POST ELECTION AUDIT: A CRITICAL BUT MISSING COMPONENT OF NIGERIA’S ELECTORAL SYSTEM

Our Programme Director Tony Ayoka was invited to speak at the inaugural National Association of Evaluators conference held at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel Abuja on Nov 16 – 19, 2015.

His paper focused on democracy and good governance, elections in a democracy, free &fair and credible elections, post election audit and evaluation, principles of post election audit, methodologies in post election audit, post election audit in electoral process.

He emphasized that post election audit process will help reduce the unnecessarily high burden being placed on the judiciary as the final arbiter in the determination of the winner of an electoral contest.

Mr Ayoka challenged  the National Association of Evaluators push for the institution of post election audit as a statutory component of the electoral system in Nigeria as is obtained in more mature democracies.

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KEEPING TRACK OF THE ACTIVITIES OF NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

THE FACTS BEHIND THE OUTCOMES: KEEPING TRACK OF THE ACTIVITIES AND PROCESSES OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

A PAPER PRESENTED DURING THE PUBLIC SESSION ON THE INSTITUTIONAL NEEDS ASSESSMENT OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HELD AT THE TRANSCORP HILTON, ABUJA ON THE 10TH OF NOV. 2015

PROTOCOLS

The National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a bicameral legislature established under section 4 of the Nigerian Constitution. It consists of a Senate and House of Representatives. The Senate is the upper house of the National Assembly of Nigeria. It consists of 109 senators: the 36 states are each divided in 3 senatorial districts each electing one senator; the Federal Capital Territory elects only one senator. The President of the Senate is the presiding officer of the Senate, whose chief function is to guide and regulate the proceedings in the Senate.

The House of Representatives is the lower house of the country’s bicameral National Assembly. The current House of Representatives, formed following elections held in April 2015, has a total of 360 members. The Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives is the presiding officer of the house.

The Constitution has vested in the National Assembly the power to make laws for the peace, order and good governance of the Federation. The Assembly also has broad oversight functions and is therefore empowered to establish committees of its members to scrutinize bills and the conduct of government institutions and officials.

So for the National assembly to be able to deliver on these constitutional functions, there has to be strong and effective institutional structures and competencies delivering defined tasks that will help deliver on the constitutional functions expected from the National Assembly..

One key area in which the National Assembly has not been able to make appreciable progress is in the area of keeping count/track of National Assembly actions, activities as well as facts that define some of the outcomes that are eventually put into the public domain.

The achievement of the objectives of the National Assembly entails the scheduling and members participation in a whole range of activities that includes among others:-

  • Holding of plenary sessions.
  • Committee of the whole house meetings
  • Sponsoring of bills
  • Sponsoring of motions
  • Co-sponsoring of bills
  • Co-sponsoring of motions
  • Meetings of standing/adhoc committees.
  • Holding of public sessions
  • Organizing visits to MDA’s for oversight functions
  • Organizing/Participating in workshops, retreats and training activities.

These activities require the active and robust participation of distinguished Senators and Honourable members. There has to be a simple, effective and efficient administrative way of keeping track of these activities and also noting the inputs that go into them so that we can eventually reflect this into the outcomes that we have at the end of the day.

This process can be developed by strengthening some of the institutions of the National assembly such as the National Institute of Legislative studies (NILS) and the NASS CSO office. The Information and Communication Technology office in close collaboration with The Journal and Procedure office and working with the Library and documentation unit of NILS should be able to develop a procedure to guide this process.

The activities and items to be tracked should include but not limited to the following:-

A).The Senate/House of Representative

  • Number of plenary sessions held.
  • Individual members in attendance at the sessions.
  • Number of bills presented for consideration and by whom.
  • Number of motions presented and by whom
  • Number of bills passed.
  • Number of motions passed.
  • Number of all outstanding bills and at what stage they are.
  • Number of bills passed, assented and gazetted.

B). Standing Committees of the Senate/House of Representative.

  • Number of committee sittings held.
  • Which committee members were in attendance for each meeting?
  • Number of bills received from plenary for consideration
  • Number of public sessions held.
  • Which committee members were in attendance?
  • Number of bills transmitted back to plenary for clause by clause consideration
  • Number of bills emanating from committee and eventually passed by plenary.
  • Number of oversight visits conducted
  • Which members were present during the visits?
  • Number of workshops/training/retreats held or invited to participate.
  • Which members were in attendance?

C). Distinguished Senators/Honourable House Members.

  • Total no of plenary sessions for Senate/House.
  • Number of plenary sessions attended
  • Number of bills sponsored
  • No of bills co-sponsored.
  • Number of motions sponsored.
  • Number of motions co-sponsored.
  • Number of times he/she made contributions during plenary.
  • Number of committee he/she is heading or a member.
  • Number of times the committees had sittings.
  • Number of committee meetings attended.
  • Number of oversight visits expected to attend.
  • Number of oversight visits he/she participated.

These items are inclusive but not exhaustive by any means.

Such process should be developed as a routine administrative mechanism for developing an Assembly data pool and not as a monitoring mechanism for it to be successful. Tools can be developed that administratively feeds into a template that is collated on a periodic basis that will now be published at the end of each session of the National Assembly.

The publication while being a document of the National Assembly should also be available to other stakeholders for research, advocacy and other uses.

Thanks

Ayoka Anthony O.

Programme Director

Habitatcare and Protection Initiative

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HABITATCARE PARTNERS FORWARD AFRICA ON YOUTH ENGAGEMENT

The Technical Working Group, Imo State, which includes Forward Africa hosted a radio programme on Heartland Fm Owerri to create awareness on the need to empower youths in the society. The event was featured on the programme “Issues of The Moment” on Thursday 22nd of October 2015.

On the panel was Emeka Ulor (Program Officer, Habitatcare) and Dr. Adanze Duru

Issues of entrepreneurship, mentoring, infrastructure, seminars and volunteering were mentioned as part of the solutions to curb youth unemployment. 

Dr. Adanze Duru
Emeka Ulor

The Communications Officer for Forward Africa Uchechi Opara and Programme Officer Ikedinachi Ogamba were part of the facilitators for this insightful youth awareness programme.

Some of the callers, mostly young people, expressed frustration and observed the neglect by the authorities in assisting the huge number of youths towards meaningful engagement. There was a general suggestion for government to engage young people in every sector of the society especially in governance.

Habitatcare as an NGO based in Owerri, Imo State has strong interests in Youth Development, Environmental Sustainability, Health Improvement and Poverty Alleviation. Its activities are in line with the Sustaiable Development Goals.

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COP 20

What is COP?

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) entered into force in 1994, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. The Conference of the Parties (COP) was designated as the supreme governing body of the Convention.

To date, 195 countries have submitted their instruments of ratification. These countries meet once a year, during two weeks, in order to evaluate the application of the Convention and develop the negotiation process between the Parties in front of new commitments.

By virtue of this Convention, all the Parties have common but differentiated responsibilities. In addition, they take into account the specific nature of their national and regional development priorities, their goals and circumstances. According to the foregoing, their responsibilities are:

1. Gather and share information on greenhouse gas emissions, national policies and optimal practices.

2. Implement national strategies for addressing the issue on greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to foreseen impacts of climate change, as well as determining the provision of financial and technological support to developing countries.

3. Cooperate to be prepared and adapt to climate change effects.

Graph “Conference of the Parties (COP)”

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World Environment Dday 2015

The well-being of humanity, the environment, and the functioning of the economy, ultimately depend upon the responsible management of the planet’s natural resources. Evidence is building that people are consuming far more natural resources than what the planet can sustainably provide.

Many of the Earth’s ecosystems are nearing critical tipping points of depletion or irreversible change, pushed by high population growth and economic development. By 2050, if current consumption and production patterns remain the same and with a rising population expected to reach 9.6 billion, we will need three planets to sustain our ways of living and consumption.

The WED theme this year is therefore “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care.” Living within planetary boundaries is the most promising strategy for ensuring a healthy future. Human prosperity need not cost the earth. Living sustainably is about doing more and better with less. It is about knowing that rising rates of natural resource use and the environmental impacts that occur are not a necessary by-product of economic growth.

– See more at: http://www.unep.org/wed/theme/sustainable-consumpion.asp#sthash.DsK8t742.dpuf

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2012 WORLD AIDS DAY OUTREACH

REPORT OF PRE WORLD AIDS DAY(WAD) – 2012 SCHOOL OUTREACH/SENSITIZATION PROGRAMME ORGANIZED BY HABITATCARE AND PROTECTION INITIATIVE AT CHRIST THE SAVIOUR SECONDARY SCHOOL,MBUTU, OKWUATO, ABOH MBAISE L.G.A. IMO STATE ON 28TH NOVEMBER, 2012.

As part of its awareness and public sensitization work on Health, hygiene and sanitation issues and as part of the commemoration of the 2012 World Aids Day Habitatcare and Protection Initiative organized a school outreach/sensitization programme. The programme held at Christ the Saviour Secondary School, Mbutu, Okwuato, Aboh Mbaise L.G.A. of Imo State and was organized in collaboration with the school authorities facilitated by a Corp member serving in the school, Engr. Emma Okoli. Habitatcare also involved her partners Geodora Samaritans Inc. The outreach/sensitization team was led by Tony Ayoka, Programme Director of Habitatcare. The participants at the event were staff and students of Christ the Saviour Secondary School, Mbutu, Okwuato, Aboh Mbaise.The programme activities included lectures and presentations using power point for illustrations as well as a courtesy call on the Co-ordinator of the School Mr. Victor and his staff.

INTRODUCTION

The team was welcomed by the Co-ordinator of the school Mr Victor. The programme started with a prayer said by Engr Emma Okoli. This was followed by welcome remarks from the Co-ordinator who informed the students that the school authorities in order to widen their horizon and improve on their world view decided to invite Habitatcare and Protection Initiative for the school sensitization programme at no cost to the students and so enjoined the students to make maximum use of the opportunity as it does not come every time by listening attentively to the presentations and making sure that they should be able to take something home after the event. In his opening remarks, Mr. Tony Ayoka the Programme Director of Habitatcare and Protection Initiative, identified the essence of the programme as the need to continually sensitize students especially those in the rural areas on contemporary social issues as they are always at a disadvantage compared with their counterparts in the urban areas as most sensitization programmes and activities are always concentrated in the urban areas. He informed the students that the programme is part of the organizations school/community outreach programme and enjoined them to make good use of the opportunity.

PAPER PRESENTATIONS

The first presentation was made by Richard Nwamadi and it was titled Reproductive Health Issues, HIV/AIDS and other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s). The paper covered areas such as Overview of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, Basic Facts about HIV/AIDS, Relationship between STI’s and HIV/AIDS, Modes of Transmission of HIV, Ways of preventing HIV infection and opportunistic infections. He also discussed what actions can be taken in the communities to stop or reduce the spread of HIV, The myths and misconceptions as well as the facts on HIV/AIDS. In concluding, he drew a link between HIV/AIDS, Reproductive Health and Sanitation and Hygiene Issues and the need for a total approach in the efforts to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS. In his presentation, the Corp liaison, Emma Okoli talked on Strategic Mentality for Academic success. He defined academic success and discussed the universality of the principles of academic success He outlined the laws of academic success as:- a).The law of personal discovery. B).The law of vision and goal setting. C).The law of relationships. D).The law of diligence. E).The law of divine help. He fully enumerated on how the students can apply it to work for them in their educational and life pursuits. The presentation was well received by the students. The Programme director of Habitatcare and Protection Initiative Tony Ayoka made a presentation on The role of Non Governmental Organizations (NGO’s)/Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) in community development. He defined NGO’s, CBO’s and CSO’s and discussed the features of these organizations. He told them about the need for Vision, Mission and Objectives in identifying with or forming and sustaining NGO’s as well as the need for passion and attribute of volunteerism which is the hallmark of any successful civil society person and essential in operating a civil society organization. He related the work of civil society organizations the programme organized in their school by Habitatcare and Protection Initiative in partnership with their school authorities and elaborated on how these help fill up knowledge and service gaps that exist in the society and that is not effectively covered by Government, its agencies and other formal institutions. At the end of the presentations, there was a question and answer session in which the students raised a lot of issues from the presentations and even their personal experiences. Ruth Anyanwu asked what they as students can do in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Onyeneke Confidence wanted to know if there is any drug that can cure STD infections, Ndukwu Wisdom asked what can be done in the communities to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS, Umunakwe Wisdom asked how one can identify a person with HIV infection and Anyanwu Lawson asked if a nursing mother who is infected with HIV can breastfeed her baby. These questions were addressed by the presenters and the students expressed satisfaction with the answers they received. At the end of the presentations, the co-ordinator made a vote of thanks on behalf of the school and the programme ended with a prayer said by one of the students Loveth Ebewele.

CONCLUSION.

The programme was a success as the presentations were enthusiastically received by the students and they demonstrated this by their active participation in the question and answer session. Habitatcare would have loved to make the session more elaborate with more time allocated with more resource persons making presentations to cover more grounds but was constrained by funds as the programme was self sponsored and there were no funds available for snacks and drinks so the sessions and presentations were abridged. There is a need for follow up activities to encourage the students to form PEP clubs so that they can take the message they have learnt to their peers and their communities. Habitatcare expresses our profound thanks to everybody who in whatever way contributed in making the programme a success. The co-ordinator Mr Victor Iwuh Addressing the Students. Mr Nwamadi Richard making Presentations Corp member Emma Okoli making his presentation. Students listen with rapt attention Habitatcare Programme Director Tony Ayoka Making a presentation. Students being part of the interaction Closing prayers.

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LEAP YOUTH LEADERSHIP WORKSHOP

Emeka Ulor (Program Officer, Habitatcare) attended the famous LEAP Values and Leadership Skills programme in Lagos, the program was focused on building socially responsible youth to lead their communities positively.The training featured lecture sessions, mentoring, group presentations and a pledge to become a responsible youth for the transformation of the country.

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035 Olamide Idowu and Emeka Ulor

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Owolabi Tobi Isaiah (middle)

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