Step Up Nigeria asked Nigerian youth what their voting experiences were during the 2019 General Elections. We had many replies on our social media platforms and were pleased to see the enthusiasm of young people who wanted to exercise their civic responsibility.
In this episode, the team discuss reviews of the electoral process, what went wrong, what went right, and recommendations for what could be done better ahead of the 2023 elections. We had some interesting recommendations that could significantly improve voting in Nigeria, listen in to hear more.
The Corruption Perception Index is produced by Transparency International, a global civil society organisation focused on fighting corruption. It ranks countries based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be. The index is measured on a scale of 0 to 10 with a score of 0 being “highly corrupt” and 10 being “very clean”.
Nigeria ranked 144 out of 180 countries in the world with a score of 27 and ranked 15 out of 16 in West Africa.
In the last four years, Nigeria has performed badly in the Corruption Perception Index. Sadly, Nigeria’s position remained the same 144 from 2017 despite major efforts to tackle corruption in 2018 (being the AU anti-corruption year).
Nigerians will go to the polls on Saturday February 16th to elect their President after months of campaigning. It is important that we get things right for this crucial aspect of Nigeria’s democracy. However there are several challenges that makes this difficult. They include the following:
Firstly, vote buying is a common practice in Nigeria. Political aspirants make it a point to visit poor communities during electioneering periods to offer food items and money. In return, they are obliged to vote for the electoral candidate. This is most common in rural areas where community members are susceptible to being enticed. In Nigeria, efforts are being made by INEC, NOA, EFCC, ICPC and CSOs to increase awareness on this issue. Step Up Nigeria, under its Catch Them Young initiative recently visited a school and observed that more than half of the class had a bit of understanding of vote buying because they had seen it on TV.
Secondly, another challenge is that the middle-class Nigerians particularly the young rarely vote. They feel disconnected from the electoral process and do not believe that their votes will make a difference. However, they make the loudest noise on social media platforms. Yet, ironically if they were more engaged, they would have the power to demand that campaign promises are kept.
This issue points to the ineffectiveness the registration process. As at September 2018, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) reported over 10 million uncollected PVCs. Many have complained that is a stressful process to get registered to vote. The registration of under-aged citizens is another reported challenge. Recently corps member gave an example of a principal in a secondary school in Katsina that had given few days off to students in forms 4-6 to get registered to vote. They were asked to go to a specific location and many of these students were under 18 and did not understand the implication of what they were asked to do.
To address some of these issues, we strongly recommend the following:
There should be reforms on campaign financing and audit on the use of these funds. We need to have more transparency on the source of campaign funds and how it is used.
Educating Nigerians on the dangers of vote buying early on and not just months to elections will be useful. The young people should also be targeted as part of the voter’s education campaign. If every Nigerian fully understands how powerful their votes are and how it could change the nation, maybe more people will participate in the electoral process.
Redesigning the registration process, ensuring that there are no queues or in the least short wait times for registration and voting. This will encourage the middle-class Nigerians to go and vote
If these measures can be tackled, Nigeria can achieve free and fair elections and produce credible leaders.
More and more young middle class people are getting disinterested in the political process in Nigeria. As elections draw near, we speak to a group of young people (23-28) who share their experiences and views on voting in elections. We ask if they are voting in the 2019 elections, what barriers they face, and what can be done to enable more young people vote in elections.
Nigeria has one of the lowest levels of women representation in politics in Africa, and some Nigerian women hope to change the status quo in 2019. What will women do differently to fight corruption in Nigeria? This week, we hear from aspiring women candidates who if elected, hope to tackle corruption and improve service delivery in Nigeria.