Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Nigeria: A Primer on INEC Elections in April 2011

Results and Reviews

Update: Nigeria: INEC Election Guidelines - Critical Information

This blog has been a veritable resource and guide to the Nigerian elections in April 2011, I have consistently updated this blog and add other bits of information as the election season wound down bringing together the election reviews and results from various sources.

All outstanding elections have now been concluded and those with grievances are now at liberty to file their claims with the election tribunals to seek redress or resolution.

The INEC Nigeria homepage offers a summary of the validated results of the elections.

Punch on the Web: Election Portal | Results of 2011 Presidential and other elections

Home : Nigeria Election Coalition presents an another analysis of the results announced.

The provisions for electoral petitions

The Electoral Act 2010 provides for the resolution of electoral petitions, these can be found in PART VIII - DETERMINATION OF ELECTION PETITIONS ARISING FROM ELECTIONS this starts from Section 133 or Page 45 according to the pagination of the PDF file.

Electoral Act 2010 as gazetted [PDF File].

Petitions should be filed within 21 days of the declaration of the results, the tribunal should deliver its judgement within 180 days of the filing of that petition and appeals for the tribunal process must be exhausted with 90 days of the judgement.

Election petitions take precedence over all other case files before the tribunal or court according to Section 142 of this Act.

No hard time-limits are placed on the complete resolution of petitions all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.

Election Reviews

Nigeria: #NigeriaDecides Election Review I

Nigeria: #NigeriaDecides Election Review II - New Election Dates

Nigeria: #NigeriaDecides Election Review III - Who votes on Saturday.

Nigeria: #NigeriaDecides Election Review IV - Part I to Voting

Nigeria: #NigeriaDecides Election Review IV - Part II - We can

Nigeria: #NigeriaDecides Election Review V

Nigeria: #NigeriaDecides Election Review VI - Report to Prevent Rigging

Nigeria: #NigeriaDecides Election Review VII - Change!

Nigeria: #NigeriaDecides Election Review VIII - A President-Elect

Nigeria: #NigeriaDecides Election Review IX - Analysing the Presidential Results

Nigeria: #NigeriaDecides Election Review X - The North

Nigeria: #NigeriaDecides Election Review XI - A functioning democracy?

Nigeria: #NigeriaDecides Election Review XII - Altogether acceptable

Nigeria: #NigeriaDecides Election Review XIII - Ideas for Electoral Reform

The election timetables, postponements and rescheduling

This primer started as a collation of information bits posted by the @INECNigeria Twitter Account, it has been regularly updated to reflect changes during the April 2011 election season though the most of the original parts of this posting appear below.

New election dates announced on the 3rd of April, 2011, further postponements announced on the 7th of April, 2011 for certain Senatorial Districts and Federal Constituencies

National Assembly Elections - Saturday, 9th of April, 2011 (15 Senators and 48 Representatives will not be elected on this day.)

Visit Nigeria: #NigeriaDecides Election Review III - Who votes on Saturday for more information.

Presidential Elections - Saturday, 16th of April, 2011

Gubernatorial and State Legislature Elections - Tuesday, 26th of April, 2011 (The Senators and Representatives not scheduled for election on the 9th of April will be elected on this day.)

Rescheduled Gubernatorial and State Legislature Elections - Thursday, 28th of April, 2011 (For Kaduna State & Bauchi States because of security reasons borne of post-election violence after the Presidential Elections.)

Supplemental elections held in 4 local government areas and one ward in Imo State to resolved the inconclusive situation – Friday, 6th of May, 2011.

INEC engaging social media

The @inecnigeria Twitter account finally came alive with activity last week with useful information about the elections to be conducted in Nigeria in the month of April 2011.

Through the series of tweets posted and my comments this blog will attempt to give a general idea of what to expect during those elections.

@inecnigeria At INEC, we are working round the clock to ensure a smooth delivery of a free and fair election to the people of Nigeria.

@inecnigeria INEC is doing its best as an Election Management Body (EMB) to restore confidence and provide a level playing field in Nigeria.

We as Nigerians expect no less from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) it is our hope that the elections are conducted and results announced that reflect the express wishes and majority voice of Nigeria.

@inecnigeria The total number of registered voters stands at 73,528,040 while total number of duplicates stands at 870,612. #VotersRegFacts.

The Timetable [Source]

The National Assembly Elections will hold on Saturday, the 9th of April, 2011. This pertains to the Nigerian Senate and the House of Representatives that meet in the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja unfortunately, the listed URL on the INEC Nigeria website does not link to the lists. [The URLs are now working.]

@inecnigeria List of candidates for Nigerian Senate elections http://j.mp/gpUxQm

@inecNigeria List of candidates contesting for the Nigerian House of Representatives http://j.mp/dO1xYf

The Presidential elections will hold on Saturday, the 16th of April, 2011. The list of presidential office aspirants can be found here.

@Inecnigeria The list of candidates contesting for presidency with their running mates http://j.mp/glXuws

The gubernatorial and state house of assembly elections will hold on Tuesday, the 26th of April, 2011.

@inecnigeria List of candidates contesting the Nigerian gubernatorial elections http://j.mp/effx3Q

At the writing of this blog the list for those running for State Houses of Assembly was not yet available but I will make that available as soon as I can.

Movement restrictions on voting day

In order to ensure that the voting in 2011 is seen as free and fair, it is probably going to be a full day exercise with full voter participation but a number of things need to be known.

Movement will be very restricted on election days which means voters must be close to locations where they registered to be able to vote. Students who registered at their schools would have to be in residence to vote at those locations and those who travelled to their villages from their locations of residence to register would have to make certain that they are back in their villages for voting before election days.

@inecnigeria It is important to reiterate that movement during elections will be restricted to only those on official election duty.

@inecnigeria Voters are therefore advised to start their day (on election days) close to their polling units to avoid being disenfranchised.

@inecnigeria #INEC. Governors and other officials not allowed to move around with armed detail on election day.

@inecnigeria Governors, other public office holders have been advised to come, vote and go back home. No reason for "monitoring". #INEC

@inecnigeria Movement restrictions will be enforced by security agencies nationwide for public safety & to preserve integrity of election materials.

Monitoring is now part of our civic responsibility Nigeria: ReVoDa - Making Your Votes Count

Protocols for elections

There is an accreditation process and a voting process on the day of the elections. Voters are to arrive at 8:00AM at their respective polling units to be accredited and this continues until 12 noon prompt.

It is the most important part of the electioneering process because it validates the eligibility of the voter to vote and this I believe is verifying registration, identification and the matching fingerprints.

@inecnigeria Voters must be at their respective polling booth at 8am for accreditation. Accreditation is a prerequisite for voting.

@inecnigeria Accreditation begins at 8am and ends at 12 noon prompt. It is the most important process in voting during the elections.

The voting would be by Modified Open Ballot System [1] the guidelines for this process will be published on the 23rd of March, 2011.

@inecnigeria Voting procedure will be 'Open Ballot System' (similar to what was used during 1993 elections)

@inecnigeria Proper guidelines for the elections will be released this Wednesday. #INEC.

Protecting your votes

Voters will be allowed to wait around after voting to ensure their votes are counted and tallied freely, fairly, transparently and without interference. They are allowed to take their mobile phones into polling units, record events and make use of the ReVoDa [2] monitoring process.

No one in political office or contesting elections is allowed to monitor elections, they are to vote and leave the environs of the polling units.

The list of accredited election monitors appears here [3].

@inecnigeria Voters are allowed to bring in mobile phones/devices into Polling Units. #INEC.

@inecnigeria Violence and disruptions at polling units could be grounds to nullify results in those polling units. #INEC

@inecnigeria Results will be nullified if the total votes cast exceed the total number of accredited voters.

@inecnigeria There is a profound commitment from overwhelming majority of Nigerians for free and fair and credible elections in April. #INEC

Most of the information about the conduct of elections, the candidates and guidelines can be found on this page [4].

Little frustrations

Trawling through the INEC Nigeria website is a nightmare, the placing of information is not consistent, the quality of data is badly processed with some information that should be in tables provided as downloadable files in some cases you have to rely on the pot-luck of the latest news column of 3 items to get the information required because the user experience is appallingly unprofessional.

I was frustrated when I started writing this blog hours ago that I stopped, but this not before I had posted some rather scathing remarks about the website. I can now report that amazing improvements have been made to get at the necessary detail in use on this blog.

After the elections on the 16th of April the INEC Nigeria website was again revamped making results even more accessible, the organisation has consistently improved on the quality of their service and information dissemination.

Sources

[1] National Mirror - INEC adopts modified open ballot system.

[2] ReVoDa: making voting social and protecting your democracy

[3] Accredited Domestic Observer Groups/Organisations for the 2011 April General Elections

[4] Reports: INEC Nigeria

Nigeria: Know your inalienable voter’s rights

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