INTERIM STATEMENT ON THE PROCESS AND CONDUCT OF NIGERIA’S PRESIDENTIAL AND NASS ELECTIONS 2023

Communications March 2, 2023 0

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


With the deployment of Uzabe’s 20,000 observers, Connected Development (CODE) and her media and CSO partners observed the process and conduct of elections in polling units across 774 LGA’s of the 36 States and federal Capital Territory. Our findings raise several concerns about the management of the Presidential and NASS elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Following recent events, this interim statement will bring to light some of the discrepancies observed and will be followed by a more detailed report of the entire exercise.

A breakdown of negative and positive events observed at the polls include:

We observed late deployment of INEC staff and election materials, which led to the late opening of polls in 64% of polling units we observed, which saw many polling units close before exhausting the 6 hours of voting time, citing nightfall as an excuse. In many other polling units across the country, citizens’ resilience saw voting conducted late into the night with no power supply or light bulbs, under very unsecured conditions. For this purpose, many Nigerians were disenfranchised, and the most affected demography were Persons with disability, pregnant women, and elderly people. Registration Area Centers (RACs) were introduced by INEC to decentralize the coordination of logistics and effective deployment, to achieve early opening of polls, yet polls opened in some polling units across the country by 3pm and above.

We also observed that INEC in many polling units failed to adhere to her guidelines, stipulating that where election fails to hold because of the late opening of polls or failure of the Bi-Modal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), INEC shall conduct elections in such polling units the next day. INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu reinforced this in his communication on Election day, assuring Nigerians that if elections did not hold in any polling units, that INEC will deploy staff and materials to hold election in such places the next day. We observed that in many of such polling units, INEC staff and materials were not deployed to these areas, like in Imo state primary health care development agency, New Owerri 1, PU 0I8, and as such citizens again were disenfranchised. 

We observed that in some of these places where elections did not hold, results of polls were returned. An example of this is in Oru East LGA, Imo State. This systematic disenfranchisement of voters can partly be blamed for the 26.7% voter turnout witnessed in this election, which was anticipated to be much higher.

In the lead-up to this election, we had praised INEC for being very responsive in communication. However on Election day, when the situation arose on election day that INEC was needed the most to communicate timely and clearly, INEC was mum.

We observed that in 73% of Polling Units, an average of 2 Security personnel were seen present, very early in the day. We also observed the presence of armed Security Personnel in 28% of Polling Units observed. We observed that Security personnel deployed were civil in 71% of the polling units. While we commend the early deployment and spread of Security personnel, we however observed that there were several cases of voter Intimidation, and disruption of polls targeted at suppressing votes in favor of other political parties. Security personnel were seen to be in these polling units, yet thugs carried on with their criminal acts unhindered. This is way below the expected threshold of a civic exercise, where the security of voters should be protected, and citizens allowed to vote their choice without coercion or intimidation. 

We also observed that Nigerians approached and participated in this election in high spirits, trusting the process, on the assurance of INEC’s promised innovations which will ensure transparency of result collation and result management. The deployment of BVAS and INEC Result Viewing Portal (IREV) were presented to Nigerians as game changers in this 2023 general election. We observed that citizens found it difficult to log in to the IREV until late in the day of election. The IREV failed to upload any result of the Presidential election as at 10pm of election day, and even when the results started uploading, it was in trickles. At this moment, 4 days after the Saturday Presidential Election, only 85% of the results have been uploaded. This is in sharp contrast to all the promise and assurance given by INEC. 

We also observed that BVAS was used in 99% of the polling units we observed. We commend the swift efficiency of the BVAS in most of these polling units, which eliminated manual accreditation, ghost voters, and frivolous unreal results. We observed that the BVAS checked result manipulation and rigging to a very large extent, as biometric accreditation was used, and the number of accredited voters was applied in the process, eliminating over voting. However, there were many polling units where BVAS failed to work. As we saw at the National Collation center, many State Collation Officers for Presidential Elections that announced results, stated the failure of BVAS as reasons why elections did not hold in many polling units in the State, but they all did not explain why they failed to timely replace the BVAS, as stipulated in section 47, subsection 3 of the Electoral Act 2022.

We also observed that in 95% of the polling units where our observers were present, the polling units had a voting booth positioned in a way that ensured the secrecy of the ballot. We believe this may have reduced vote trading in these polling units.

As Nigerians prepare to go to the polls for the Governorship and State House of Assembly elections on 11th March 2023, Connected Development and her partners appeal to INEC to ensure that the many challenges that marred the credibility of the Presidential election should be handled; ensure a swift deployment and early opening of polls is put in place, professional conduct of security personnel, and INEC’s strict adherence to the use of BVAS for biometric accreditation, and electronic transmission of results from polling unit as stipulated by the Electoral Act 2022 and INEC 2023 Election guidelines for the conduct of election. The Governorship and State Assembly election is yet another opportunity for INEC to redeem her now battered image, and earn the trust and confidence of the Electorate in our electoral process.

More importantly, INEC should ensure transparency of the result management and collation process and make certain that polling unit results are uploaded timely on the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IREV), to stand a chance at redeeming her already deflated public confidence, and her almost blown-away goodwill which they have enjoyed from Nigerians.

The Uzabe election observation mission was focused on the election day process; focusing on the quality of the election, with the notion that if the process is right, the outcome will be right and accepted by all. Drawing from these observations, Connected Development and her partners conclude that the 2023 Presidential and National Assembly Election failed to meet the basic threshold of a credible election, as it failed short of Citizen’s expectations, INEC’s assurances, and benchmark of international election best practice. 

Re: Connected Development (CODE) alleges manipulation of election results, relocation of Local Government, State Collation Centres.

Communications February 27, 2023 0

Connected Development (CODE) wishes to redress the media and general public on the allegation of election result manipulation and relocation of  Local Government Collation centres in Ekiti State.

Following the recent narrative making the rounds on media tabloids that Connected Development alleged the manipulation of the Presidential and National Assembly (NASS) results as well as the relocation of Local Government Collation centres in some States, CODE wishes to provide clarity on these narratives.

Connected Development in collaboration with her partners held a press conference on Sunday 26th of February, 2023 to give an update on the electoral process as observed with her electoral intelligence tool–Uzabe. 

At the conclusion of the conference, we noticed reports stating that CODE alleged a manipulation of the presidential and NASS elections as well as a relocation of Local Government collation centres particularly in Ekiti State.

It is fundamental to reiterate that while CODE has a mandate to enhance effective democratic governance and accountability, using technologies such as Uzabe to close the feedback loop between citizens and the government, we however, realise that collaboration with other institutions with similar objectives will aid in effectively charting our course.

On this note, we would like to reiterate that CODE’s Uzabe platform is not particularly concerned with the results of the election but is interested in the processes of the elections to ensure that INEC’s guidelines are adequately met.

We also wish to state that the reports on the “Local Government Collation centres in Ekiti State being relocated with new location being shrouded in secrecy” was printed in a haste. Our observers had drawn attention to the fact that collated results were not made public and raised concerns over transparency of the electoral process.

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About Connected Development:

Connected Development (CODE) is Africa’s leading Civil Society organisation that empowers marginalised communities with access to information while creating platforms for informed debates using data to inform policy and decision-making centred around citizens’ service delivery.

Contact: Seun Durojaiye

seun@connecteddevelopment.org

Same Currency For Violence, Troubling Election – Pre-election security assessment report

Communications February 16, 2023 0

The history of Nigeria has been shaped by conflict, violence, instability, and insecurity. Election seasons are marked by military coups, electoral fraud, religious fanaticism, ethnicity, militancy, and banditry. The Electoral Act of 2022 is excellent and will enhance Nigeria’s democracy, but electoral violence will not be eradicated overnight. Electoral violence and misconduct continue to affect politics. Continue Reading

REQUEST FOR AUDIT FIRM PROPOSAL

Communications January 12, 2023 0

Our organization is accepting proposals from audit firms to provide audit (and tax) services for our organization in the coming year. We invite your firm to submit a proposal to us by January 23rd, 2023, for consideration. A description of our organization, the services needed, and other pertinent information follows:

Background

Connected Development [CODE] is a non-government organization [NGO] whose mission is to empower marginalized communities in Africa.

We strengthen local communities by creating platforms for dialogue, enabling informed debate, and building capacities of citizens on how to hold their government accountable through Follow The Money.  CODE provides marginalized and vulnerable communities with resources to amplify their voices with independence and integrity while providing the communities with information that ushers social and economic progress.

The organization has a January 1  fiscal year-end, with a requirement to file an audited financial statement by March 30 of each year.

Services to Be Performed

Your proposal is expected to cover the following services: 

1.  Annual audit to be completed in compliance with the above filing requirement and meetings with the audit committee and or board of directors, as necessary. 

2.  Tax filings for the organization and related foundation. 

3.  Quarterly reviews of internally prepared financial statements.

Your Response to This Request for Proposal

In responding to this request, we request the following information: 

1.  Detail your firm’s experience in providing auditing and tax services to companies in the not-for-profit sector, as well as associations of comparable size to Connected Development, including those with international memberships. 

2.  Provide information on whether you provide services to related industry associations or groups.

3.  Discuss the firm’s independence with respect to Connected Development

4.  Discuss your commitments to staff continuity, including your staff turnover experience in the last three years. 

5.  Identify the five largest clients your firm (or office) has lost in the past three years and the

reasons. Also discuss, in instances where loss of the client was due to an unresolved auditing or accounting matter, the process of attempting to resolve the issue(s). 

6.  Identify the partner, manager, and in-charge accountant who will be assigned to our job if you are successful in your bid, and provide biographies. Indicate any complaints against them that have been leveled by the state board of accountancy or other regulatory authority, if any. Indicate any corrective actions that have been taken by the firm with respect to these people. 

7.  Describe how your firm will approach the audit of the organization, including the use of any association or affiliate member firm personnel and the areas that will receive primary emphasis.  Also, discuss the firm’s use of technology in the audit. And finally, discuss the communication process used by the firm to discuss issues with the management and audit committees of the board. 

8.  Set forth your fee proposal for the 2022 audit, with whatever guarantees can be given regarding increases in future years. Provide your proposed fee for the required quarterly review work and for tax preparation. 

9.  Provide the names and contact information for other, similarly sized clients of the partner and manager that will be assigned to our organization for reference purposes. 

10.  Describe how and why your firm is different from other firms being considered, and why our selection of your firm as our independent accountants is the best decision we could make. 

11.  Include a copy of your firm’s most recent peer review report, the related letter of comments, and the firm’s response to the letter of comments.

12. Among other things, also include evidence of registration with Auditors’ General Office, your Firm’s Tax Filing, as well as the most recent audited report. 

Evaluation of Proposals

CODE will evaluate proposals on a qualitative basis. This includes our review of the firm’s 

peer review report and related materials, interviews with senior engagement personnel to be assigned to our organization, results of discussions with other clients, and the firm’s completeness and timeliness in its response to us. 
Please submit your response to this request for proposal to audit@connecteddevelopment.org by January 23, 2023.

Call for Applications

Communications December 30, 2022 0

Location: Abuja, Nigeria

Organizational Background

Connected Development [CODE] is a non-government organisation [NGO] whose mission is to empower marginalized communities in Africa. We strengthen local communities by creating platforms for dialogue, enabling informed debate, and building capacities of citizens on how to hold their government accountable through Follow The Money.  CODE provides marginalized and vulnerable communities with resources to amplify their voices with independence and integrity while providing the communities with information that ushers social and economic progress.

To enhance effective democratic governance and accountability, CODE creates platforms [mobile and web technologies] that close the feedback loop between citizens and the government. With global expertise and reach, we focus on community outreach, influencing policies, practices, and knowledge mobilization.

Available roles

Job Position

FINANCE MANAGER

Purpose of Position

We are looking to hire a finance manager with excellent organizational and analytical skills. Successful candidate is expected to be detail-oriented, knowledgeable on statistics, have strong problem-solving skills, and an investigative nature.

To ensure success, the candidate should have a deep commercial awareness, strong numeracy skills, and a keen interest in the growth, efficiency, and profitability of an organization. 
 
CODE is calling for Finance Manager who will join the team to carry out the following responsibilities:
– Plan, organize, and execute financial tasks and projects of the organization.
– Make estimates of funds required for the short and long-term financial objectives of the organization.
– Complete financial reports, lead the month-end closing process and conduct monthly financial forecast.
– Develop and implement plans for budgeting, forecasting, and reporting.
– Achieve a proper mix of equity and debt to minimize cost and maximize operational profit.
– Strategize on fund procurement through banks and other financial institutions.
– Provide financial insight and analysis to drive the business performance of the organization.
– Manage and monitor metrics, KPI tracking, and reports.
– Evaluate the financial performance of the organization 
– Understand and calculate the risks involved in the financial activities of the organization.
 
Finance Manager Requirements:
– Degree in finance/accounting or related (essential).
– International Accounting Certifications
– 5 years of work experience as a Finance Manager (essential).
– Thorough understanding of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).
– Analytical thinker with strong conceptual and problem-solving skills.
– Meticulous attention to detail with superb organizational skills.
– Ability to work under pressure and meet tight deadlines.
– Ability to work independently and as part of a team.
– Excellent report-writing and communication skills.
Solid proficiency in Quick books, Excel and other financial planning software.
Interested candidates should fill the form provided HERE. Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.
 

DEADLINE: 9th January, 2023.

Job Position

PROGRAMS OFFICER

Duties and Responsibilities

Summary of Key Functions:

Support to implementation of programme strategies
Support to management of the programme
Administrative support to the Programme Management Department 
Support to knowledge building and knowledge sharing

1. Supports implementation of the programme strategies focusing on achievement of the following results:

Assist in development and implementation of programme strategies, work plans including monitoring and evaluation plans.
Collection, analysis and presentation of information needed for programme development and implementation.
Assist in developing and implementing project communication strategies
Assist in proper communication of Programme strategy through the project.

2. Provides effective support to management of the programme focusing on the achievement of the following results:

Assist in the operational and financial management of responsible programmes/projects and ensure that necessary programme management and financial procedures are properly implemented.
Track and report on programme implementation and fund utilization.
Presentation of information for audit and evaluation of the projects.
Assist in preparation, filing, compilation and dissemination of documents/materials relating to the programme.

3. Provides administrative support to the PMD focusing on achievement of  the following  results:

Provide logistics support for missions, events and project related workshops.
Maintain good communication with other units of the organization and with external counterparts at the working level.
Assist in maintaining the project profile including preparation of required budget revisions, creation of requisitions making budget check for requisitions, POs and vouchers, etc.
Provide other daily administrative support to the PMD

4. Supports knowledge building and knowledge sharing focusing on achievement of the following results:
Participation in the trainings for the operations/ projects staff on programme issues.
Contributions to knowledge networks and communities of practice.

Required Skills and Experience

Education:

University Degree in Business or Public Administration, Economics, Political Sciences and Social Sciences and project subject related area would be desirable, but it is not a requirement.

Experience:

Minimum of 2 years of relevant administrative or programme experience;

Experience working with donor agencies, governmental offices, and international organizations, preferred;
Good interpersonal and communication skills and team work spirit
Experience in the usage of computers and office software packages (G-suites) and knowledge of spreadsheet and database packages, experience in handling of web based management systems.

Language:

Fluency in Hausa and English

Method of Application:

Interested candidates should fill the form provided HERE. Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

APPLY HERE

DEADLINE: 9th January, 2023.

Job Position

PEOPLE AND CULTURE OFFICER

Location: Abuja, Nigeria

Organizational Background

Connected Development [CODE] is a non-government organisation [NGO] whose mission is to empower marginalized communities in Africa.

We strengthen local communities by creating platforms for dialogue, enabling informed debate, and building capacities of citizens on how to hold their government accountable through Follow The Money.  CODE provides marginalized and vulnerable communities with resources to amplify their voices with independence and integrity while providing the communities with information that ushers social and economic progress.

To enhance effective democratic governance and accountability, CODE creates platforms [mobile and web technologies] that close the feedback loop between citizens and the government. With global expertise and reach, we focus on community outreach, influencing policies, practices, and knowledge mobilization.

Purpose of Position

This role will be responsible for providing data collection, data analysis and process improvement support to CODE’s People & Culture (P&C) team. It will be required to provide support across various facets of the Human Resources function and will have a primary focus on understanding and driving efficiencies in P&C process. This role will directly support employees and managers at CODE to provide solutions to basic employment queries as well as directing employees to query specific experts within the organziation. 

This role will require an individual who is able to work effectively with limited supervision  as well as someone who demonstrates excellence in management. This is a role that draws on, and develops further, a wide variety of people and culture related theories, best practice and practical experience particularly in relation to change management/culture.
CODE is calling for a People and Culture Officer who will join the team to carry out the following responsibilities:

– Providing timely and accurate advice and support on all HR queries

– Assisting to achieve improved people performance outcomes
– End to end recruitment
– Onboarding and induction of all new starters
– Identifying process and system improvements
– Counsel on policies and procedures
– Maintain employee records
– Ensure legal compliance
– Maintain knowledge of HR functions
 
Requirements
–    Demonstrated experience supporting a People & Culture team
–    Degree in HR or related field
–    Positive and collaborative attitude with a willingness and desire to learn
–    Demonstrated commitment to customer service
–     Exceptional attention to detail and organisational skill with the capability to effectively manage competing priorities
–     Intermediate skills with the Google Workspace
 
This role requires effectiveness in written and verbal communication in English including in understanding and conveying nuances, as P&C topics can often be legally or emotionally sensitive.

Method of Application:

Interested candidates should fill the form provided HERE. Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

APPLY HERE

DEADLINE: 9th January, 2023.

Job Position

RESEARCH OFFICER

Purpose of Position

We are looking to hire a dependable researcher to work on various organization projects. The researcher’s duties include aligning methodologies with research goals, using a range of tools to acquire information and interpret data, writing up reports and presenting findings and schedules to management and other stakeholders, identifying trends and patterns, conducting fieldwork and tests when required, as well as protecting databases and confidential information. You should be able to deliver presentations and communicate effectively at all levels.

CODE is calling for Research officers who will join the team to carry out the following responsibilities:

– Interpreting research specifications and developing a work plan that satisfies requirements.
– Conducting desktop research, and using books, journal articles, newspaper sources, questionnaires, surveys, polls, and interviews to gather data.
– Analyzing and interpreting patterns and trends.

– Recording findings by taking written notes and using appropriate software.
– Maintaining and protecting electronic databases.
– Assisting management with budget and time schedules.
– Anticipating research issues and promptly resolving them.
– Promptly reporting any problems to the relevant stakeholders.
– Following a strict code of ethics and protecting any confidential information at all times.
-Writing proposals and delivering presentations when required.

Required Skills and Experience
– A bachelor’s degree in research or similar.
– Master’s degree preferable.
– Minimum of 5 years proven experience in a research field.
– Sound understanding of research methodologies.
– Proficiency in G-suite package.
– Strong statistical and mathematical aptitude.
– Strong problem-solving skills.
– Practical experience in database management.
– Attention to detail and exceptional written, verbal, and telephonic communication skills.

Method of Application:

Interested candidates should fill the form provided HERE. Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

 
DEADLINE: 9th January, 2023.
Job Position

MONITORING AND EVALUATION OFFICER

Purpose of Position

The M&E Officer will be responsible for the monitoring and ensuring high quality and timely inputs, and for ensuring that the project maintains its strategic vision and that its activities result in the achievement of its intended outputs in a cost effective and timely manner.

The M&E officer will be responsible for designing and implementing the M&E activities of the Project; assisting the Project Manager in preparing Quarterly/Annual reports on project progress and will monitor the project activities on a regular basis, developing and maintaining the MIS of the Project and will be responsible for the collection & analysis of different data in relation to the project activities.

The Monitoring and Evaluation Officer works in close collaboration with project team  and operations clusters, Government officials, private sector, non-government and civil society organizations.
 
CODE is calling for M & E officer who will join the team to carry out the following duties and responsibilities:
•Develop and strengthen monitoring, inspection and evaluation procedures
•Monitor all project activities, expenditures and progress towards achieving the project output;
•Recommend further improvement of the logical frame work;
•Develop monitoring and impact indicator for the project success;
•Monitor and evaluate overall progress on achievement of results;
•Monitor the sustainability of the project’s results;
•Provide feedback to the Project Manager on project strategies and activities;
•Suggest strategies to the Project Management for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the project by identifying bottlenecks in completing project activities and developing plans to minimize or eliminate such bottlenecks;
•Report monthly, quarterly, half-yearly and annual progress on all project activities to the Programs Director/Project Manager;
•Conduct capacity assessment on existing monitoring and evaluation system, develop indicators and a monitoring strategy for the project;

•Provide inputs, information and statistics for quarterly, annual and other reports to Project Management Team;
•Participate in annual project reviews and planning workshops and assist the Project Manager in preparing relevant reports;
•Support monitoring and evaluation of the effects and impact of the project;
•Assist in coordinating across the available components of the Project to ensure effective implementation of M&E/MIS;
•Assist the project personnel with M&E tools and in supporting them in their use.
•Perform other duties as required;

Functional Competencies:
•Organises and accurately completes multiple tasks by establishing priorities while taking into consideration special assignments, frequent interruptions, deadlines, available resources and multiple reporting relationships
•Plans, coordinates and organises workload while remaining aware of changing Priorities and competing deadlines
•Establishes, builds and maintains effective working relationships with staff and clients to facilitate the provision of support

Knowledge Management and Learning
•In-depth knowledge on MIS, M&E and development issues
•Excellent knowledge of monitoring and the application of methodology: 

Good understanding of capacity assessment methodologies; excellent ability to identify significant capacity building opportunities;
•Excellent communication skills (written and oral): 
Sensitivity to and responsiveness to all partners, Respectful and helpful relations with donors and project staff.
•Ability to lead implementation of new systems (business side), and affect staff behavioural/ attitudinal change
Required Skills and Experience
Education:Education:
University Degree preferably in Business Administration, Economics or related field.

Experience:
•At least 3 years of experience in the design and implementation of M&E/MIS in development projects implemented by national/international NGOs/Government;
•Experience in designing tools and strategies for data collection, analysis and production of reports;
•Proven ICT skills, especially in the development of MIS software using database software;
•Expertise in analyzing data using statistical software;
•Strong training & facilitation skills.

Method of Application:

Interested candidates should fill the form provided HERE. Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

CLICK HERE TO APPLY

DEADLINE: 9th January, 2023.

Reimagining Education in Nigeria – A civil society manifesto

Communications December 10, 2022 0

Education is the most powerful investment in our future. But the Nigerian education system is in a state of emergency and the country is lagging behind even the poorest countries on the continent.

CS-Manifesto-on-Education-1

Download here

FollowTheMoney Movement Expands in Africa, Boosting Grassroots Organizers

Communications November 17, 2022 0

by JACKSON MALMGREN AND BEN SCHMIDT

Staring at the dilapidated one-room building, Philip Duah knew that Project 12 was a sham. “The municipal assembly said the project – a new high school building – was at 90% status and ongoing,” said Duah, the Director of ABAK Foundation, a small non-profit that runs a primary school for low-income children and serves as a watchdog for local government projects. What Duah found was a shabby one-story schoolhouse “with no electricity…and no construction work.”

After talking with several neighbors, the school’s headmaster, and a municipal assembly member, an explanation for the project’s shoddy delivery came into focus. In Ghana, assembly leaders are appointed by the national party in power, and party bosses expect assembly officials to fulfill a secondary, unofficial responsibility: stumping for the party in local elections. As Duah put it, “Practically, if you are a politician…and you are not able to push some of this [project] money to support political activities…brother, you can never be reappointed.” Project 12 had all the indications of a community project whose funds had been redirected by government officials for their own ends. “The ambitions of the political parties to make money during their time [in office] is killing us,” Duah lamented.

Force Multiplier
Over the years, numerous watchdog organizations like Duah’s ABAK Foundation have toiled in isolation to try and close gaps between government promises and on-the-ground results, with varying degrees of success. But in the last few months, ABAK Foundation’s efforts have been boosted by joining a regional initiative called iFollowTheMoney, a Pan-African movement that unites the efforts of over 6,000 activists, journalists, legal professionals, and researchers to better track and follow up on aid and government projects.

The movement recognizes that while inclusive development must start at the local level, it is strengthened by the support of a global network of like-minded people. Joining the iFollowTheMoney network gives local organizations access to far greater amplifying power through social media as well as cutting-edge grassroots accountability training developed by iFollowTheMoney’s organizer, Connected Development (CODE).

Founded in Abuja, Nigeria in 2012 by activist Hamzat Lawal, CODE is now a leading African government accountability organization that has tracked over $2 billion in government funding. Its work has spread across Nigeria and to chapters in 10 other African countries, with Ghana its most recent addition.

Citizen’s Guide
In 2022, CODE began a new partnership with the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) with the goal of formalizing its unique approach to promoting accountability and accelerating adoption of this approach by civil society groups around the world.

The CIPE-CODE partnership reached its first major milestone with the launch of iFollowTheMoney’s Citizen’s Guide to Making Public Accountability Work on October 25, 2022. The hybrid launch event was held near ABAK’s headquarters in Kumasi, Ghana and attracted over 60 virtual participants and 40 in-person attendees, including 18 representatives of local media.

CODE Chief Executive Lawal, who led the event in person with CODE Programs Manager Uchenna Kingsley Agu, shared how this new step-by-step guide would benefit citizens in marginalized communities and drive greater accountability. “Corruption and mismanagement of public resources stem from opacity, which characterizes public governance in Africa,” said Lawal. “This step-by-step guide essentially teaches citizens how to access information and use [it]…to demand accountability from the government.”

“Perhaps the most important aspect is that it also encourages community mobilization,” Lawal added. “With this guide, communities can rally together and drive the development and provision of basic amenities and essential services in their localities.”

CIPE’s Anti-Corruption & Governance Center Director Frank Brown also spoke at the event. “CODE’s approach initiates a cycle of feedback and follow-up between project implementers and project beneficiaries”, Brown said. “CODE’s social media savvy has brought needed help to isolated communities in just a few days – and sometimes just a few hours – after concentrated bursts of likes and shares spotlight attention on pressing needs and generate responses from authorities”.

The guide, which can be freely accessed online, incorporates case studies, step-by-step tutorials, and a list of free-to-access templates to make implementation easier. By simplifying tricky topics like how to understand government procurement processes and how to fill out a formal Freedom of/Right to Information request, the guide is an essential resource that makes sophisticated government accountability campaigning more accessible to local organizations like ABAK Foundation.

Sharper Strategy
Together, CODE and CIPE are supporting local organizations like ABAK Foundation implement projects that follow the methodology in the new guide. In the first of an anticipated series of incubation grants across Africa over the next year, CIPE has awarded the Kumasi-based organization with funding to run a 4-month campaign to follow government projects in the health and education sectors.

Guided by mentors from CODE, ABAK is changing the way it engages with government officials and community leaders as it implements the new approach. “CODE’s FollowTheMoney approach can require civil society groups like ABAK to change their tone and interaction habits because it doesn’t pre-suppose that anyone is the bad guy,” said CIPE Program Officer Ben Schmidt, who arrived in Kumasi the day after the launch to join meetings with Duah, Agu, and local community and government leaders.

“It encourages respect and collaboration between all relevant stakeholders, whether it be the government official who is responsible, the implementing contractor, or the community leaders,” Schmidt added. “The goal is open communication about what is needed and accomplishing what all the parties want—delivering projects on time and on budget and benefiting the community.”

CODE launches Ewah Eleri Climate Justice Fellowship, selects 5 winners

Communications November 3, 2022 0

Five young Nigerians have emerged as the inaugural fellows of the Ewah Eleri Climate Change Fellowship implemented by Connected Development (CODE), Africa’s leading civil society organization.

The winners were announced at a press briefing held in Abuja on November 1. The fellows are the first cohort of the prestigious fellowship named after the Executive Director of the International Centre for Energy, Environment & Development (ICEED), Ewah Eleri, and will serve as technical advisers to the Nigerian government at the forthcoming United Nations (UN) Conference of the Parties (COP) on Climate Change, holding at Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt from 7-18 November 2022

This fellowship will also serve as an opportunity for the fellows to engage signatory governments on plans for nations of the world to jointly address climate change and its impacts. This conference could be a chance to turn the Glasgow outcome into action, through implementing climate change adaptation, mitigation, and financial strategies.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Chief Executive, of CODE, Hamzat Lawal, noted that the COP, stands as the supreme decision-making forum of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and there is a need to empower young leaders who can contribute to solving climate change.

“Leveraging innovation and technology, young people have an advantage and can contribute immensely to solving climate change. This is why we are taking the step to empower young leaders who can shape the very important conversation at COP 27.”

“This is a legacy inspired and named after my mentor, Ewah Eleri. I’m optimistic that it will bear the right fruit,” Lawal said.

On his part, Eleri explained that the initiative was necessary following the hazards experienced in recent times, such as flooding which had destroyed lives and properties as well as rendered thousands of citizens homeless.

According to him, it’s important for Nigeria to begin to convert climate transition to opportunities, build resilience with people through human capacity development and create more awareness of climate justice.

The winners include Gift Olivia Samuel, Seasoned Journalist of The SightNews; Gregory Odogwu, Environmental Columnist at Punch Newspaper; Idowu Esuku – aka Climate Man, A Climate Change musician, and activist; Etta Michael Bisong, Abuja bureau chief EnviroNews Nigeria and bio-diversity advocate; and Hyeladzira Msheila – Climate Change Activist.