CAPPA – Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa

New Report: Unpacking Nigeria’s 2023 General Elections

On May 26, 2023, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) convened a press conference to unveil its most recent study, titled “Unpacking Nigeria’s 2023 Elections.” The report presents an objective critique of the 2023 General Election in Nigeria, spotlighting significant advancements and noteworthy challenges, while concluding with recommendations for strengthening national unity and enhancing democratic institutions.

CAPPA Executive Director – Akinbode Oluwafemi

Akinbode Oluwafemi, the Executive Director of CAPPA, kicked off the conference with insightful remarks. He reflected on the high expectations engendered among Nigerians in the run-up to the elections, largely due to innovative measures implemented by the government and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reinforce public trust in the political process. Prominent among these steps were the enactment of the Electoral Act, of 2022, and incorporation of technology into the country’s electoral mechanisms.

Nevertheless, Oluwafemi highlighted the cloud of concerns that overshadowed the elections despite such advancements. These included instances of voter intimidation, delay in the delivery of election materials, suppression of press freedom, problematic delineation of polling units leading to voter disenfranchisement, violation of data rights, propagation of divisive identity politics, and INEC’s failure to upload the Presidential elections’ result sheets to the INEC Result Viewing portal (IREV). Post-election, he emphasized the need for all stakeholders to collaborate in order to address these challenges, repair ethnic divisions, and restore national unity, peace, and public faith in democratic processes and institutions.

Zikora Ibeh, CAPPA’s Policy and Research Officer, provided an overview of the report’s methodology. She elaborated that the report was a synthesis of CAPPA’s onsite and offsite observations of the elections. She acknowledged that the elections had sparked positive outcomes, such as an elevated sense of civic and political awareness among Nigerians, particularly the youth. However, Ibeh expressed concern over specific electoral law violations by prominent political figures, including President Muhammadu Buhari and Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, who publicly displayed their ballot papers. In light of this, she stressed the need to punish electoral offenders fairly and non-discriminatorily.

Aderonke Ige, Associate Director, CAPPA, appealed to the press and the public to persistently scrutinize and question the provisions and shortcomings of the country’s electoral legislation and 2023 General elections. Such interrogation, she argued, would strengthen the electoral system and make it more robust and inclusive for future elections. She also called upon the National Orientation Agency to take up the responsibility of uniting Nigerians through conscientious messaging.

Tola Oresanya, Director of Programmes at the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) underscored the need for thorough voter and political education well before elections. He contended that equipping voters with the necessary knowledge would enable them to positively influence elections and reject divisive ethnic and religious politics.

The meeting concluded with additional recommendations, notably, the need to strengthen INEC’s digital systems in view of its now-significant role in voting processes. In terms of bolstering the Commission’s autonomy, the appointment of Commission’s members, it was suggested, should be determined by a more diverse range of democratic and non-partisan stakeholders, to promote a truly democratic process.

Download Report Here

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