ELECTION FORENSICS EXPERT ANALYSIS IN THE SITUATION ROOM EXPERT ANALYSIS IN THE SITUATION ROOM ELECTION FORENSICS.

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1 ELECTION FORENSICS With Support from 1

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4 Published by: Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) Off Edwin Clark Way Via Gilmor Junction Guzape District Abuja, Nigeria With support from: The Ford Foundation PLAC 2015 All rights reserved under International Copyright Conventions. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of the publisher. ii

5 TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. Introduction 2. The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room Observation of the 2015 General Elections 3. Election Experts & Analysis of Elections in the Election Day Situation Room 4. Conclusion & Looking into the future 5. Appendices i. Appendix I Reports by the Experts on their experience in the Situation Room ii. Appendix II Statements issued during the 2015 General Elections iii

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7 The 2015 Nigeria general elections was one of the most keenly contested in recent Nigeria history. For the first time, opposition political parties came together and provided a strong challenge to a ruling party resulting in elections that saw the defeat of the ruling People s Democratic Party (PDP). The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room played an active role in bringing together a cohesive civil society observation of the elections. The Situation Room is a platform of more than 60 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working on good governance and election related issues. It was created in 2010 ahead of the 2011 Nigeria general elections. The purpose was to unite leaders and key CSOs to play an active role in the election process. In the 2015 general elections, the Situation Room widened participation in its activities, deploying a nationwide coverage and observation of the 2015 elections. It relied on its partner organisations located in different parts of the country to receive field reports that informed its analysis of the 2015 general elections. Reports received from the field focused on routine voting information, incidents during elections including violence, security breaches, general conduct of elections, security and political party officials. The aggregation of this reports informed the analysis of Situation Room and the call it made on the general elections. Where necessary Situation Room intervened directly with election stakeholders to correct or inform on Election Day happenings. The election stakeholders with whom Situation Room intervened include INEC, the police and security agencies etc. The Situation Room operated through the active participation of its partner groups facilitated through regular meetings and conversations held by telephone, and other forms of social media communication. Through its active and vibrant communication system, the Situation Room is often able to deliberate on pressing issues, issue press statements or even carry out advocacy visits. INTRODUCTION 1

8 THE NIGERIA CIVIL SOCIETY SITUATION ROOM S OBSERVATION OF THE 2015 GENERAL ELECTIONS The Election Day Situation Room was a rallying point for information for the elections. The volume of information received from across the country and the analysis coming from the Situation Room was top quality. This meant that the Situation Room was a beehive of activities. Diplomats, international observers, local and international media and the public looked towards information and analysis coming from the Election Day Situation Room. There were visits from the Representatives of Secretary-General of the United Nations, the African Union (AU) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Heads of foreign missions including the United Kingdom and the United States, Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Netherlands, Canada as well as international organisations such as World Bank, UNICEF, UNODC,UNOWA etc all came through the Situation Room. In their interactions with the Election Day Situation Room, these visitors expressed appreciation for the opportunity to visit and expressed happiness in the quality of the reports received. The Election Day Situation Room operated in a very transparent and practical manner. Field reports were received from the observers of partner organisations through SMS, s as well as other social media feeds. In addition one of the partner groups of Situation Room operated what was called CASE Content Aggregate System on Elections. The activities of the Situation Room have been enhanced by the functioning of an active secretariat. On Election Day, the Election Day Situation Room was the hub of receiving field reports and providing analysis on the elections. 2

9 Election day Situation Room had different layers of participants as follows: (a) The Expert/Analyst Chamber (b) The Technical Team; and (c) Field Observers. Technical Team working the phones during the 2015 general elections The Technical Team constituted of more than 25 desk officers tasked with keeping in constant touch with the field observers deployed in the field and passing on their observations to the second section of the Situation Room - the Expert/Analyst Chamber. The Expert/Analyst Chamber was made up of about 30 members of various civil society groups drawn from across the country. 3

10 The EXPERT efforts of ANALYSIS the civil society IN THE analysts SITUATION were supported ROOM by a number of election experts/analysts. These experts, with knowledge cutting across different issues of politics, conflict, peace building etc., were well placed to analyse and interpret several of the reports coming from the field that will then add to inform Situation Room leadership in the actions that they take, or reports that they produce from the elections. The experts were drawn from a multiplicity of disciplines and balanced in a way as to represent different segments and perspectives of the country. ELECTION EXPERTS & ANALYSIS OF ELECTIONS IN THE ELECTION DAY SITUATION ROOM The reports received from the field first get into the Situation Room through designated desk staff assigned to specific states and regions of the country and then channelled to the room of expert analysts as well as pasted on the information board mounted on the walls. All of the information received by experts are then discussed and analysed and where necessary follow-up actions are taken in matters requiring intervention with identified election stakeholders including the police and other security agencies, INEC etc. The analysis of the Situation Room was sometimes also followed-up by the issuing of press statements addressing specific concerns. 4

11 The election experts supported by the Ford Foundation provided deep intellectual and analytical support to these segment of the Situation Room. Being election experts themselves, there were quick to analyse reports received on the day and feed their analysis into the work that was going on. The Ford Foundation supported analysts include: 1. Prof. Abdul Raufu Mustapha Associate Professor of African Politics, University of Oxford, United Kingdom 2. Dr. Abubakar Muazu BOCODEP, Madugiri, Borno State 3. Prof. Adele Jinadu Prof. of Political Science, Babcock University, Ogun State 4. Prof. Etannabi Alemika University of Jos, Plateau State Prof. Adele Jinadu, Prof. Etannabi Alemika & Dr. Abubakar Muazu - part of the experts/analysts in the Situation Room The analysis and perspectives of the experts were invaluable to Situation Room members on Election Day as elections progressed and it assisted in informing & shaping some of the decisions or calls made by the Situation Room on the process and conduct of elections. Nkwachukwu Orji, Prof. Alemika & Prof. Raufu Mustapha listening to reports from the field and discussions thereafter 5

12 CONCLUSION LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE The experience of work with Situation Room analysts was very helpful in achieving balanced reporting and making the call on elections. Not being activists in the field of election observation, the analysts were able to assist the Situation Room in delivering on unbiased, clear headed and balance reporting of the elections. Being very respected, the analysis added to the credibility of the reports of the Situation Room. Looking ahead, it is important that election observation benefits from the insights of that experience and unbiased analysis election analysts bring. 6

13 PHOTO GALLERY OF THE EXPERT/ANALYST CHAMBER 7

14 IMPRESSIONS ON THE VALUE OF THE ANALYTICAL TEAM TO THE 2015 ELECTIONS by Abubakar Mu azu, PhD, BOCODEP, Maiduguri, Borno State The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room afforded that rare opportunity to observe the elections from a panoramic position that gets incoming reports from different organised sources. Based on that vantage position, it became possible to use the information coming in to analyse developments and issues around the elections. The analytical team, supported by the technical team, was able to identify areas of successful take-off, delayed commencement of the elections, inadequacy of electoral materials including delays in delivery, security challenged areas, points of violence, issues with or refusal to use Card Readers for accreditation, poor performance of security personnel, observer groups challenges, attempts by politicians, collusion by INEC officials and ad hoc staff or security personnel to manipulate the vote, and the declaration and collation of results. The analytical team had to deal with all these and was useful in making interventions that led to interventions that contributed to the conduct of a relatively more successful, more credible and more legitimate 2015 elections. The organisation of the Situation Room ensured that developments across the country were tracked and where there were challenges it became necessary to look into the various reports that were coming in. It was commendable working with an organisation with great organisational skills and a team that is focused on realising a successful election. The Technical Room responded to the queries of the analysts promptly. The Situation Room became an important storehouse of information on the two sets of elections. The team had rich flow of information to make fruitful interventions that helped to overcome some of the doubts and fears that surrounded the conduct of the elections. Elections in Nigeria can be highly emotional and requires meaningful interventions to help the Election Management Body, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to achieve the goal of giving the country a more credible election. This is important in the light of the experiences that the country registered in previous elections, particularly in 2003 and The 1999 elections, with all their imperfections, were more acceptable than the subsequent ones organised after it until the recently concluded 2015 elections. The analysts in the Situation Room have been involved in several ways with the conduct of the elections since The experiences acquired from those elections became useful in analysing situations that arose and in proffering interventions that could move the process. With Professor L. A. Jinadu on the team of analysts, the team benefitted from his cerebral intellectual competence; the social and critical insights of Professor E. A. Alemika and Professor A. R. Mustapha s deft understanding of the politics of elections in Nigeria. It is worth restating the importance of information to the work of the analysts. The reports from the observer groups were useful in providing a picture of the events surrounding the elections and what tendencies were cropping up to undermine the process in particular parts of the country. This became significant decision inputs for suggesting what options ought to be explored to ensure that the situation was addressed. The Situation Room also benefitted from the data being generated by Content Aggregation System on Elections (CASE) and the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG). 8

15 The analysis of the elections as they proceeded made it possible for adjustments to be made by INEC, kept the Security agencies on the alert to maintain non-partisan disposition and provided the media with important issues that were brought to the attention of the public. The Situation Room was able to share its perspectives on the elections with international observer groups from the African Union (AU), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Western observer groups. The analytical viewpoints of the Situation Room helped to shed light on the understanding of the international observer groups giving them context that they could not have. The reports of the various international observer groups benefited from the insight analysis in the Situation Room. Perhaps, it was the quality of the analysis and insights that made some diplomats and head of funding organisations to look in with a view to benefiting from the analysis. Of course, we recognise that they were also monitoring to see that their funds were not wasted. It was a worthy service not just to the agencies charged with the conduct of the elections, but also to the larger Nigerian public giving them assurances that there was a group that was keeping vigilance on the elections and was issuing statements that enhanced their confidence in the elections. The analysis led to the issuance of statements that were credible and helped to ensure that the right things were done. Helping the internal observer groups to have a wider sense and understanding of issues in the conduct of the elections Expressing civil society feelings and positions on the observance of the rules and conduct of support agencies Sounding warnings on developments that could mar the integrity of the elections Putting government agencies and INEC including security personnel that they were being watched and their acts of omission or commission to compromise the process could lead to violence Promoting the transparency and integrity of the 2015 elections Interventions were helpful in improvements in the conduct of the governorship and state assembly elections after the Presidential and National assembly elections 9

16 REPORT ON MY PARTICIPATION IN THE CIVIL SOCIETY SITUATION ROOM MONITORING THE 2015 FEDERAL AND STATE ELECTIONS IN NIGERIA, MARCH APRIL 2015 by Professor Abdul Raufu Mustapha, Associate Professor of African Politics, University of Oxford INTRODUCTION: Nigeria held a series of watershed elections in March and April These elections had been postponed from February 2015 against the background of Boko Haram insurgency and widespread fears of political violence. Many national and international organizations monitored the elections, including the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, made up of many civil society organizations with members and observers deployed at many locations across the country. The Situation Room was divided into two sections: the technical section with about 25 operatives tasked with keeping in constant touch with the monitors deployed in the field and passing on their observations to the second section of the Situation Room, the Analysts section. The Analysts section was made up of about 30 members of various civil society groups drawn from across the country. The efforts of the civil society analysts were supported by a number of academic analysts. I was privileged to be one of the academic analysts. The Situation Room also had a press consultant for the management of the media outreach. ACTIVITIES: I reported to the Situation Room on Thursday 26th March, in preparation for the 28th March 2015 Presidential and National Assembly elections. On Wednesday 1st April 2015, I travelled to Ilorin in Kwara State to study state level dynamics in the electoral process. I returned to the Situation Room in Abuja on Friday 10th April to monitor the state-level elections across the country and was there till Tuesday 14th April During its sittings, the Situation Room met to review upcoming events and map out possible scenarios in advance of the events themselves. Relevant data for analyses are noted down for ease of subsequent access. Gaps in the available data are also noted and where necessary, efforts are made to fill in such gaps. Discussions in the Situation Room were free and open, and where necessary, contacts were frequently made with other relevant organizations, for example with INEC officials and the Police, to clarify whatever observations were coming from the civil society activists deployed in the field. There was also a constant monitoring of 10

17 the print and electronic media, with many members of the Situation Room giving interviews on the evolving situation. On 28th March 2015, I took part in a Situation Room delegation that observed the voting in some surrounding towns in Abuja, Dei-Dei, and Zuba. This delegation toured these communities from about 7am till 2pm. That experience was a useful context for evaluating and interpreting the subsequent reports received from other observers in the field. Another activity of the Situation Room worthy of note was the close collaboration with other observer groups. In particular, there was a mutually reinforcing collaboration with Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) s Quick Count which aimed to verify the reliability of officially released results using a parallel vote tabulation system, and the Content Aggregation System for Elections (CASE), which used numerous open sources and its contingent of monitors to collate data on election-related incidents. The fact that both Quick Count and CASE were located in the same hotel complex with the Situation Room allowed for easy and very useful contact between the three groups. Through contact with both groups, the Situation Room could gauge how its readings of the evolving situation related to similar readings from these two groups, using their own particular observation methods. Another important dimension of the work of the Situation Room was the frequent meetings with various local and international organizations The Women s Situation Room, the AU Observer Mission, the delegation of the British High Commissioner to mention a few. These meetings with numerous diplomatic missions made possible the sharing of ideas and perspectives on the evolving situation. It also highlights the influence of the Situation Room. The final, and possibly the most important part of the work of the Situation Room, was the periodic release of reports and alerts. These positions were decided after a very open and democratic debating process and the drafting of the papers were open to contributions from all present. Where points were not clear, contacts were often established with officials of INEC or the Police, or with observers in the field. In my view, these interventions by the Situation Room were extremely important in the successful and relatively non-violent conclusion of the elections. These reports and alerts along with the final report also serve the important purpose of pointing to the weak points of the Nigerian electoral system which need attention in the future. 11

18 Having learnt a lot from this process, I have come to realize how crucial it is for the integrity of the entire electoral system. Observations: 1. The Civil Society Situation Room is an important institution for monitoring and supporting the evolution of the electoral process in Nigeria. As recently stated by Professor Attahiru Jega, the Chairman of INEC, civil society has a crucial role to play in sustaining and expanding the reforms of Nigeria s electoral system. Within this important context, the Situation Room is a vital coordinating instrument for civil society groups and an important mechanism for feeding this coordinated input into the electoral process in a constructive manner. 2. I was extremely impressed by the synergies and collaboration between the Situation Room, Quick Count, and CASE. In future, efforts should be made to continue such close collaborations. 3. The quick and easy access to INEC and the Police also meant that facts could be checked quickly and erroneous interpretations avoided. This also needs to be integrated into future designs of the Situation Room. 4. Finally, it was useful to receive many foreign delegations at the Situation Room. While this enhanced the visibility and reach of the Situation Room, it also needs to be better managed as too frequent visitations had the effect of diverting attention from the main task monitoring what was going on in the electoral process. 12

19 NIGERIA CIVIL SOCIETY SITUATION ROOM & THE 2015 GENERAL ELECTIONS byprof L. Adele Jinadu, Babcock University, Ogun State A This is an account of my participation as an Analyst in the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, convened in Abuja to cover the 2015 Nigerian General Elections, held on March 28, 2015 (Presidential and National Assembly) and on April 11, 2015 (Governorship and House of Assembly). The Civil Society Situation Room for the 2015 General Elections was composed out of a broadbased group of civil society stakeholders, drawn from civil society organizations, professional groups, and academia, whose common bond was their commitment to the consolidation of the democratization process in the country, of which protecting the integrity of electoral governance in the country was a core dimension B Pre-Election Activities of the Situation Room The Situation Room s coverage of the general elections was preceded by a background study of the pre-election political and socioeconomic environment undertaken and provided by the Situation Room. The study offered a useful overview of the context against which to situate the 2015 General Elections. While the background study highlighted the positive dimensions of the environment for the successful conduct of the elections and what must be done to take the most profitable advantage of them, it also indicated foreboding signposts, which required immediate action to tackle them, if they were not to pose dangers to and erode the integrity of the electoral process and the conduct of the elections. An important contribution of the Situation Room in this respect was in providing important data to 13

20 complement, inform, and guide the preparations of critical stakeholders such as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and others in the public and private sectors and in the civil society for the elections. This also provided the opportunity for strengthening the cooperation among the stakeholders and the framework for mapping the way towards the success of the elections. My own assessment is that this pre-election work of the Situation Room turned out to be a significant anchor for sustaining the mutual and reciprocal trust, which has characterized the relationship between the Situation Room, CLEEN Foundation and CASE 2015, among other civil society organizations on the one hand, and INEC, on the other hand, in recent years. This trust was clear to me in the way in which both the staff of Civil Society Situation Room and INEC worked together in providing useful information to one another to aid the work of the Situation Room analysts and INEC staff. In fact, INEC readily acceded to the request of the Situation Room for briefings by INEC senior staff in the days immediately before, during and after the convening of the Situation Room. C Inauguration and Activities of the 2015 General Elections Civil Society Situation Room The coverage of the 2015 General Elections by the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room was inaugurated by the Chairman of INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega. This was an indication of the respect Professor Jega has for the Situation Room and of the critical role of the Situation Room as a worthy partner of INEC. It underscores the need to nurture the partner. Following the inauguration, the Situation Room, engaged in healthy and robust debate on 2015 elections-related matters and developments in the period immediately preceding the elections. The debate set the pace for the analysis of the unfolding developments on the election days (March 25, 2015 and April 11, 2015) and of projections of likely outcomes and post-election developments. The debate and the analysis that flowed from it was greatly enhanced by the useful and timely field reports filed by the Situation Room field staff and from the Situation Room s own network of information sharing with other CSOs and INEC. 14

21 On a number of occasions, members of the senior technical advisory staff of INEC were invited to shed light on a number of unfolding developments on Election Day, while the Situation Room itself sent its members and staff to ferret out information that would throw light on critical electionday developments, from the INEC National Headquarters. The Situation Room analysts also paid visits to other situations rooms to exchange ideas and share experiences with, and lessons from them, the more to deepen its own work, as well as theirs. No less an indication of the premium placed on the role of the Situation Room was the high profile visits it received from an endless stream of Nigerian, international observers and heads of diplomatic missions and international organizations in Abuja, who were reassured by the activities of the Situation Room in not only covering the elections well but also providing an oversight of the electoral process to promote, protect and ensure the integrity of the elections. Notable among such high profile visits were the ones led by the Leader of the African Union Observer Team and former President of the Republic of Liberia, Professor Amos Sawyer, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, and the leadership of the Eminent Women Situation Room. Another important aspect of the work of the Situation Room was the daily statements it released through the electronic and mass media to the general public on the conduct of the national and state general elections, highlighting bright spots as well as problems arising out of the elections. The statements constitute a rich vein of information, waiting to be mined by those who would undertake a study of the 2015 general elections. Little wonder the statements were wellreceived as objective, critical and independent assessments of the conduct of the elections; so much so that the general public eagerly awaited their release. D Recommendations: Looking towards the future There is much room for improvement and consolidation of the remarkable work of the Civil Society Situation. It has shown promise as a democracy-promoting institution, whose strength lies in providing an institutional framework for an informal oversight of a key mechanism for sustaining democracy in the country competitive party and electoral politics. In moving forward and building on its experience with the 2015 general elections the Civil Society Situation Room should consider: 15

22 (a) A post-2015 general elections workshop to conduct in-depth analysis of various aspects of the elections to learn lessons and generate policy options on what now needs to be done to move the Situation Room ahead, including redefinition of the idea the vision, mission and objectives-- of the Situation Room as a democracy-promoting institution, whose mandate goes beyond elections to a concern with the political economy of elections and the cultural basis of democracy in the country; (c) Publication of a compendium on the 2015 General Elections; and (d) Publication of an Annual Survey of electoral governance in the country. (b) Deepening, through institutionalization, of the relationship between the Situation Room and INEC, particularly the Electoral Institute of INEC; 16

23 OBSERVATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ON CIVIL SOCIETY ELECTION SITUATION ROOM: 2015 by Etannibi Alemika, Ph.D., University of Jos, Chair CLEEN Foundation Board of Directors BACKGROUND The Civil Society Situation Room was conceived and introduced shortly before the 2011 General Elections in Nigeria. Its first election situation room activities took place during the 2011 election. The organisation is a network of several civil society organisations in the country. During the 2011 general elections it established partnership with the Independent National Electoral Commission which enabled it to draw the attention of the Commission to inadequacies in the field for immediate intervention, where possible. The activities of the Situation Room have expanded since the 2011 general elections. It has widened its partnership and commenced its study and observation of the electoral process long before the actual general elections in March and April This enhanced its contribution to the election process. SITUATION ROOM DURING THE 2015 GENERAL ELECTIONS Prior to the general election, the Situation Room convened several meeting to assess the preparation of INEC; identified likely hitches and advised the Commission. It also issued public statements to address specific issues, especially during the controversy over the postponement of the elections in February The planning for the 2015 elections was effective. The location of the Situation Room in Transcorp Hotel was very strategic and enabled it to relate with many significant groups, including receiving and briefing many foreign observer groups and diplomats. ACTIVITIES OF THE CIVIL SOCIETY ELECTION SITUATION ROOM The national and state elections were held on March 28, 2015 and April 11, The Situation Room convened for the two elections as follow: a. The national elections {for the election of the President, members of the Senate and House of Representative} from March 2015; b. The state elections {for the election of governors and members of the Houses of Assembly in the States} from 9 13 April The Situation Room opened on 25 March 2015 with a press briefing covered by both domestic and the international press. During the event, the Situation Room was declared open for activities by the Chairman of the INEC, Prof. Atahiru Jega. The activities of the Situation Room were carried out by two groups that worked seamlessly. These were the technical and analyst groups. The technical group, comprising energetic and creative young men and women, was responsible for making contacts with and obtaining information from observers deployed by the Situation Room and those of the partner groups. 17

24 It received reports from the field, verified them from multiple channels. The verified reports are passed on to the analyst group for discussion, interpretation and any required intervention. The technical group also responded to calls from observers and voters requesting intervention to ensure that certain problems in their constituencies or polling units are resolved. After verification of reports, the technical group also passed the information to the analyst group. The analyst group comprised professionals, including academics and legal practitioners, with considerable experience in civil society and elections. The major activities of the analyst group were as follows: a. Used their contacts at different levels of society to obtain relevant information on the preparedness and threats to the election from different parts of the country; b. Shared information obtained from contacts with other members of the analyst group for verification from multiple sources c. Verified information that pose threat to the election in any place are forwarded to INEC at the National Headquarters or in the field and to other relevant organisations for their interventions; d. Analysed and discussed information received from the field through the technical group and took appropriate actions e. Issued press statements and organised briefings to (i) draw attention to inadequacies or threats and made recommendations or (ii) supported and encouraged efforts by voters, groups and agencies to ensure peaceful and credible elections f. Received and briefed members of foreign observer groups and diplomats; g. Visited and shared information with domestic and foreign observer groups. RECOMMENDATIONS 1. The approach and planning were very effective and should be maintained in future elections 2. In addition to access to observers deployed by partners, the Situation Room should directly deploy four observers per state one in each senatorial district and one in the state headquarters. The pros and cons of using people resident in the states should be considered. Whichever option is adopted, the observers should be collectively briefed and provided template for filing reports before deployment 3. The Situation Room should raise or mobilise fund to enable it produce an annual situation of democracy and human security in Nigeria. This will connect its election year activities with on-going observation and monitoring of issues pertaining to elections, governance and human security. The responsibility for measuring specific issues may be shared among partners. For example funding for two staff working 40 hours may be raised. The fund may be shared among 7 partner groups to cover staff time for ten hour per week to monitor assigned indicators. These will add up to 70 hours per week. The remaining 10 hours per week fees may be saved or accumulated to hire consultants to produce quarterly and yearly reports. My participation was fulfilling and I thank the Convener and his Executive for the opportunity to be part of the process in 2011 and

25 STATEMENTS ISSUED BY THE NIGERIA CIVIL SOCIETY SITUATION ROOM DURING THE 2015 GENERAL ELECTIONS: STATEMENT BY THE NIGERIA CIVIL SOCIETY SITUATION ROOM ON THE CONDUCT OF SECURITY AGENCIES DURING ELECTIONS ISSUED 26TH MARCH 2015 Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room urges the Nigerian military and other security and law enforcement agencies to be mindful that global attention is focused on Nigeria at this critical point of the country s democratic process. All military and security agencies must refrain from sending wrong signals that may suggest attempts to muscle the media from reporting the elections. These agencies should also refrain from any action, direct or indirect, that would impinge on the rights of voters, observers and the media. In this regard, the Situation Room is concerned about the recent report that the military has confined two Al- Jazeera journalists, Ahmed Idris and Ali Mustapha, to their hotel rooms in Maiduguri on the pretext that they were loitering around areas of the on-going military operations in North East Nigeria. The military reportedly claimed that the two journalists were interfering with the ongoing military operations in those areas. The Situation Room calls on military authorities to immediately release the two Al-Jazeera journalists. The military and all other security agencies should recognize that the media, both national and international, must be allowed to undertake their reportorial responsibilities unimpeded. The ability of the media to cover the electoral process without intimidation or any other form of restriction is critical to the conduct of transparent and credible elections in Nigeria. The Situation Room wishes to remind the military authorities that Nigeria has ratified a number of international and regional instruments protecting freedom of expression and media rights, which is also contained in the 1999 Constitution (as amended). The Situation Room wishes to reassure the public that it is keeping a keen eye on every aspect of the electoral process to forestall any attempt at undermining the integrity of the process. The members of the public are requested to be vigilant, orderly and peaceful to ensure successful elections in Nigeria. 19

26 NIGERIA CIVIL SOCIETY SITUATION ROOM WELCOMES THE REAFFIRMATION OF THE PEACE ACCORD Issued 27th March 2015 The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room opened its election observation and analysis of the 2015 general elections with a statement welcoming the Peace Accord, signed by the Presidential Candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), President Goodluck Jonathan and the All Progressives Congress (APC), Major-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari by the National Peace Committee, headed by former military Head of State, Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar, less than 48 hours to the presidential and National Assembly election on Saturday, is timely. It is our hope that this latest Peace Accord reassures the country that political parties will refrain from mobilising groups to violently disrupt the elections. Reports suggest that organised violence, which are linked to the two leading political parties, have been engaged to cause mayhem in the country if the presidential candidate of their party loses at the polls. The Situation Room believes that the new peace accord, coming after the first, signed by 14 political parties fielding candidates for the presidential poll in January, will reassure Nigerians that the parties and their presidential candidates are not involved in these rumoured plans to disrupt the elections. It therefore urges Nigerians, who are in the habit of spreading rumours through the social media and other means of communication, to stop such unpatriotic act and calls on all eligible voters to ignore the rumours and go out en masse to freely cast their votes for the candidates of their choice. The Situation Room is also concerned by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) delay in distributing cards to all accredited domestic and foreign observers, including journalists to enable them observe the polls across the country. It notes the importance of election observation in the conduct of elections in a democratic country like Nigeria and urges INEC to provide the accreditation cards to these observers without further delay to enable them monitor the polls. The Situation Room demands that security agencies should protect the rights of citizens, especially the voters and cooperate with other stakeholders to ensure free, fair and credible elections. 20

27 STATEMENT BY THE NIGERIA CIVIL SOCIETY SITUATION ROOM ON THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE 2015 PRESIDENTIAL AND NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS - Issued 28th MARCH 2015 INTRODUCTION Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room welcomes the commencement of Nigeria s Presidential and National Assembly elections 2015, after a six-week postponement. It is of vital importance that all stages of the elections be conducted in a manner that will not only confer legitimacy on the elections but also generate confidence in the elections among the electorate. In this regard we wish to draw urgent attention to four areas of challenges: (1) late arrival of officials and election materials; (2) the process of accreditation; (3) logistical lapses; and (4) isolated security incidences. LATE ARRIVAL OF OFFICIALS AND ELECTION MATERIALS The Situation Room observes that logistics were a challenge in a number of places leading to relative late arrival of officials and election materials. Overall, there was delayed and slow commencement of the accreditation process. Accreditation process Accreditation of voters commenced in many polling stations, with minimum challenges. However, in some polling stations the accreditation process was delayed by difficulties in verification of voters using the card readers. LOGISTICAL LAPSES The Situation Room notes serious lapses leading to the postponement of elections into all of the 11 House of Representatives Constituencies in Jigawa State and one similar Constituency in Edo State, and the rescheduling of the elections already in progress in one local government area in Imo State. 21

28 SECURITY INCIDENTS The Situation Room received reports of numerous incidents of security breaches some of which involved a measure of violence leading to deaths. The Situation Room calls on the public to remain patient and maintain their high level of commitment to participate the electoral process. We urge them to remain orderly and law abiding and to refrain from any actions that may further challenge the electoral process. We urge the public to cooperate with the relevant authorities and to report any action capable of undermining the electoral process to the appropriate authorities and civic organizations. The Situation Room appeals to the security agencies to take measures to ensure that the electoral process proceed smoothly, and to do this with restraint. We expect the security officials to do their work within the ambit of the law and without bias. The Situation Room calls on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to commence immediate steps to rectify all operational and logistics lapses identified, and where elections have been postponed, these lapses should not be allowed to recur. We urge INEC and its staff to maintain the highest standards of professionalism in the conduct of the remaining parts of the general elections. 22

29 NIGERIA CIVIL SOCIETY SITUATION ROOM PRELIMINARY STATEMENT ON THE CONDUCT OF THE 2015 PRESIDENTIAL AND NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS ON 28 MARCH Issued 29th March 2015 INTRODUCTION Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room commends the dedication and orderliness of Nigerians during the Presidential and National Assembly elections held on 28 March The diligence and sacrifice of Nigerians during the elections is a reflection and testimony of their deep commitment to democratic governance. We commend the courage of voters in Gombe state who persisted in participating in the election despite the terrorist attack. The Situation Room notes that the voters endured severe difficulties during the elections as a result of several operational and logistical lapses by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). In this regard, the Situation Room wishes to draw urgent attention to three critical areas of challenges: (1) late commencement of elections; (2) challenges with accreditation process; (3) performance of the security agencies; (4) use of social media. LATE COMMENCEMENT OF ELECTIONS The Situation Room considers as unacceptable the inability of INEC to deploy its officials and election materials on time to allow for a timely commencement of polls. Reports received by the Situation Room indicate that officials and materials did not reach significant number of polling stations by the time of poll opening. This delayed accreditation and voting led to continuation of polls till late into the night in many places. INEC s delays in commencement and closing of polls subjected the voters, some of whom arrived very early at the polling stations, to untoward experiences. The Situation Room insists that the experience of late commencement of polling will not recur and that INEC will not stretch the patience of the Nigerian voter beyond tolerable level in future elections. CHALLENGES WITH ACCREDITATION PROCESS The Situation Room fully supports the transition from manual to biometric accreditation of voters introduced by INEC. However, we are concerned by reports of challenges with the accreditation process resulting in the suspension of the use of card readers and reversal to manual accreditation. This failure has undermined the full benefit anticipated by the use of biometric technology and imposed unnecessary hardship on Nigerians. 23

30 We call on INEC to make clear what guidelines will govern the accreditation process during the 11 April 2015 elections. We urge the Commission to make a clear and definitive statement on these elections taken into account needs to correct its own deficiencies and inform the Nigerian public as to what to expect. We also call on INEC to intensify its outreach to the public providing full information on situations as they develop and guidelines for the conduct of the remaining aspects of the elections. PERFORMANCE OF SECURITY AGENCIES The Situation Room is deeply concerned about the reports of interference in the electoral process in some states, especially Rivers and Imo States. Also, reports of failure by security agencies to prevent havoc by non-state groups in some polling units were received. These developments raise concern that the collation of results may be compromised if appropriate actions are not taken to safeguard the credibility of the exercise. We appeal to political parties and politicians to exercise restraint and desist from the use of violence in the electoral process. We urge the security agencies and officials to conduct themselves according to established standards of professional conduct. USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA The Situation Room notes with deep concern the growing use of hate and dangerous speech in the social media. At a time when INEC is carrying out the delicate task of collation of results, unrestrained comments and spread of hate in the social media can only trigger needless tension and anxiety across the country. We urge Nigerians to exercise restraint in their comments and desist from making comments that are capable of creating disaffection. We wish to reiterate that individuals who by their comments trigger violence or unrest will be held accountable. CONCLUSION The Situation Room calls on the public to remain patient and maintain a high level of commitment to participating in the remaining aspects of the electoral process. We urge all Nigerians to remain orderly and law abiding and to refrain from any actions that may further challenge the electoral process. We urge the public to cooperate with the relevant authorities and to report any action capable of undermining the electoral process to the appropriate authorities and civic organizations. 24

31 SITUATION ROOM WARNS AGAINST FIDDLING WITH COLLATION Issued: Monday, 30 March 2015 Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room is deeply concerned by reports of attempts across several states of the country to undermine the integrity of the collation of votes and outcome of the Presidential and National Assembly elections held on 28 March The Situation Room received disturbing reports that politicians are attempting to use national security apparatuses are to fiddle with the election collation process and pass off results that undermine the credibility of the elections and the sacrifice of millions of Nigerians, who against all odds trooped out to cast their votes on 28 March. INEC The Situation Room calls on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that results that are announced reflect the true outcome of the votes cast by the Nigerian people. Given the many concerns that have been raised and the investments that have been made towards the conduct of the 2015 general elections, INEC must ensure that its laudable efforts are not marred by a failure or abuse of the collation process and that all announced results are accurate and reflect the will of the Nigerian people. POLITICIANS The Situation Room is disappointed at the actions of politicians who are bent on plunging the country into chaos to achieve desperate political ends. Reported electoral fraud being sought to be perpetuated by political forces and security personnel negate the spirit of the Abuja Peace Accord voluntarily signed by the presidential candidates of the political parties, and threaten the peace and stability of the Nigerian nation. SECURITY AGENCIES The Situation Room calls on security personnel to note that they will be held to account and pursued for prosecution under various national and international laws if they undermine the elections. 25

32 CITIZENS Situation Room calls on Nigerians to be vigilant at this critical time of our national history and defend the course of democracy. INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY Situation Room also calls on the international community to support the Nigerian people in defence of our right to democratically elect our leaders, without political subversion by politicians. Situation Room urges the international community to exert every effort in assisting the Nigerian people to hold political actors to account. Where necessary, needed sanctions should be activated and targeted against specific political actors and officials for their action in instigating crisis in Nigeria. 26

33 GRAVE CONCERNS ABOUT JEGA S SAFETY Issued 31st March 2015 The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room has received disturbing reports of the security details of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Attahiru Jega, being withdrawn in the last few minutes at the venue of the announcement of the collated results of the Presidential elections. Our reports also include a fear that the Chairman of the Commission may be abducted at this venue. Situation Room is calling on President Goodluck Jonathan to take immediate steps to guarantee the security and safety of the Chairman of INEC, Prof Attahiru Jega, all of the National Commissioners and staff of the Commission currently carrying out the national duty of announcing results of the elections. We call on all Nigerians to be calm and peaceful as Professor Jega has demonstrated in his conduct of proceedings this morning. 27

34 SITUATION ROOM CONGRATULATES NIGERIANS, BUHARI ON PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS - Issued April 1st 2015 The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room congratulates the Nigerian people for turning out to vote during Nigeria s national elections held on 28th March 2015, which produced Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) as President-elect. The election represents a victory for democracy and the right of the people of Nigeria to determine who rules them. The Nigerian people showed a determination to exercise their democratic right despite several logistical challenges, delays and attempts by some politicians to frustrate the process. Situation Room also congratulates the President-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and urges him to chart the course of steering Nigeria away from its present economic and political crisis and on to the path of recovery. The President-elect will be assuming office against a background of several challenges, including socio-economic downturn, rising poverty, insecurity and insurgency, unprecedented corruption and declining infrastructure. The President-elect should take steps to re-unify the country and heal the wounds of a very divisive campaign largely fought along ethnic, religious and regional lines. We urge President-elect Buhari, to work for the common good of all of the Nigerian people, especially the poor and vulnerable sectors of the population. Civic groups will continue its work in defence of the democratic and human rights of all Nigerians and will hold the in-coming government to account, in line with constitutionally guaranteed rights entrenched under our laws and internationally recognized standards of good governance. Situation Room commends the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for conducting a credible election despite the challenges encountered. As INEC prepares to conduct the April 11 Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections, Situation Room calls on INEC to take adequate steps to rectify the anomalies and issues associated with the card readers which should be used for the April 11 elections. The use of PVCs and card readers will need to be implemented in a more effective manner to ensure credible state level elections on April 11. Situation Room also commends the Nigeria Police for their role in ensuring the peaceful and orderly conduct of the elections. As we approach the April 11 elections, all arms of the security services must work professionally and in a non-partisan manner to ensure the peaceful conduct of the elections 28

35 Situation Room congratulates President Goodluck Jonathan for his statesmanship in conceding defeat and congratulating President-elect Muhammadu Buhari. In the days ahead and leading up to the final set of elections on April 11, the Situation Room urges all Nigerians and political actors to continue to be restrained and ensure that there is no violence and that peace and calm prevails in the country. 29

36 SITUATION ROOM CONDEMNS OBA OF LAGOS S HATE SPEECH Issued 7th April 2015 The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room condemns the statement made by Oba of Lagos, Mr Rilwan Akiolu threatening Ibos in the State who may vote against his preferred candidate in the forthcoming April 11 State-level elections. The Oba s statement offends the constitutionally guaranteed rights of every citizen to vote for candidates of their choice in elections. His statement also constitutes an electoral offence as it constitutes threats of violence. In addition, it constitutes hate speech likely to provoke mass crimes in violation of international human rights laws. Situation Room calls on the Oba of Lagos to immediately withdraw his statement, apologise for his hate speech and reiterate his respect for the right of all Nigerian citizens to freely and democratically express themselves in the State level elections on April

37 SITUATION ROOM STATEMENT ON GUBERNATORIAL AND STATE HOUSES OF ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS Issued: Saturday, 11th April 2015 The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room is observing the State-level elections for the Governorships and the State Houses of Assembly. The successful conclusion of these elections is crucial to the consolidation of democracy in the country and should complement the already concluded Presidential and National Assembly elections on March 28th Reports reaching the Situation Room indicate that electoral officials arrived on time in most parts of the country. Commencement of accreditation also started on time. The Situation Room notes a number of issues of serious concern as the current elections unfold: PROCESS VIOLATION: We note that in many polling units, INEC s electoral regulations were being flagrantly flouted. In most polling units, accreditation started on time. In Akwa Ibom State, there are reports of the accreditation of voters without valid PVCs. In Wadata Polling Unit (011) in Taraba State, voting commenced without accreditation, while in Rogo Ward in the same State, accreditation and voting are taking place simultaneously. In Nasarawa State, there are reports of the inability of INEC ad hoc staff to operate the card readers. In a limited number of polling units, we have also received reports of mass ballot thumb printing, attempts to bribe electoral officials, and the use of security officials to subvert the electoral process. DEATHS & VIOLENCE: We have reports of election-related murders in Lagos, Delta, Rivers, Ebonyi, Katsina, and Akwa Ibom States. These killings form part of a wider pattern of politically-motivated violence, arson, and hijacking of electoral materials that our observers have noted. The resort to violence may not be unrelated to the higher interests at stake in these State level elections. In Owerri North of Imo State, there are reports of rival party clashes and violence. 31

38 GENERAL: We are concerned in particular about the deteriorating situation, such as the increasing use of violence in Imo, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Lagos, and southern Kaduna States. We call on INEC to redouble its efforts at protecting the integrity of the electoral process by upholding its regulations. Where failures are established we call on INEC to seriously consider cancelling results from the affected polling units. We call on the security forces to uphold their professional ethics, avoid partisanship, and protect lives and property. We call on all Nigerians to take advantage of these elections to choose leaders of their choice to conduct affairs in the states. We urge everyone to resist efforts at inflaming local passions with a view to instigating violence or perverting the electoral process. The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, after observing the State-level elections for the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly, which held on Saturday, 11th April 2015, makes the following statement: The Situation Room acknowledges and commends the significant improvements in the electoral process made by INEC. In the main, the elections went well across the country, notably with about 90% of polling stations opening on time and the Card Readers operating with minimal hitches. Turn out at the poll was however largely low. 32

39 SITUATION ROOM FINAL STATEMENT ON THE GUBERNATORIAL AND STATE HOUSES OF ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS Issued: Monday, 13th April 2015 Situation Room wishes to draw attention to the following concerns and reservations as observed during the elections, which raise issues about the credibility of the elections in some States. Information obtained from our networks of field observers and partners indicate the following: Numerous cases of electoral misconduct disorderly conduct at polling units in Akwa Ibom (10 reports received), Katsina (17) and Sokoto (18); Many cases of process violations in Sokoto (15 reports received), Adamawa (6), Delta (7) and Katsina States (9); Polling logistics problems in Akwa Ibom (14), Delta (9), Katsina (8), Rivers (11), Adamawa (6) and Sokoto (12) States; Cases of election related violence in Akwa Ibom (18), Abia (9), Anambra (7), Delta (9), Imo (6), Rivers (16), Benue (6), Katsina (17), Sokoto (17) and Kano States (7); Killings in Rivers State where seven people (including a police officer) were killed as well as in Akwa Ibom (3), Delta (2), Katsina (2). Situation Room is further concerned about the overall conduct of the elections in Rivers and Akwa Ibom States, where there are good grounds to question the credibility of the elections results in both States. In Rivers State, historically deep-rooted political animosities played out in a brazen, violent and naked manner to subvert the electoral process in many local governments in the State. In Akwa Ibom there were also serious questions about the veracity of the results because of reports of active and direct partisan interference with the elections. There are also concerns about Abia State, which recorded multiple cases of electoral misconduct. We note that INEC has had to cancel elections in polling units in some States because of election-related violence and other irregularities; while in others it has commenced investigations. The Situation Room hereby calls on INEC to urgently take steps to clinically scrutinise the final collated results from these three States (Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Abia) against the polling unit results and make a reasoned judgment about them. 33

40 In our view INEC should concern itself with possible negative public perceptions of the elections in the three States and ensure that it takes every necessary step to protect the integrity of the elections in the States, as a way of strengthening the trust of the electorate in the voting process. The Situation Room also notes and condemns in the strongest terms the leading role played by prominent public political officeholders and other politicians as well as some INEC officials in encouraging and actively taking part in organized misconduct and disorderly behaviour that violated the sanctity of the electoral process and calls that action be taken to investigate their activities with a view to prosecuting and sanctioning them, if found culpable, under the law. In addition, Situation Room is concerned about the weak oversight powers of the national headquarters of INEC over Resident Electoral Commissioners and State INEC offices in the management and conduct of elections. This makes it easy for compromised RECs and other State level INEC officers to undermine the credibility of the election sometimes with reckless impunity. The Situation Room congratulates the Nigerian electorate for the collective determination to further improve our elections by turning out in their numbers to exercise their all-important franchise, thus proving themselves to be the real winners of these elections. We further appeal to Nigerians to remain vigilant and protective of their democratic rights and feel free to cast their votes at every election. 34

41 35

42 PLAC hosts the secretariat of Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room and is a member of its steering committee. The Situation Room provides a coordinating platform for civil society engagement on governance issues. It is also a platform for information sharing among civil society groups working on elections and topical national issues. It intervenes in the electoral process by promoting collaboration, proactive advocacy, and rapid response to crises in the electoral process. The Situation Room provides a forum for advance planning, scenario building, evidence based analysis, constructive engagement with various stakeholders in the electoral process and observation of elections. 36

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