October 2018-May 2019
Niger Delta Watch 2019 is a citizen-led elections observation project reporting on the 2019 Nigerian presidential and governorship elections.
The project focuses on the states of Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, and Akwa Ibom. Niger Delta Watch 2019 is a joint initiative of SDN and the Civil Society Situation Room (CSSR). SDN has conducted extensive research on political and electoral dynamics in the Niger Delta, and Niger Delta Watch 2019 is the latest iteration of previous election observation work carried out by SDN, including during the 2011 and 2015 election cycles.
The goal of Niger Delta Watch 2019 is to generate accurate information on the election campaign as it unfolds, for the benefit of the Nigerian government, Nigerian electoral agencies, and journalists, researchers, civil society organisations, and others working to support democracy in Nigeria.
In November and December 2018, we trained nearly 100 citizen Election Observers, Social Media Analysts and Data Analysts as project team members to take part in Niger Delta Watch 2019. They are based across the Niger Delta, and submit incident reports and other analysis on events which relate to a number of risk areas identified as relevant to the Niger Delta. Each week we produce a report describing and analysing these events in our four focus states of Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta and Akwa Ibom. We publish these reports online, and then hold briefings with government officials, journalists, diplomats, civil society organisations, and others working to make the Nigerian elections a success. We are also organising a series of radio shows on local stations so members of the public can access the information we produce.
The Nigerian Presidential election is scheduled to take place in February 2019. There will also be elections for the key role of State Governor in many of Nigeria’s 36 states.Unfortunately, previous elections in Nigeria have seen trouble in the form of electoral fraud and violence. These problems have been acute in the Niger Delta, which has very complex politics linked to its status as the source of Nigeria’s oil wealth. However, Nigeria’s 2015 election was a key milestone. It saw an incumbent President relinquish power via the ballot box for the first time since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999.
This project aims to support this progress by providing information to agencies such as Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to monitor any challenges with the elections as they unfold. This will help them to respond to issues on the ground and deliver a fair and safe election. We hope the reports will also be a useful source of information to journalists, human rights and election observers, and others working to support Nigeria’s election processes.
The project will also report on good practice, to highlight where lessons can be learnt to support further consolidation of democracy in Nigeria.
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