Programme beneficiaries

The Independent National Electoral Commission
(INEC)

INEC is an independent and autonomous Electoral Management Body (EMB) established by Section 153(1F) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It has a broad and exclusive mandate which includes the conduct of elections into all elective positions at federal and state levels, as well as in the Federal Capital Territory, registration, regulation and monitoring of political parties, registration of persons qualified to vote, voter and civic education and conduct of referendum. One major principle of the Commission is to carry out all its functions independently, free from any external interference in line with the provisions of Nigerian Constitution. The Electoral Management Body is independent from external resources to cover its electoral operations and most of the budget resources allocated to the elections is directly channelled from the federal budget, which is a significant step for the Commission’s financial independence and autonomy.

Political parties

Political parties are the primary stakeholders in election contests. By provisions of the Nigerian constitution, they have the exclusive rights of fielding candidates for elections. Currently, there are 18 political parties in Nigeria with the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) being the most dominant. Only five of the parties won election into political offices in the 2019 general election and other elections. 

 

The Uwais electoral reform committee report (2007) describes political parties as “crucial and yet least developed democratic institutions in the country.

The Media

The 1999 Constitution guarantees the freedom of expression for the media, whilst the Freedom of Information Act of 2011 guarantees citizens’ right to public information. However, the federal and state government control the media institutions through ownership and regulation and as a consequence, the media do not always provide fair and ethical coverage of the electoral processes. For these reasons, the various EU EOM reports have highlighted the importance of support actions in addressing the loopholes in the media sector. This is to ensure that journalists are trained to provide conflict sensitive, fair and impartial electoral coverage and are informed to identify and prevent hate speeches that are capable of encouraging violence. A key lesson learnt from the previous electoral support programmes and various consultations with stakeholders is that the legal and operational environment governing media broadcast and access in Nigeria needs to be strengthened to ensure that the public and private service broadcast industry keeps to a professional code of conduct. Complementary to this is the capacity of the media regulatory body, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), to effectively discharge its mandatory function in terms of monitoring and imposition of sanctions on media organisations when necessary. It is important that the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has the required capacity, independence and autonomy to regulate the broadcast industry in a professional and non-partisan manner.

Judiciary

The judiciary is Nigeria’s third arm of government solely responsible
for the administration of justice. The Supreme Court is the highest
in the land and is the final court of arbitration. The constitution
guarantees the independence of the judiciary. The Supreme Court
comprises of 18 Justices and is presided over by the Chief Justice.
It is the final appellate court with jurisdiction over disputes between
the federal government and the states and between the states,
particularly on issues relating to the allocation of funds or resources,
and over disputes arising from elections. Ahead of any elections,
the President of the Appeal Court is mandated to constitute an
Election Petition Tribunal to adjudicate on contested electoral
outcomes. The removal of the Chief Justice of the Federation on
the eve of the 2019 General Election, created public suspicion
about the integrity of the election adjudication process.
Furthermore, the growing trend of conflicting judgements by
courts of coordinate jurisdictions in electoral related matters
and the seeming lack of understanding by judicial officials of
INEC’s regulations and guidelines on elections has highlighted
the need to engage with this tier of government in institutionalizing
practice directions that will guide the operations of election tribunals
and electoral adjudications in Nigeria.

Security Agencies

The responsibility for the maintenance of law and order during elections, including prevention of electoral violence, rest with the security agencies and with the Nigerian Police Force as the lead agency. However, due to the difficult task of policing Nigeria’s elections, the military is often called in to support maintaining peace and order. Although INEC has worked within the ambit of the Inter Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) to coordinate election security, the electoral environment is still plagued by tensions and fraud. In addition, there are concerns about the deployment of the adequate numbers of security personnel for electoral security and the coverage of remote and hard to reach areas, as well as the appropriation of required funds for the operational costs and welfare. Nevertheless, INEC has engaged with the security agencies to provide targeted election-specific training for their personnel to be deployed for election duties and produced a handbook on the code of conduct and rules of engagement for security personnel on election duties. The potential exists to build upon this partnership. Civil Society Organisations The engagement of non-state actors in the electoral cycle is a prerequisite to promote inclusive, peaceful and transparent elections.

National Peace Committee

The National Peace Committee (NPC) is a non-governmental initiative conceptualized in 2014 in response to emerging threats occasioned by the 2015 general elections. It is an initiative made up of eminent elder statesmen who undertake efforts to support free, fair and credible elections as well as intervene in critical issues of national concern through high-level mediated and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. At inception, the NPC had an urgent, broad based mandate to make modest contributions towards a smooth and peaceful conduct of the 2015 elections, devoid of any breakdown of law and order before, during and after the electioneering process. Consequently, the core mandate is: To observe and monitor compliance with Abuja Accord signed by the political parties during elections; to provide advice to the Government and INEC on resolution of political disputes and conflicts arising from issues of compliance with the Abuja Accord; to make itself available for national mediation and conciliation in the case of post-electoral disputes or crises; to ensure peaceful outcome of General Elections that is acceptable to a generality of Nigerians and the international community.