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Edo Election: CLEEN Foundation Identifies Hate Speech And Political Thugs as Key Risks; Calls on Politicians to Play by the Rules, INEC & Security Agents to be Professional

Edo Election: CLEEN Foundation Identifies Hate Speech And Political Thugs as Key Risks; Calls on Politicians to Play by the Rules, INEC & Security Agents to be Professional

Thursday 10th Sept, 2020
For Immediate Release
2:00 pm

Edo Election: CLEEN Foundation Identifies Hate Speech And
Political Thugs as Key Risks; Calls on Politicians to Play by the Rules, INEC
& Security Agents to be Professional


On 19th September 2020, the
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will conduct an off-cycle governorship
election in Edo State. According to the statistics released by INEC, Edo state
has total number of 2, 210, 534 registered voters. However, only 1, 726, 736
collected their permanent voters’ cards. About 483, 796 were not collected. Given
the off-cycle gubernatorial election holding on the 19th of
September 2020. CLEEN Foundation has conducted a security threat assessment.
The general expectation is that the 2020 off-cycle gubernatorial election in
Edo state will be peaceful. A total of 76.7% of respondents, either ‘strongly
agree’ (32%) or ‘agree’ (43.8%) to this finding. 79.5% of the experts
interviewed (‘agree’45.5% and ‘strongly agree’ 34.0%), as well as 75.4% of the
general public (‘agree’ 43% and ‘strongly agree’ 32.4%) expressed a similar

Though history may point
to Edo state as an environment not known for electoral violence, 51.7% (‘agree’
37.1%, or ‘strongly agree’14.6%) of the respondents agree that Edo state has
had a history of election violence, while 41.1% of the respondents posited
otherwise. Recent events including the current tension between the major
political parties threaten to undermine peaceful elections. 


CLEEN Foundation
employed the standardized Electoral Violence Mitigation & Advocacy Tool
(EVMT) it developed with the Electoral Institute of INEC (TEI) to elicit
responses from the general public, as well as a purposive sample including,
selected experts in elections and electoral violence in the state. A
representative sampling technique which ensures that all the key groups
constituting the population are included in the sample was adopted in the study
locations. A total of 1094 persons participated in the study across these
categories; 332 experts (representing 30.3%) were interviewed, and 762 others
(representing 69.7%) responded to the questionnaires. A total of 469 (42.9%)
were female, and 625 (57.1%), males were interviewed. Respondents were drawn
from all the local government areas in the state.


The key findings of this
research are as follows;

3.1 Hate Speech 

78.9% of the respondents
fear hate speech could threaten the security of the forthcoming Edo State
gubernatorial election. While 13.6% of respondents hold a contrary opinion.

3.2 Dynamics of Local

73.1% (‘agree’ 49%, and
‘strongly agree’ 24.1%) of the respondents believe that inter-ethnic,
religious, and communal conflict, may threaten the security of the upcoming Edo
State Elections.

3.4 Illegal

The results of the
survey conducted by CLEEN Foundation show that 74.9% (‘agree’ 47.6%, and
‘strongly agree’ 27.3%) that the tendency for ‘voter importation’ – hiring and
transporting of persons including; thugs, from neighboring states to disrupt
the election constitute a potential risk factor to the security of the upcoming

3.5 Citizens’
Disaffection with Government Policies

69.3% (‘agree’ 48.6% and
‘strongly agree’ 20.7 %) of the respondents’ project that current disaffection
with the government as a possible risk to the upcoming election. In agreement
with this, 69%, of the interviewed experts, as well as 69.6% of the general
public highlight an ongoing politics of acrimony as a potential risk. 71.2% of
respondents (‘agree’ 48.4% and ‘strongly agree’ 22.8%), as well as analysts,
strongly agree that poverty and economic stress compounded by the Covid-19
pandemic may contribute to the rate of ‘vote-buying’. 

3.6 Drug Abuse 

79.8% (‘agree’ 46.7%,
and ‘strongly agree’ 33.1%) of the respondents agree that the abuse of
controlled and substances by youth in Edo State, and the environment with
endemic cultism, is a major risk to the security of the upcoming elections.
Notable hotspots include Ilushi and Ozigolo – Esan Southeast LGA, Obazangbon –
Uhunmwonde LGA, and Ujemen, Iruekepen and Emado – Esan West LGA. 

3.7 Exclusion from
Participation in Electoral Processes

Potential conflict
stemming from political exclusions of minorities and marginalized groups
constitutes a risk factor, 77.7% (‘agree’ 39.5% and ‘strongly agree’) highlight
the exclusion of women, while 85% of respondents (34.3% agree and 50.7%
strongly agree) noted the exclusion of youth may threaten the security of the
upcoming elections. 72.7% (‘agree’ 40.1% and ‘strongly agree’ 32.6%) posited
the exclusion of the elderly, 67.5% (‘agree’ 38.7% and ‘strongly agree’ 28.8%)
cited the exclusion of persons with disability, 72.7% (‘agree’ 39.1% and
‘strongly agree’ 33.6%).

3.8 Party Politics 

85% (‘agree’ 48.2% and
‘strongly agree’ 36.8%) prescribed the influence of Godfathers; 80.1 (‘agree’
46.3% and ‘strongly agree’ 33.8%) prescribed disorderly party rallies,
processions and campaigns; 80.1% (‘agree’ 45.2% and 34.9% ‘strongly agree’)
cite a lack of training and corruption of party agents; 78.6% (‘agree’ 46.2%
and ‘strongly agree’ 32.4%) highlighted lack of transparency and disagreement
over the selection of party officials and candidates; 77.7%, (‘agree’ 44.9% and
‘strongly agree’ 32.8%) cite of lack of respect for party rules.

3.9 Partiality of INEC
Officials and Electoral Violence

In terms of the election
management, respondents perceive the partiality of INEC officials (82% -‘agree’
47.3%  and ‘strongly agree’ 34.7%), movement and distribution of election
materials was 76.4% (‘agree’ 48.4%  and ‘strongly agree’ 28.0%), 76.1%
(‘agree’ 50.6% and ‘strongly agree’ 25.5%) highlighted problems associated with
the distribution of PVCs, 74.5% (‘agree’ 48.4%  and ‘strongly agree’
26.1%) could significantly threaten the security of election. 

3.10 Security

85.7% (‘agree’ 42.3% and
‘strongly agree’ 43.4%) highlighted the partiality of the security agents;
85.3% (‘agree’ 46.2% and ‘strongly agree’ 39.1%) cited the aggressive and
excessive use of force; 80.3% (‘agree’ 43.9% and ‘strongly agree’ 36.4%) posits
the lack of synergy between INEC and security agents top the list of risk
factors emanating from election security management. Others factors include;
poor training and low professionalism of security agents (79.7% – ‘agree’
46.3%  and ‘strongly agree’ 33.4%), lack of synergy among security agents
(79.4% – ‘agree’ 44.7%  and ‘strongly agree’ 34.7%), problems associated
with the deployment of security agents (76.4% – ‘agree’ 47.1%  and
‘strongly agree’ 29.3%), low sense of safety among members of the public (74.7%
– ‘agree’ 44.3%  and ‘strongly agree’ 30.4%) and problems associated with
the welfare of security agents (70.6% – ‘agree’ 42.2%  and ‘strongly
agree’ – 28.4%). These are factors identified by respondents that could
influence the electoral outcomes negatively.

3.14 Media 

82.9% of respondents
(‘agree’ 45.6% and ‘strongly agree’ 37.3%) believe misinformation by the media
to be threat to the security of the upcoming Edo State elections; broadcast and
publishing of hatred (81.9% – ‘agree’ 46.3% and ‘strongly agree’ 35.6%);
partisanship, favouritism and partiality (79.1% – ‘agree’ 43.5%  and
‘strongly agree’ 35.6%) are notable threats. Also a lack of professionalism
(77.6% – ‘agree’ 46.2%  and ‘strongly agree’ 31.4%); sensationalism and
provocation (76.4% – ‘agree’ 46.1% and ‘strongly agree’ 30.3%); failure of regulatory
bodies to ensure adherence to established rules by the media (75.8% – ‘agree’
48.9%  and ‘strongly agree’ 26.9%); abuse of social media (75.3% – ‘agree’
43.7%  and ‘strongly agree’ 31.6%); and unequal access to media (69.8% –
‘agree’ 43.2% and ‘strongly agree’ 26.6%).


Based on the key risk factors highlighted above,
the CLEEN Foundation puts forward the following short-term recommendations for
consideration by critical stakeholders:

  1. Federal

CLEEN Foundation recommends
the Federal Government of Nigeria issues intensify commitment to peaceful
elections in the State, and encourage all contestants to abide by the electoral
act. Also, desist from deploying the military into streets during the elections
to avoid heightened militarization of the state that could exacerbate voter

  • Edo
    State Government

CLEEN Foundation further
suggests a partnership between Edo State Government and religious leaders,
professional bodies, and community leaders to encourage and mobilize members to
exercise their rights to vote. Also, the state government is encouraged to
sustain public enlightenment programs through town hall meetings, radio,
television, and social media on the dangers of cultism and drug abuse to
mitigate their consequences for the elections 

  • Security

Foundation implores Security Agencies to implement robust and ‘right-sized’
deployment of operatives across the 18 LGAs to ensure efficient security
provisioning before, during, and after the election. Intensifying surveillance patrols and
interdiction operations in high-crime hot spots to deter drug and arms dealings
in the state, collaboration with INEC to arrest
all electoral offenders, including vote-buying, as well as utilizing the
findings of this assessment and others that have provided evidence-based
insights on potential security flashpoints to evolve or fine-tune security
incident response plan for the elections, would also prove, most beneficial.

  • INEC

CLEEN Foundation recommends
that INEC officials should be professional in the discharge of duty
and ensure early distribution of non-sensitive materials to all LGA
headquarters. Adequate preparation should be made to deliver all other
materials promptly on the Election Day for timely commencement of voting. Also, provide
and appropriately communicate to all stakeholders its platform for ensuring
transparent counting, collation, and announcement of results. INEC should work
closely with security agencies and CSOs for effective coordination of the
process, complaints hotlines should be functional.  

4.5 Political Parties 

Political Parties are advised to commit to a
Peace Agreement and be committed to it, encourage their flag bearers and
supporters to abide by the provisions of the electoral law, including shunning
the use of thugs, cultists and provocative speeches. Also adequately train
their party agents to understand their roles and
responsibilities to avoid acts that could compromise INEC officials or the
electoral process. Also, partner with the INEC to continuously and
properly educate the people as well as counter misinformation, incitation that
are capable of dissuading people from voting or triggering violence. 

  • Media

The media is advised to
intensify awareness creation and voter education to discourage apathy and
motivate people to vote, as well as deliver refresher training to practitioners
to maintain a high level of professionalism, accuracy, and impartiality in
their coverage.

Also, media houses are
encouraged to continue to monitor and provide an impartial report on the entire
electoral process to help protect the integrity of the elections and report
only verified information obtained from trusted sources and promote peace

The CLEEN Foundation is
a non-governmental organization established in 1998 to promote public safety,
security and justice in Nigeria through the strategies of empirical research,
legislative advocacy, demonstration programme with government, civil society
and the private sector. For more information please visit 

May God bless the
Federal Republic of Nigeria. 

Benson Olugbuo, PhD
Executive Director
CLEEN Foundation


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