Monday, 19 September 2016

CLEEN Foundation Holds a Tweetmeet towards Fostering Citizens’ Support for the War against Corruption in Nigeria

The CLEEN  Foundation   (formerly known as Centre for Law Enforcement  Education)  is a non-governmental organization  established  in January  1998 with the mission  of promoting  public safety, security and accessible justice through the strategies of empirical research, legislative advocacy, demonstration programmes and publications, in partnership with government, civil society and the private sector.

Since December  2013, CLEEN Foundation  is leading the implementation  of the Accountable  Governance  for Justice  and  Security  (AGJS)  project  in Nigeria  as part of a consortium  led by Partners for Democratic  Change (Partners), a global organization   with  over  25  years  experience   at  the  forefront   of  civil  society capacity building and good governance promotion. Other members of the consortium are Campaign for Good Governance (CGG) in Sierra Leone, Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) and BudgIT also in Nigeria. The project aims at building more accountable institutions in both Sierra Leone and Nigeria by enhancing institutional transparency and preventing impunity for those who engage in corruption and transnational organized crime (TOC).

As a civil   society   organization    at   forefront   of   justice   sector   reforms,   the CLEEN Foundation as an integral part of its workplan on the AccessNG Project is currently implementing town hall meetings across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria and airing radio program on Kapital FM, Abuja with a view to educate and sensitize the members of the public on strategic outlets through which they can engage in the fight against corruption in Nigeria. These program activities are featuring leading anti-graft agencies and other non-state actors involved in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

Therefore, CLEEN Foundation has proposed to facilitate similar meeting to reach the Nigerian citizens within the online community. This step was born out of our conviction that the anti-graft agencies have two different publics to engage. That is, the virtual and offline communities. We believe this strategic engagement between the anti-graft agencies (EFCC & ICPC) and Nigerian citizens will greatly enhance the understanding of citizens on the work of the Commissions. This meeting is also expected to offer a mixed perspective and provide awareness on how the citizens can collaborate with the anti-graft agencies to report incidences of corruption. The detail of the program is thus provided:

Through this sustained efforts across Nigeria, the CLEEN Foundation hopes to stimulate citizens’ engagement, open government conversation and generate crosscutting   ideas   to   check   corrupt   practices   within   government institutions in Nigeria.
The program schedule is thus provided:

Date: Tuesday, 20/09/2016

Guests: EFCC & ICPC

Time: 2:00 – 3:00 pm

Venue: twitter.com (@officialefcc, @ICPC_PE, @cleenfoundation, #AccessNG)



Thursday, 15 September 2016

Advertisement of vacancy for the post of Director of Programmes at CLEEN Foundation

The CLEEN Foundation is a non-government organisation that promotes public safety, security and accessible justice, through empirical research, legislative advocacy, demonstration programs and publications in partnership with government, business and civil society.

We seek to recruit highly resourceful and result oriented and dependable individual for the position of:

Job Title: Director of Programmes

Location:
 Abuja

Job Description
  • The successful candidate will report to the Executive Director and lead on Project development, fundraising and program management for the entire organization.
Qualifications and Requirements
  • Advanced degree in Social Sciences, Humanities, Law or related fields with strong social research background
  • Minimum of five years of management level experience in the non-profit sector, especially in an academic institution, policy think-tank, NGO or related organization.
  • Proven project development, fund raising and program management skills
  • Familiarity with the literature and contemporary issues in plural policing, criminal justice reform or security sector governance
  • Demonstrable team-oriented personality and strong leadership skills
  • Ability to work well in an entrepreneurial, multicultural and multi-location organization
  • Ability to communicate dearly, respectfully and sensitively with colleagues, partners, beneficiaries and members of the public
  • Proficiency in Microsoft office and database management software
  • Expertise in the use of social media to communicate to different stakeholders
Application Closing Date
30th September 2016


How to Apply
Interested and qualified candidates should send their application letters and CV's to:
searchcommittee@cleen.org

Note: The CLEEN Foundation is an equal opportunity employer. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

ELECTION SECURITY THREAT ASSESSMENT: TOWARDS 2016 GOVERNORSHIP ELECTION IN EDO STATE

INTRODUCTION


As Edo State prepares for the gubernatorial election scheduled for September 10, 2016, the political atmosphere of the state is already charged ahead of the election that promises to be one of the most keenly contested in the history of the state. The tense political temperature is further heightened by the inflammatory utterances of the major candidates as well as reported cases of attacks and counter-attacks on their campaign convoys. In this analysis, the risk factors that may threaten public peace and security during and immediately after the election are examined as well how they can be checked or de-escalated. The preparations by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies are highlighted as well as recommendations on how to ensure a free, free and conclusive election in Edo State.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF EDO STATE


Edo State was created on August 27, 1991 when the military government led by General Ibrahim Babangida divided the former Bendel State into two separate states namely Edo and Delta states. Edo State occupies a land area of about 17,802 square kilometers and has a population of about four million with a density of 168 persons per square kilometre. The ancient Benin City is the capital of the state. Edo State shares borders with three other states – Ondo State to the west; Delta State to the south and east; and Kogi to the north. This strategic location of the state has over the years attracted a large migrant population from other regions of Nigeria.
The state has three senatorial districts (Edo South, Edo Central and Edo North); nine Federal House of Representative seats; and 24 House of Assembly seats. Of the three senatorial districts, Edo South has the largest populations (57.54 per cent) spread across seven local government areas (LGAs); followed by Edo North which has 25 per cent of the populations spread across six LGAs; and finally Edo Central Senatorial District which constitutes 17.14 per cent of the populations of the state and occupy five LGAs. The LGAs in each senatorial district are shown in the table below:

S/N
Senatorial District
LGAs
1.
Edo South Senatorial District
Egor, Orhionmwon, Ovia North-East, Ovia South-West, Ikpoba-Okha, Oredo, and Uhunmwode
2.
Edo North Senatorial District
Akoko-Edo, Etsako Central, Etsako East, Etsako West, Owan East, and Owan West
3.
Edo Central Senatorial District
Esan Central, Esan West, Esan South-East, Esan North-East, and Igueben

The three senatorial districts are also largely demarcated along the three major ethno-cultural lines of the state. While Edo South is predominantly made up of the Edo or Bini-speaking people; Edo North comprises mainly the Afemai people including Etsako (12.19 per cent), Owan (7.43 per cent), and Akoko-Edo (5.70 per cent); and Edo Cenral is largely composed of the Esan people. Regardless of these three broad ethno-cultural divisions, there are several minority ethnic groups in the state including the Ijaw, Itsekiri, Urhobo, Igbirra, Ika and Igbo. Though leading politicians have politicized and manipulated the ethnic differences among the groups over the years especially when agitating for state and locality creations, yet the people share enormous cultural similarities and linguistic affinities owing to their historical roots to the ancient Benin Kingdom.
But despite its huge human capital and cash crops production in the country, Edo State is largely underdeveloped when compared with several other states in the country. Even the existing infrastructures such as roads, public health facilities, schools, etc. which were built in the 1970s and 1980s by the governments of Samuel Ogbemudia and Ambrose Alli have been poorly maintained over the years. And some of the state-owned companies such as the Bendel Brewery have even been sold off. Thus, Edo State has a high level of unemployment and attendant criminal violence such as cultism, armed robbery and ransom kidnapping. The underdevelopments of the state and recent upsurge in social vices have been blamed generally on poor governance.

RELIGIOUS COMPOSITION


Perhaps due to its social and ethnic diversity, Edo State is multi-religious in nature. While Christianity is the dominant religion in Edo South and Edo Central Senatorial Districts, Islam is the main religion in Edo North due to some historical antecedents. Christianity was introduced to the Benin Kingdom in the 15th century by Portuguese missionaries whereas the Nupe warriors introduced Islam to Edo North in the twilight of the 19th century.
But besides these two dominant religions, Edo State also has large adherents of Traditional African Religion (ATR) especially among the Binis. In fact, ATR is the official religion of the Benin Traditional Council which is headed by the Oba (monarch) with the assistance of the Enogies (title holders). But despite its multi-religious character, Edo State enjoys a high degree of religious harmony because of the good mix of the adherents of the different faiths. This is a sharp contrast to the experience in some other parts of the country especially northern Nigeria where Christian-Muslim relations are characterized by mutual suspicion and incessant violence.

POLITICS OF EDO STATE         


Over the years, Edo State has acquired a reputation as one of the frontlines of competitive politics in Nigeria. In confirmation of this, power has largely rotated between leading political parties in the state since the 1950s. Even the creation of the Mid-West Region in 1963 was an outcome of this competitive power struggle. Following alleged marginalization of Edo and Delta people in the Western Region, the Mid West State Movement (MWSM) agitated for the creation of the Mid-West Region. But the Action Group (AG) party which controlled the government in the Western Region frustrated the quest for a separate region from its domain. To actualize their objective, the MWSM forged an alliance with the National Council of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC) which controlled the central government in the First Republic in coalition with the Northern People’s Party (NPP). In order to weaken the power of the AG which was the main opposition, the NPP-NCNC led national government granted the request of the MWSM and created the Mid-West Region in 1963. And since the NCNC had the largest number of seats in the House of Assembly, it formed the government.
However, power swung to the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) which grew out of the AG in the Second Republic. As a result, Prof. Ambrose Alli became the governor of Bendel State between 1979 and 1983.  But in the 1983 gubernatorial election, the opposition party defeated the UPN when Dr. Samuel Ogbemudia became governor under the National Party of Nigeria (NPN). In line with this historical power competition between leading political parties, Chief John Oyegun of the left leaning Social Democratic Party (SDP) defeated the Chief Lucky Igbinedion of the conservative National Republican Convention (NRC) in 1991 and became the governor of the newly created Edo State in the short-lived Third Republic.
But when the military disengaged from politics and Nigeria re-democratized in 1999, the right-leaning People’s Democratic Party (PDP) rode back to power in the state with Chief Lucky Igbinedion as governor. Even though the PDP secured a re-election in 2003, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) came to power in 2007 when Mr. Adams Oshiomhole (a former President of the Nigerian Labour Congress) was declared winner when the Court of Appeal affirmed the verdict of the Election Tribunal after the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Prof Oserhiemen Osunbor of the PDP winner and sworn in as governor 18 months earlier. With this development, Mr. Oshiomhole replaced Prof Osunbor as governor. Mr. Oshiomhole was re-elected as governor in 2012.  Also, the APC currently controls the House of Assembly with 18 seats against PDP’s six seats. However, at the federal level, the opposition party, the PDP controls two senatorial districts (Edo Central and Edo South) while APC, the ruling party controls Edo North.  In the House of Representatives, PDP controls five federal constituencies while the APC controls four. 

PARTIES AND CANDIDATES IN THE GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION


 A total of 19 parties have registered candidates for the 2016 gubernatorial election. The parties, candidates and their deputies are shown in the table below.


Contestants in Edo State 2016 Gubernatorial Election
S/N
Party
Gov. candidate
Deputy
1.
AA
Ishaka Paul Ofemilie
Ewemade Nancy Osagie
2.
ACD
Andrew Igwemoh
Osagie Egharevba Andrew
3.
ACPN
Cosmos Irabor
Frederick Parker Odegua
4.
APC
Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki
Philip Shaibu
5.
APGA
Onaiwu Osaze Osaro
Okpebholo Oyemen Gladys
6.
CPP
David Ewanlen Okoror
Ekhorotomwen Smile Uyi
7.
ID
Tobi Adeniyi
Ebolo Julius
8
KOWA
Thompson Osadolor
Florence Adaehomen Okundaye
9.
LP
Amos Osalumese Areloegbe
Jane Osagie
10.
MPPP
Oronsaye Richard
Omijie Ehinor
11.
NCP
Peters Osawaru Omoragbon
Ahmed Haruna
12.
NNPP
Ukonga Frank Onaivi
Emodogo Dorcas Eweha
13.
PDC
Akhalamhe Amiemenoghena
Aiyanyor Efosa Osarobo
14.
PDP
Ize-Iyamu Osagie Andrew
John Ehibhatoman Yakubu
15.
PPA
Thomas Emanesi Sadoh
Onaiwu Ogbeide
16.
PPN
Agol Tracy Ebun
Osayomore Clement Osazee
17.
SDP
Omorogieva Gbajumo
Isaac P.E. Ogona
18.
UPP
Adviser Shadrach Nowamagbe Ofogie
Okosun Davies Roseline
19.
YDP
Nurudeen Inwanfero
Dakpokpo Georgina
 Source:  INEC 2016
Despite the unprecedented large number of contestants, the election is largely a contest between the incumbent APC and the PDP based on analysis of the strength and resources available to the various parties. Thus, the profiles of the APC and PDP contestants are examined below.

Mr. Godwin Obaseki
Mr. Godwin Obaseki had his early education in St. Matthews Anglican Primary School and Eghosa Anglican Grammer School, Benin City. Later he attended the University of Ibadan where he obtained a BA in Classics before proceeding to Columbia University and Pace University in New York for an MBA in Finance and International Business. A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Stock Brokers (Nigeria), Mr. Obaseki has had over 30 years career in Investment Banking, Asset Management, Securities Trading and the Public Sector both internationally and in Nigeria.
Mr. Obaseki has also had a stint in public service. From March 2009 to date, he has served as the Chairman of the Edo State Government’s Economic and Strategy Team (EST). Despite his paltry political experience, Mr. Obaseki enjoys enormous incumbency advantage because of the support accorded him by Governor Adams Oshiomhole. In addition, Mr. Obaseki’s running mate, Hon. Phillip Shaibu, has been a member of the Edo State House of Assembly and is currently a member of the Federal House of Representatives.

Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu
Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu had his early education at Ebenezer Primary School and Edo College in Benin City. He later studied for his LLB degree in the Faculty of Law, University of Benin and his BL at the Nigerian Law School. An astute businessman, Pastor Ize-Iyamu is the founder of I.O Farms Training Institute at Ugbor-Amagba communities in Benin City. He is also a pastor with the Redeemed Christian Church of God.
Pastor Ize-Iyamu has been a key actor in Edo State politics and has held positions in both PDP and APC governments. He was the Chief of Staff, Government House from 1999 to 2003 under the administration of Chief Lucky Igbinedion. He was later elevated to the position of Secretary to the State Government (SSG).When he left the PDP, Pastor Ize-Iyamu served as the National Vice Chairman, South-South Zone of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and later as Director General of Oshiomhole’s second term Campaign Organization under the APC. When he returned to the PDP, Pastor Ize-Iyamu was appointed Coordinator of Goodluck/Sambo Campaign Organization for the 2015 presidential election.

RESEARCH ANALYSIS AND FINDINGS
This section of the assessment discusses the method through which data was collected in the field, identifies possible hot-spots for violence and key research findings.
METHODOLOGY
The procedure of producing the pre-election risk assessment report for the 2016 Edo state gubernatorial election was hinged on the election risk assessment protocol and instrument developed by the Electoral Institute of INEC. These can be broadly classified into two;
1.      Field work:
i.                    Recruitment and training of field workers
ii.                  Carried out field work in the 18 LGAs in the state
iii.                The population of the target group was used in determining the sample size for the field work.
iv.                A margin of error of 3.5 and confidence level of 95% was used for this research.
v.                  A total of 783 respondents were sampled.
vi.                The data entry and analysis were done using Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS).

2.      Triangulation: The outcome of the field work was complemented by KII, media reports etc.

FREQUENCY TABLE FOR GENERAL PUBLIC RESPONDENTS (LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREAS)




Frequency
Percent
Valid Percent
Cumulative Percent
Valid
Akoko-Edo
20
5.3
5.3
5.3
Egor
27
7.2
7.2
12.5
Esan Central
20
5.3
5.3
17.8
Esan North East
20
5.3
5.3
23.1
Esan South-East
20
5.3
5.3
28.5
Esan West
21
5.6
5.6
34.0
Estako West
22
5.9
5.9
39.9
Etsako Central
20
5.3
5.3
45.2
Etsako East
19
5.1
5.1
50.3
Igueben
20
5.3
5.3
55.6
Ikpoba - Okha
24
6.4
6.4
62.0
Oredo
21
5.6
5.6
67.6
Orhionmwon
18
4.8
4.8
72.3
Ovia North East
25
6.6
6.6
79.0
Ovia South West
20
5.3
5.3
84.3
Owan East
20
5.3
5.3
89.6
Owan West
20
5.3
5.3
94.9
Uhunmwode
19
5.1
5.1
100.0
Total
376
100.0
100.0


 

GENDER TABLE FOR GENERAL PUBLIC RESPONDENTS




Frequency
Percent
Valid Percent
Cumulative Percent
Valid
Male
256
68.1
68.3
68.3
Female
119
31.6
31.7
100.0
Total
375
99.7
100.0

Missing
System
1
.3


Total
376
100.0









Q1. Do you agree that election in this area will be peaceful?                                                                                                              


Frequency
Percent
Valid Percent
Cumulative Percent
Valid
Strongly Agree
122
32.4
32.6
32.6
Agree
144
38.3
38.5
71.1
Undecided
49
13.0
13.1
84.2
Disagree
36
9.6
9.6
93.9
Strongly Disagree
23
6.1
6.1
100.0
Total
374
99.5
100.0

Missing
System
2
.5


Total
376
100.0





FREQUENCY TABLE FOR EXPERTS' RESPONDENTS (LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA)




Frequency
Percent
Valid Percent
Cumulative Percent
Valid

61
15.9
15.9
15.9
Akoko-Edo
20
5.2
5.2
21.1
Egor
17
4.4
4.4
25.6
Esan Central
19
5.0
5.0
30.5
Esan North East
20
5.2
5.2
35.8
Esan South-East
12
3.1
3.1
38.9
Esan West
21
5.5
5.5
44.4
Estako West
18
4.7
4.7
49.1
Etsako Central
18
4.7
4.7
53.8
Etsako East
17
4.4
4.4
58.2
Igueben
9
2.3
2.3
60.6
Ikpoba - Okha
21
5.5
5.5
66.1
Oredo
22
5.7
5.7
71.8
Orhionmwon
17
4.4
4.4
76.2
Ovia North East
20
5.2
5.2
81.5
Ovia South West
20
5.2
5.2
86.7
Owan East
20
5.2
5.2
91.9
Owan West
15
3.9
3.9
95.8
Uhunmwode
16
4.2
4.2
100.0
Total
383
100.0
100.0


 

GENDER (EXPERTS' RESPONDENTS)



Frequency
Percent
Valid Percent
Cumulative Percent
Valid
Male
211
55.1
69.0
69.0
Female
95
24.8
31.0
100.0
Total
306
79.9
100.0

Missing
System
77
20.1


Total
383
100.0





KEY FINDINGS OF THE RESEARCH


·      RED: Oredo, Egor, Igueben, Esan- Central,  , Etsako-West, , Orhiorwon.
·      AMBER: Etsako East, Esan West, Esan South,  Ovia South-West, Etsako-Central, Akoko Edo
·      GREEN: Esan-North East, Owan-East, Ikpoba- Okha, Ovia North Ease, Owan West, Uhunmwode.




MAP OF EDO STATE SHOWING POSSIBLE HOTSPOTS DURING THE 2016 GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION












TABLES SHOWING POSSIBLE HOTSPOTS FROM THE ELECTION VIOLENCE MITIGATION TOOL FIELD WORK  FOR GENERAL AND EXPERTS' RESPONDENTS


GENERAL PUBLIC RESPONDENTS
S/No
LGA
RED(30-100)% of violence
AMBER(10-29)% of violence
GREEN (0-9)% of violence
1
Ovia North East



2
Uhunmwode



3
Owan West



4
Owan East



5
Orhionmwon



6
Oredo



7
Ovia South West



8
Ikpoba-Okha



9
Igueben



10
Etsako Central



11
Esan Central



12
Esan South East



13
Egor



14
Etsako East



15
Etsako West



16
Esan West



17
Esan North East



18
Akoko Edo




EXPERTS RESPONDENTS
S/No
LGA
RED(30-100)% of violence
AMBER(10-29)% of violence
GREEN (0-9)% of violence
1
Ovia North East



2
Uhunmwode



3
Owan West



4
Owan East



5
Orhionmwon



6
Oredo



7
Ovia South West



8
Ikpoba-Okha



9
Igueben



10
Etsako Central



11
Esan Central



12
Esan South East



13
Egor



14
Etsako East



15
Etsako West



16
Esan West



17
Esan North East



18
Akoko Edo




 

SYNTHESIS OF KEY RISK FACTORS


o   The role and activities of security agencies: The role of security agencies in securing the election remains a risk factor. Although the several police and other security personnel will be deployed to Edo state during the election, the need for them to be non-partisan cannot be over-emphasised as it could be a trigger for violence.

o   Early deployment of INEC staff and materials: INEC should ensure that election personnel and logistics gets to the riverine areas on time. This will reduce the waiting period before accreditation and voting can commence.

o   Hate and inciting speech: The build up to the Edo State Governorship Election has witnessed intensive campaigning especially between the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP). However, with the intense campaigning has also come intense use of hate and inciting speech. These have featured on campaign ground, traditional and social media. These unguarded statements by politicians can heat up the polity, incite violence and jeopardize the peaceful conduct of the elections. Campaign rallies have turned from enlightening the masses of party manifestos and intentions to make Edo better, into hate speeches.
  • Political/Youth Thuggery: There is a proliferation of political and youth thugs in Edo State. The increasing poverty, unemployment and youth exclusion has only exacerbated the problem. Many of these youth are exposed to drug, small and light weapons and are susceptible to manipulation and used as party thugs.
o   Fear of Electoral manipulation: – Vote rigging or perceived rigging will be the major trigger of violence in the gubernatorial election. It was perceived this triggered the 2011 post-election violence. It appears certain that vote rigging or perceived manipulation of the election will trigger violence in some LGA’s including Egor.
  • Staff welfare and training for INEC staff: The Commission should guard against last minute switching of ad-hoc staff which hampers the smooth running of elections.
  • Voter registration and collection of PVCs: Continuous voters registration should be encouraged as some eligible voters will not cast their votes on the election day as a result of their inability to register or collect permanent PVCs. In addition, the huge number of uncollected PVCs remains a challenge for the election
  • Public enlightenment should be sustained: The level of illiteracy  and lack of awareness is high in some of the areas covered and may likely impact negatively on the election.

CONCLUSION
The Edo State governorship election comes up on 10th September 2016. The aggregate data appear to suggest that the election will overall, be peaceful. However, when some questions are broken down and examined in the context of particular local governments, the picture that emerges is one that enables us to classify the potential for violence during the elections within certain locations. The fact that an LGA is classified as being of low risk does not in any way imply that election may not turn violent in such an area. As shown in Appendix Table A, there are many things that may be provocative to an electorate and these need not occur in an identified  electoral flashpoint before it turns into a raging fire. Among these are voters feeling cheated if procedures are not properly followed, non-payment of workers, usage of politicians as ad hoc electoral staff, `improper deployment of incumbency power,  corruption among INEC staff, late arrival of voting materials at voting units, among others.  The history of elections in the state may also provide some bearing here. In a sense, the electoral domains of some party chieftains as well as known party enforcers who have turned electoral violence into a business proposition. These election violence entrepreneurs are mostly to be found in urban areas. The ready availability of able-bodied young men and women who are very much idle may constitute a recruiting ground for desperate politicians who may insist on having their way at all costs in the forthcoming elections. What is to be done?

RECOMMENDATIONS       

  • In identified areas with potential for violence or habitual violence, security agencies should act proactively by inviting the electoral violence entrepreneurs in these domains for pre-emptive chats.
  • The security agencies should have intelligence units that monitor the behaviour of security agents deployed for election field work. Such units should be able to make reports real time and also get responses as the election is ongoing.
  • Civil society observer teams should not just observe and report, but should have real time mechanism in place for connecting field observations to those who have the capacity to correct polling-unit error or intervening to put volatile situations under control.
  • A conscious awareness, and constant reminders of electoral violence triggers on the part of INEC staff, security agencies and civil society organisations, with a view to nipping in the bud any these that raises its head.
  • Special attention paid to ensure timely arrival of election materials and personnel, and timely commencement of the voting exercise.      

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