The post-2015 Electoral Reform symposium held in Abuja between the 29th and 30th of September was quite intensive. I (Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa) was a discussant and major stakeholder at the meeting. The event was organised by National Democratic Institute (NDI) in collaboration with Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA), Civil Society Legislative & Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and Centre for Civic Education a.k.a. Transition Monitoring Group (TMG).
There are four major clusters around which discussion was held:
1) Electoral Procedures, Organisation, Logistics & Security.
2) Political Parties & Electoral Practice.
3) Review of Legal & Institutional Framework for Elections.
4) Electoral Reform after 2015 General Elections: Strategies, Opportunities & Challenges.
After robust and exhaustive deliberations, the following recommendations were proffered:
* The electoral space should be made more easily accessible for women, the aged and people living with disabilities.
* The Violence Against Women in Elections (VAWIE) project and similar endeavours should be fed into INEC's gender programme.
* INEC should be more autonomous in the conduct of elections and monitoring of political actors.
* Alternative Dispute Resolurion (ADR) should be employed more frequently before litigation in election matters. The ADR department in INEC should be further strengthened.
*Journalists should be trained in the art of election reporting.
* The cost of elections should be more closely monitored.
* The security risk assessment of elections should be undertaken at least a year before elections. The Inter-Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) should be institutionalised to monitor early warning (EW) indicators of violence in elections.
* Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) should be under the firm control of INEC.
* Special and/or early voting should be available to those on duty on election days...security agents, NYSC volunteers, Nigerians in the diaspora, etc
* The duties of INEC should be streamlined. Some of the numerous tasks of INEC could be taken on by The Electoral Institute (TEI) and/or a body fashioned after the defunct Centre for Democratic Studies (CDS). CSOs should do more of voter education.
* The issue of Independent Candidature should be re-visited.
* INEC should have autonomy in the appointment of a substantive Commission Chair.
11th January, 2017
*Philanthropy in democratic societies: Contributory or disruptive? https://ssir.org/book_reviews/entry/disruptive_philanthropy