The Rendon Group Snapshot Report
Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at Alert@Rendon.com or +1-202-745-4900.
2015 Nigerian Presidential Elections
Election poster being taken down in the Ghana capital of Accra.
The 2015 Nigerian elections reached an unprecedented level of excitement. Incumbent, president Goodluck Jonathan, and opposition leader, Muhammadu Buhar decided to target Nigerians living abroad hoping the diaspora effect may help foster more votes for their campaign. (CNN)
This week’s snapshot will focus on the 2015 Nigerian Presidential election, which took place on Saturday, March 28th. This will be the fifth election to take place in Nigerian since civilian rule was restored in 1999.
News Summary of events during the week of 23MAR15—29MAR15
- 23MAR: US President Barack Obama called on Nigerians to reject violence in the general election, describing the vote as a “historic opportunity” for progress in Africa’s most populous country. (AFP)
- 24MAR: Independent National Election Commission (INEC) Chairman Jega explained that this year’s election will be credible using a new biometric voter register and permanent voter cards (PVCs). He said 82 percent of voters have picked up their permanent voter cards. (Voice of America)
- 25MAR: Nigeria’s police chief, Inspector General Suleiman Abba, banned all vehicles from the roads during elections to “ensure adequate security”. (Guardian)
- 26MAR: The US State Department said Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, will lead an “official diplomatic observation mission” of the presidential and national assembly elections. (AFP)
- 27MAR: President Goodluck Jonathan urged Nigerians to turn out in force to vote in this weekend’s presidential election, calling for calm in the face of rising tensions and fears of violence. (AFP)
- 28MAR: The Nigerian electoral body said its website (www.inecnigeria.org) had been taken over at some moment after 11 a.m. local time, while the election process was going on. (Xinhua)
- 29MAR: INEC Chairman Jega said he hoped to declare a winner of the election within 48 hours of when polls closed on Saturday. (AFP)
Samples of Twitter handles regarding the 2015 Nigerian Presidential Election discussion
- @nigeriadecide – A platform that aggregates Live Election feeds from Voters’ Phones during Polls to help ensure Free, Fair &transparent Elections.
- @philhazlewood – Phil Hazlewood, AFP Nigeria Bureau Chief
- @SaharaReporters – Citizen reporters in New York
- @drewfhinshaw -West Africa reporter, The Wall Street Journal.
- @fvandevyver -Executive Director West Africa ABN360 (CNBCAfrica /Forbes Africa)
Samples of Third Party Validators regarding the 215 Nigerian Presidential Elections
Ebere Ifendu, Director of Women in Politics Forum, a NGO based in Abuja.
Commenting on why so few women run for election in Nigeria, “They [men] made us understand that one, politics is dirty; two, politics is not for women; three, they brought out the violent nature of politics. Those were the things they put before us and women became skeptical. They became afraid and didn’t believe they will be able to participate.”
-Nigeria’s only female presidential candidate done with ‘cheerleading’, Agence France-Presse, 23MAR15
Jean Herskovits, Research professor, the State University of New York at Purchase
“If this weekend’s vote is delayed, disrupted or canceled, it will imperil the democratic future of Africa’s most populous country.”
- Don’t Steal Nigeria’s Election, New York Times, 25MAR15
Henrik Angerbrandt, Researcher, the Nordic Africa Institute.
“As the election has come closer, opinion polls have shown growing dissatisfaction with Jonathan’s government and Buhari has emerged as a possible winner of the election. A postponement would provide an opportunity for Jonathan to recover some lost grounds.” - Postponed Nigerian elections: Less about security than about politics, Mats Utas, 09FEB15
Jibrin Ibrahim, political scientist, the Center for Democracy and Development in Abuja
“A lot of people are frightened that these people (Boko Haram) can take over the whole country. So a lot of people are saying, ‘Give Buhari a chance.’
-Beleaguered, Nigerians Seek to Restore a General to Power, New York Times, 24JAN15
Jennifer Lynne, Founder and CEO, the Contact Project.
“In addition, as widely reported, we observed severe challenges due to dysfunctional card readers, causing lengthy delays, voter denial and reporting irregularities. Further concerns include the tampering of election materials, questions of security concerns, and reports of misconduct by election officials and candidates.”
-International Observers Question Validity of Election Results in Rivers, This Day, 29MAR15
Samples of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to the 2015 Nigerian Presidential Elections
1. Obama urges Nigeria to reject election violence
Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Date: 23 March 2015
Washington, March 23, 2015 (AFP) – US President Barack Obama on Monday called on Nigerians to reject violence in this weekend’s general election, describing the vote as a “historic opportunity” for progress in Africa’s most populous country.
“I call on all Nigerians to peacefully express your views and to reject the voices of those who call for violence,” Obama said in a video message addressed “to the Nigerian people.”
Fears of unrest have risen in the run-up to the March 28 polls with leaders of both the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and opposition All Progressives Congress using inflammatory rhetoric.
2. Nigeria Election Commission Insists Vote Will Be Well Organized
Media: Voice of America News (US)
Byline: Anne Look
Date: 24 March 2015
ABUJA, NIGERIA – Nigeria’s top election official promised Tuesday that this weekend’s national vote, which pits incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan against former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, would be well organized, credible and peaceful.
The comments by Attahiru Jega, chairman of the Independent National Election Commission, come amid rising fears about whether Saturday’s vote, which also includes both presidential and parliamentary races, will be marred by allegations of fraud or even violence, as in 2011.
Recent polls have shown Buhari and Jonathan in a tight race throughout much of campaigning.
3. Nigeria’s police chief bans vehicles from roads on election day this Saturday
Media: The Guardian (UK)
Date: 25 March 2015
Nigeria’s police chief has banned all vehicles from the roads during elections this Saturday to “ensure adequate security”.
Cars will not be allowed on the road from 8am – when polling stations open – until 5pm, said the police inspector-general, Suleiman Abba.
He added: “This total restriction of movements order applies to all, except for ambulances, fire service trucks and others on essential duties. Consequently, travellers and citizens who intend to use roads on these days and hours are advised to plan alternative times for their travelling.” He did not go into details about the security risks say how the ban would be enforced.
4. US diplomat for Africa will observe Nigeria elections
Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Date: 26 March 2015
The top US diplomat for Africa will travel to Nigeria to observe presidential elections, the State Department said Thursday, an unusual move for Washington that is closely monitoring the country’s Islamist crisis.
Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield will lead an “official diplomatic observation mission” of the presidential and national assembly elections that take place Saturday, according to a statement.
“This is the latest example of U.S. support for a credible, peaceful electoral process in Nigeria,” the State Department said.
5. Nigeria’s Jonathan calls for peaceful vote
Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Date: 27 March 2015
ABUJA, Nigeria, Mar 27 – President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday urged Nigerians to turn out in force to vote in this weekend’s presidential election, calling for calm in the face of rising tensions and fears of violence.
“I urge you all to troop out en masse to peacefully perform your civic duty of voting for leaders of your choice tomorrow (Saturday),” he said in a televised address.
Africa’s most populous nation goes to the polls with the election being seen as the closest in its history, with Jonathan facing a strong challenge from the main opposition’s Muhammadu Buhari.
6. Website of Nigeria’s electoral body hacked on election day
Media: Xinhua (China)
Date: 28 March 2015
ABUJA, March 28 (Xinhua) — The official website of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is suspected to have been hacked, the electoral body said Saturday, as a crucial presidential election is being held in the West African country.
In a terse statement, the Nigerian electoral body said its website (www.inecnigeria.org) had been taken over at some moment after 11 a.m. local time, while the election process was going on.
“We are currently investigating this incident,” the electoral body added.
Continue Reading: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-03/28/c_134105939.htm
7. Nigeria in tense vote count after second day of polling
Media: Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Date: 29 March 2015
Nigerians on Monday awaited the first results of a closely fought general election pitting President Goodluck Jonathan against ex-military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, as UN chief Ban Ki-moon called for calm after deadly riots followed 2011 polls.
The United Nations Secretary General congratulated Nigeria for holding a “largely peaceful and orderly” ballot, as the head of the country’s electoral commission said Sunday that the first results could be announced the following day.
But Ban called on citizens to “maintain a peaceful atmosphere and to exercise patience” and condemned attacks carried out by Boko Haram and other militants attempting to disrupt the presidential and parliamentary polls.