Sunday, April 24, 2011

Unity and Impunity: The Challenges for Ivory Coast's New President

Monday's arrest of former President Laurent Gbagbo, ending the four-month post-election standoff, was largely met with relief in Ivory Coast. But the divisions in the country—possibly worse now than at the time of the election last November—means the nation's legitimate president, Alassane Ouattara, will have to be a skillful broker if he hopes to bring the battered nation together.

Ouattara, a former deputy director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), had the support of a majority of voters in last November's election. Nevertheless, the vote split between Ouattara and Gbagbo ran along much the same lines as north-south alliances in the 2002–3 civil war.

Gbagbo posited the fight for the presidency—and his fight to stay on even after losing the election—as a battle for the nation itself for true Ivorians, accusing Ouattara of being a puppet of France and the West.

On April 1, with the support of France and the United Nations, Ouattara launched what became a 10-day final siege ending with the capture of Gbagbo and his wife, who had been hiding in a bunker beneath the presidential palace.

In his first statement to the Ivorian people since the arrest, Ouattara explained that the military operation was aimed at ending the security and humanitarian crisis plaguing the whole country, which he blamed on the obstinacy of the previous president.

Ouattara appealed to all Ivorians to uphold peace and to abstain from any acts of vengeance and repression and he announced plans to establish a National Trust and Reconciliation Commission to investigate crimes perpetrated during the years of war.

"All provisions will be made in collaboration with international tribunals and human rights organizations, to investigate, prosecute, judge and punish severely the perpetrators of these unspeakable acts," said Ouattara in a statement from April 12.

Many crimes perpetrated in Ivory Coast by both sides of the divide over the last months have come to light. Last week, a U.N. human rights team found over 100 bodies within 24 hours.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay condemned the series of vicious attacks on civilians, calling the reports he was receiving utterly horrifying. "They are finding more bodies every day," he said.

"The first priority is to do everything possible to stop further killings and violations. But equally important is to end impunity in Ivory Coast," stressed Pillay.

A report by Human Rights Watch from April 9 states that Ouattara's forces of killed hundreds of civilians, raped more than 20 alleged supporters of his rival, and burned at least 10 villages in the far western region of the country. Gbagbo's forces were likewise blamed for killing more than 100 presumed Ouattara supporters.

Although the death toll in the recent conflict is unclear, some organizations estimate it to be at least 1,500. U.N. aid officials say that up to 1 million Ivoirians have been displaced in the violence, including 135,000 seeking refuge in Liberia.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is also conducting steps toward a requesting it be allowed to start a full investigation into international crimes committed in Ivory Coast.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Power and Pressure: The Media in Africa

A Special Program Sponsored by the Committee on Global Thought, the International Media, Advocacy and Communications specialization at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), and the Institute for African Studies. This half-day day conference at Columbia University  taking place on  April 27 2011 will look at the state of the media in Africa, as well as how the media is covering two of the most pressing issues currently facing the continent: the growing role of the extractive sector in the region's economy and the elections taking place this year.  African Elections Project of Penplusbytes is expected to be presented at this conference.

 visit  for more details 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Nigeria selects a new President

Nigerians are preparing to go to the polls on Saturday 16th April to decide who leads Africa's most populous and oil-rich Nation for the next four (4) years.

Incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP is widely seen as the frontrunner even after his party had a cut in its majority in the National Assembly during the April 9th elections.

Former military ruler General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.) of CPC, poses the main threat to President Jonathan among the other leading contenders who include Mallam Nuhu Ribadu of (ACN) and Ibrahim Shekarau of ANPP.

About 73.5m are registered to vote and all eyes will be on Prof. Attahiru Jega and the Nigerian security to conduct free, fair elections devoid of violence.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Nigeria Elections 2011 : Major upsets at National Assembly polls

According to Next 234 after 12 years in charge of the center and most states, the People's Democratic Party faced the judgement of voters nationwide yesterday as millions of Nigerians flocked to the polls to deliver a verdict on the party that fancies itself as Africa's largest. From the farthest corners of the land and most of its metropolitan areas, at least 75 percent of registered voters - according to election officials - participated in this most sacred of democracy's rituals. For the ruling party, the initial omen was not good. By Saturday evening, results had started trickling in, portending a tricky time for the ruling party. The Congress for Progressive Change had a strong showing in the north while the Action Congress of Nigeria and All Progressive Grand Alliance were leading in parts of the southwest and the southeast.

For provisional results updates visit Nigeria Elections Coalition 

Nigeria 2011 Elections : Interim Statement on the National Assembly Elections by Project 2011 Swift Count

Interim Statement on the National Assembly Elections

Sunday April 10, 2011 by Project 2011 Swift Count,

Delivered at the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja, Nigeria


Ladies and gentlemen of the press, on behalf of the National Steering Committee (NSC) of Project 2011 Swift Count, it is our pleasure to welcome

you to this press conference to report on our initial observations concerning yesterday's National Assembly elections.

Let me state up front, on behalf of all of the partner organisations, we condemn the bombing of the Independent National Electoral Commission

(INEC) office in Suleja, Niger state on Friday as well as the bombing in Borno and other incidents of violence that occurred in different parts of Nigeria on

election day. We call on all Nigerians to reject violence and work together for peaceful elections as we commiserate with the families of the deceased.

As you already know, Project 2011 Swift Count is jointly carried out by the Federation of Muslim Women's Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN), Justice

Development and Peace/Caritas (JDPC), the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and Transition Monitoring Group (TMG). Thus reflecting the rich diversity of

Nigeria, it brings together Christians and Muslims, as well as organizations with citizen election observation and legal expertise.

Based on the information of our 762 observers, who reported from 741 local government areas where elections were held yesterday, Project 2011 Swift

Count finds that while the election was not perfect, it provided a meaningful  opportunity for Nigerians to exercise their right to vote.

Despite the bombings and the delays in the elections, Nigerians who went to the polls did so enthusiastically. Project 2011 Swift Count commends

Nigerians for their resilience and commitment to the democratic process. We also recognize the dedication of the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC)

members who served as polling officials despite the many challenges they faced and turned out in mass to perform their national duty.

The Presidential election and State elections will be held on April 16 and 26 respectively. While progress has been made by INEC, logistical problems

continue to plague the election administration. Further improvements must be made so that polling officials and voting materials arrive on time. Challenges

with the register of voters remain, and INEC should continue to take steps to ensure that all registered voters are able to cast their ballots in the upcoming

elections. Yesterday, we were fortunate that incidents of violence and electoral malfeasance were not widespread and did not spiral out of control. The efforts

of the security forces to support the process are commendable. But, they mustdo even more to ensure a secure environment for polling.

read Full report at


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Nigeria 2011 : INEC issues emergency phones numbers, BlackBerry PIN

 The Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC), Nigeria has issued mobile phone numbers and a BlackBerry PIN for Nigerians voters  to send information about developments in their areas during Saturday 9 April, 2011- Senate and House of Representatives Elections.
The BlackBerry PIN is 2678A1CA while the phone numbers, to which people can send an SMS, are 08166662222, 08120006622, 08096662221, 08138327889 and 0812782071

Friday, April 8, 2011

Nigeria Elections 2011 : 20 Online spaces to watch

On the eve of Nigeria parliamentary election, taking place on 9th April 2011, African Elections Project news editors' pick of 20 online spaces to watch:

1. Nigeria - The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)

2. This day live elections 2011

3. Next 234 Elections Centre

4. The Guardian

5. Nigeria Election Watch, 2011

6. EU Election Observation Mission to Nigeria 2011

7. Nigeria elections 2011

8. Sahara reporters and

9. RFI

10. The Punch

11. BBC Hausa Service

12. News Agency of Nigeria

13. Radio Nigeria Online

14. Project 2011 Swift Count

15. NG 2011 Elections: Polling station locator

16. Enough is Enough(EiE) and

17. Nigeria Elections

18. Voter Quench

19. Reclaim Naija

20. The Nigerian Television Authority, (NTA)

Tweets -Hash tags








Nigeria - The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) TWITTER!/inecnigeria

We'd Like to Hear from You!

Do you know of any interesting online space covering Nigeria Elections 2011 send us a mail at


Friday, April 1, 2011

Nigeria 2011 Elections : Candidates employ the use of New Media in campaigns

Candidates in the upcoming elections have employed the use of new media technologies in reaching out to the electorate to canvass for their votes.

Incumbent President and the flag bearer for the PDP party Goodluck Jonathan first made his intention to contest the April 2011 elections via his facebook page, where his tally of fans now exceeds 500,000.  His website explicitly outlines his plans and projections on issues from peace, development, power and energy, through transportation, industry, human rights issues and corruption, to oil & gas development, corruption, foreign policies, education and the economy. His twitter, blog and voicemail on mobile phones is evident that Goodluck Jonathan realizes the efficacy of the new media in connecting directly with citizens.

The three main opposition candidates also seem to have caught the new media bug. Nuhu Ribadu of The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) also has a web page, an interactive facebook page  with fans exceeding a little over  170,000, a streaming twitter page, a linked in contact and a YouTube page which streams videos of Ribadu on platforms and Muhammadu Buhari of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) is also reaching out to the electorate via his web page, facebook page with fans a little over 11, 000, twitter and a you tube page. Ibrahim Shekarau of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) on the other hand has just a web page.

The other candidates taking advantage of the technological advancement include;  Chris Okotie who has a web page; Chief Dele Momodu who has a web page, twitter page, face book page and you tube page; John Dara, has a face book page and web page, Peter Ngangwu has a website and a face book page. Christopher Chukwudumebi Nwaokobia has an active website, a twitter page and a facebook page.