Nigerian government has unnecessarily handicapped @inecnigeria in TWO WAYS. #WestAfricanInsight

@NGRPresident @MBuhari @NOA_Nigeria @BudgITng
1. The National Assembly and the @NGRPresident have failed
to agree on amendments to the Electoral Act, dithering for
almost a year and leaving @inecnigeria with just a few weeks to implement any revisions to the law. #WestAfricanInsight
@TheICIR @Connected_dev @ConcernedNIG
2. The National Assembly delayed the release of supplemental election funds to @inecnigeria, undercutting its ability to operate effectively. #WestAfricaInsight
Undoubtedly deliberate, these efforts by the legislature and executive to compound @inecnigeria's bureaucratic and budgetary woes may also have been designed to render its officials more receptive to bribes offered by incumbents seeking reelection.
@inecnigeria, law enforcement agencies, the press, Nigeria’s
international partners and even voters themselves frequently turn a blind eye—or perhaps have become numb—to the profligate spending and unexplained wealth of major
political parties...
...and individual candidates themselves. Although it is difficult to stem the flow of illicit cash into politics, it is possible for @inecnigeria and its allies to insist that campaign spending should be transparent,
#WestAfricaInsight #NigeriaDecides2019
its sources known and should abide by existing laws. If candidates and parties refuse to open their books, their campaign war chests should be assumed to be the proceeds of corruption
Even under ideal conditions, @inecnigeria’s task would be Herculean. Yet some of INEC’s own missteps and problematic practices are rarely discussed by commission’s civil society partners and international supporters
#WestAfricaInsight @MatthewTPage @DrJoeAbah @HassanIdayat @YIAGA
This may be because they fear losing access to election officials or because even well-meaning critiques can be weaponised by
politicians seeking to weaken or discredit @inecnigeria for partisan gain. #WestAfricaInsight #NigeriaDecides2019
@WeVote2019 @thecableng @DrJoeAbah
Unless these shortcomings are addressed, however, the credibility of the 2019—and subsequent—elections will suffer. #WestAfricaInsight #NigeriaDecides2019
@MatthewTPage @DrJoeAbah @HassanIdayat @jchitchen
These under-the-radar issues include:
1. ICT Vulnerabilities: @inecnigeria relies upon an outdated, over-centralised and easily penetrated ICT apparatus to facilitate election operations, maintain voter records and biometrically accredit over 84 million voters.#WestAfricaInsight
2. Transparency of Results: Since 2011, @inecnigeria has refrained from publishing detailed and complete official election results on its website. #WestAfricaInsight
Although detailed results are sometimes informally disclosed to journalists, researchers or civil society partners, they are not systematically made available to the public.#WestAfricaInsight
3. Financial Disclosures: @inecnigeria is even less transparent about its financial situation and procurement decisions. #WestAfricaInsight
Despite being Nigeria’s second-largest government agency,
@inecnigeria does not publish a detailed breakdown of its large annual budget, actual expenditures and contract awards at both the national and state level. #WestAfricaInsight
@TheICIR @HassanIdayat @DrJoeAbah
Neither does @inecnigeria disclose its list of pre-qualified contractors—firms pre-cleared to bid on INEC procurement contracts—so civil society can screen
them for links to politically-exposed persons. #WestAfricaInsight
It is unclear if @INEC undergoes an annual independent financial audit
and if it does, those audits are not published. Likewise, senior INEC officials are not required to disclose their assets
#WestAfricaInsight @HassanIdayat @irinnews @irinnews @ecowas_cedeao
Read more to find out what we are missing in Nigeria's 2019 Election
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