Nigeria’s two main political parties are asking election hopefuls to pay huge fees for the chance to stand at next year’s general election, in a move criticised as favouring the rich and well-connected. At the last nationwide vote in 2015, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of then-president Goodluck Jonathan charged 22 million naira per nomination form. The All Progressives Congress (APC) of the eventual winner Muhammadu Buhari asked for 27.5 million naira just to stand in the party’s presidential primary. Now, as both parties prepare for polling in February next year, the APC wants an eye-watering 45 million naira ($125 500) per presidential primary candidate, according to newspaper adverts on Wednesday.
Articles about voting issues in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
In the run up to the 2015 presidential election, a public relations firm named Cambridge Analytica attempted to influence Nigerian voters by orchestrating a smear campaign against eventual winner, Muhammadu Buhari.
When Cambridge Analytica’s efforts to influence Nigeria’s elections were made public earlier this year, many were shocked as to the length the firm (formerly SCL Elections) went to ensure the re-election victory of then-president, Goodluck Jonathan. On the prompting of an unnamed Nigerian billionaire, the data mining firm hacked Facebook to harvest the profile of millions of users and target what was determined to be their worst fears. In a video the firm produced, people were filmed being dismembered, having their throats cut and bled to death, and also burned to death in a bid to portray Muslims as violent and Buhari as the man that will impose Sharia Law that’ll make that sort of violence commonplace in the country.
The game has changed. The days are gone where rampant and widespread ballot-box snatching, political thuggery, and falsification of figures at collation centres define election rigging in Nigeria.Today, vote-buying is the name of the game and just as an election observer and monitoring group, Yiaga Africa, has described, vote-buying is the new way of election rigging by politicians in the country. Projector Director of Yiaga Africa, Cynthia Mbamalu, said in Osogbo yesterday at a Media Round Table Discussion tagged ‘Watching The Vote’ ahead of the September 22 governorship election in Osun State.Mbamalu said vote-buying was becoming a threat to Nigerian electoral process, adding that all hands must be on deck to put an end to the menace. “Nowadays, the more money you give, the more votes you get and this is becoming a problem and a challenge to our electoral process.”
“Are we adequately equipped for the operation of the electronic voting? Countries which have operated this system for decades still grapple with it despite the advanced state of their technological development. It must be appreciated that the problems bedevilling elections in Nigeria do not entirely relate to the accuracy of the process of voting and collation of votes. It is more of an attitudinal problem on the part of the electorates and the Politicians who will stop at nothing to attain political power”. On the 31st of May 2018, the House of Representatives rejected moves for the adoption of electronic voting during the upcoming 2019 general elections. The House took the decision whilst considering the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018, the long title of which is, “A bill for an Act to amend the provisions of the Electoral Act, No. 6, 2010 to further improve the electoral process and for related matters.”
Globally, 26 countries conduct elections with one form of electronic voting or the other with some even allowing internet ballots for general elections. In 2014, Namibia joined the list becoming the first African country to conduct an e-voting election. Nigeria has made moves too. In 2017, the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), unveiled a solar-powered electronic voting machine that was reportedly made in Nigeria. Ever since this announcement, Nigerians have clamoured for electronic voting in the 2019 general elections but this may be a bad idea. Kaduna State recently made history when it pulled off Nigeria’s first electronic voting in its local government elections. Ironically, howbeit successful, Kaduna illustrates practical reasons Nigeria is not ready for e-voting in 2019.
It is mid-afternoon on the Friday before the local government elections in Kaduna State. Dr. (Mrs.) Saratu Binta Dikko-Audu, chairman of the Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission (KAD-SIECOM), has been on her feet for the most part of the day moving from one end of the commission’s premises to the other. The compound itself is buzzing with activities like a bee hive, marking a culmination of events that have taken place over the past 6 months. The Kaduna State local government elections were earlier slated for the 30th of December 2017 and subsequently cancelled. KAD-SIECOM suspended the elections because the State House of Assembly had not passed the Kaduna State Independent Electoral Commission Bill No. 10 of 2012 into law.
There are strong indications that millions of Nigerians of voting age might be disfranchised in next year’s general elections because their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) have either been lost or damaged. Majority of these people are currently in various internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps, especially in Northern and North Central parts of the country. Some have relocated because of insecurity in their area. In Borno and Yobe states, millions of Nigerians are in IDP camps due to the activities of the Boko Haram insurgents. And in the North Central states of Plateau, Benue, Nasarawa and Niger, Fulani herdsmen have sacked people from their homes and burnt their houses, forcing them to them to also take refuge in camps. Down South, Ebonyi State has also witnessed herdsmen attacks and communal clashes. Apart from loss of property and other personal belongings, some (if not most) of these people have also lost their PVCs. In all intent and purposes, they have been disenfranchised from voting in next year’s general elections.
The National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu has confirmed that the commission will not deploy the use of electronic gadgets to conduct voting during the 2019 general elections. Yakubu, who is also the President of the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC) said this while briefing reporters at the end of the three-day International Conference on “ Opportunities and Challenges in the use of technology in Elections”, which ended in Abuja on Wednesday. The conference organized by the INEC, the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES), the Electoral Commissions Forum of Southern Africa Development Countries (ECF/SADC) drew participants from over 30 countries from West and southern African sub-regions, who brainstormed on the deployment of technology for elections.
Nigeria: Cambridge Analytica parent company manipulated Nigeria’s 2007 election, documents show | The Globe and Mail
The parent company of Cambridge Analytica boasted of its success in manipulating a Nigerian election by using religious leaders to suppress the vote, according to documents released on Thursday. The documents were released by Canadian whistle-blower Christopher Wylie to a committee of the British House of Commons. They include a promotional brochure by SCL Group, the British affiliate of Cambridge Analytica, which later worked with Canadian firm AggregateIQ in elections worldwide. nThe brochure suggests that SCL considered the option of bribing Nigerian voters to vote for the government, but decided that such “financial incentives” would be ineffective because the voters had so much contempt for politicians that they would simply take the money and mark their ballot for someone else.
The Diaspora Voting Right Movement, a Nigerian Group based in the United Kingdom, on Wednesday called on the Federal Government to legalise Diaspora voting. Dr Philip Idaewor, the Convener of the group, said on the telephone from London that the clamour for Diaspora voting had been on for more than a decade. “ As women celebrate 100 years of voting rights in the United Kingdom, Nigerians in the Diaspora renew call for the right to vote in elections in Nigeria,” he said.