Since Nigeria's transition from military to civilian rule, NDI has worked closely with civic and political organizations to support the development of the country's newly formed democratic institutions.
Citizen Engagement in Electoral Reform
Since the 2011 elections, NDI has been assisting citizen groups advocate for electoral reform to improve the election laws before the next national polls. A number of prominent civic groups and political parties attended an electoral reform conference in
September 2011 where they prioritized recommendations such as creating a new body to prosecute those who commit electoral offenses and allowing independent candidates to run for office. Several of these groups have since come together to form a coalition, the Partners for Electoral Reform (PER), to advocate for change in the electoral laws. PER produced a briefing document that outlines its suggested reforms, which it has shared at the National Assembly’s countrywide constitutional review hearings and with other electoral stakeholders. Another group, the Youth Alliance for Constitutional Review, has promoted Nigerian youth’s priorities for constitutional and electoral reform through a number of conferences and advocacy meetings. As the examination of the electoral law is ongoing, National Assembly members have requested PER to continue to engage with legislators in the review process.
Multimedia Youth Programs
NDI works with civic organizations to help young people participate in the political process outside the election cycle. NDI partner Youngstars Foundation produced and broadcast a film called “After Count,” which aims to help young people engage with their elected representatives and contribute to the governing of their country. The film has been seen by more than six million Nigerians across the country.
NDI also worked with the Nigerian group Forward in Action for Education, Poverty and Malnutrition (FACE-PAM) to produce and broadcast a series of radio dramas in 11 states in northern Nigeria throughout 2013. The series focuses on themes of citizenship and democratic participation and addresses some of the main barriers to active civic engagement that youth and women encounter, such as social and cultural norms and political intimidation.Hundreds of people have called or texted FACEPAM throughout the broadcast period to express their appreciation for the program. One woman local council candidate called to say that she felt encouraged by the series and believed it would help increase her nomination prospects.
Strengthening Electoral Processes
NDI has trained domestic election monitors and deployed international observers for every general election in Nigeria since 1999.
During the 2011 elections, NDI fielded a comprehensive 50-person international observation mission, as well as a pre-election assessment team and 12 long-term observers.
The Institute provided financial and technical assistance to two coalitions of Nigerian civil society organizations that deployed more than 30,000 citizen election monitors for the 2011 elections. One coalition conducted a statistical observation method known as parallel vote tabulation (PVT). The PVT verified the accuracy of the official results for the presidential and four gubernatorial elections. With NDI’s assistance, this coalition subsequently carried out PVTs for gubernatorial elections in eight states, verifying that the polls’ official results were accurate.
The second NDI-supported coalition collected detailed, rapid-response incident reports from around the country using text messages. The group was then able to alert appropriate government officials to problems during the April polls, such as examples of intimidation of voters.
The Institute provided technical assistance to local groups organizing presidential debates and worked with civic groups to conduct issue-based voter education programs. These programs provided more than 100 million Nigerians with detailed information on the general election voting process and program facilitators led discussions about how to choose candidates based on their policy platforms. NDI also provided assistance to local organizations to conduct voter education programs ahead of gubernatorial elections in Adamawa, Anambra, Edo and Sokoto states in 2012 and 2013. Through these programs, millions of Nigerians became better informed about election day procedures for national and state elections.
Strengthening Governance at State and National Levels
In April 2013, NDI began a year-long program supporting Bayelsa State in Nigeria’s southern Niger Delta region to promote transparency and accountability in budget and procurement processes. NDI provides training and technical assistance to the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, executive bodies working on budgeting and procurement, and civil society groups to enhance their knowledge about the public procurement law, hold public budget hearings and improve legislative rules of procedure.
In 2009, NDI concluded a six-year legislative strengthening program to enhance the ability of the National Assembly to create laws and keep checks on the executive branch.
NDI's current programs in Nigeria are funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Government of Bayelsa State.
For more information about these programs, use our contact form or contact:
Rakeb Abate, Program Manager