Perspectives on Nigeria's Upcoming Elections

  • Wednesday, Mar 9, 2011

  • Africa’s most populous country goes to the polls on April 9, but security and logistical concerns are mixed in with the signs of hope. Chris Kwaja from the University of Jos and Udo Jude Ilo and Dayo Olaide of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa examined the challenges to free and fair elections in Nigeria with Richard Downie, deputy director of the CSIS Africa Program.

    There is renewed public confidence in Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).  In spite of that, Ilo explained that the lack of a detailed security plan and the inability of the judicial system to hold election cheats accountable could derail the April elections. INEC also faces the logistical challenge of deploying observers and voting equipment to 100,000 polling booths.

    Olaide said the Open Society Initiative will be monitoring police conduct and that it is campaigning for mandatory protection at polling places. It has also established a “situation room” where civil society groups can share information. Olaide called on the United States, the UK, and Canada to remove restrictions that prevent funds from reaching civil society organizations.

    The 2011 elections will either strengthen or undermine regional stability. Kwaja stressed that a failure by Nigeria to ensure safe elections domestically would undercut its security actions in conflict zones like Sudan and Sierra Leone. Kwaja said Nigerian police have only lethal weapons, making crowd control difficult and often deadly.

    The CSIS Africa Program and Johns Hopkins SAIS African Studies Program cordially invite you to attend:

    Perspectives on Nigeria's Upcoming Elections

    Chris Kwaja
    Lecturer and Researcher, Centre for Conflict Management and Peace Studies, University of Jos

    Udo Jude Ilo
    Fellow, Open Society Justice Initiative
    Nigeria Analyst, Open Society Initiative for West Africa

    Dayo Olaide
    Country Coordinator, Open Society Initiative for West Africa 

    Moderated by:

    Richard Downie
    Deputy Director and Fellow, CSIS Africa Program

    As Nigeria prepares for presidential elections on April 9, a diverse panel of civil society experts from Nigeria will share their perspectives on the state of preparations for the vote, highlight areas of concern and discuss some of the possible outcomes.

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