Media and civil society stakeholders have announced the launch of the Alliance for Deepening Democracy (A4DD), a coalition of organisations from various sectors working collaboratively to engage critical aspects, stages and actors in the 2023 general election in order to ensure that its outcome reflects the will of the people and contributes to the consolidation of democracy in Nigeria.
In a statement issued by the Chair of its Steering Committee, Mr. Edetaen Ojo, who is Executive Director of Media Rights Agenda; and its Vice Chair, Ms Hadiza Mrumun Garba, Communication Officer for the Women in Politics Forum, the Alliance said it intends to complement the work and activities of other coalitions and organisations engaging the electoral process and that its main focus would be to ensure that the 2023 elections are transparent, properly organized and conducted, secure, and credible, unlike the situation with many elections in the past.
Mr. Ojo and Ms Garba said: “We do not want to wait until Election Day to find out that the preparations for the elections were poor or inadequate and that the outcome cannot be trusted. So we will engage and scrutinise all critical stages of the process and the preparatory activities of the main agencies involved in the conduct of the elections, particularly the Independent National Electoral Commission, before the elections, on election days and in the immediate post-election period.”
They explained that the Alliance will periodically and at different stages of the electoral process assess the state of preparedness for the elections and based on the outcome of its assessment, it will engage with INEC or other relevant actors in the process to advocate for necessary adjustments in plans or preparations as well as appropriate frameworks to ensure credible elections.
According to the Alliance, its assessment of the plans and preparations for the elections will cover things such as the printing of election materials like ballot papers, results sheets, etc.; the procurement of other election materials; logistics plans for the movement of election materials; plans for the deployment of election personnel; plans for the deployment of security personnel; plans for the collation of election results; the inclusiveness of the process in terms of how well it addresses the needs and interests of women, youths, persons with disabilities and other marginalized or vulnerable groups.
The spokespersons said the Alliance will engage with different stakeholder groups in the electoral process, including INEC, the Government, law enforcement and security agencies, the political parties, the Judiciary, local and international election observers, civil society organizations, the Media and professional bodies within the Media as well as citizens at large to ensure that each of them is playing its role effectively.
They noted that the activities of the Alliance is being overseen by a representative six-member Steering Committee constituted from among member organizations of the Alliance to bring on board representatives of women, youths, persons with disabilities and other interests groups.
Member organisations of the Alliance include: Media Rights Agenda (MRA), Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), Journalism and Development Seminars (JADES), Proactive Gender Initiatives, Raising New Voices, Partners West Africa Nigeria (PWAN), Alliance for Credible Elections (ACE-Nigeria), Young Professionals in Policy and Development (YouPaD), Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), The Electoral Hub, and Women in Politics Forum (WIPF).