Strengthening Nigeria's Democracy Through Credible Elections



Elections are a critical pillar of democracy and good governance the world over. When free, fair and credible they confer legitimacy and acceptance. Reports from international and domestic election observers concluded that the 2019 elections fell below this threshold. The election was marred by violence, security lapses, results manipulation by compromised INEC officials and interference by partisan security operatives. In a significant number of locations guidelines for accreditation and voting were not followed.

Elections have frequently been a sour point of Nigeria’s democracy. Although the 2011 and 2015 elections showed strong improvements over 2007, most off-cycle elections held since 2015 featured reports of irregularities that undermined INEC’s credibility. Sadly, the conduct of the 2019 election demonstrated that Nigeria has taken a major step backward in strengthening participatory democracy.

Too many voters have developed a sense of fatalism that has led to extreme apathy. Vote buying has assumed an increasingly worrisome scale. Experts argue that there is a strong link between the growing incidence of poverty and vote buying in Nigeria as electoral choices are more likely to be influenced by the financial inducement of poor people.

New, strategic approaches are required to reform Nigeria’s political culture. Parties must improve their internal democracy. Political leaders must inspire faith by implementing the Electoral Act that governs the conduct of elections. INEC must reduce the risk of results manipulation during collation by transmitting and publishing vote totals directly from polling units. Collective action, driven by evidence based advocacy, is critical in order to redress Nigeria’s imperiled democracy.

Content Aggregation System for Elections (CASE 2019)

The Content Aggregation System for Elections is an open source, multi-stakeholder technology platform developed by the Yar’Adua Foundation to facilitate real-time reporting and incident escalation to INEC and security agencies. The platform is comprised of a mobile app and SMS codes for sending reports, social media aggregation software and a visualization platform for analysis.

The Office of the National Security Adviser commended the Yar’Adua Foundation for its significant contribution to the ONSA Crisis Centre during the 2019 elections.

Support for CASE 2019 was generously provided by the UK Department for International Development (DfID).

MyINEC Mobile App

An upgraded version of the MyINEC mobile app includes personalised content and features designed to appeal to young voters, improve responsiveness, service delivery and civic engagement.

Accreditation Portal

The Foundation developed a web-based platform for INEC that facilitated on-line registration and accreditation of observers for the 2019 election. Link:

Social Media Tracking Centre

The tracking centre facilitated management and escalation of reports from civil society and citizen observers deployed across the country using the CASE mobile app.

CASE 2015

One of the many highlights of the 2015 General Elections was the role that technology played in empowering Nigerian citizens and CSOs to organize, collaborate and mobilize. The Content Aggregation System for Elections (CASE2015), developed by the Yar’Adua Foundation, was an example of multi-stakeholder collaboration in sharing election observation information. The platform retrieved more than 2.6 million micro-reports from social media and received over 11,000 reports from registered observers in the field. These reports enabled volunteers to identify 1,542 critical incidents that were escalated to INEC and relevant security agencies in a timely manner.


CASE 2015 Report: Content Aggregation System for Elections 2015
CASE 2015: Pilot Test Report March 2014
Social Media Tracking Centre and the 2011 Elections
Promoting Two-Way Communication between INEC and its Stakeholders  2011
Electoral Reform: Building Confidence for the Future March 2005