Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Security Threat Assessment: Towards 2015 Elections



Key Risk Factors:
·         Persisting insurgency and the proliferation of terrorist camps into new areas
·         Communal conflicts and the increasing activities of armed groups
·         Alleged use of federal might to crush or restrict opposition
·         Inadequate logistics and welfare for security agents on electoral duty
·         Inability of electorate to obtain Permanent Voters Card ahead of the general election



Key Mitigating Factors:
·         Sustained engagements through the Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee on Election Security;
·         Settlement of inter-ethnic/communal disputes
·         Intensified effort to end the insurgency and dislodge the new camps
·         Proper funding for INEC and Security agencies
·         Collaborating between security agencies and early response to identified threats
·         Massive and sustained voter education, especially peace education




Political Context
The quest for peace and stability has become one of the dominant concerns in the run up to the 2015 elections in Nigeria. The last few months have witnessed increasing tension and violence in some states in the country. The security situation in most of Northern Nigeria, and some parts of Southern Nigeria, has been dominated by cases of cattle rustling, communal clashes, banditry, assassinations, kidnappings, ritual killings, political skirmishes, insurgency and rape.  Recent violence in places like Kaduna state has killed more than 200 people, creating tension and possibility of reprisal killing in the state. The unaddressed challenge posed by the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALWs) across the country remains a major security threat that can shape public perception of insecurity. Despite the heavy involvement of the military in the management of internal security across the country, violence and insecurity still persists. This remains a worry going into the 2015 elections.

In most states, one issue that is generating tension is the plan by Governors that are completing their second term in office to contest the Senatorial elections. Another issue is the zoning of the governorship amongst the senatorial districts in the state. Also, as candidates indicate interest for different positions in the parties, there is palpable tension everywhere as the political landscape continues to witness defection and counter defection from the two major parties.

Preparations for the Elections
Political activities across the country are gradually heightening.  The two major political parties (PDP and APC) are raising their game. The APC has had its state and national congresses. Some of the congresses, like that of Kaduna state, was contentious and have been attracting protest by disgruntled members. The Independent National Electoral Commission had a good outing in the Ekiti State gubernatorial election on 21 June 2014. There are hopes that it will replicate this in Osun on 9 August 2015 and boost public confidence in its preparedness for the 2015 election. However, it still has to surmount the challenge of Continuous Voters Registration and the distribution of Permanent Voters Card in several states of the federation.

Gender Dimension
There is as usual a low participation of women vying for elected political offices with little change to be expected. Only a few women are holding leadership positions at the state and national level. Women are not currently featuring prominently in most of the permutations, neither are they strategically involved in most of the political parties. Nevertheless, as we run towards the third quarter of the year, more of these candidates could emerge. On the other hand, the growing participation of women in the insurgency as evidenced by the recent foiled attempt by a woman to attack an army barrack in Gombe State portends the greatest gender based threat ahead of the 2015 general elections.

Presence and Activities of Non-State Actors
The activities of non-state actors in Nigeria remain very prominent. It has evolved over the years such that there are non - state actors operating across different layers from the communities to the states and at the regional level. Some of these groups have become organised themselves to serve very useful purposes, for example the Vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN). Some States  have also set up Neighborhood Watch Schemes backed by State Laws. There is a dire need to understand the operations, recruitment, financing and accountability processes of these different groups particularly the ones operating at the national and state levels. The patronage and effectiveness of these groups need to be understood as the country gets closer to the 2015 general elections.

However, in some states local militia and youth groups are used to fuel communal conflicts. This can be seen in the communal feud between the Tiv and Jukun in Taraba which has now been extended to affect the Hausa/Fulani and has already taken a religious dimension with increasing casualties across all divides. This is also likely to affect the smooth conduct of the 2015 elections since all the warring parties may be fielding candidates for the election. The proliferation of Boko Haram’s base in the region is of great concern too. The recent identification of Boko Haram base in three contiguous local governments of Bauchi State - Darazo, Ningi and Ganjuwa needs to be closely watched. The sect’s open air preaching and recruitment of members through monetary benefits to youths from the immediate communities no doubt presents serious threat. With the recent bombing incidents in Abuja and Kano, and the discovery of IEDs in a church in Owerri and a mosque in Kano, concerns about how widespread the insecurity may become in 2015 continues to loom large.

Migration and Internal Displacement
According to a recent report issued by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), an estimated 15.5million people have been affected by conflict and natural disasters in Nigeria. Of this number, 646,993 persons have been internally displaced by insecurity (both communal conflict and insurgency). The conflict has also resulted in an escalation of Sexual and Gender based Violence in the NorthEast. A significant number of persons in the IDP camps are women and they are vulnerable. The rights of victims whose limbs have been affected by the security crisis should also be taken into consideration ahead of the elections.

While all the three states of Adamawa, Yobe and Borno are affected by the insurgency, it is in Borno and Adamawa that internal displacement of people is highest. The continued attack on villages has led to massive in-migration to the urban areas principally Maiduguri and Yola. Apart from the immediate humanitarian crisis created by this influx, there is possible disenfranchisement of these people because of their unwillingness to return back to the villages. The number of displaced persons and communities might also have increased especially on and around the Mandara mountains in Gwoza (Borno), Madagali and Michika LGAs (Adamawa) that represent black spots of insurgency within the region. If these IDP camps re not well managed and catered for in plans for the 2015 elections, it could also reinforce feelings of estrangement and disenfranchisement amongs the IDPs and make them ready recruitment grounds for the insurgency.

Recent Developments within the State Houses of Assembly
In Adamawa State Governor Nyako’s executive, belonging to APC has recently become troubled by the PDP controlled legislature which threatened to impeach him. Defections and counter defections has thrown the House of Assembly in Edo state into chaos. However, the South West region is not experiencing similar turmoil. But with the pendulum of the June 21 gubernatorial election swinging in favour of PDP, some defections may happen ahead of the 2015 elections in Ekiti State in particular and in the South West in general, more so if PDP manage to get Osun State come 9 August.

Presence and impact of the activities of the military, police and other security agencies
The insurgency in the North East persists in spite of the state of emergency. The greatest fear being expressed in the South West region now is that having successfully used the military to cow opposition element in Ekiti State, similar template might be used in Osun State during the August 9 gubernatorial election. Alleged police excesses in controlling recent protests and even peaceful demonstrations (such as the #BringBackOurGirls gatherings in Abuja and the protests by students in Lagos) have been underscored as a significant challenge going into the 2015 election.

In the South East, the presence of the military in some states has helped to restore some sense of public safety among the populace. The noticeable impact of the huge presence of the military is felt in the area of significant reduction in the incidences of kidnapping. More so, the recent interception of over 460 suspected Boko Haram insurgents along the Enugu–Port Harcourt by military forces reinforces the utility of military presence in the region. What is needed is for the military and security forces in the region to continue to discharge their responsibility in professional manner. In this way, a culture of healthy civil-military relation will help in the promotion of security both before and during the forthcoming elections.

Violent Hot Spots
We categorized the states according to the perceived level of threat using traffic light signals (green, amber and red); green indicating stability/lowest threat states and red indicating the highest threat level/ most volatile states. The measures used for the categorization include history of violence, degree of control by incumbent and relationship with the federal government, stability of internal state party politics, existence of terrorist/militant activity, state of emergency or communal/religious conflict, bid for second term by incumbent governor, zoning arrangement, jostle for federal and state legislative positions etc. Most states fit into various categories based on comparism within their region and not on the scale of risks nationally.

·         RED: NC – Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau; NE – Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and Taraba; NW – Kano and Kaduna SS – Rivers;  SE – Enugu and Imo; SW – Osun and Ekiti

·         AMBER: NC – Kogi and Niger (and FCT); NE – Bauchi and Gombe; NW – Kastina, Sokoto and Zamfara; SE –Abia, Anambra and Ebonyi; SS – Akwa Ibom, Delta and Edo; SW – Lagos, Ogun, Ondo and Oyo

·         GREEN: NC – Kwara; NW – Jigawa and Kebbi; SS – Cross River and Bayelsa; SW –(None for NE, SW and SE)

Regional Analysis
North Central: The climate of fear and insecurity that pervades the North Central zone is pervasive in the light of the challenges posed by criminality and rural banditry, cattle rustling and communal conflicts, as experienced in States such as Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau. Also, the bomb explosion that was witnessed in the city of Jos, Tuesday, 20th May, 2014 constitutes real threats to security and stability. These states remain hotspots to watch in the run up to the 2015 elections.

North East: Despite the problems of insecurity affecting the region, political parties and their candidates in the northeast, like other parts of the country, are busy getting set for 2015 elections. INEC has put elections in the northeast as a probable exercise due to the growing level of insecurity; it therefore appears least prepared in that regard. The attempt to impeach Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State is likely to have serious security implications for the state when viewed against the backdrop of Awwal Bamanga Tukur’s backing from Abuja to succeed Nyako. The ongoing feud between the former Borno State governor, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and the incumbent Governor Kasim Shettima will likely lead to a showdown especially towards the governorship and Borno Central Senatorial seat elections come 2015 with immense security implications. There is also a renewed commitment in Taraba to scuttle the governorship ambition of Acting Governor.

North West: The rising political tension in Kano and Kaduna states are undoubtedly some of the states to watch. It appears southern Kaduna, Kaduna city and Kano city will be major flashpoints. The nature of violence may not necessarily be partisan; it could take different dimension including ethnic or religion. Southern Kaduna has been experiencing ranging spate of banditry and violence with strong possibility of escalating reprisals attacks in other parts of the state. As the country moves closer to the 2015 election the internal contradictions of the two major parties have begun to manifest in Kano and Kaduna state. These contradictions have strong potential for violence. These political tension coupled with identity based historical grievances could degenerate into violence. Although membership registration and congresses have been concluded in APC, it left in its wake discontent among members in Kaduna. This disgruntlement may draw into primary elections and possibly result into violent skirmishes. Thus threat level is high in Kano, Kaduna and Katsina state.

South East: Enugu, Abia and Ebonyi are firmly PDP states but contestation over zoning to senatorial district and fights as to who succeeds the exiting governors make them states rto watch. Defecting of the Imo governor to APC and efforts by candidates from other senatorial districts and parties to unseat him makes Imo a place to watch also. Though there is no gubernatorial election in Anambra in 2015, contestation by serving senators and new-comers will make the election one to also watch.

South South: The ongoing crisis in Rivers State keeps it in the red. Inter and intra party tension and succession contestation amongst zoning arrangements make Delta and Akwa Ibom states. Edo is not up for gubernatorial election and the senatorial elections may not throw up significant security threats. However, the ongoing crisis in the State house of Assembly makes it one to watch. There are intra party tensions in Bayelsa and Cross River but these are not likely to spill over.

South West: The looming August 9 gubernatorial election in Osun state makes it on to watch. PDP will want to consolidate its recent success in Ekiti State by also upstaging the incumbent from APC.  APC will want to prove to Nigerians that PDP victory in Ekiti State is a fluke.  Envisaged period of violence are during the PVC distribution and CVR exercises (which has been previously reported), party primaries, campaigns, Election Day and post-election day. Developments in Ogun, Oyo, Ondo and Lagos States indicate that the threat levels might become very high as the time for candidate nomination draws near.

Synthesis of Key Risk Factors
a.       Insurgency: The proliferation of terrorist camps into new areas represents the greatest risk factor towards 2015 elections;
b.      Communal Conflict: Inter ethnic conflict between hitherto peaceful groups and communities pose danger to the conduct of elections;
c.       The alleged use of federal might in crushing opposition by the Federal Government may affect peaceful conduct of elections;
d.      Increasing activities of armed groups. In the last two months more than 200 people have been killed and thousand others displaced in southern Kaduna.
e.      Inability of electorates to obtain their Permanent Voters Card is a tinder box that could cause violence during the forthcoming gubernatorial election in Osun States as well as in the general elections.
f.        Inadequate logistics and welfare for security agents on election duties pose a serious danger to the electoral process as this will make them susceptible to political influence.
g.       The corruptive use of money during the electioneering period is worrisome. In the just concluded elections, observers reported widespread vote-buying through distribution of raw cash, food and Recharge Cards to prospective voters.

Mitigating Factors and Recommendations
a.      INEC should sustain its engagements through the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) which provides opportunity for synergy and collaboration among the security agencies.
b.      There should be increased and sustained engagement among key institutions and organizations such as INEC, security agencies, civil society, media, community and religious leaders towards restoring public confidence on the electoral process;
c.       Governments at all level should pay attention to, and track violence hotspots or flashpoints for effective preparedness and response to emergencies;
d.      Settlement of inter-ethnic disputes between warring groups is vital for peaceful conduct of 2015 elections;
e.       Effort should be made to deal with the ranging violence in southern Kaduna before it escalates into state wide violence.
f.        The federal and state governments should intensify effort in addressing the Boko Haram insurgences to avoid disruption of election activities.
g.      INEC must be properly funded and should ensure proper distribution of PVCs to all the old and new registrants ahead of the general elections in 2015.
h.      The federal government and its allies need to properly fund security agents that will be deployed on election duties so that they will not be beholden to politicians for their comfort and survival while on official election duty.
i.        INEC, National Orientation Agency, media and Civil Society Organisations need to embark on massive and sustained voter education, peace education and general civic education aimed at ensuring that there is violence free election in Osun and during the February 2015 General Elections. The May 16 launch of National Inter-Agency Advisory Committee on Voter Education and Publicity (NICVEP) and subsequent launches of same in the states is commendable.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Presentation of 4th Security Threat Assessment: Towards 2015 General Elections

As part of its contributions towards galvanizing early preparation by major stakeholders for the 2015 General elections, the CLEEN Foundation, with support from the MacArthur Foundation, conducts periodic security threat assessment across the country. This assessment aims at highlighting major threats to peaceful and credible conduct of the elections and recommending ways to mitigate them.

The public presentation and discussion of the fourth pre-election security threat assessment report will hold on Wednesday 2nd July 2014 by 9:30am prompt at Jades Hotel, No 24 Ndola Crescent, Wuse Zone 5, Opposite NYSC Secretariat Abuja.

We will be much obliged if you participate at the event. For confirmation or any enquiries, please contact Simon Sylvester on 08135591138 or via email simon.sylvestern@cleen.org.

Thank you for your usual support and please accept assurances of our highest esteem. We will appreciate if you could circulate this within your networks and send us your comments and observation via email or on our website http://cleen.org or blog http://cleenfoundation.blogspot.com

Follow us on: twitter - @cleenfoundation @LegalOil @stopthebribes and facebook - cleenfoundation

Monday, 23 June 2014

Preliminary Statement on the Conduct of Security Officials during the Ekiti State Gubernatorial Election Held on Saturday, 21 June 2014





Introduction
In line with its commitment to contributing to effective election security management, the CLEEN Foundation, with support from the Justice for All (J4A) Program of DFID, observed the conduct of security officials during the Ekiti state gubernatorial election held on Saturday 21 June 2014. As done in previous elections across the country since 2011, CLEEN Foundation implemented a number of integrated activities aimed at contributing to public safety and security during the election in Ekiti State. First, it conducted a pre-election security threat assessment to identify potential security risks, flashpoints and mitigating factors to those threats. The finding of this assessment was shared broadly with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the leadership of the Nigeria Police Force, other security agencies and civil society groups. Second, it organized a one day training workshop on election security management for all the Divisional Police Officers and other senior officials under the Ekiti state police command. The workshop was also attended by the Ekiti State Resident Electoral Commissioner, the National Orientation Agency and the leadership of other law enforcement agencies. It provided a forum to share useful ideas on how to effectively police the election and generally ensure safety throughout the exercise. Third, CLEEN Foundation published abridged versions of the Police Service Commission’s Guidelines for the Conduct of Police Officers on Electoral Duty in two national dailies, widely read in the State. The publications also contained the contact numbers for the call centre it had set up to collate complaints and incident reports from the public on the conduct of security officials during the election. Lastly, CLEEN obtained accreditation from INEC, recruited, trained and deployed observers in all 16 local government areas (LGAs) in Ekiti state to observe the conduct of security operatives on election duty. This statement sums up the preliminary findings of that observation exercise.

Background
Although 18 political parties fielded candidates for the Ekiti State gubernatorial election, the contest was however perceived as mostly between three parties/candidates; Incumbent governor Kayode Fayemi of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Opeyemi Bamidele  of Labour Party (LP) and Ayo Fayose of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP). The election was conducted amidst very high concerns for security, given the history of election related violence in the state and the level of violence that had characterized the campaign process. Key anticipated threats to security during the elections were identified as including delay or non-arrival of election materials and personnel which may be misinterpreted as an attempt to rig the election,  mutual suspicion of rigging between the parties and candidates, threats of violence made during the campaigns and possibility of influence from either the federal or regional level. In response to these perceived threats, a significant number of security operatives were deployed across the state for the election.

Observations
1.      Security Presence in the State: There was very heavy deployment of security personnel across the state for the election. This occasioned significant restrictions of movement in some areas. However, no major incidents of security breach were recorded and their presence did not hinder the electoral process.
2.      Deployment of Security Personnel: Despite the massive number of police personnel purportedly deployed to the state and the additional personnel support provided by other law enforcement agencies, deployment of security personnel across the 2195 polling units in the state still recorded some challenges. While majority of the polling units had two or more security officials, some others had just one official throughout the election. For example, some polling units in Ekiti South West LGA had just one official (Unit 011, Ward 6; Unit 007, Ward 11; Unit 012, Ward 11; Units 002, 003 and 004, Ward 11; Unit 009, Ward 10).  In some other instances, there were no security officials when accreditation started and they only arrived a few hours after.
3.      Welfare of Security Personnel: Complaints of very poor welfare arrangements were noted across the state. Most of the officials deployed from outside the state since Monday 16 June 2016 complained that little or no provision was made for their accommodation and feeding so they had to sleep on the tables in empty school buildings. Some others slept at the state command headquarters or the divisional police offices. We also noted that feeding allowances varied according to rank and some of the junior officials were yet to receive anything at the time of the election.
4.      Conduct of Security Personnel during the Election: In spite of the challenges with deployment and welfare, security personnel were reported to have performed very well during the election. They were commendably professional, alert, approachable and impartial. In places were crowd management became a challenge, they were able to call for back up from the armed roving patrol teams who intervened to restore order.
5.       Deployment of Election Logistics: Across the state, election materials and personnel were reported to have arrived on time. INEC’s ad hoc personnel also demonstrated a better understanding of the process and were able to manage it effectively. Thus accreditation, voting and counting all went on schedule, with little or no challenges in most places observed.
6.      Activities of Party Agents: The unlawful activities of some party agents and loyalists remain worrisome. For instance, at Unit 020, Ward 9 Ado LGA, Unit 005, Ward 9, Irepodun/Ifelodun LGA and Unit 002, Ward 2, Moba LGA party agents and loyalists were seen buying votes. Security officials had to be invited to arrest the situation.

Recommendations
1.      The improvements in training and effectively deployment of INEC ad hoc staff and materials should be sustained and built upon for the election in Osun and the general elections in 2015;
2.      Security agencies are urged to plan ahead of each election and ensure adequate logistics provision for personnel it will be deploying to cater for their welfare while on electoral duty and minimize their vulnerability to compromise;
3.      The deployment strategy for security agencies on electoral duty should be revised and improved upon to ensure adequate coverage of polling units and flashpoint areas;
4.      The Nigeria Police Force, the Ministry of Police Affairs and the National Orientation Agency are urged to widely disseminate the Code of Conduct for the Police. The Police Service Commission should also take disciplinary measures against erring officials identified during elections;
5.      INEC and law enforcement agencies should take immediate steps to put an end to impunity for electoral offences by arresting and prosecuting offenders.

We commend the efforts of INEC, the Police and other security agencies towards ensuring that the Ekiti gubernatorial election was peaceful and successful. We also congratulate the people of Ekiti State for their peaceful conduct during the election and after the release of the results. We thank the Justice for All (J4A) programme of the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DfID) for its generous support towards the observation of this election.

The CLEEN Foundation is a non-governmental organization established in 1998 and registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), to promote public safety security and accessible justice. CLEEN Foundation is a member of several networks across the world and also has observer status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Request for Applications to the Investigative Reporting Training Program




The Access Nigeria Investigative Reporting (Research Reporting) Training Program aims to improve media’s capacity to produce investigative journalism reports regarding governance, organized crime, and corruption, in order to enhance media's effectiveness as anti-corruption watchdogs. Through the Access Nigeria project, journalists in the investigative reporting program will have access to:

·         Investigative reporting skills-building workshops,
·         Eligibility to apply for financial support from an Investigative Reporting Innovation Fund, and a
·         Mentoring program that connects journalists with experienced investigative reporters. 

The program will provide targeted support for journalists to investigate and report in restrictive operating environments, access and analyze hard to find documents, and improve interview techniques to get the cooperation of official and other sources. Through the Investigative Reporting Innovation Fund, the program will offer pre-publication legal guidance to journalists around legal implications when carrying out investigations. Training provided will include discussions regarding the code of conduct and international standards of journalism ethics specifically regarding the issues of covering corruption. 

The program welcomes applications from qualified candidates in print, TV, radio, or electronic media. Participant profile: mid-career journalists who are willing to immerse themselves in an intense, interactive learning environment, can commit to attending both rounds of training workshops, and have demonstrated previous experience covering issues of corruption, public finance, justice sector or the security sector.

About IWPR:  IWPR in an international nonprofit organization that gives voice to people at the frontlines of conflict, crisis and change. IWPR helps people in the world's most challenging environments have the information they need to drive positive changes in their lives — holding government to account, demanding constructive solutions, strengthening civil society and securing human rights. IWPR builds the skills and capacity of local journalism, strengthens local media institutions and engages with civil society and governments to ensure that information achieves impact.

In Nigeria, IWPR is working in partnership with Partners for Democratic Change (PDC) and the CLEEN Foundation to implement the Access Nigeria project. IWPR is collaborating with the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism and the International Center for Investigative Reporting on the investigative journalism training component of the project.

Investigative Journalism Skills Building Workshops
Workshops will focus on challenges faced on a daily basis in terms of researching, accessing and analyzing information in order to produce investigative reports designed to push boundaries and encourage public awareness around key anti-corruption themes.  

Round 1: 4 days in Lagos, Nigeria (June 30 – July 3, 2014).
Round 2: 4 days in Abuja, Nigeria (July 14 – July 17, 2014).*

*Note that Round 2 will build on skills acquired in Round 1 and journalists are required to attend each day of both rounds of training in order to be eligible to apply for financial support from the Investigative Reporting Innovation Fund.

Workshops will include curricula on the following topics:

·         Principles and best practices of investigative reporting
·         Ethics of Investigative Reporting and media code of conduct
·         Principles and best practice of data visualization   
·         Legal threats awareness raising and strategies for mitigation 

Investigative Reporting Innovation Fund: Journalists who fully attend both rounds of training workshops will be eligible to apply for support from the Access Nigeria's Investigative Reporting Innovation Fund.  The fund will enable journalists to access funds to undertake investigative projects. The Fund will also enable journalists to apply for financial support to purchase low-cost, high-impact technical equipment that augments existing tools used by journalists and improves their ability to produce quality reports. Recipients of support from the Fund will also be assigned a mentor to provide guidance and support throughout the research, writing, and publication phases of the development of investigative reports. More information on how to apply for support from the Investigative Reporting Innovation Fund will be presented at the conclusion of the training program.

Schedule:

Friday, June 20, 2014: Deadline for applications to the Investigative Reporting Training Program
June 23, 2014: Selected participants for Training Program notified
June 30 - July 3, 2014: Round 1 training in Lagos
July 14 - July 17, 2014: Round 2 training in Abuja
July 17 2014 – Opening of application period for Proposals to Investigative Reporting Innovation Fund
July 31, 2014: Final application deadline for Proposals to Investigative Reporting Innovation Fund
August-September: Small Grants executed (anticipated)
September 2014: Reports published (anticipated)

Selection Process and Evaluation Criteria: Applications to the training program will be evaluated with the following criteria:  i) Quality of statement of purpose and demonstrated interest in research-based reporting; ii) Quality of writing sample; iii) Diverse representation of media outlets and gender balance of participants. All applications will be reviewed by a selection panel, comprised of representatives from the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, Partners for Democratic Change and the CLEEN Foundation.
 
Application Submission Instructions: 

Please find the application form at the following link:

As well as basic personal details, the application form requires: (i) a Statement of Interest that outlines the applicant’s interest in the Investigative Reporting Training Program, a brief discussion of the applicant's preparation and background, and a statement regarding applicant's ambitions for potential Investigative Reporting projects; ii) a writing sample in the form of a previously published article that demonstrates the applicant's interest and capacity in investigative reporting; (iii) details of two professional referees who are able to verify your prior work experience and suitability for the Investigative Reporting Training Program.

Monday, 9 June 2014

EKITI STATE: Election Security Threat Assessment


Key Risk Factors:
·         Delay or non-arrival of election materials and personnel may be misinterpreted as an attempt to rig the election.
·         History of electoral violence in the state and incidents of violence that have characterised the campaign period.
·         Mutual suspicion of rigging between the parties and candidates, and threats of violence
·         Possibility of influence from either the federal or regional level



Key Mitigating Factors:
·         Timely distribution of election materials and personnel by INEC.
·         Enforcement of code of conduct for political parties and readiness to prosecute electoral offenders.
·         Training of DPOs, Area commanders and other security agencies on Election Security Management.
·         Strategic and early deployment of adequate security to identified areas of threat in the state.
·         Adequate sensitization of the electorate on the electoral process and need to eschew violence.



Introduction
The Ekiti state governorship election scheduled for June 21, 2014 is attracting significant interest because of the anticipated keen contest expected from the three major contending political parties and candidates, as well as concern about election related violence. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is also being watched by those interested in the conduct and outcome of this election. After the not-so-impressive conduct of the Ekiti Governorship election, many regard the Ekiti state election as a test-case of INEC’s preparedness for the 2015 general elections. Attention is also on the security agencies, particularly the police, with regards to election security. Historically, violence has always been associated with elections in Ekiti State, and already pockets of violence were recorded during party primaries and the on-going campaigns. Moreover, coming at a time many would regard as the most challenging for Nigeria security wise, the Ekiti election will no doubt test the capacity of security agencies to provide security for future elections. This edition of CLEEN Foundation’s Election Security Brief (ESB) examines the security threats and mitigating factors as well as recommends measures to prevent electoral violence in the Ekiti election.

Brief History of Ekiti State

Ekiti State, located in South West Nigeria, was created on October 1, 1996 from the old Ondo State by the military government of late General Sani Abacha. It is bounded in the South by Ondo State, on the North by Kwara State, on the East by Kogi State. The state has 3 senatorial districts, 6 federal constituencies, 26 State House of Assembly Seats and 16 Local Government Areas. Ekiti Central and Ekiti North Senatorial Districts both have five local governments each, while Ekiti South Senatorial District has six local government areas. The culturally homogenous people of Ekiti speak the same dialect of the Yoruba language known as Ekiti. However, there are slight variations of the dialect in some areas based on their proximity to Ekiti’s borders with neighbouring States.  Agriculture is the main occupation of the people of Ekiti. It provides income and employment for more than 75% of the population of Ekiti State. The state is also blessed with mineral resources which remained mostly untapped. With a population estimate of 2,737,186 and total land mass of 6,353 km2 (2,453 sq mi), Ekiti State is also reputed for the academic prowess of the citizens and holds the record of producing the highest number of professors in Nigeria.

For the 2014 gubernatorial election, Ekiti has 732,166 registered voters, 2,195 polling units, 2,803 voting points, 117 collation centres and 16 local government collation centres.
The local government areas are grouped into three senatorial districts:
S/N
Senatorial District
Local government Areas in each district
1.
Ekiti North Senatorial District
Ido Osi, Ikole, Ilejemeje, Moba, Oye

2.
Ekiti Central Senatorial District
Ado Ekiti, Efon, Ekiti West, Ijero, Irepodun/Ifelodun
3.
Ekiti South Senatorial District
Ekiti East, Ekiti South West, Emure, Gbonyin, Ikere, Ise/Orun

Politics in Ekiti State
Upon creation, Ekiti State was administered by two military administrators: Lt. Col. Mohammed Bawa from October 1996 to August 1998 and Navy Captain Atanda Yusuf from August 1998 to May 1999. Ondo State, from which Ekiti was carved from, was known for supporting progressive political parties, but with supports sometimes changing towards grassroots candidates who may not necessarily belong to popular progressive platforms. This trait was reflected in the outcome of the transition election in 1999 with Governor Niyi Adebayo of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) becoming the first civilian governor of the state. AD was an offshoot of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) formed by prominent followers of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. The Alliance for Democracy effectively won the six south west states, including Ekiti, in the 1999 election. Conversely, in 2003 the entire south west states, with the exception of Lagos State, were won by the PDP. Mr. Ayo Fayose of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was elected as Governor, as part of the PDP almost-clean sweep of the South west. Ayo Fayose’s tenure was terminated three years later through impeachment by the State House of Assembly. Fayose’s impeachment on October 16 by the State Assembly (and brief replacement by Speaker Aderemi) was declared illegal by Federal Government; the period was followed by a prolonged political crisis.

Ekiti State was consequently administered by Retired General Tunji Olurin, who was appointed administrator after the declaration of a state of emergency by President Olusegun Obasanjo. On April 27, 2007 Olurin was replaced by Tope Ademiluyi as Acting Governor. Segun Oni emerged from controversial primaries within the PDP and was elected governor in the 2007 election which was marred by widespread irregularities. The then Action Congress (AC) candidate, Dr. Kayode Fayemi challenged his election and forced a rerun in May 2009. The May 2009 rerun was characterized by even worse rigging and the election was disputed again. Eventually, after three years, the election of Oni was terminated by the court and Dr. Kayode Fayemi was declared the duly elected governor of Ekiti State.

The PDP is keen on winning back those states the party lost to the opposition in the South west. A successful outing for the PDP in Ekiti State may be the needed booster for recovering its lost political edge in the region.  On the other hand, since democratic transition in 1999, none of the governors have successfully been elected for two terms. While PDP Ayo Fayose is attempting to return for a second term (technically), the incumbent Governor, Kayode Fayemi will attempt to come back for a second term in office. Whichever way the election goes, both the PDP and APC may have the opportunity to break the one term jinx.

Parties and Candidates in the Gubernatorial Election
Eighteen (18) political parties have been cleared to contest and field candidates for the June 21 gubernatorial election and they include the following:

S/N
Political Party
Candidate
1.        
Action Alliance (AA)
Mr Opeyemi Akinyemi
2.        
All Progressive Congress  (APC)
Governor Kayode Fayemi
3.        
Accord Party (AP)
Mr Kole Ajayi
4.        
African Democratic Congress (ADC)
Mr. Okoko Bola
5.        
African Peoples’ Alliance, (APA)
Mr Adebayo Ogunlola
6.        
Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, (ACPN)
Mr Peter Bamigbade
7.        
Alliance for Democracy (AD)
Mr Osekita Victor
8.        
Citizens Popular Party (CPP)
Mr. Ayodele Olayinka
9.        
KOWA Party (KP)
Pastor Ade Joseph
10.    
Labour Party (LP)
Mr Opeyemi Bamidele
11.    
Mega Progressive Peoples Party, (MPPP)
Mr Akinbola Joseph
12.    
National Conscience Party, (NCP)
Mr. Ilesanmi Emmanuel
13.    
People’s Democratic Change (PDC)
Mr. banjo Gboyega
14.    
Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN)
Mr Gbenga Adekunle
15.    
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
Chief Ayo Fayose
16.    
Progressive Peoples’ Alliance (PPA)
Mr Animasanu Goke
17.    
Social Democratic Party (SDP)
Mr Adekola Ayo
18.    
United Democratic Party, (UDP)
Mr. Adeniyi Philip

Regardless of the numbers of parties and candidates, the real contest is expected to be between APC, PDP and LP.

APC candidate: Kayode Fayemi
Dr. Kayode Fayemi emerged as the Governor of Ekiti State in 2010 after three years of contesting the outcome of the 2007 election through the legal system. Fayemi’s campaign has been centered on what his supporters regards as his excellent record and performance. Implementation of his 8 points agenda in his first term was described by many as pace setting. His administration’s 8-point agenda is centered on: Governance, Infrastructural Development, Modernizing Agriculture, Education and Human Capital Development, Health Care Services, Industrial Development, Tourism Development, and Gender Equality and Woman Empowerment.

Before his foray into mainstream politics, Dr. Kayode Fayemi was a technocrat of no mean achievement, though relatively unknown. He was a former Director of the Centre for Democracy & Development, a research and training institution dedicated to the study and promotion of democratic development, peace-building and human security in Africa. As such he was better known to civil society practitioners who saw his interest in politics as a welcome development. He was a lecturer, journalist, researcher and Strategy Development adviser in Nigeria and the United Kingdom. The incumbent Governor of Ekiti State was on Saturday 14th April 2014 endorsed as the governorship candidate of the APC in the state's gubernatorial elections scheduled for June 21.  This endorsement marked the effort at the constitutional second term of four years which has not been enjoyed by any past governor. The APC structures in the south-west, Edo State, Nasarawa and Imo State, etc, have featured prominently in his campaign.

Labour Party Candidate: Opeyemi Bamidele
Honourable Opeyemi Bamidele is a trained lawyer, an experienced politician and political activist. He is a serving Honourable member of the Federal House of Representatives representing Ekiti State from the Ado Ekiti/Ifelodun-Ifelodun (Federal Constituency). He has served in various capacities in the Lagos State government administration of Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Incumbent Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola. Elected on the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Honourable Opeyemi Bamidele decamped to the Labour Party due to political differences with the leadership of APC. A former President of the National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS), he was an active member of NADECO, a pro-democracy group which opposed military annulment of the June 12 election. Starting off early in politics, he was the National Director of Publicity, Alliance for Democracy (AD) 2000 and 2004. In 1993, He was National Accreditation Officer of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) National Convention, where Bashorun MKO Abiola emerged as presidential candidate.

PDP Candidate: Ayo Fayose
Ayo Fayose, a grassroots politician was the second democratically elected Governor of Ekiti State. Elected on the platform of the PDP, Fayose and his deputy, Mrs. Biodun Olujimi, were impeached by 24 of the 26 law makers of Ekiti State House of Assembly over allegation of corruption. Fayose is still very popular in Ekiti State and commands good followership, perhaps more than other candidates that contested the PDP primary against him. His popularity, despite the burden of impeachment for corrupt enrichment might have informed his preference by the PDP as its candidate for the June 21 elections. PDP is keen at winning back Ekiti State. It was no surprise therefore that the ex-governor emerged as the candidate of the PDP on March 22, having won the party’s primary with 462 votes out of the 470 votes cast by delegates. Though the declaration of Fayose was disputed by Senator Gbenga Aluko, who claimed to have emerged as the party’s consensus candidate out of 13 aspirants, the dispute was later settled with the Senator accepting the party’s position and expressing his support for Fayose. The corruption cases against the ex-governor remains an albatross which he would have to deal with to emerge as a governor for the second time.

Synthesis of Security Threats
The following are the key threats to security in the 21 June 2014 Ekiti State gubernatorial election:

·         Non arrival or delay in the arrival of election materials and personnel is a risk factor which must be avoided. These may be regarded as a deliberate ploy by the parties, especially when it happens in areas where they have strength and keen interest.

·         Mutual suspicion by political parties and their candidates is considered a risk factor. Unsubstantiated claims of recruitment of mercenaries and plans to rig the election are being spread around the state. Supporters of political parties eager for electoral victory may be on edge before, during and after elections if things seem to be working against their party’s interest.

·         Unregulated utterances and threats of violence emerging from pre-campaign political gatherings is a major risk factor. Leaders of leading parties in the elections have publicly threatened violence if the election is rigged, thereby preparing the minds of their supporters for electoral violence.

·         Intervention by extra geo-political interests in the election may lead to violence. Likely use of federal influence in support of PDP candidate is being insinuated by the APC, while the PDP and LP on the other hand are claiming that APC leadership based in Lagos is all out to influence the election.
·         The decision of INEC not to use the card reader for the election as against its earlier plan is a major risk factor for the election.  Some political parties and their supporters hold the position that the card reader has the advantage of reducing rigging and other electoral fraud. As such, INEC’s decision not to use the machine may be an excuse for violence by parties who may lose at polls.

·         Suspicion about bias by security agencies in favour of any of the parties or candidates is a risk factor for violence during the Ekiti Poll. There is suspicion among some quarters that the federal government may use security forces to intimate voters during the election.

·         Inadequate manning of polling units and security provision for election workers is a major risk factor. Observers noted that there were inadequate security provisions during the CVR exercise.

Potential Flash Points
The best strategy to effectively stem electoral violence during the June 21 election is for security agencies to be prepared to deal with issues of electoral violence in all the 177 wards and 16 local government areas across Ekiti State. Additionally, preparing for the worst case scenario may be the best, as contest for the governorship election increases in intensity. Ishan, the Governor’s area, as well as, every area where major political figures and appointees comes from need to be watched. Every point of entry from surrounding states, including Kogi, Ondo and Kwara state, need to be watched, just as was done during the Ondo state governorship election in 2012. However, in terms of records of electoral violence occurrences, the following areas are regarded as the hotspots to pay very careful attention:

Ø      Emure: historically has always been problematic and right now, every candidate will want to win there because it is easier to have an LGA once you win in Emure.

Ø      Ikere:  has a reputation for being volatile. There seems to be more sympathy for the PDP though the APC is very strong there. Any electoral outcome against the popular will of the people may result in violence.

Ø      Ijero and Ikole: also needs also to be seriously watched

Ø      Irepodun: PDP’s Ayo Fayose and Labour Party’s Opeyemi Bamidele are from this local government area. This significantly raises the likelihold of violence.

Ø      Efon and Oye also need to be watched, particularly Oye where the incumbent Governor, Kayode Fayemi comes from.

Ø      Ido Osi: The people of Ido Osi are still bitter that their votes did not count in the disputed election between Kayode Fayemi and their son, Segun Oni. Despite the defection of Segun Oni to the APC, the people are said to be prepared to ensure that their vote counts and particularly they are prepared for Kayode Fayemi.  

Ø      Gbonyin: The Speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly is from here and it is a spot to watch.

Threats mitigation factors
The following are mitigation factors that may dilute the potency of the threats analysed above:

·         INEC needs to ensure the timely distribution of election materials and arrival of personnel to the various units. This is important to ensure timely completion of the process, calm frayed nerves and remove suspicion of manipulation.

·         Regular stakeholders meeting with political parties, candidates and supporters is important to caution them about making claims they cannot substantiate. Importantly, there may be the need for the application or enforcement of the code of conduct to guide the political parties.
·         Wider publicity to sensitize electorates about the election process, particularly regarding the non usage of the card reader is necessary. It is important that INEC gains parties’ and public confidence that the usage or non-usage of card reader will have no effect on the conduct and outcome of election.

·         As was done during the Ondo State governorship elections in 2012, securing Ekiti state access points from neighboring states will help reduce risk of importation of mercenaries and thugs for this election.

·         Confidence of the public must be built on the neutrality and professionalism of security agencies. Importantly, the Police and other security agencies must ensure 100% neutrality during the elections.

·         Adequate security must be provided for election materials and officials to deter would-be trouble makers. This is particularly important in areas identified as hotspots.

·         Lastly, INEC and security agencies must send a clear and strong signal that they will not condone electoral malfeasance and that offenders will be duly prosecuted.

Conclusion and Recommendations
Campaigns for the Ekiti governorship election have already witnessed some level of inter-party violence. As noted by observers, the level of violence already witnessed is yet to be as volatile as those experienced in past elections held in Ekiti State. This may be due to pro-active steps which stakeholders have been taken. However, there is the need for greater sensitization of the public, political parties and their supporters on the need to eschew violence during the elections. INEC and the police need to caution political party leaders to stop using words and phrases such as “rig and burn” which may prepare the minds of their supporters for violence. On the other hand, such violence-coated statements may intimidate electorates and discourage many from exercising their electoral franchise. The following recommendations are suggested to further help deal with the risks to the June 21 election:

·         INEC needs to build the confidence of the public for them to accept that the non-usage of the card reader machine for the governorship election will not affect both the its administration and outcome.

·          Logistics arrangement for early deployment of election materials and personnel should be firmed up and back-up plans made.

·         The police and other security agencies need to have plans for early and adequate security at the polling units. Moreover, allowances for security personnel should be paid up-front to ensure unhindered security presence at polls.

·         A cross-cutting theme in every campaign across political parties is mandate protection. There is need for voter education by the political parties, INEC, NOA, the media and NGOs to educate the public on mandate protection. Voters who are keen to protect their mandate should be educated about what mandate protection is all about. This is necessary to counter the current misperception that mandate protection entails inflicting violence on perceived perpetrators of electoral fraud.

·         Finally, it is important that political parties are encouraged to positively engage women and youths in the electoral process. Rather than being used as foot soldiers or agents of terror against opposing parties, the knowledge and strength of the youth could be utilized positively by the parties during campaigns and rallies. Provisions should be made for women and youths to understudy party administration and leadership for continuity and sustainability in the parties.

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