Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Preliminary Statement on the Conduct of the April 11th 2015 Gubernatorial and State Houses of Assembly Elections in Nigeria



Introduction
As in every election since 2003, CLEEN Foundation deployed observers during the 2015 gubernatorial and state houses of assembly elections held on Saturday April 11, 2015. With support from Justice for All (J4A) Program of UK Department for International Development (DFID), CLEEN Foundation recruited, trained and mobilised a team of five hundred and twelve election observers to observe the conduct of security personnel in order to assess their effectiveness and adherence to the benchmark of acceptable behaviour. Furthermore, the Foundation printed and circulated posters and flyers of the abridged version of the Police Service Commission’s Guidelines for the Conduct of Security Personnel on Election Duty with the aim of enlightening the police and the general public in this important exercise of ensuring effective and accountable policing during elections. This information, education and communication materials provided the public with hot-lines for complaints, report and commendation on the general conduct of the security personnel and the election proceedings in general.
This interim report presents a summary of our findings based on our observation of the 2015 Gubernatorial Elections.

 Observation
a)                  Punctuality and adequacy of officers
















Compared to the 2011 general elections, there was a marked improvement in the arrival of security officials at their designated polling units; before 8:00am when they opened: 80% of security officials had already reported at their posts and 4% arrived at 9:00am or thereafter. Furthermore, nearly a half of the observed polling units (48%) had three or more security officials in attendance. Another third of the polling units (34%) had two officers while 18% had one official.
In 69% of the units, security officials remained at their post throughout the day, however, in 31% of the units, officers left for brief period, to ease themselves (64%); eat (29%) and for other reasons (7%). 

b)         Civility and impartiality of officers













In 95% of the units observed, security officials were described as very approachable and approachable, only in 5% of units were they described as somewhat approachable. Furthermore, in 97% of the polling units, officers wore name tags that were easily identifiable to observers. Officers were described as impartial in 94% of the units. At the close of polls, security officials were reported to have provided escort for the election materials to the collation centres in 90% of the polling units.


c)                  Orderliness and feeling of safety at the polling units
















Orderliness and crowd control are essential to the election process. Observers described 89% of the polling unit as orderly. Consequently, 89% of the polling units were observed to be safe and secure. However, some polling units in Rivers, Edo, Imo, Akwa Ibom, and Abia were observed to be insecure. In 98% of the polling units, security officials complied with the instructions of presiding officers. Incidents which threaten the security of the polling unit were reported in 16% of the observed units. Observers also reported that the incidents which arose were well handled (78%) by the security officials present.



d)         Use of Force















There was no use of force in 87% of the units. However, in 11% of the units, the use of force by security officials was observed; an increase of 5% compared to the trend observed during the Presidential and National Assembly Elections. Security officials bearing firearms were sighted in 11% of the polling units.


e)         Overall Assessment of the Conduct of Security Officials at the Polling Unit















In the light of the findings above, the conduct of the security officials during the elections were judged as good in 88% of the polling units by the observers. 

Highlights of insecurity and misconducts at Polling Units
In spite of the satisfactory conduct of security personnel, cases of insecurity and misconduct were observed in some polling units, some of which are highlighted below:
·         Ballot snatching, illegal possession of ballot papers and result sheets across the country, including snatching of result sheets and attack on voters by a retired senior police officer in Urukaman LGA, Akwa Ibom.
·         Cases of murder in several states including Rivers, Imo, Ebonyi, Jigawa, Katsina, Kebbi, Akwa Ibom, Abia and Lagos.
·         Arson in a few states including Rivers and Ebonyi
·         Violent attacks and intimidation by thugs in many states across the country.
·         Killing and assault of security agents by thugs.
·         Violence in polling units across Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Imo, Abia, Enugu, Katsina states.
·         Isolated incidences of security officers killing thugs at polling units for example, in Ali- Kazaure Ward, Jos in Plateau state and Bayan-Dutse in  Zuru LGA of Kebbi state where three people were reportedly killed by soldiers.
·         Inducement of voters with money, food and other materials within polling units.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Electoral Violence Risks in the 2015 Gubernatorial Elections



The build-up to the 2015 General Election in Nigeria has been marred by some violence. The CLEEN Foundation Security Threat Assessment published in March 2015 found 15 states to be on the red threat level. On the other hand, in its Pre-Election Report and Advisory on Violence in Nigeria’s 2015 General Elections NHRC documented that at least 58 persons have been killed in elections and politically related violence in Nigeria. More so, nearly 2 million people have been displaced in the North Eastern part of Nigeria as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency.

The March 28th Presidential Election has been hailed in many quarters as being largely peaceful and free of post-election violence. Some attribute this relative peace to the laudable decision of President Jonathan to concede the election even before the official final results were announced, while others attribute the outcome to the public commitment made by the key contenders to accept the outcome of the elections and their charge to their supporters to eschew violence.

Ahead of the Gubernatorial Elections however, key concerns remain for public safety and security in Nigeria. The gubernatorial elections present security challenges considering a number of factors namely: a) the likelihood of political parties to cling to, or win new states after consideration of the outcome of the presidential polls; b) the presence of local dynamics which might not have been in play in the presidential elections –including zoning of candidacy, power of incumbency as well as pressures to install a preferred candidate. This policy brief summarizes the risk of electoral violence ahead of the gubernatorial elections and presents recommendations.


Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Preliminary Statement on the Conduct of 2015 Nigeria Presidential and National Assembly Elections



Saturday March 28th 2015

About CLEEN Foundation

CLEEN Foundation is a nongovernmental organisation established in 1998 and registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in Nigeria to promote public safety, security and Justice. These priorities are pursued through the strategies of empirical research, legislative advocacy, demonstration programmes and publications in partnership with government and civil society.
Since 2003, the CLEEN Foundation has been observing the conduct of security personnel on election duty. In this role, CLEEN Foundation collaborates with the Police Service Commission, the civilian oversight agency of the police, responsible for the appointment, promotion and discipline of police officers in Nigeria.

Background

As in every election since 2003, CLEEN Foundation deployed observers during the Presidential and National Assembly elections held on Saturday 28th March, 2015. With support from Justice for All (J4A) Program of UK Department for International Development (DFID), CLEEN Foundation recruited, trained and mobilised a team of five hundred and twelve election observers to observe the conduct of security personnel in order to measure their effectiveness and adherence to the benchmark of acceptable behaviour. Furthermore, the Foundation printed and circulated posters and flyers of the abridged version of the Police Service Commission’s Guidelines for the Conduct of Security Personnel on Election Duty with the aim of enlightening the police and the general public in this important exercise of ensuring effective and accountable policing during elections. This information, education and communication materials provided the public with hot-lines for complaints, report and commendation on the general conduct of the security personnel and the election proceedings in general. This interim report presents our findings during the just concluded presidential and national assembly elections in Nigeria.

Methodology

The observers recorded their observation using a checklist containing several indicators pertaining to punctuality, impartiality, fairness, responsiveness and professionalism of security personnel at the polling stations. Observers also recorded incidence of misconduct and exceptional good behaviour of officials. CLEEN Foundation deployed observers in all states of the federation including officers from the Police Service Commission. 

Friday, 27 March 2015

Nigeria 2015 elections: Electoral Risk and Hot Spot Mapping



Elections are a crucial part of any democratic government and enable citizens to periodically determine who should lead them at every level of government.  Several elections in Nigeria have been marred by violent activities either during or post elections. Examples of this include the 2011 Presidential Elections. Many political sociologists, both locally and internationally, have argued that the greatest obstacle to democratic consolidation in Nigeria is electoral violence which could take many forms; inter-party, intra-party, ethno-religious, etc.

To better understand the mindset of Nigerians in relation to the 2015 General Elections, the CLEEN Foundation in collaboration with the NOI Polls and with funding support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) conducted the 2015 Election Perception Survey. The project surveyed 5000 Nigerians across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory as well as representing the 109 Senatorial Districts in Nigeria. The survey provided a very useful opportunity for Nigerians to reflect on their intention to participate in the 2015 elections and to outline their perceptions on elections security as well as the level of preparedness for the election.




Key findings:

1.       Perception of violence and intimidation in the build up to the election was relatively low; Nigerians believe current levels of insecurity would not have direct implications on the elections.
2.       Nigerians are oblivious of the growing challenge posed to their safety by the election.
3.       15% of Nigerians sampled were concerned about violence and intimidation during the 2015 general elections.
4.       Some senatorial districts recorded perception of violence which were significantly higher than the neighbouring districts, suggesting that some threats are so localized in some communities and does not affect the other areas.
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