Thursday 29 October 2015


On October 27, 2015, Partners for Electoral Reform (PER), in collaboration with other Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), x-rayed the state of democracy in Nigeria. I (Dr. Dayo Oluyemi-Kusa), Chairperson, Board of Directors, National Peace Summit Group (NPSG) was a stakeholder at the meeting, held in Abuja.

The following summarises what transpired at the meeting:

*President Mohammed Buhari was commended for the recent appointment of Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu as Chairman of INEC along with 5 National Commissioners.
*Their appointments need to be confirmed as soon as possible in view of Gubernatorial elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states scheduled for November 21 and December 5 respectively in order to allay fears about the legality of the proposed elections.
*More women need to be appointed into INEC inspite of the fact that two of the national Commissioners (Mrs. Amina Zakari & Prof. Anthonia Okoosi-Simbine) are women.
*The President should, without delay appoint the full complement of national Commissioners and Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs).
*There should be a more inclusive Parliamentary mechanism for cross-Party involvement in the selection and approval of the INEC Chairperson and national Commissioners.
*INEC's independence should be further developed through direct power to appoint and remove RECs.
*The 8th National Assembly (NASS), should expedite action on the electoral reform process that was started by the 7th NASS. To avoid replication and duplication of previous efforts, the 8th NASS should audit all past electoral reform processes.
*For sustainable democracy, we need to review the following:
- Framework for electoral administration (electoral governance).
- Electoral legal framework.
- Internal Party Democracy (IPD), and other issues within Political Parties.
- Election observation.
- Election security, especially as it relates to women, the disabled, the aged and other vulnerable groups.
- Public ownership of the electoral process.
- Cost of elections.
- Role of CSOs in the sustenance and consolidation of democratic governanace.

Always remember that the end of one election should be the beginning of effective and efficient planning for the next election. 4 years represent a short time available for planning. Preparation for the 2019 election should have started yesterday. Our erstwhile 'fire brigade' approach to the issue of elections must stop! 

Thursday 1 October 2015


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 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?