The Kebbi Concerned Citizens Initiative observed the 2019 Local Government election with recommendations to improve future electoral processes. KCC concluded that the systemic failings seen in the elections, and the relatively low levels of voter participation, show the need for fundamental electoral reform.
“Such reform needs political leadership that is dedicated to the rights of Kebbi citizens, and an inclusive process of dialogue involving state institutions, parties, civil society and the media,” said the Director General Ibrahim Muhammad during press conference in Birnin Kebbi. “This needs to be urgently undertaken to allow time for legislative changes and implementation well advance of the next elections, “he added.
Overall, KCC concluded the elections were marked by severe operational and transparency shortcomings, electoral security problems and low turnout.
However, the elections were less competitive, non-adherence to electoral guideline and time table, campaign and rallies by political parties were invisible. Ruling party, KCC said, was at fault in not reining in acts of violence and intimidation by their supporters, and abuse of incumbency at all levels. Except for federal radio (Equity FM) and Vision FM, state media primarily served the interests of the government.
There were insufficient checks and transparency in the results process, as well as a general lack of public communication and information.
The elections became increasingly marred by violence and intimidation, with the role of the security agencies becoming more contentious as the process progressed. KCC reported that, this damaged the integrity of the electoral process and may deter future participation. During collation of the results, KCC observers directly witnessed or received reports of intimidation of electoral officials.
Positively, however, we noted that there was mass voter education exercise by civil society groups such KCC, KDF, etc. KCC also emphasized the effective role played by civil society organizations in promoting election reform and positively contributing to the accountability of the process.
This report suggests 7 recommendations for consideration:
1. Strengthen KESIEC procedures for the collation of results to improve integrity and confidence in electoral outcomes.
2. Establish requirements in law for full results transparency, with data easily accessible to the public.
3. Considerably strengthen KESIEC’s organizational and operational capacity, as well as its internal communication.
4. The inter-agency body responsible for electoral security to work more transparently and inclusively, with regular consultations with political parties and civil society.
5. KESIEC should completely be independent and autonomous.
6. Electoral tribunals to also cover pre-election cases in order to improve access to remedy and to avoid petitions being taken to different courts at the same time.
7. People with partisan political background should not be appointed as Electoral Commissioners.
KCC was fully active throughout the period (before, during and after) to observe all aspects of the electoral process and assess the extent to which the elections complied with Nigeria’s international and regional commitments for elections, as well as with state and national legislation. (Find attached the summarized executive checklist for 2019 Kebbi State Local Government Election.)