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NDI

The National Democratic Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government.

Nigeria

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Since returning to civilian rule in 1999, the quality of elections had progressively declined in Nigeria until April 2011, when elections were seen as among the most credible the country has ever held. Independent international and domestic observation groups noted that despite numerous challenges, including persistent election-related violence in some parts of the country, the results of these elections reflected citizens’ choice at the ballot box. The majority of the country’s polling stations functioned properly, the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) demonstrated greater transparency in the ballot counting process and, for the first time, election results were posted at the polling units, all of which contributed to citizens’ confidence in the election outcome. A number of state gubernatorial polls held since the 2011 general election have so far confirmed this trend toward a more peaceful, transparent and credible election
process.

Despite positive improvements in election management, violence was a major problem in the April elections, especially after the presidential poll. According to Human Rights Watch, more than 800 people died from election-related violence during the 2011 election cycle. The most widespread electoral violence occurred in the north, following INEC’s announcement that incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan had won re-election. Since the polls, there has also a dramatic rise in the number of terrorist attacks from the militant Islamist group Boko Haram, forcing the government to declare a state of emergency in several parts of northern Nigeria.

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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.

Funding

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. 

Contact Information

For more information about these programs, use our contact form or contact:

Washington, D.C.
Rakeb Abate, Program Manager
rabate@ndi.org

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Promoting the AU Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance in West Africa06/28/2013
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Radio Drama Promotes Women and Youth Political Participation in Northern Nigeria06/26/2013
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International Visitors Share Experiences on Organizing Debates10/22/2012
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Nigerian Film Challenges Young Citizens to Engage with Elected Leaders04/12/2012
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Project Swift Count Observes Five Gubernatorial Races in Nigeria03/30/2012
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Election Commission Head, Observers Highlight Progress and Remaining Challenges in How Nigeria Conducts Elections05/20/2011
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Nigerian Elections Hold the Promise of Setting New Integrity Standard, NDI Mission Finds04/18/2011
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Despite Problems, National Assembly Elections Give Nigerians a Real Chance to Vote, NDI Mission Finds04/11/2011
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NDI International Election Mission to Observe April 9 Nigerian National Assembly Polls04/05/2011
Nigeria Election Watch 201103/15/2011
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Film Urges Nigerians to 'Activate the Power of their Thumb'03/10/2011
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West Africa Election Observers Join Together to Promote Credible Elections02/28/2011
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Nigerian Citizen Observation Groups Boosts Confidence in Registration Exercise01/28/2011
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Election Commission Chair Pledges Best Effort to Improve 2011 Nigeria Elections12/09/2010
Akuro George of the Nigerian Bar Association
Coalition to Monitor Vote for Better Elections in Nigeria10/27/2010
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NDI Delegation Finds Encouraging Developments and Significant Hurdles as Nigeria Prepares for 2011 Elections10/15/2010
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NDI Partners with Commonwealth Parliamentary Association to Strengthen Parliaments09/21/2010
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Program Helps Nigerian Civic Groups Find Footing With National Assembly05/12/2009
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African Legislatures Work to Promote Extractive Industry Accountability11/03/2008
Budget Oversight Discussed at NDI/World Bank Institute Seminar09/19/2008
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01/01/2014 Civic Updates
Civic Update
National Democratic Institute
06/28/2013 Press Release: Meeting of the West Africa Election Observers Network (WAEON) on the Status of Implementation of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance in West Africa
Press Release
West Africa Election Observers Network
06/12/2013 West Africa Election Observers Network (WAEON) Field Guide Series
Manual|Handbook
National Democratic Institute
12/01/2012 Final Report on the Nigeria 2011 Elections
Report
National Democratic Institute
10/22/2012 Project Swift Count: Statement on Nigeria's Ondo State Governorship Election - Held Oct. 20, 2012
Statement
Project Swift Count
07/16/2012 Statement on the Edo State Governorship Election
Statement
Project Swift Count
04/02/2012 Statement on the Kebbi Gubernatorial Election – Held 31 March 2012
Statement
Project Swift Count
02/25/2012 Statement on the Cross River Gubernatorial Election Held Saturday February 25, 2012
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Project Swift Count
02/18/2012 Statement on the Sokoto Gubernatorial Election Held Saturday February 18, 2012
Statement
Project Swift Count
02/11/2012 Statement on the Bayelsa Gubernatorial Election Held Saturday February 11, 2012
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Project Swift Count
02/04/2012 Statement on the Adamawa Gubernatorial Election Held Saturday February 4, 2012
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Project Swift Count
12/05/2011 Statement on the Kogi Gubernatorial Election
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Project Swift Count
09/14/2011 Nigeria 2011: Post-Election Multilogue
Report
National Democratic Institute
09/14/2011 Catalogue of Recommendations to Improve the Nigerian Electoral Process
Report
National Democratic Institute
05/18/2011 Final Statement on the April 2011 General Elections: National Assembly, Presidential and Gubernatorial Elections
Statement
Project 2011 Swift Count
04/30/2011 Statement on the Selected Gubernatorial Elections Results (Nigeria)
Statement
Project 2011 Swift Count
04/28/2011 Observers Report Despite Intimidation and Harrassment
Press Release
Project Swift Count
04/28/2011 Interim Statement on the Gubernatorial, State and Reschedule National Assembly Elections
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Project Swift Count
04/28/2011 Preliminary Statement on Reported Incidents During the Gubernatorial and House Assembly Elections
Statement
National Elections Incident Center - Nigerian Domestic Election Observers
04/18/2011 Statement of the National Democratic Institute’s International Election Observer Mission to Nigeria’s April 16 Presidential Election
Statement
National Democratic Institute