Vote buying and selling conversation.

DEAN Initiative had the second episode of our vote buying conversation series where we discussed the implications of CBN cashless policy on vote buying and selling in the forthcoming general elections.
Responding to the question of what he foresees with the cashless policy and how it affects the genral election Mr Emmanuel Njoku said he supports Mr president decision as he believes the policy will tackle the menace of vote buying and selling and bring some sanity to the country’s electoral process,
He added that as an experienced election observer, the eve of the election is when cash is mobilized and used for some wrong things including buying of drugs, alcohol, bullets and votes buying.
But still the policy has some adverse effect, due to the scarcity of cash people who need to travel to to other locations to vote might not be able to and this will greatly affect voters turnout. Also, the scarcity of cash is so severe that people, especially in the rural area might be selling their votes for as low as 1,000 naira or less.

Mrs Nike of Dataphyte butressed that the media has a responsibility to get above the noise especially with giving adequate information on the intents of the policy especially to those in the rural areas as they rarely have access to news and information.

Mr Bode affirmed that the role of young people in the management of vote buying and selling cannot be overly emphasized as he strongly believes that young Nigerians are very much interested and actively participating in the elections.

Lastly Mr Emmanuel stated that the National Orientation Agency NOA has a responsibility to educate Nigerians on the cashless policy and recommended that the NBC should give orders to all broadcasting channels especially the radio for adequate sensitization using jingles as it would help educate Nigerians.




DEAN Initiative held it’s Election Eyewitness Press conference on 17th Febuary 2023, among the media crew and organization present were TV stations like AIT, Channels, ARISE tv, Gee Tv and some print media like blueprint media, NANS and FRCN. 

In his press statement the Executive Director DEAN Initiative/Team Lead of the Election Eyewitness mission Project, Mr Semiye Michael made a recap of the INEC Mock Election held in the 36 states including FCT-Abuja on 05/02/2023

In another statement the Election Eyewitness Project Officer Ajayi Theophilus said DEAN Initiative will be conducting the election observation mission to observe the voting process in the 2023 general elections. Through this mission, he said the organization aims to collect reports of incidents and track the entire procedure.

He said the organization has successfully recruited, trained and deployed 774 INEC-accredited observers, one each in every LGA across the 36 states in Nigeria including the FCT. This he said demonstrates the organization’s commitment to improving the quality of good governance through a strengthen electoral process.

He also said that after series of engagements and intense training, the selected field Election Eyewitness observers will observe the entire election procedures from Polling Units down to INEC LG Collation centres, report incidences, result in the collation and transmit the same to the election eyewitness observation situation room for analysis. 

He concluded by saying that the main objective of this mission is to open up a new entry point for young people to effectively participate in the electoral process as a way of rebuilding our national election integrity and inclusive election process. 

On her own part the Program manager ably represented by Miss Olaleru Fisayo mentioned the major key areas of observation that the Election Eyewitness will be focusing on.

  • Testing the election time management, which has to do with the time it takes to accredit each voter. 
  • Observe the entire BVAS efficiency and performance especially in fingerprint, facial recognition, battery lifespan and in the display of the BVAS reading before the start of accreditation, the general conduct of INEC staff and the security agencies that will be on duty. 
  • We will also be observing the possible incidences of vote buying, election violence, underage voting, voters’ confidence in BVAS, and the overall performance of the BVAS. 

The 2023 general election is generally seen to be very crucial to Nigeria’s democracy and the Eyewitness Election observation mission is our contribution to the entire process for a successful and reliable election.


Lessons from 2023 INEC’s MOCK Election

50 of our Election Eyewitness Observers were on the field in different states of the country to observe the MOCK Election that was held on the 5 th of February 2023. INEC uses the mock election to demonstrate the entire election procedure to the people. It also provides opportunities to identify potential gaps and technical failures or threats that may hamper the election process and as well enables citizens and other stakeholders to raise genuine concerns ahead of the main elections.

We were specific on our areas of observation interest. The key Observation Area(KOA) was on BVAS efficiency in terms of battery hours, time of accreditation per voter, BVAS reading before the start of the election, and the citizens’ confidence in the BVAS’s performance.

Other Key Areas of Observation(OKAO) include the timely arrival of INEC officials, the average time it takes officials to set up and start attending to voters, voters’ arrival time to polling units, polling units’ accessibility and proximity, preparation for crowd control and management, and security presence and management. Also on the observation lock includes voter turnout, under-age accreditation, and proxy accreditation.

Election Time Management

INEC Staff Set Up Time
inec staff set up timeThe Election Eyewitnesses on the field generally reported early arrivals of poll officials at most polling units they observed.

It takes less than 30 minutes for the poll officials to set up in 92.3% of the PUs observed. This is encouraging against the usual lateness that normally plaque elections especially in remote and suburban centers. The Lateness of officials and longer time for their setups generally affect the election timeline and also provide a way out for hoodlums who take covers in the late night darkness to disrupt vote counting as well as compromised officials who use such a medium to alter results before eventual transmission.

Accreditation Time Per Voter

It was reported to have taken between 2 to 3 minutes to accredit a voter in yet 92.3% of PUs visited by our Election Eyewitnesses. This is a major interest because it has to do with the efficiency of both the BVAS and the handlers. The lesser time it takes to accredit a voter, the better for the time management of the entire election chain of activities.


The integrity of this election has been largely talked about to depend on the BVAS. The
Election Eyewitnesses reported the display of the initial reading on the BVAS which read:
000 as expected in 100% of PUs visited. The rule provides that before the exercise begins, the
value of reading the BVAS must be shown to the public and it is expected to read: 000.

There were BVAS technical issues in 7.3% of places visited. Battery issues, fingerprint, and
facial recognition issues. In most cases, observers reported that most of the issues were
quickly fixed. But largely, the BVAS functioned maximally in over 90% of places visited.

Voters’ test of confidence in BVAS was investigated and the confidence expressed by the
people goes as high as 95%. This is exciting. This is against concerns expressed in several
quarters that citizens don’t have trust in the ability of the BVAS to facilitate election
integrity. If the process is allowed to run without any form of human manipulation, people
have seen what BVAS can do and how it performed.

Accreditation Dispute

Voters had issues around accreditation in 15% of the PUs observed. A major cause of dispute centered on PU changes without voters’ knowledge. Voters arrive at their original PUs with their PVCs only to discover that they have been reallocated to another PU. The newly created PUs that people were shifted to without their notification may cause more issues at the main election if not rapidly addressed. We also had issues with failed fingerprints and facial recognition. But the availability of the voter register helped resolved most of the issues.

Voters Turnout

Election Eyewitnesses reported 85% poor voter turnout in PUs visited. This is very poor. Observers practically helped look for voters within PU vicinities to come out just to ensure that the exercise achieved the minimum result possible.
Under Age Voting

Election Eyewitnesses reported 0% under-age voting in all PUs observed. The MOCK Election demonstrated what is possible if elections are allowed to hold without any form of negative interest. The different levels of interest that motivate layers of inducements and compromises lead the way in election fraud. Nigeria’s democracy must speedily outgrow the surge of financial affluence and massive wealth accumulation that currently fuels peoples’ passion for democratic service.

Basic Recommendations

  1. INEC as an institution has time without number assured Nigerians and all stakeholders how ready and committed they are to conduct an election we will all be proud of and we have no doubt seen commendable improvements in their planning and activities. Nevertheless, a good number of INEC field officials have continued to act exhibit a wide range of unethical practices ranging from needless hostility to citizen observers, voters, and good-intentioned stakeholders. These field officials carry with them bags full of aggression, arrogance, and anger that they dispense without control. Elections are citizens’ biggest business to decide their lives in a democratic governed society and to serve as an election umpire is one of life’s greatest honour. This honour must be treated with civility and humanness. We recommend continuous training and retraining of INEC field staff, especially their state and LGA staff members.
  2. INEC should endeavor to make available all needed resources for field operational activities in this election. Politicians have continued to relish the resource shortages for INEC field officials at the local level and pitching dependable cashflow and logistic for them at prizes that over the years have continued to undermine the integrity of our elections. There is no need to break this down beyond this, at least for now.
  3. From the Mock exercise, it became obvious that we can have a desired election as a people. We call on INEC to be more intentional in the area of public education and deploy sufficient information to people affected by the new polling unit creation. The new INEC voters’ data contains citizens’ phone numbers and we expect the reason such was collected would be to provide on-the-go information to citizens. It will be unacceptable for eligible voters to miss their right to vote from a situation they had nothing to do with as noticed during the MOCK exercise.
  4. INEC should also ensure each state is provided with enough BVAS machine backup to promptly replace anyone that may for whatever reason encounter unresolvable technical or human disruption on election day.