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- Create Date January 30, 2023
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Road to 2023: Tensions, Ungoverned Spaces & Limited Access for Elections
Nigeria’s 2023 general elections is Africa’s biggest elections in 2023. The election is an opportunity for Nigerians to elect leaders for respective offices which include the office of the President, 469 Legislators of the National Assembly, 28 Governors and 993 State Assembly legislators in a potentially contentious election. The elections which will be conducted amidst a troubled economy, rising insecurity and fractured state and society relations remain a symbol of hope for the people in a developing democracy lasting through 23 years of uninterrupted civilian rule. The enthusiasm observed during the continuous voter registration exercise, collection of permanent voters cards and citizen’s engagement in the pre-election phase indicates hope in the value of democracy as freedom of the people to freely choose their leaders. The success of the 2023 election will therefore be assessed on the level of compliance to generally acceptable integrity standards for elections in a democracy. Upholding a higher level of integrity quotient for the election remains paramount amidst a competitive and contentious elections especially in ensuring generally acceptable outcome of the election.
The pre-election observation presents a national outlook on pre-election activities with a special focus on the preparatory activities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), National Orientation Agency (NOA), civil society, campaigns by political parties ,incidents of violence and rising security challenges. The findings from the third reporting period indicates that INEC’s preparatory activities were ongoing with political party campaigns extended to more local government area. However, voter education remains poor, with more incidents of voter inducement. The report highlights trends in the preparation for the election by INEC across the six geo-political zones and the spread of campaigns by the four leading political parties; All Progressive’s Congress, Labour Party (LP), New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) and the People Democratic Party (PDP). Notably, political parties have intensified their campaigns for votes with high visibility of party campaigns and ongoing party meetings in States and Local Government Areas across the country. Hate speech on the basis of age, health, gender, religion, ethnicity or disability has remained relatively constant over time but the prevalence of each kind of hate speech varies by geo-political zone. In addition, the violence monitoring tool revealed the rising threat of violence and insecurity, in local government areas that are difficult to access for election-related activities due to insecurity. It also tracks attacks on INEC’s facilities and personnel and insecurity.
Yiaga Africa reiterates many of the same recommendations that emerged in previous reporting periods. Yiaga Africa encourages electoral actors with a mandate to provide voter information, especially on key changes to the electoral process, to increase activities in those areas where voters are relatively uninformed. We encourage candidates, media houses and citizens especially social media influencers to refrain from using incendiary language and to maintain a respectful campaign environment. We recommend that the upsurge in fuel prices and shortages be closely monitored as economic grievances could exacerbate tensions and serve as catalysts for electoral violence.
This report contains key findings of the third observation period (between December 09, 2022 and January 05, 2023) and is based on reports received from 748 of 774 LGAs. Yiaga Africa’s Watching the Vote will deploy its trained Long Term Observers (LTOs) across the 774 LGAs until February 24, 2023.