Nigeria Decides: 2023 Citizen-Led Election Report

Communications August 17, 2023 0

The deployment of UZABE in this election cycle aligns with CODE’s objective to increase and share innovative approaches to information exchange through experimentation, research, and technology. Also, as an accredited INEC elections observer, CODE collaborated with other CSOs to actively participate in the 2023 election observation process, while training and deploying over 20,000 volunteer polling station observers. CODE’s Situation Room received and subjected incident reports to a multi-level verification system to provide 12,889 authenticated and verified reports across the 2023 election cycle, which provided a picture of Nigeria’s 2023 electoral process READ MORE

Connected Development Commends Kano State House of Assembly on the Passage of Child Protection Bill

Communications May 25, 2023 0

Connected Development commends the Kano State House of Assembly on the successful passage of the Child Protection Bill. This achievement is a result of the sustained advocacy campaign by the, “Galvanizing Mass Action against Gender-based violence in Kano State” – GMAA-K project with support from the Canadian High Commission  and in partnership with BridgeConnect Africa Initiative.

The Child Protection Bill is a crucial piece of legislation that will help to protect the most vulnerable members of society-our children, from all forms of abuse, neglect and exploitation. The bill, when signed into law, will provide a legal framework for the prevention and management of child abuse cases in Kano State.

We appreciate the Kano State House of Assembly for their dedication and commitment to the wellbeing of children in the state, and for keeping their promise to pass the bill. This is a significant achievement that will serve as a milestone in the fight against child abuse in Kano State.

We urge the Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, to expedite the signing of the bill into law before leaving office. We also call on the Kano State Government to take further action to ensure effective implementation of the Child Protection Bill.

As an organisation committed to protecting the rights of children and promoting their wellbeing, we will continue to work with the Kano State Government and other stakeholders to ensure that children in Kano State are protected from all forms of abuse and exploitation.

We thank the Canadian High Commission for their unwavering support towards the passage of the Child Protection Bill in Kano State.

Advancing Climate Justice through Community Engagement and Collaboration: The Significance of Earth Day and the SDGs

Every year on April 22nd, Earth Day is observed worldwide to promote environmental awareness and inspire individuals to actively safeguard our planet. This year, we actively engaged in this global event, amplifying the message of preserving Earth and its invaluable resources. With the theme of “investing in our planet,” the focus was on acknowledging the significance of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as we near the year 2030. Understanding the criticality of achieving these goals is paramount in securing a brighter and more sustainable future for generations to come.

SDG goal 13

The SDGs were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. There are 17 SDGs, covering a wide range of issues, including climate change, sustainable cities, responsible consumption and production, and gender equality. 

Goal 13 of the SDGs addresses explicitly climate action and recognizes the urgent need to take action to combat climate change and its impacts. Key targets of SDG 13 include Strengthening resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters, improving education, raising awareness, human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction, and early warning; implementing the commitment undertaken by developed-country parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to a goal of mobilizing jointly $100 billion annually by 2020 from all sources to address the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation and fully operationalize the Green Climate Fund through its capitalization as soon as possible, Promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in the least developed countries and small island developing States, including focusing on women and youth. 

Despite all these strategies in place, headway towards achieving the SDGs has been slow, and the COVID-19 pandemic further complicated matters. The pandemic highlighted the importance of addressing the root causes of environmental issues, some of which are deforestation, air pollution, and climate change, to prevent future pandemics and protect human health. The climate crisis is one of the most significant threats facing our planet, and it’s critical that we take urgent action to address it. 

The impact of the 2022 flooding in Ihuike Ahoada East LGA in Rivers State 

Nigeria’s significant impact of climate change. 

Nigeria, just like most developing countries, has a relatively low carbon footprint compared to developed countries but has still been impacted significantly by climate change. This has made the country more susceptible to extreme weather events, such as droughts, floods, and storms, which have caused significant damage to infrastructure, property, and livelihoods.  The impacts of climate change on Nigeria’s agriculture sector have had a significant impact on food security and nutrition, with millions of people facing food insecurity as a result of reduced crop yields and rising food prices.

According to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the 2012 floods in Nigeria affected over 7 million people across 30 states, resulting in the loss of over 300 lives and causing an estimated $16 billion in damages. In 2018, flooding in Nigeria affected over 2 million people across 12 states, resulting in the loss of over 200 lives and causing significant damage to infrastructure, including roads and bridges. Similarly, In September 2020, heavy rainfall led to severe flooding in several parts of Nigeria, affecting over 140,000 people and causing an estimated $200 million in damages.

The most recent flood in Nigeria occurred in September 2021. According to the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), at least 70 people were killed, and over 100,000 were displaced by the flooding that affected 17 out of the country’s 36 states. The flooding was attributed to heavy rainfall, which caused the overflow of rivers and dams. Several houses, farmlands, and infrastructure, including roads and bridges, were also destroyed.

The impact of the 2022 flooding in Ihuike Ahoada East LGA in Rivers State 

How we are challenging the existing state of affairs.

Connected Development (CODE) with support from OXFAM recognizes the urgency of the climate crisis and is taking action to improve public opinion, awareness, and understanding of frontline solutions. Our campaign across Rivers and Akwa Ibom states is a significant step towards achieving the SDGs and raising awareness about environmental issues in Nigeria. The campaign aims to empower local communities to take action and make a positive impact on the environment. 

We aim to see Governments, companies, and other power brokers recognise the value of frontline narratives and implement policies and practices that respect and protect the rights of frontline communities and contribute to climate justice.

As an organization, we recognize the need to raise awareness about the devastating effects of flooding and spur reactions and urgent actions from relevant actors, especially the sub-national government. We shot a documentary that amplifies the adverse effects and impacts of flooding across our frontline communities across Rivers and Akwa Ibom State.  It was indeed a sight visiting the internally displaced camp where women, men and children were left with little or nothing from the catastrophic impacts of the flood. Pregnant women, elderly women, and sick men were all left to carter for themselves and their families in a dilapidated building with an unpleasant WASH facility.  As we interviewed these groups of people, I could barely hold a tear. I was glum and devastated.  Click here to watch the documentary.

We will continue challenging the existing state of affairs through partnerships with community-based Organizations and Media to ensure that everyone has a voice in the fight against climate change. By working together, we can make a significant impact on the environment and achieve the SDGs before 2030.


Oyare Oche April 20, 2023 1

Fareedah Oyolola, Tomisin Ogunubi,Tanitoluwa Adewunmi, Abdullahi Salihu.

This is me marking the class register for the world’s brightest minds that all four of these children represent, so they might as well respond “present”.

Fareedah Oyolola is a secondary school student at Greensprings school, Lagos Nigeria, honoured as one of the brightest students in the world by the John Hopkins centre for talented youths. Tomisin Ogunubi at age 15, developed an exceptional application to find lost children and she called it “ My locator”. Tanitoluwa on the other hand is recognised as the world chess champion 2020 and achieved this feat at just age 10. My personal favourite (simply because I got to meet with him personally), is Abdullahi Salihu- a 9 year old pacesetter from Misau local government, Bauchi state Nigeria who is already dabbling with inventions. He created a mini torchlight which his family uses to navigate their way in the dark using local materials and finger batteries!


Abdullahi Salihu (Young boy seated) and his invention

These four bright minds are perfect hallmarks of excellence which every child could attain if given the right opportunity and the best possible environment to thrive.

However, as a result of several factors such as poverty, insecurity, cultural and religious barriers amongst others, over 20 million Nigerian children are not in school according to a latest UNESCO report. A 2018 statistics by the United Nations Children’s fund (UNICEF) says that about 10.5 million children were not in school. Distressingly, this number swelled to an alarming 13.2 million by 2019 and the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic which spurred the world-wide lock-down only contributed to more students dropping out of school. 

The survey said something else; there is still a huge number of those who are in school, but are learning nothing, noting that schooling does not always lead to learning. It concluded that in Nigeria, there are more non-learners in school than those out of school.

Now while basic education is supposedly ‘free’ and compulsory, the question is why do we still have a staggering number of out of school children and even worse, why do we still have non-learners in schools?

A number of factors are responsible,but the one that catches my attention is the fact that a large number of pupils and students of public primary and secondary schools in Nigeria still have children whose parents struggle to pay their children’s school levies which could be as low as a thousand naira only (N1000)- for states where school levies are required. In states where parents are only required to pay for the Parents, Teachers Association (PTA) levy, some still struggle to pay.

Although the Universal Basic Education Act states basic education is free and compulsory, many Nigerian children are still deprived from learning because some government schools still demand for some level of payments for textbooks, school uniforms and other levies. Out of curiosity and with the company of a few friends, I had a chat with a school administrator of an LEA primary and secondary school in the FCT, Nigeria to gather information on the challenges pupils and students might be facing regarding their learning and the details I got, are heartbreaking to say the least.The school has a required levy of one thousand-two hundred naira only (N1200) per term still, parents of about 110 students and pupils cannot afford to pay the fees of their wards. As disheartening as this is, it is the current reality that we live in.

Oyare on a visit to Birishin Fulani Primary school, Bauchi State Nigeria

As a media and communications officer for Connected Development, I embarked on a work trip to Bauchi for a project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID);LEARN to Read, a project aimed at improving early grade reading outcomes. It was on this trip that I got the lifetime opportunity to interact with promising young bright minds like Abdullahi Salihu. Unlike Abdullahi who was from a more privileged and supportive family- which was a contributory factor to his excelling academic record, most of his counterparts in the state’s capital are not as privileged as he is. In Birishin Fulani Primary School for example, my team and I noted two primary one pupils (Amina and Isa) with untapped potentials who were having a hard time learning in school. We probed the class teachers and parents of these pupils to understand the cause of their challenges. While the teachers attributed the poor performance of the pupils to the nonchalance of their parents towards their children’s education, the parents blamed poverty as the reason why they could not give their children the full academic support that they needed. 7-years old Amina for example had no school shoes, sandals or proper school uniform and always had to assist her mum in hawking groundnuts or selling plastic bottles picked from waste bins after school. Isa on the other hand is an introverted pupil who needed extra attention from his teachers to come out of his shell but for the overcrowded classes, Isa was lagging behind for a long time before his class teacher took the initiative to relocate his seat for close monitoring.


Amina Picking pet bottles from waste bins to sell after school

The poor infrastructural condition of the school building could not go unnoticed as we noted that pupils had to sit on the floors because the classes had no chairs or tables.

Primary 1 Pupils of Birishin Fulani Primary school in class their classroom

There are a myriad of challenges contributing to the number of out of school children in the country and even more to the number of early graders in school who are not learning. The question is, how much attention and priority is being given to the education sector, particularly to basic education? Although the Federal government has allocated an 8.8 percent budget to the education sector, this still falls short of the 15-20 per cent recommended by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). Despite the 3 percent allocation from the Consolidated Revenue Fund for Basic Education which resides with the Central Bank of Nigeria and the commitment of the federal government to cater for 50 percent of states basic education needs, state governments have been guilty of paying lip service to funding education as the budget performance marks terribly low.

It is imminent that now more than ever, priority should be given to ensuring quality basic education for all Nigerian children because as much as every child has an innate greatness they potentially can exhibit, our nation is only as great as the potentials we harness. At Connected Development in collaboration with USAID LEARN to Read, we are mobilising community resources with the spirit of Open Government Partnership (OGP),aimed at ensuring quality primary education across the country, championing one bright mind at a time. 

Men and boys have a Critical Role as Allies in Preventing Gender-based Violence (GBV) and Achieving Gender Equality.

Hyeladzira James Mshelia April 19, 2023 0

Gender-based violence (GBV) is a global problem affecting millions of women and girls yearly. I like to refer to GBV as a growing Global Pandemic. GBV includes any violence perpetrated against someone based on gender identity or gender expression, including physical, sexual, and psychological violence. While women and girls are the direct victims of GBV, men and boys have a paramount role in stemming it and promoting gender equality. 

Unfortunately, GBV incidents in Nigeria have experienced a significant upsurge due to the insurgency in the northeastern region. The escalation of violence in the Northeast since the onset of 2015 has led to a severe humanitarian crisis, with over 2.2 million people displaced due to the intensified attacks by Boko Haram insurgents. May I also remind you that the world is still reeling from the impact of COVID-19, including the socio-economic impact of the pandemic in Nigeria as well as the spike in cases of Sexual and gender-based violence cases? According to a report by the United Nations Women, nearly half (48%) of Nigerian women have encountered at least one form of violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hyeladzira Mshelia engaging boys in JSS Garki School

Why engaging with Men and Boys is paramount. 

Research indicates that men are more likely to perpetrate gender-based violence than women. According to a study by the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 1 in 3 women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime. The majority of these acts are committed by men. Additionally, the Global Study on Homicide by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime found that over 80% of homicide victims are men, with men being more likely to be killed by other men. These statistics demonstrate the need to involve men and boys in the efforts to end gender-based violence, as they are often the perpetrators of such violence.

  • While both men and women can be victims of GBV, men are more likely to be the perpetrators of such violence. Engaging men and boys in ending GBV is important because it can play a significant role in stopping the cycle of violence. 
  • Men can influence other men and challenge their harmful attitudes and behaviours towards women and girls. This can be particularly important in settings where GBV is normalized or accepted
  • Ending GBV requires the participation of everyone in society, including men and boys. Sustainable change can only be achieved if everyone is involved in the effort to prevent GBV and promote gender equality

In this perspective, Connected Development with support from Voice Program in Nigeria took the engagement of men and boys at the core of its interventions to promote gender equality and address violence against Women and Girls within Nigeria. The team and I adopted a grassroots engagement approach that targets men and boys, enabling them to provide direct impact and empowerment to victims and young people. Through this strategy, individuals have been receiving vital information on their roles as responders, the availability of diverse communication and reporting channels, and the importance of mobilizing a collective voice to speak out against gender-based violence. We engaged with diverse stakeholders ranging from informal stakeholders to formal stakeholders. I became conversant with The National Union of Road Transport Workers as a result of spearheading this campaign and very easily, I was fondly referred to as “Iya Motor Park” by my colleagues.

In a bid to strengthen the capacity of 1000 men and 1000 boys as ‘he-for-she’ champions to lead strategic advocacy and multi-dimensional stakeholder engagement against gender-based violence in Nigeria, we held a series of capacity-building sessions, training and town hall meetings for drivers, loaders, conductors, ticketers and even market women. We have come to understand that men and boys can play a significant role as partners and allies in reducing incidents of GBV and promoting gender equality. Equipping them with the necessary tools and knowledge to become advocates and allies in the fight against sexual and gender-based violence is crucial. Collaborations and partnerships are also key to laying a strong foundation for project implementation, which leads to greater success. 

Over the past 18 months, our project has yielded significant results, by partnering with the National Union of Road Transport Workers, the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency, and The Enugu State Ministry of Gender Affairs and Social Development, we were able to mobilize various stakeholders throughout the project cycle. This resulted in the creation of five gender desk offices across five states in Nigeria, across the informal sector where women can rant and speak out without fear from their perpetrators, as has never been the case in places like the motor parks in Nigeria. We have thus far created safe places and a reporting channel for women to seek justice and demand accountability on issues relating to sexual and gender-based violence and sensitize school authorities on including guidance and counselling in curricula.  In addition, we empowered 2,610 boys through the Boys Against Gender-Based Violence Club and reached a total of 2.5 million people through online engagement. We also recorded positive behavioural changes by men and boys through their willingness to engage and educate other men and boys, who will do the same for their peers. 

The most exciting aspect of engaging men and boys as allies in ending GBV was through our extracurricular activity in the form of consent education for boys and girls in Junior Secondary schools. This was not only targeted at the students, and this was achieved by also strengthening the teachers’ capacities through the use of the Actions. Boys.Choices [ABC] on the SGBV manuals and ensuring they handled club activities regularly. 

A cross-section of participants during a Motor park town hall meeting in Abuja

Using innovative tools to directly impact and empower victims, young people across the project states

Young people across the project states are utilizing our innovative tools to directly empower and impact victims of GBV. These tools are designed to provide immediate and practical assistance to those affected by GBV, as well as to raise awareness about the issue and promote social change.

  • We developed a Social Construct Platform which is a digital data collection and analysis tool to access the misogynistic tendencies of men and boys, educate them on the subject of gender-based violence, and provide a one-stop reporting platform for victims and survivors. Click here to check your SABI level.
  • Using the Actions. BoysChoices [ABC] on SGBV Manuals, we developed a 24-week educational manual on mentorship and extracurricular activities for secondary school students, both boys and girls, across several states targeted by the project. As part of this initiative, we launched the Boys Club Against Gender-Based Violence in 30 schools, making it one of the first of its kind in Africa. Through this program, we have successfully educated and mentored over 3,000 boys on the issue of SGBV, empowering them to be allies in the fight against gender-based violence. ABC Manual for Boys
  • We produced a series of documentaries aimed at engaging with rights holders and raising awareness about the harmful impact of sexism and male dominance on ending all forms of violence against women and girls. These documentaries helped to shed light on the issue and promote dialogue around the need for action to end gender-based violence.  Find a link to the  docu-story  here 
  • We initiated dialogue with rights holders about their experiences and perspectives on gender-based violence through a VOX POP production. This initiative was conducted in three languages – Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa – and was instrumental in starting conversations and engaging with communities on the issue of SGBV.  Find a link the Vox Pop here 
  • SGBV Manual for Transport Workers and Organizations in the Informal Sector: We designed and developed an SGBV Manual for Transport Workers and Organizations in the Informal Sector. These manuals engaged gender desk officers within the motor park space. Manual for Road Union Workers on GBV
  • We created various knowledge-sharing materials, including fact sheets, cartoons, infographics, jingles, stickers, handbills, and community-based information dissemination tools. These materials were placed strategically in motor parks, buses, and cars to ensure maximum exposure and to reach a diverse audience

Through leading this campaign, I have realized that gender-based violence also affects men and boys, who often remain silent about their experiences. Male victims of gender-based violence often face a unique set of challenges, including social stigma, lack of support, and even disbelief from others. This can make it difficult for men and boys to come forward and seek help.

One of the key obstacles facing male victims of gender-based violence is the lack of data and research on the topic. Historically, most studies and statistics on gender-based violence have focused exclusively on female victims, leaving male victims largely invisible. This has contributed to a widespread misconception that gender-based violence is exclusively a women’s issue. In reality, gender-based violence affects individuals of all genders and can have devastating consequences for men and boys.

In recent years, there has been growing recognition of the need to address the needs of male victims of gender-based violence. This has led to the development of new initiatives and resources aimed at providing support and assistance to male survivors. These initiatives include counselling services, hotlines, and support groups specifically designed for male victims of gender-based violence.

However, there is still much work to be done to ensure that male victims of gender-based violence receive the support and resources they need. This includes challenging social norms and attitudes that perpetuate the myth that men cannot be victims of violence, as well as increasing funding for research and services aimed at addressing the unique needs of male survivors.

Ultimately, the fight against gender-based violence must be an inclusive one, recognizing that individuals of all genders can be victims and survivors.  I hope to witness more initiatives and remedies geared towards addressing the needs of men and boys impacted by gender-based violence.

Abuse is Abuse regardless of gender!

Communications April 4, 2023 0

By Stephanie Iwunze

“I am a boy, I can’t be abused.”

These were the words of a roughly fourteen (14) year old boy in JSS3.

Project SABI utilizes a fundamental approach to curbing gender-based violence in Nigeria. Instead of hacking at the leaves, the project seeks to dig at the root causes to engage men and boys at the grassroots level. 

There are quite a few dimensions to the project to engage men, boys and even women. However, the Boys Against Gender-Based Violence (BAGBV) Club is one initiative that has stuck with me. We have been able to set up the club across the project’s focal states.

In the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), we engaged over 300 boys in Junior Secondary Schools. We aim to educate and mentor these boys who will in turn become gender advocates in their schools and communities. 

Stephanie Iwunze, Project intern at CODE taking students through a manual.

I got the opportunity to engage with the boys on several occasions and might I say that I underestimated their abilities. I heard these boys give me proper descriptions of various concepts related to gender-based violence.  On certain occasions, they would back up their definitions with proper descriptions of what they have seen, heard or even been a part of. 

While I was excited to hear what these bright boys had to say, I was looking forward to hearing from those who didn’t have an understanding of the concept in general. In every classroom I walked into, I was on the lookout for the weak links- those who didn’t agree they could be abused just like girls. I knew they didn’t all agree that they could be abused, I was sure they all didn’t have the same ideologies around GBV so I wanted to initiate the process that could lead to behavioral change at least. 

For every group I spoke to, I could see the uneasiness among some of the boys. I tried to get their opinions but it seemed almost impossible. Perhaps, they only just met me and didn’t think speaking to me was safe or maybe they just weren’t interested. Whatever it was, I had to find a way around it.

Finally, I met one bold young boy. Nothing could have prepared me for the moment. He was clear, he didn’t stutter. He didn’t believe he could be abused because he is a boy. In his understanding, his gender shielded him from every form of abuse or violence known to man. First, I was happy to hear his perspective, I was eager to see the world from his perspective so I could easily walk him through the process of letting go of culturally inherited biases.

“If I walked into this room and hit you in the face, have I abused you?”

“Yes,” I admired his courage and it was glaring.

“So are you a boy or a girl?”

“A boy,” his countenance changed. I knew his mindset didn’t just change, it is a process but I was so sure the conversation initiated something. 

He is one out of millions of boys with a warped sense of understanding of gender. (Women aren’t excluded either) Why he believed being a boy exempts him from abuse can be tied to several factors. His initial refusal to believe he could be abused isn’t a stand-alone idea. It stems from several experiences and beliefs he had lived with. He could have had the orientation that boys are stronger, superior and untouchable whether physically or emotionally as opposed to girls who are ‘weaker’. 

A recent study by the University of West London has shown that some men and boys are ridiculed or blamed as the cause of the abuse they go through. These detrimental stereotypes also have negative impacts on the help-seeking behaviour of men and boys who have been abused. 

One boy at a time! This is the essence of my 18 months of involvement in training boys who would grow up to become wholesome men who understand their roles in fostering and sustaining an equal and safe society for everyone, especially women and girls.

Here is a toolkit developed during the time of this project that can be used to check your misogyny level in less than 3 minutes!


Communications March 8, 2023 0

To address SGBV in Kano state, Connected Development (CODE) through funding from the Canadian High Commission in Nigeria launched the project, Galvanizing Mass Action Against Gender‑Based Violence in Kano State (GMAA‑K). The GMAA‑K project is aimed at galvanizing the mass public and empowering women to mount advocacies against sexual and gender‑based violence (SGBV) and domestic abuse, as well as engage the government for the enactment of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) law. The phase I of the project lasted for 3 months ‑ January to March 2021, while the second phase which started in November 2021 ends by March 2023. In the phases I and II of the project, CODE empowered gender advocates who work in communities to rollback GBV, leveraged new and traditional media for systematic sensitisation of the mass public on GBV, while engaging governmental actors on the passage of a VAPP bill and Child Protection Law (CPL), as well as the expansion of the Sexual Assault Referral Centres in Kano State.



Communications March 2, 2023 0


With the deployment of Uzabe’s 20,000 observers, Connected Development (CODE) and her media and CSO partners observed the process and conduct of elections in polling units across 774 LGA’s of the 36 States and federal Capital Territory. Our findings raise several concerns about the management of the Presidential and NASS elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Following recent events, this interim statement will bring to light some of the discrepancies observed and will be followed by a more detailed report of the entire exercise.

A breakdown of negative and positive events observed at the polls include:

We observed late deployment of INEC staff and election materials, which led to the late opening of polls in 64% of polling units we observed, which saw many polling units close before exhausting the 6 hours of voting time, citing nightfall as an excuse. In many other polling units across the country, citizens’ resilience saw voting conducted late into the night with no power supply or light bulbs, under very unsecured conditions. For this purpose, many Nigerians were disenfranchised, and the most affected demography were Persons with disability, pregnant women, and elderly people. Registration Area Centers (RACs) were introduced by INEC to decentralize the coordination of logistics and effective deployment, to achieve early opening of polls, yet polls opened in some polling units across the country by 3pm and above.

We also observed that INEC in many polling units failed to adhere to her guidelines, stipulating that where election fails to hold because of the late opening of polls or failure of the Bi-Modal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), INEC shall conduct elections in such polling units the next day. INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu reinforced this in his communication on Election day, assuring Nigerians that if elections did not hold in any polling units, that INEC will deploy staff and materials to hold election in such places the next day. We observed that in many of such polling units, INEC staff and materials were not deployed to these areas, like in Imo state primary health care development agency, New Owerri 1, PU 0I8, and as such citizens again were disenfranchised. 

We observed that in some of these places where elections did not hold, results of polls were returned. An example of this is in Oru East LGA, Imo State. This systematic disenfranchisement of voters can partly be blamed for the 26.7% voter turnout witnessed in this election, which was anticipated to be much higher.

In the lead-up to this election, we had praised INEC for being very responsive in communication. However on Election day, when the situation arose on election day that INEC was needed the most to communicate timely and clearly, INEC was mum.

We observed that in 73% of Polling Units, an average of 2 Security personnel were seen present, very early in the day. We also observed the presence of armed Security Personnel in 28% of Polling Units observed. We observed that Security personnel deployed were civil in 71% of the polling units. While we commend the early deployment and spread of Security personnel, we however observed that there were several cases of voter Intimidation, and disruption of polls targeted at suppressing votes in favor of other political parties. Security personnel were seen to be in these polling units, yet thugs carried on with their criminal acts unhindered. This is way below the expected threshold of a civic exercise, where the security of voters should be protected, and citizens allowed to vote their choice without coercion or intimidation. 

We also observed that Nigerians approached and participated in this election in high spirits, trusting the process, on the assurance of INEC’s promised innovations which will ensure transparency of result collation and result management. The deployment of BVAS and INEC Result Viewing Portal (IREV) were presented to Nigerians as game changers in this 2023 general election. We observed that citizens found it difficult to log in to the IREV until late in the day of election. The IREV failed to upload any result of the Presidential election as at 10pm of election day, and even when the results started uploading, it was in trickles. At this moment, 4 days after the Saturday Presidential Election, only 85% of the results have been uploaded. This is in sharp contrast to all the promise and assurance given by INEC. 

We also observed that BVAS was used in 99% of the polling units we observed. We commend the swift efficiency of the BVAS in most of these polling units, which eliminated manual accreditation, ghost voters, and frivolous unreal results. We observed that the BVAS checked result manipulation and rigging to a very large extent, as biometric accreditation was used, and the number of accredited voters was applied in the process, eliminating over voting. However, there were many polling units where BVAS failed to work. As we saw at the National Collation center, many State Collation Officers for Presidential Elections that announced results, stated the failure of BVAS as reasons why elections did not hold in many polling units in the State, but they all did not explain why they failed to timely replace the BVAS, as stipulated in section 47, subsection 3 of the Electoral Act 2022.

We also observed that in 95% of the polling units where our observers were present, the polling units had a voting booth positioned in a way that ensured the secrecy of the ballot. We believe this may have reduced vote trading in these polling units.

As Nigerians prepare to go to the polls for the Governorship and State House of Assembly elections on 11th March 2023, Connected Development and her partners appeal to INEC to ensure that the many challenges that marred the credibility of the Presidential election should be handled; ensure a swift deployment and early opening of polls is put in place, professional conduct of security personnel, and INEC’s strict adherence to the use of BVAS for biometric accreditation, and electronic transmission of results from polling unit as stipulated by the Electoral Act 2022 and INEC 2023 Election guidelines for the conduct of election. The Governorship and State Assembly election is yet another opportunity for INEC to redeem her now battered image, and earn the trust and confidence of the Electorate in our electoral process.

More importantly, INEC should ensure transparency of the result management and collation process and make certain that polling unit results are uploaded timely on the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IREV), to stand a chance at redeeming her already deflated public confidence, and her almost blown-away goodwill which they have enjoyed from Nigerians.

The Uzabe election observation mission was focused on the election day process; focusing on the quality of the election, with the notion that if the process is right, the outcome will be right and accepted by all. Drawing from these observations, Connected Development and her partners conclude that the 2023 Presidential and National Assembly Election failed to meet the basic threshold of a credible election, as it failed short of Citizen’s expectations, INEC’s assurances, and benchmark of international election best practice. 

Re: Connected Development (CODE) alleges manipulation of election results, relocation of Local Government, State Collation Centres.

Communications February 27, 2023 0

Connected Development (CODE) wishes to redress the media and general public on the allegation of election result manipulation and relocation of  Local Government Collation centres in Ekiti State.

Following the recent narrative making the rounds on media tabloids that Connected Development alleged the manipulation of the Presidential and National Assembly (NASS) results as well as the relocation of Local Government Collation centres in some States, CODE wishes to provide clarity on these narratives.

Connected Development in collaboration with her partners held a press conference on Sunday 26th of February, 2023 to give an update on the electoral process as observed with her electoral intelligence tool–Uzabe. 

At the conclusion of the conference, we noticed reports stating that CODE alleged a manipulation of the presidential and NASS elections as well as a relocation of Local Government collation centres particularly in Ekiti State.

It is fundamental to reiterate that while CODE has a mandate to enhance effective democratic governance and accountability, using technologies such as Uzabe to close the feedback loop between citizens and the government, we however, realise that collaboration with other institutions with similar objectives will aid in effectively charting our course.

On this note, we would like to reiterate that CODE’s Uzabe platform is not particularly concerned with the results of the election but is interested in the processes of the elections to ensure that INEC’s guidelines are adequately met.

We also wish to state that the reports on the “Local Government Collation centres in Ekiti State being relocated with new location being shrouded in secrecy” was printed in a haste. Our observers had drawn attention to the fact that collated results were not made public and raised concerns over transparency of the electoral process.


About Connected Development:

Connected Development (CODE) is Africa’s leading Civil Society organisation that empowers marginalised communities with access to information while creating platforms for informed debates using data to inform policy and decision-making centred around citizens’ service delivery.

Contact: Seun Durojaiye