INEC

  • EkitiDecides2022: Six new changes to electoral act that will be implemented

    In February 2022, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the 2022 Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law.

    This Act which came after months of withheld assent repeals the Electoral Act of 2010 with the intent of bringing innovations to the regulation of Federal, State and Area Council elections in Nigeria.

    Ahead of the Ekiti state governorship election, this article highlights changes to the electoral act and the 2022 election regulations and guidelines that will affect or be implemented during the governorship election. 

    1. Longer time frame for campaigns by political parties

    Although both acts stipulate party campaigns must end 24 hours before the election day, the new act allows every political party to commence campaigns 150 days before polling day instead of the previous 90 days. 

    This means all party campaigns for the Ekiti election ends Thursday June 16, 2022.

    This is contained in section 94(1) of the Electoral Act 2022 (as amended).

    1. Electronic voter database

    Before now, the voter register was only kept in hard copy but the new act provides that the commission shall keep the register of voters at its national headquarters and other locations, provided the register is kept in electronic format in its central database, in addition to being kept in manual or hardcopy format. 

    Section 9(2) of 2022 Act makes this possible 

    1. Over voting redefined 

    Section 51(2) of the electoral act gives the Presiding Officer (PO) the power to cancel the result of the election where the number of votes cast at an election in any polling unit exceeds the number of accredited voters in that Polling Unit (PU).

    The number of accredited voters here refers to the number of intending voters accredited to vote in an election on the election day.

    Under the former act, results are only cancelled when the number of votes cast at an election in any polling unit exceeds the number of registered voters in that polling unit accredited or not.

    Based on this provision, “overvoting” means where votes cast at a polling unit exceed the number of accredited voters and not the number of registered voters. 

    1. Power to review returning officer’s decision 

    Under the new act, INEC has the power to review the final decision of the Returning Officer (RO) in respect of questions of unmarked ballot paper, rejected ballot paper, declaration of scores of candidates and the return of a candidate, within seven days of the decision, and return where the declaration was not made voluntarily or was made contrary to the provisions of the law or the guidelines for the election.

    In the former act, the decision of the RO was subject to review only by an election tribunal or court. Section 65(2) of the new act still gives the election tribunal or court the power to review the RO’s decision but it is not clear if which review should come first or which supersedes the other.

    1. Death of electoral candidates

    Section 34(1) provides that where a candidate dies before the commencement of polls the election shall be postponed and shall commence within 14 days of the candidate’s death. Section 34(2) notes that if the candidate dies after the polls, but before the announcement of the final winner/result, the election will be suspended for not more than 21 days.

    In the case of a legislative house position, the election shall start afresh and the political party who lost its candidate may conduct a fresh primary within 14 days of the death of its candidate and submit the name of a new candidate to the commission to replace the dead candidate.

    For gubernatorial, presidential and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) area council elections, the running mate of the candidate shall continue with the election (as the new candidate) and nominate a new running mate.

    1.  Technological changes in electoral process

    Section 47(2) of the new act, allows for the use of electronic devices such as smart card readers, electronic voting machines and other technological devices, in the accreditation process for voters and in the general conduct of elections.

    Section 69(5) states that the presiding officer shall transfer the result including total accredited voters and result of the poll in a manner prescribed by the commission. 

    The commission has said it will use the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and 3,346 have already been delivered for the June 18, Ekiti election.

  • TRUE! PVC registration concert to hold at Eagle Square Abuja

    Claim: WhatsApp users claim that INEC has scheduled a PVC registration concert for June 20 to 25 at Eagle square. 

    Our findings show a voter registration campaign and concert will be held in Abuja from June 20 to June 25, 2022.

    Full Text 

    The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in collaboration with YIAGA Africa and the European Union held a Permanent Voter Card (PVC) registration concert at the Tafawa Balewa Square Lagos on Saturday, June 12, 2022. 

    This was preceded by a Youth Vote Count campaign from Monday, June 6 to Friday, June 10, 2022. This campaign was designed to mobilise citizens, especially the youth to participate in the electoral process. 

    Recently, different WhatsApp users took to their status to announce that INEC is set to hold a similar concert at the Eagle Square in Abuja from June 20-25.

    Screenshot of the viral WhatsApp Status.

    Verification

    A keyword search on Google led to reports announcing the concert in Lagos by The Guardian, The Nation, Vanguard and Business Day but nothing on a concert in Abuja.

    We also did not find any announcement of a concert in Abuja on INEC’s Twitter account and website, so we reached out to INEC’s commissioner for information and voter education, Festus Okoye. 

    He confirmed this was true, explaining that the concert will be held on Saturday, June 25, after voter registration which will commence from Monday, June 20 to Friday, June 24. 

    “The PVC registration concert will begin on Monday, June 20, 2022, and the concert will take place on Saturday, June 25, 2022, at Eagle Square Abuja”.

    This was also announced by Yiaga Africa (@YIAGA) in a tweet Tuesday afternoon with the same details shared by INEC’s commissioner. 

    Screenshot of concert Flyer shared by YIAGA

    We found a tweet by the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (@EU_SDGN) also announcing this. 

    Conclusion

    Our findings show a voter registration campaign and concert will be held in Abuja from June 20 to June 25, 2022.

  • What You Need To Know About Bimodal Voter Accreditation System

    The importance of technology in human lives cannot be underestimated. Our realities have been greatly influenced by technological advancements, particularly in the 21st century. 

    Technology affects the way individuals interact with one another on a daily basis. It can also be said that technology has affected every other aspect of human life: health, education, finances among others. 

    The fusion between technology and governance starts in many parts of the world, particularly at the electioneering process.

    The deployment of technology in different countries of the world to the electioneering process has recorded an enormous impact. 

    In the world today, most electoral management bodies around the world use new technologies with the aim of improving the electoral process. Some of the technology employed by these bodies include basic office automation tools such as word processing and spreadsheets to more sophisticated data processing tools, such as database management systems, optical scanning and geographic information systems.

    Government and politics impact nearly every aspect of human lives ranging from the amount of tax an individual pays to the kinds of household items they can possess. 

    Voting on its part is the process of selecting a candidate for a political position. It is one of the electioneering processes. 

    Elections in Nigeria 

    With an over 210 million population, Nigerians go to the polls every four years to chose their representatives at the local, state and federal government levels. 

    The Independent National Electoral Commission, the apex body for election conduct in the country, has been saddled with the responsibility of overseeing the electioneering process while ensuring credibility. 

    However, despite efforts of the commission to keep the electoral process as transparent as possible, there have been widespread reports of electoral malpractice aided sometimes with violence. 

    Therefore, INEC had over the years sought for the deployment of technological innovation to improve the credibility and safety of the electoral process in Nigeria. 

    In 2015, the commission had deployed the use of smart card readers for the conduct of the elections with four main objectives: to verify Permanent Voter cards (PVCs) presented by voters at polling units and ensure that they are genuine, INEC-issued (not cloned) cards.

    Another objective was to biometrically authenticate the person who presents a PVC at the polling unit and ensure that he/she is the legitimate holder of the card. 

    It was also stated that the SCRs were to provide disaggregated data of accredited voters in male/female and elderly/youth categories.

    The SCR sends the data of all accredited voters to INEC’s central server, equipping the Commissioin to be able to audit figures subsequently filed by polling officials at the PU and, and thereby be  able to determine if fraudulent alterations were made. 

    In a document released on September 13, 2021, INEC says it has, over the last two years, applied several technological innovations to manage the electoral process. 

    It highlighted them to be INEC Results Viewing (IReV) portal, separate portals for nomination of candidates, accreditation of election observers, accreditation of the media for elections and for nomination of polling agents. 

    Also, the commission introduced the online pre-registration of voters as part of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise, which has made it possible for well over two million Nigerians to commence and/or complete their registration without difficulties within a period of ten weeks.

    Of recent, INEC Chairman, Information and Voter Committee, Festus Okoye, revealed during an interview with AriseTV that the body will be deploying the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for the Anambra gubernatorial election which is slated for November 6. 

    He explained that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) was commissioned by INEC for voter accreditation in order to enable near real-time viewing of results.

    What is BVAS?

    The BVAS can be described as a system that will combine fingerprint and face biometrics for identity verification of voters.

    As explained by the top official, the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System integrates the three-stage voting process.

    It is an integrated device that is multifunctional in nature, which serves as Voter Enrolment Device (IVED) during voter registration, voter accreditation on Election Day and also functions as INEC Results Viewing Device (IReV Device) to be used for election results upload on Election Day. 

    Integrated into the INEC Voter Enrollment Device, the BVAS will com­bine fingerprint and facial authentication to ensure that the person holding the PVC is the one that will vote.

    Having been described as a “technological convergence”, the BVAS, which performs the functions of both the Smart Card Reader and Z-Pad will ensure fingerprint authentication during the accreditation of voters and eliminate any need for the filing of incident forms. 

    Okoye, during the interview, said, “What INEC did is called a technological convergence. An enrollment device is what is being used for the continuous voters’ registration. In the Anambra election, this device will become the bimodal voters accreditation system which will be used to verify the biometrics of the voter.

    “This will now transform into a Z-pad which will be used for upload of results. It is a three-in-one device. The smart card reader has been phased out. INEC is embarking on massive voter education via the radio and the television.”

    The BVAS which was deployed in the September 23 Isoko South State Assembly Constituency bye-election in Delta State, was said to have recorded a 97% progress. 

    Several countries of the world and in Africa are adopting the biometric systems such as the BVAS to ensure a fair and efficient election. 

    These systems, according to biometric update, include identification solutions for voter registration, voting, tallying and identification. Common modalities include fingerprint recognition, palm vein recognition, iris recognition and facial recognition. Mobile voting systems are also included. 

    It is important to note that biometrics in election processes allow the capture and recognition of unique physical characteristics, whether fingerprints (also hand geometry or palmprints), iris, face, voice, signature, or some patterns of behaviour. 

    A good example of success recorded was from the general elections held in Ghana on December 7, 2020. In a release by Neurotechnology, a company that specialises in high-precision biometric identification and object recognition technologies, revealed that its MegaMatcher Automatic Biometric Identification System (ABIS), were used for Ghana’s Biometric Voter Management System, providing voter registration, deduplication, adjudication, final voter list generation and verification.

    According to the release, the MegaMatcher ABIS provided deduplication for a total of 17,027,641 registrants who were eligible to vote in the general election. By matching fingerprints and/or facial biometrics for each registrant name, the system successfully identified 15, 860 multiple registrations conducted by 7,890 unique individuals who attempted to register more than once using different names.

    Other African countries that have deployed the use of this technique for conduct of election include Uganda, Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Kenya 

    Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somaliland, Swaziland (Eswatini), Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

    Most strikingly, Somaliland in 2017 deployed the use of iris recognition-based biometric voting systems.

    This is the scanning of the eye to verify the identity of registered voters before they are cleared to vote.

    The machines were said to have been under trial since 2015 ahead of the election held on November 13, 2017. 

    Weakness

    However, while the voter accreditation system has been praised for eliminating electoral malpractice, there have been some shortcomings in its usage. While it prevents multiple registration, it mayP not affect many other fraudulent strategies.

    During the Ugandan elections, the biometric voter identification was abandoned as a result of network failure.

    According to reports from Uganda, the network problems can be attributed to President Yoweri Museveni, who imposed an internet blackout that cut off access to news, social media, and messaging services ahead of the election.

    Also, given the complexity of the biometric voting processes, many electoral agencies require external partners, or private companies, that can assist in effecting the new process seamlessly. 

    However, this often raises new concerns for citizens including protection of voters’ data when trusted with a private vendor. 

    Many rightfully want to know what will happen with the personal information and biometric data they provide. 

    Nigeria has, over the years, upgraded its use of technology for electoral matters, including the new BVAS which is to be used for the Anambra election.

    However, time will tell whether or not this will eliminate electoral malpractice. 

    This article was produced per 2021 Kwame Karkari fact-checking fellowship in partnership with SaharaReporters to facilitate the ethos of truth in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

  • Hiccups with INEC online registration breed fertile grounds for spread of false information

    Sometimes in June, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) kick-started an online voter registration process ahead of the 2023 elections. Since announcing its intentions to move the registration online, INEC has attracted applause from both experts and members of the general public who, in the past,  had stayed hours in long queues to get registered. 

    INEC is now amending the narrative by choosing to carry out the online registration  through a portal that was assured by the commission to be one size fits all.  The portal will allow for pre-registration for  new voters and review of voter registration status for those who have registered in the past. The upgrade will also allow updates on basic voter information; relocation of polling units, and request for card replacements whether misplaced or damaged.

    To some Nigerians who had experienced the misery  of voter registrations in the past, all these features fused into may seem a breath of fresh air  and a hot coffee served on a rainy cold morning. 

    Nonetheless, the process does not end online. Citizens who have undergone the online registration are also expected to  have their thumbprint taken at  any INEC center nearest to them. 

    You could say it’s a great early start towards the 2023 general elections. But for the indigenes of Anambra, Ekiti, and Osun states, the registration is timely. INEC has already slated the Anambra State 2021 gubernatorial elections for November 6th; Ekiti State for June 18th 2022, while Osun State is  slated for July 16th 2022.  

    As you would have guessed already, voters in those states have taken the INEC online registration more seriously  than citizens in other parts of the country.  Anambra State has already registered 8,624 persons on the portal, the highest so far while Osun State is in second place with 8,114 voters already registered.

    Issues with the registration vulnerable to interpretations

    Yet the voter online registration is not without its own controversies.  Some voters in those areas have accused INEC of nepotistic sidelining. That the commission has denied them access to register because of their regional and ethnic identities.  

    A typical scenario was on Twitter, when a user, Anambra1stson (@UchePOkoye) accused INEC of  denying him access to the portal to register, “INEC is still denying us access to register its population. They are yet to rectify this.” He complained in a tweet, attaching a screenshot of the failed process. 

    This user, whose registration details suggest Anambra as his state of origin, made no further rendition as to why this was happening to him. However,  other users who are apparently from the same region and also seem to have had issues with the  registration process gave the case a more conspicuous meaning.   

    The complaint by Twitter user that formed the basis for other narratives

    “How do we escalate this…Seems like an intentional conspiracy to reduce voter registration in the South East? Is this happening in Northern states… Who are the SE commissioners in INEC… Something needs to be done.” A user, HumanityFirst (@uwakings1) implied.  This comment appeared to give the tweet a whole new meaning, especially when another user,  Paul @Paul2586048833-31 tendered  that “If you want to know how Nigeria is rigged, use Ahmed or Mohammed you will notice that they are still registering.” 

    It didn’t stop there, other users who also commented on the tweet felt that the issues with  the registration were only peculiar to states conducting elections next year.  “Not only in SE, the same issue with Osun State, I have been trying for over 10days now. The issue is peculiar to the states having their election next year”. Festus Adejumobi @SirPhe, Tweeted

    Looking for explanations

    Yet it wasn’t just these persons, other users who further commented also shared their frustrations with the registration process, referring to the problem as a regional and ethnic sidelining. Aside from these postulated reasons, the electoral act of 2010 which temporarily suspends voter card registration 60 days to the commencement of the election might be playing out here. But not likely, since the Anambra gubernatorial election is more than 60 days away and both Osun and Ekiti elections will not take place until mid next year. So what could be the explanations behind these issues? 

    The INEC National Commissioner Information & Voter Education, Barr. Festus Okoye, offered some explanations to Dubawa. IHe said other issues far from what was implied is the source of the problem. 

    “Equipments have not been fully deployed to the Anambra headquarters due to the security condition, since the office was set ablaze on May 24, 2021,  that is the reason Anambra INEC state headquarter is not an available slot, but other offices in Awka are available and so far registration has been going on successfully,” he said. 

    Mr. Okoye added, “When you are initiating your registration  online, you must choose an appointment date and location to complete your biometrics, you can choose the nearest office close to you and If anyone has complications with the online registration, they can do well to visit the nearest state/LGA, INEC office nationwide for clarification.” 

    While the issues identified by these online users might be valid, the narrative tied to it might not be necessarily true. Another way to  look at it is that registration portals are usually swarmed with eager applicants. This reality sometimes slows a website’s speed and even makes registration a nightmare.  

    Some Anambra State applicants have attested to   successfully registering on the portal, while others, not just from the state, are still experiencing similar issues.  This perhaps explains why  Anambra and Osun State have the highest number of registered voters carried out so far via  the portal. So maybe it is not the issue of  social or ethnic sidelining but a technical one that usually ensues with online portals and that should attract immediate attention of the INEC.  

    The researcher produced this fact-check per the 2021 Kwame Karikari Fact-checking Fellowship partnership with JAY 101.9 FM Jos to facilitate the ethos of truth in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

  • A drop in female contestants and other things to know about forthcoming Anambra Gubernatorial Elections

    The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC),  has slated November 6th for the highly anticipated 2021 Anambra election. While this move was definitive, the primary elections conducted by some political parties saw an avalanche of discord that challenged the legitimacy of the candidates that emerged. 

    The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Congress (APC), and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), considered the major political parties contesting in the elections have had varied degrees of friction over the authenticity of the gubernatorial candidates to represent their parties. 

    Nonetheless, this is not the only significant thing around the Anambra Elections. Below are some occurrences you probably don’t know about the Anambra polity. 

    A drop in Female contestants; a rise of younger candidates

    Out of the 18  contestants confirmed by INEC for the 2021 Anambra governorship elections,  only two of candidates  contesting for the governorship position are women. This is a striking decline compared to the previous 2017 elections when five women contested for the post. Also,  only five women are contesting as candidates for the deputy governorship post. This is a decline from  a total of eight women that contested for the post in 2017. 

    APC has Male-Male running candidates. While INEC is yet to release the names of candidates for the PDP because of ongoing discord within the party. Out of the major political parties contesting in the elections, apparently only APGA has a woman for the  position of deputy governor. 

    Out of all the candidates screened and confirmed by INEC, the youngest candidate is Ekene Alex Nwankwo, at 36 years old while at 62 years old, Senator Andy Uba is the oldest candidate for the 2021 Anambra State Governorship race. The list of candidates is shown below: 

    Source: INEC

    Electoral/Political Chaos

    For persons familiar with the polity of Anambra State, issues trending around the primary elections are not novel and surprising at all. In fact, Anambra State is the only state that has had five governors under contentious cases from 1999 to 2007, including a governor who only served for 14 days. 

    In 2007, Andy Uba  won the Anambra state Governorship election and was sworn in on May 27, 2007. However, barely 14 days after he was sworn in, Uba was removed from office on the orders of the Supreme court. This swift change of events reinstated Peter Obi, who was then the incumbent Governor of the state. This occurrence made Obi the first governor in the state to win two terms. 

    Again, Virginia Etiaba was appointed Governor of the state on November 3, 2006 when Peter Obi, was impeached by the state legislature for alleged gross misconduct. Etiaba, served for only 3 months before handing back  the mantle to Obi after an appeal court nullified the impeachment. 

    Hence, the electoral and political chaos in Anambra is not new as it is still one of the few states in the country where more than two parties are major. APGA, PDP, YPP, APC all stand a chance.  

    The Anambra elections has come under threat

    In the 2017 Anambra elections, the  Nigerian Police deployed about 26,000 police officers to prepare for the gubernatorial elections.  This number of deployed security officers was almost four-times the initial number of the police in the state (5,000). 

    The deployment was not only to ensure that the forthcoming election was free and fair, but to clasp the threat posed by The Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB) who had threatened to disrupt the 2017 gubernatorial elections by conducting rallies and protests against the elections. 

    In fact,  on a Friday, November 10, 2017, a week to the elections, the group marched around some streets in Onitsha, Anambra State, chanting threats: “if you vote you will die. Don’t go out, stay in your house.” The group announced its intention to stop the elections and also impose a lock-down on the day of the elections. 

    Though the 2021 gubernatorial elections are not far off, and Nnamdi Kanu, the IPOB leader, is under security incarceration, the Anambra gubernatorial elections may still attract security forces even more than before, particularly because of the low voter turnout in the last 2017 Anambra elections that has been linked by analysts  to the threat spread by IPOB before the elections. 

    Conclusion

    It’s less than 4 months to the 2021 Anambra gubernatorial elections and INEC has reinstated its commitment to making sure the elections live up to expectations. However, issues around the Party primaries conducted ahead of Anambra governorship elections appear to be a tradition. According to CDD, since the return to democracy in 1999 in Anambra State and Nigeria in general, there is hardly a time of absence of court cases after governorship party primaries to challenge outcomes of primaries. This reality places voters in a dilemma and hardly gives them time to get to know who earns their votes.

  • New EFCC boss did not direct INEC to stop selling nomination forms to aspirants under investigation

    Claim: A Twitter user claims that Abdulrasheed Bawa, the new EFCC boss, has directed INEC not to sell forms to any aspirant who has a file with the agency.

    The claim that Abdulrasheed Bawa, the new EFCC boss has directed INEC not to sell forms to any aspirant who has a file with the agency is false. No sufficient evidence backed the information and EFCC has distanced itself from the information.  

    Full text

    The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) has been a predominant agency fighting against financial corruption  mostly perpetrated by political officeholders in Nigeria. While the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is the agency saddled with the responsibility for conducting elections and  vetting political aspirants. It is on the basis of the relationship these two agencies share, that a user on    Twitter (@idowu553) claimed that Abdulrasheed Bawa has directed INEC not to sell forms to any aspirant who has a file with the agency.

    With almost 550 reactions and over 250 retweets attributed to the claim, (@adinoyi12) one of the almost 120 commenters argued that:

    “Fake news….Section 36 subsection(5) of the Constitution of Nigeria, 1999 amended provides that every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed to be innocent until he/she is proved guilty by competent court of jurisdiction”

    Another user  (@omoniyen) Added that “This may be fake news. Is there any judiciary  department at efcc? cos Nuhu Ribadu  did  same in 2007. All amounted to nothing and vacated by a court of competent jurisdiction.” Regardless of the prevailing views around the claim, DUBAWA seeks to uncover the reality of the information. 

    Verification  

    DUBAWA first  reached out to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission through its head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, via phone call, he simply clarified that the report was false. 

    He said that “the Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, has not directed or advised the Independent National Electoral Commission against selling forms to persons with a file with the agency who are aspiring to contest in 2023 general elections”.

    He further stressed that “the EFCC chairman neither met with INEC officials nor made any pronouncement related to the election since he was appointed. “Even more, the claimant  has failed to provide the source of the information or state exactly where and when the EFCC chairman made the statement. 

    Even as newsworthy as the information appears to be,  no relevant media has  reported on it or even made suggestions around it. 

    Also, according to the Section 31(1)(6) of Electoral Act 2010 as amended,  INEC cannot refuse to accept a party’s list submitted within the stipulated time neither can it disqualify any candidate. The law stipulates that only a court of law can disqualify a candidate, not EFCC. 

    Conclusion

    The claim that Abdulrasheed Bawa, the new EFCC boss has directed INEC not to sell forms to any aspirant who has a file with the agency is false. There is no available evidence that points to the validity of the information. 

  • 2019 report recirculated to fuel Atiku/Buhari presidential election rivalry – and many fell for it

    CLAIM: INEC presiding officers made confession on electronic transmission of 2019 presidential election results.

    VERDICT: TRUE! But report is from April 2019.

    FULL STORY

    On Sunday, November 29, 2020, news blogs reported there is a victory for 2019 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, following revelation by some staff members of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

    The news report which appeared here, here, here claimed that 13 presiding officers engaged by INEC said they transmitted results of the February 23, 2019 election electronically against the position of the commission.

     It stated further that the presiding officers made the statements at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Abuja.

    One of the reports was headlined: “Massive Victory For Atiku As INEC Staff Makes Powerful Confession That May Vindicate Him.”

    The post here also featured a 5:31 minutes video which analysed the report from another news platform.

    It reads: “About 13 Presiding Officers of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in Borno and Yobe States, have told the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, sitting in Abuja, that they transmitted the results of the February 23, Presidential election in their various units and wards, to the official server of INEC.

    “The position of the presiding officers, however, contradicted the submission of INEC, who had earlier stated in its reply to the petition, that the results were never sent to its server.

    “This could go a long way in vindicating Atiku if proved to be true. What do you think? Is this the end for Buhari?”

    Some of the comments on the report showed that the readers not only believed the report as a fresh one, they also analysed and passed comments on their thoughts on the case.

    One of the readers, Kampala Pender said: “They should just forget that, as the judgment will always be twisted even with millions of evidence, I advise Atiku to focus on future.” (sic)

    Bright Miebi commented, “please we should forget about that before there will be war in Nigeria.”

    HappyMan wrote: “Good news but hungry people in power will not allow it to scale through. From onset they knew who really won but was twisted.”

    Ologunde Evng Abraham queried “truth is always constant but who will take care of it?”

    While some few other comments cast aspersions on the persons of Atiku and Buhari, a reader, Prince Olaniyan Toba, asked if the information is “fresh news or old.” He, however, did not get answers from those who dropped comments.

    VERIFICATION

    Key phrase search of the report showed that it had been published by mainstream media about 21 months ago.

    The report came following assertions by INEC that it did not transmit the 2019 election results electronically.

    Media organisations who reported this revelation include Vanguard, This Day, Premium Times, Ripples Nigeria, Daily Post.

    Checks on YouTube showed that the video was published by Trybez Fashion on April 26, 2019.

    A cursory look at the video, which has so far garnered 26,602 views showed that texts of the re-invented report were copied from the YouTube video verbatim.

    More so, the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal which the report referenced had completed its duties more than a year ago and has since been dissolved.

    Nigerian Tribune reports that the tribunal on September 11, 2019 upheld the election of President Muhammadu Buhari who was declared winner by INEC in February.

    Unsatisfied with the judgement of the tribunal, Atiku and the PDP approached the Supreme Court which dismissed the petition on October 30, 2019 while upholding Buhari’s election as president of Nigeria for another term of four years which will end in 2023.

    CONCLUSION

    Even though the content of the report is true, it is coming about 21 months late. Clear evidence showed that the report was re-invented from 2019 and the elections petition tribunal has since 2019 completed its duties. 

    The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship partnership with TribuneOnlineng to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

  • Quick Checks: Ondo 2020 Election

    Claim: APC asks court to disqualify Akeredolu 24 hours to election

    Source: Twitter user, October 10, 2020

    Evidence: Daily Trust and other major dailies reported that a certain APC chieftain, Barrister Kalu Agu asks court to disqualify Olurotimi Akeredolu on the argument that the nomination of the APC candidate in the 2020 Ondo guber election is invalid because the party had no national chairman and secretary then. He also petitioned the court to disqualify other APC candidates participating in the Lagos and Imo senatorial bye-election. 

    Verdict: True


    Claim: Ondo INEC Boat Capsize (Video) with lives lost 

    Source: naijaruk.com, October 10, 2020

    Evidence: The video was verified to have first surfaced on the internet at 11:48pm on October 9, 2020. Festus Okoye, INEC spokesperson has told PREMIUM TIMES that there was no casualty, and no electoral material was damaged from the incident which happened at 7pm.

    Verdict: Mostly True

  • Eight signs of propaganda as Edo, Ondo go to the polls

    By Francis Arinze Iloani

    As the Edo and Ondo States Election approaches, we have identified eight types of political disinformation [otherwise known as propaganda] designed and viciously disseminated to sway the choices of would-be voters. In fact, a recent article, by Iwok Iniobong titled “Edo, Ondo guber: Why politicians, parties must tread softly,” posited that politicians in Edo and Ondo campaigns had deviated from their manifestos in favour of spreading misinformation and disinformation. “If you observe very well, presentation of manifestos is no longer the in-thing, but the campaign is about use of base language and innuendos against opponents,” Iniobong said. 

    Exhibit 1 – there were several opposing information circulated through the media, particularly the social media, on the attack on Governor Godwin Obaseki’s entourage at the Oba of Benin Palace. 

    The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Campaign Council, Chief Dan Orbih, alleged that “the attack was a plot to eliminate Governor Obaseki, national officials of PDP and some PDP governors.”

    Conversely, the Vice Chairman, Media and Publicity Committee of the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) National Campaign Council, Mr. Patrick Obahiagbon, alleged that the PDP was responsible for the attack and that Governor Obaseki was planning to arrest and detain the former National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, on the eve of the election.

    Bearing this in mind and being conscious of the reality that some media consumers may not have the required media literacy to easily detect propaganda from the legion of information in the media, here are the eight ways to easily detect propaganda in the media: 

    Bandwagon veiled as information

    Politicians veil propaganda as information in the form of bandwagon. The idea here is to convey the notion that if you don’t get aboard you will be left out. A media literate consumer should watch out for politicians who direct their appeals to groups held together by common ties. For instance, politicians at subnational levels in Nigeria are likely to rely on bandwagon effects if their party is in charge at the federal level. It is widely shared that the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari contributed to the victory of some governors and lawmakers. A media literate person should be able to notice media messages designed to appeal to sentiments of voters based on common ties, rather than merits.

    Name calling as against genuine manifestos

    Be careful of politicians who appeal to your hate and fear.  They do name calling by the use of negative words or labels to create prejudice against some person, group or idea. For instance, Dr. Charles Omorodion’s article titled “Edo 2020: Beware of Obaseki’s perfidy, betrayal and Judas Kiss!” published on Bloomshire stated that “as a betrayal, in a deeper sense, Obaseki is sending an ominous signal of how little he cares about, or values his relationship with APC.” A media literate person should judge Obaseki beyond the tag of “a betrayer.” Name calling cuts across all the political campaigners in Edo and Ondo States.

    Reliance on testimonial

    Politicians deploying testimonial propaganda use experts, celebrities, or perceived opinion leaders to offer reasons why they are best suited to be elected.  As the elections in Edo and Ondo States draw nearer, you are likely to see more celebrity endorsements of candidates. For instance, a national newspaper recently reported that  teachers in Ondo State under the auspices of the National Network of Teachers for Good Governance and Quality Education endorsed Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu for a second term in office. A media literate news consumer reasons beyond such propaganda and focuses more on Governor Akeredolu’s manifesto for his second term. 

    Read more.


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    QandA

    • When is the Edo election holding? 

    The Edo governorship election has been scheduled for September 19th.

    • How many Candidates are on the INEC final list for Edo election?

    According to the final list of candidates released by the Independent Electoral Commission, there are 14 candidates in total. From the 14 governorship candidates, only 2 are females.  The two female governorship candidates are Mabel Oboh of African Democratic Congress (ADC) and Agol Tracy of New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).


    What can you do? 

    Be alert, share our tips and don’t share false news! 


    Coronavirus infection count 

    Note: Total cases may be more than officially stated owing to the inability to include unconfirmed cases. Stay safe!


    Tip of the week 


    #FakeNews Alert 

    Questions to ask yourself: Who is the source? Who is your source’s source? Has this been published by another platform? Is this a wrong headline? Is the figure accurate? Has it been Over/Under stated? Be sure to verify the content of this report before sharing.

    Questions to ask yourself:  What is the evidence behind this number? Is there a proof? Is this a misleading statement? What is the intention of the speaker? You may be shocked what you’ll find out.


    Other Fact-checks 

  • What you should know about the forthcoming Edo Governorship Elections

    Nigeria’s Edo State is a state in the western part of the country. Edo’s capital is Benin City and has a population of 3,233,366 people. It is bounded in the north and east by Kogi State, in the south by Delta State, and in the west by Ondo State.  The state has 18 local governments

    In a few days, citizens of Edo will be going to the polls to choose a new leader or retain the current one.  As the date for Edo governorship elections gets closer, many activities  are in high gear and this article summarizes what readers need to know about this important election. 

    What has INEC done so far?

    The Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), the body responsible for conducting elections in Nigeria, has acknowledged the impact of the COVID-19 on elections in Nigeria. In May, the commission published a policy which speaks to how to safely conduct elections during the pandemic. Besides its usual activities, like releasing the final list of the candidates that will be participating in the elections, removing bans on campaign,  the commission has invented an Election Result Viewing Portal (IReV Portal) which, according to it, is to encourage transparency in its preparations for the elections. The Voters Code of Conduct (VCC) has also been published to ensure voters safety amidst the pandemic.

    INEC has revealed that it will recruit 20,000 ad-hoc staff  for the elections. It also confirmed that voting will be held in 2, 627 polling units in the 192 wards in Edo with 2, 210,534 registered voters. PVCs collected is 1,735,910, while the number of uncollected PVCs is 483,868. 

    The final list of candidates released by the commission shows that 12 of the 14 governorship candidates are male while two are female.  The two female governorship candidates are Mabel Oboh of African Democratic Congress (ADC) and Agol Tracy of New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).

    FEMALE GOVERNORSHIP CANDIDATE

    S/NNAMESPARTYAGE POST
    1MABELAKOMU OBOHAfrican Democratic Congress (ADC)56GOVERNORSHIP
    2Agol Ebun TracyNew Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP)48GOVERNORSHIP

    MALE GOVERNORSHIP CANDIDATE

    S/NNAMESPARTYAGE 
    1Osagie Andrew Ize-IyamuAll Progressives Congress (APC)58
    2Godwin Nogheghase ObasekiPeoples Democratic Party (PDP)63
    3Edemakhiota GodwinOsaimiamiaAction Alliance (AA)35
    4Iboi LuckyEmmanuelAction Democratic Party (ADP)36
    5Osagie Lucky IdehenAll Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA)40
    6Igbineweke Osamuede Allied Peoples Movement, (APM)42
    7Amos Osalumese Areloegbe All Peoples Party (APP)52
    8Osifo UhunEkpenma Isaiah Labour Party (LP)60
    9Stevie Nash OzonoNational Resistance Movement (NRM)53
    10Felix Izekor ObayangbonSocial Democratic Party (SDP)65
    11Jones OsiagiobareYoung Progressive Party (YPP)52
    12Akhalamhe AmiemenoghenaZenith Labour Party (ZLP) 39

    Meet some of the candidates

    Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who is running under the All Progressive Congress and his opponent, Incumbent Governor Godwin Obaseki, are the two key players in the forthcoming Edo governorship elections.

    Osagie Ize-Iyamu

    Ize-Iyamu is the APC flag bearer. The 58-year-old married to Mrs Idia Ize-Iyamu is a lawyer, businessman and a Pastor at the Redeemed Christain Church of God located at Adesuwa Road, G.R.A., Benin City.   He has previously served in Edo State as the Chief of Staff and Secretary to the state government while Lucky Igbinedion was governor. During the last governorship elections in 2016 in the state, he contested under the Peoples Democratic Party against the incumbent governor, Godwin Obaseki who was, at the time, under APC. However, in 2019, the pastor defected to APC to run again in the Edo 2020 governorship race and has been endorsed by President Muhammadu Buhari who handed him the party flag.

    Obaseki

    The incumbent Governor, Godwin Obaseki is the flag bearer of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).  Although Obaseki became governor under the APC, he defected to the PDP after he was disqualified from the APC primary by the screening committee for the Edo State governorship election and on several issues between the incumbent and the National Chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomole. The 63-year-old governor is married to Betsy Bene Obaseki, a financial expert. Obaseki is seeking a second term with his deputy, the 53-year-old Philip Shuaibu, as his running mate.

    Ebunoluwa Tracy Agol

    Ebunoluwa Tracy Agol is the governorship candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).

    The 48-year-old candidate is running for governor with 57-year-old Enobhaysobo Jonathan Ibhanure as her running mate. She recently called for a law to curb the continuous cases of defection by politicians in the country.

    Mabel Oboh

    Nollywood actress and veteran broadcaster, Mabel Oboh, is the African Democratic Congress (ADC) candidate for the Edo gubernatorial elections with Reuben Edokpayi as her running mate.

    Mabel is also the founder, Mabel Oboh Centre for Save Our Star (MOCSO).

    The 56-year-old broadcaster and actress stepped into politics in 2020 after she became the spokesperson for the Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos chapter of the ADC.

    After this, she was appointed a member of the ADC National Strategy Committee Edo 2020 Governorship Election. She became the party’s candidate shortly after the withdrawal of Benjamin Akhigbe whose running mate she was. The ADC effected the change of candidate on July 13, which was the last day set by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for withdrawal and substitution of candidates by political parties. 

    VIOLENCE

    Elections in Nigeria have a history of  violence and misinformation. Should we expect the same in Edo governorship elections – slated to hold September 19, 2020 – or  has violence started playing out? 

    As recorded by PLAC during the last elections held 2016, “Citizens worried about increased presence of weapons on the streets, incidents of armed robbery, and cult activities during the pre-election period.”  And it took the intervention of the Inspector General to douse the tension. Similarly, while monitoring the forthcoming elections, there have been reports of violence and the promise to meet violence with violence. In response to this, the Independent Electoral Commission has threatened to suspend the election process should the activities of political actors lead to a breakdown of law and order. The commission has also admonished the youth of the state to shun violence during a “Vote Not Fight Campaign,” held by a group in the state.

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