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Note: This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.

Nigeria: Election Monitoring Report

Nigeria: Election Monitoring Report
Date distributed (ymd): 981230
Document reposted by APIC

+++++++++++++++++++++Document Profile+++++++++++++++++++++

Region: West Africa
Issue Areas: +political/rights+
Summary Contents:
This posting contains a report from the Transition Monitoring Group of 45 Nigerian non-governmental organizations (listed at the end of the report), on the local government elections held on December 5, 1998.
For a convenient timetable of the election process and a summary of results,
see the Nigerian Drum Messenger web site (
For additional news updates see Africa News (

+++++++++++++++++end profile++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Preliminary Report
Of the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG)
On the Local Government Elections
Held on Saturday, December 5, 1998

For more information:
Centre for Law Enforcement Education (CLEEN) 44 Alhaja Kofoworola Crescent Off Obafemi Awolowo Way, Ikeja P.O. Box 212, Yaba
Lagos, Nigeria
Tel: 234-1-4930831 fax: 234-1-4930831

CLEEN is a non governmental organisation that works for the re-orientation of law enforcement agencies in Nigeria, especially the police and prisons services, with a value system that places highest premium on right to life, security of persons, physical and psychological integrity; as well as educate civil society in Nigeria on its basic rights in relation to these agencies. Our mandate is pursued through research and publication, human rights education and community empowerment programmes.


This is a preliminary report issued by the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), a coalition of 44 human rights organizations that monitored the local council elections held in Nigeria on Saturday, December 5, 1998.

The TMG's report is based on our observations of the polling in various constituencies across the country. The observation covered all six zones of the country: South East, South South, South West, North East, North Central, and North West.

TMG was formally accredited by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to monitor the elections nationwide.

TMG deployed over 1,000 observers to monitor the elections nationwide. These were made up of 326 observers from within member organizations of the TMG accredited by INEC and other observers recruited by the TMG.

A final report will be issued before the next elections scheduled for January 9, 1999.

a. State of Preparedness of INEC

There were complaints of serious administrative lapses by INEC in its preparations for the elections. Some of these lapses include:

Lack of Electoral Materials

In some polling stations, there were reports of lack of electoral materials, ballot papers, boxes, forms, etc. This affected voting.

b. Insufficient Training of Electoral Officials

Numerous electoral officials did not seem to have sufficient skills or knowledge to enable them tackle problems or complaints arising from the voting process. In some cases, party agents and independent observers were being relied on to resolve confusing situations and voters protests and complaints.

Mix up in Voters Registers

In some constituencies, the voters register was muddled up. Registers meant for particular wards or constituencies were taken to different areas thus disenfranchising voters who had turned up to vote. In other instances, peoples names were simply missing from the voters register.

c. Lateness of Officials

There were several reports of officials reporting late for electoral duties, meaning that in several cases, voting did not begin early. In some cases where accreditation began late, voters were turned back once it was 11 am and in spite of the fact that INEC officials had not completed accrediting every person that was on queue. The problem of transportation and the biting fuel crisis accounted to some extent for the lateness of officials.

d. Lack of Privacy in the Voting

There was the problem of lack of privacy and confidentiality in the voting process, so that voters balloting was apparent to onlookers, and not sufficient security was provided for ballot boxes.

e. Lack of Civic Education

There was widespread lack of awareness among voters on how to vote, thumb print or even identify the parties and the candidates of their choice. In some cases, voters did not understand that they should thumb print the ballot papers before inserting them into the boxes. In other cases, ballot boxes were invalidated because voters thumb printed in between the boxes of the parties.

In a few other cases, voters did not understand the difference between accreditation and actual voting. Some left after accreditation believing that they had actually voted.

2. Other Logistical Problems

Transportation was one major problem that affected the conduct of the elections. Due to lack of transportation, electoral officers in some instances did not arrive at the polling centers in time. For the same reason, in other instances, voting materials did not get to polling centers in time. As a result, there were delays in the commencement of voting. This problem also compelled electoral officers to walk distances to pick up materials and return to their polling centers.

3. Security Situation/Electoral Violence

The elections were reasonably peaceful, except for isolated cases of electoral violence leading to intimidation of voters by party faithful, and, in some cases, death. Law enforcement agents deployed to voting centers were reportedly civil. It was observed that the number of law enforcement agents deployed for the exercise was inadequate.

However, many of the law enforcement agents deployed for the exercise were ignorant of INEC guidelines on their role in the voting exercise, especially the requirement that they should stay behind the last prospective voter on the queue.

In Awka, the Anambra State capital, one person was confirmed dead in a shootout involving a convoy of an APP candidate patrolling polling areas in the city.

In Asari Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State (Buguma City), youths dressed in black used acid to destroy polling materials and took them away thereby ensuring that no elections were held in the area.

In Ward 9 of the same local government, party agents brought thugs who were shooting in the air and scaring people away. Some people also sustained knife cuts.

In Akwa Ibom State, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Oron Division was killed by rioters protesting the conduct of the council elections in the area.

4. Conduct of the Political Parties

The party agents who were at the polling centers generally conducted themselves well. There were however reported cases of improper and, sometimes, violent behavior. From Ibadan North Local Government Ward 5 in Oyo State, it was reported that a fake voter's card was found on a party agent at a polling Centre. From Sokoto State cases of rival party supporters going to polling centers with local weapons were also reported. There was also reports of rival parties clashing in Awka, Anambra State.

5. Electoral Malpractices

Some electoral malpractices were reported. From Bayelsa State, for instance, the uses of some of the missing voters' cards by strange persons were seen. This resulted in multiple voting particularly in Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. Also, observers in Bayelsa State were satisfied that some of the voters who turned up were clearly underage.

Yet another irregularity was the failure of electoral officers to ensure that voters had enough space to cast their vote in secret. There were, in several cases, no space as a result of which voters thumb printed the ballot papers within sight of the other voters and electoral officers.

6. Conclusion

Despite lapses in the preparations by INEC and a few electoral malpractice recorded in some centres across the country, the elections were credible. Voter turnout was reasonably impressive compared to the turnout in elections in the recent past. The elections were largely peaceful and free of rancour in many voting centers across the country. However, some isolated cases of violence were reported in states like Oyo, Anambra, Lagos, Ondo and Ekiti.

7. Recommendations

  1. There is need for better training of electoral officials to achieve consistency of the implementation of the electoral guidelines and to assist them to be confident in reaching and sustaining their decisions.
  2. The level of checks and balances and supervision of electoral officials was inadequate, leading to some wrong decisions by officials not being dealt with. There is need to address problem.
  3. There is need to ensure that the secrecy of vote is guaranteed. The practice where voters sometimes do not have adequate privacy to cast their votes and where the votes cast and the markings on the ballot papers are apparent should be tackled.
  4. There is need for increased security of ballot papers, boxes and forms to ensure that they are not tampered with or removed.
  5. A copy of the Voters' Register should be pasted at particular polling stations prior to elections to enable voters identify where they will vote.
  6. There is need for adequate arrangement to be made for the transportation of electoral officers and materials on election days.
  7. INEC should take urgent and far-reaching efforts to educate the public on the voting procedure. In this regard, it is not enough to use the mass media. Grassroots bodies like market women's associations, community-based organizations, churches and mosques, should be used to reach and educate our unenlightened majority. Support should also be given to the efforts of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to provide civic education to the populace.

Clement Nwankwo Chair, TMG Coordinating Committee

(This report is issued by Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), a coalition of forty five human rights organizations working to monitor the transition to civil rule programme of the military government of General Abdulsalam Abubakar).


1. Constitutional Rights Project (CRP)
5, Abiona Close, Off Falolu Road Surulere, Lagos
(with offices in Owerri, Imo state)
Tel: 01-5848498, 5843041, Fax: 01-5848571
Contact: Clement Nwankwo (Executive Director)

2. C ivil Liberties Organisation CLO
1a Hussey Street, Jibowu - Yaba Lagos
(with offices in Benin and Enugu Jos, Kaduna, Maiduguri and Ibadan)
Tel: 01-860456, 862412; Fax: 01-5840288
Contact: Abdul Oroh(Executive Director)

3. Centre for Law Enforcement Education
44 Alhaja Kopfoworola Crescent Off Obafemi Awolowo Way, Ikeja
Tel: 01-4930831, Fax: 01-4930831 E-mail:
Contact: Innocent Chukwuma(Executive Ditrector)

4. Media Rights Agenda
44 Alhaja Kofoworola Crescent Off Obafemi Awolowo Way Ikeja, Lagos,
Tel: 01-4930831, Fax: 01-4930831 E-mail:
Contact: Edetaen Ojo (Executive Director)

5. Community Action For Popular Participation NUJ Secretariat
Area 11, Garki, Abuja
Tel:09-2346780, 2346214, Fax:09-2346780
Contact: Emma Ezeazu(Executive Director)

6. Centre for Human Rights Research and Development
37 Old Ife Road, Akunleyan Office Complex Opposite
Green Springs Hotel, P.O. Box 1084 Agodi, Ibadan
Tel: 02-712336, Fax: 02-2318588
Contact Moshood Erubami(Executive Director)

7. African Centre for Democratic Governance
5, Dogon Dutse Road, Jos
Tel: 073- 619512, Fax: 073- 458947
Contact: Prof. Aaron T. Gana

8. The Institute For Social Sciences and Administration Ibadan
Contact: Professor Ayoade

9. Network For Justice
B7 55 Sardauna Crescent P.O.Box 9436, Kaduna
Tel:062: 240144, 24160
Dr. Usman Bagaje(Chairman)

10. Social Advocacy Group
8, Bagado Road Runjin Sambo, Sokoto
Tel/Fax: 060-230625
Contact: Dr Bala Yauri Mohammad

11. African Peace Initiative
2 Olufunmilola Okikiolu Street Behind 7B Toyin Street, Ikeja, Lagos
Tel: 01- 4937963
Contact: Emmanuel Opia(Executive Director)

12. Safe Environment Action
C3 Ibrahim Taiwo Road P.O.Box 1624, Kaduna
Tel: 062- 242290, E-Mail:
Contact: Priscilla M. Achakpa(Executive Director)

13. Women for Democracy and Leadership
25 Moremi Street New Bodija, Ibadan, Oyo State
Tel: 02-8102555, 2411025,2412199
Contact: Ayoka Lowano(Executive Director)

14. Justice, Development and Peace Commission
Catholic Diocese of Ijebu-Ode
Bishop Emeritus Compound Off Erunwa Road, GRA.
Tel: 037-432268, 420703; D/L: 432246, Fax: 037: 432139
Contact: Rev. Fr. John Patrick Ngoyi

15. Human Rights Legal Services(HURILAWS)
34 Creek Road, Apapa Lagos
Tel:5878706;587876, Fax: 01- 5876876
E-Mail: Contact: Joyce Ogunyemi

16. Human Rights Monitor 1A Junction Road P.O.Box 1584, Kaduna
Tel: 062-239347, Fax: 062 235048 E-Mail:
Contact: Festus Okoye(Executive Director)

17. Women's Consortium of Nigeria
No. 2 Arimokunri Street Ijemo, Abeokuta
Tel: 039- 242113
Contact: Bisi Olateru- Olagbeji (Executive Director)

18. Society for the Welfare of Women Prisoners
43b Kenyatta Street, Uwani P.O.Box 15653 UNEC Post Office, Enugu
Tel: 042-256887, Fax: 042-451680
Contact: Sylvia A. Akpala(Executive Director)

19. Civil Rights Concerns
30 Edinburgh Road Ogui New Layout Enugu,
Tel: 042- 254102, 254809
Contact: Theresa O. Ileghune(Executive Director)

20. Basic Rights Group
53, Western Avenue P.O.Box 1140, Surulere Lagos,
Tel: 01- 830345
Contact: Ummuna Chiemeka(Executive Dorector)

21. Global Vision 8, Adeniyi Street Onipanu, Lagos
Tel: 01- 4973012, Fax: 01-493145
Contact: Giwa Ehimen Jacobs(Executive Director)

Contact: Bisi-Yomi Layinka

23. Centre for Responsive Politics
12 Potts Johnson Street P.O. Box 9208 Port-Harcourt, Rivers State
Tel/Fax: 084-239417
Contact: Nimi Walson-Jack(Executive Director)

24.Centre for Media Studies
30, Adebisi Street Adekunle Yaba, Lagos
Tel: 01-866086, E-Mail:
Contact: Bolaji Alabi

25. Medical Rehabilitation Centre for Trauma Victims
20, Mbonu Ojike Street Off Ayinde Giwa Street Surulere, Lagos
Tel: 01- 840839, Fax:01-2635048
Contact: Edith Oguamanam(Project Officer)

26. People Against Drug Dependency Ignorance (PADDI)
Plot B, Small Scale Industrial Estate, Fatai Atere Road,
Matori-Isolo, Lagos
Tel/Fax: 01-524427
Contact: Eze Eluchi(Cordinator)

27. Gender and Development Action
14, Adebola Street, Off Adeniran Ogunsanya Street
Surulere, Lagos
Tel/Fax: 01- 5840371, E-Mail:
Contact: Nkoyo Toyo(Executive Director)

28. United Action for Democracy c/o Civil Liberties Organisation
1A Hussey Street Jibowu, Yaba, Lagos
Tel/Fax: 01-5876876
Contact: Olisa Agbakoba(President)

29. Women Justice Programme
37C Foresythe Street Lafiaji, Lagos
Tel: 01-2632999 Fax: 01-2632811
Contact: Grace Enwerem(Project Cordinator)

30. Shelter Rights Initiative
62 Tafawa Balewa Crescent Off Adeniran Ogunsanya Street,
Surulere, Lagos
Tel/Fax: 835367, E-Mail:
Contact: Eze Onyekpere(Executive Director)

31. Centre for Free Speech
30, Bassie Ogamba Street Surulere, Lagos
Tel: 01-5844982, E-Mail:
Contact: Tunde Olugbuji

32. Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
52, Mbonu Street, 2nd Floor, Suite 5
Port-Harcourt, Rivers State
Tel/Fax: 084-335508
Contact: Anyakwe Nsirimovu(Executive Director)

33. AFRONET, Lagos

34. Amnesty International-Nigeria
27, Ogunlana Drive, Surulere
Tel/Fax: 01-833873,
Contact: Eke U. Ubiji(Executive Secretary)

35. Legal Research and Resource Development Centre
386, Murtala Mohammed Way, Yaba
Tel/Fax: 01-865188; 862097; 610450
Contact: Olubankole Olubamise

36. Zee Karatu Workshop
13, Emir Road Angwan Rimi, GRA, Kaduna
Contact: Fatima Mamie Shehu(Coordinator)

37. Legal Defence Centre
9, Milverton Avenue Aba,
Tel: 082-223101
Contact: Chijioke Ononimu(Deputy Coordinator)

38. The Moving Minds
First Floor Office Block
Agbowo Shopping Complex
Opposite University of Ibadan
P.O. Box 7790, U.I. Ibadan
Tel: 02 - 8100045, Fax: 02 - 8104777
Contact: Chief Mrs. Ronke Okusanya (Executive Director)

39. BAOBAB For Women's Human Rights
25, Musa Yar'Adua Street
P.O. Box 73630
Victoria Island
Lagos Nigeria
Tel/Fax: 01 617134
Contact: Ayesha Imam

40. Legal Watch
Z1 Jos Road/Abeokuta Street
Tel: 062 242127, Fax: 235048
Contact: Debora Alabi (Coordinator)

41. Dr. M.E. Kolagbodi Memorial Foundation 48/50 Ishaga Road
Surulere Lagos
Fax: 4961789
Contact: A.A. Abiodun (Executive Secretary)

42. Labour Centre for Economic Democracy, Research & Documentation Studies
48, Oguntolu Street
Onipanu Shomolu, Lagos
Contact: Kunle Oladejo (Director General)

43. Centre for Workers' Rights
9, Alhaji Abiodun Sadiku Street
Adealu Bus stop
Dopemu Agege
Tel/Fax: 01 4920747
Contact: Kayode John (Project Officer)

44. Campaign for Workers' and Farmers' Democracy

This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC). APIC's primary objective is to widen the policy debate in the United States around African issues and the U.S. role in Africa, by concentrating on providing accessible policy-relevant information and analysis usable by a wide range of groups and individuals.

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