Toward a Second Independence: Repairing Nigeria's Electoral Commission, 2010-2011
Topics: Legal Framework, Management of poll workers, Vote Counting, Training, Recruitment, Election Security, Election Schedules, Dispute Resolution, Boundary Delimitation/Districting
Type: Case Studies
Author: Gabriel Kuris
Keywords: Goodluck Jonathan, Election Violence, Elections, Nigeria, 2011 Elections, Zoning, Enough is Enough, Muhammadu Buhari, Congress for Progressive Change, Peoples Democratic Party, Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, Macarthur Foundation, INEC, Independent National Election Commission, NYSC, National Youth Service Corps, Kaduna, Kano, Modified Open Ballot System, Civil Society Situation Room
After three flawed national elections, the government of Nigeria faced strong pressure to reform its electoral commission before the 2011 vote. President Goodluck Jonathan appointed Attahiru Jega, a university vice chancellor with a civil society background, to chair the commission and lead reforms. With too little time to overhaul the commission, Jega brought in a small team of trusted advisers and drew upon a support network of civil society groups to extend the commission’s reach. To build credibility, he promoted transparency both within the commission and toward the public, tapped new sources of publicly trusted election workers, created a new voter registry, reformed balloting procedures, and improved cooperation with political parties and government agencies. Despite logistical problems and an outbreak of post-election violence, observers validated the elections as the freest and fairest in Nigerian history.