In a highly contested election held at the Abuja Continental Hotel, Dr. Y.Z Ya’u, the Executive Director of the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), has emerged as the new Convener of the Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room.
The announcement was made in a statement released to the press by Ali Sabo, CITAD’s Digital Rights Officer.
The Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room is a coalition of more than 70 civil society organizations dedicated to monitoring Nigeria’s electoral process and elections across the nation.
Established in 2010 before the 2011 general elections, the Situation Room undertakes regular analysis and disseminates information on significant developments and events related to electoral conduct in Nigeria.
With a primary focus on improving the quality of Nigeria’s electoral system, the Situation Room aims to enhance the capacity of civil society organizations to engage and monitor the electoral process effectively. It supports coordination and synergy among various election stakeholders, promoting collaboration, proactive advocacy, and prompt action in response to incidents during elections.
The Situation Room’s secretariat is hosted by the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), a civil society organization founded by Clement Nwankwo. It serves as a platform for advanced planning, scenario building, evidence-based analysis, constructive engagement with stakeholders, and election observation.
During elections, the Situation Room sets up a physical Election Situation Room comprising an Analysts’ Room and a Technical Room. The Analysts’ Room consists of experts in democracy and governance issues, while the Technical Room houses a Call Centre and a Social Media desk. Field observers deployed nationwide for general elections and off-cycle governorship elections send reports to the Communication Room, where they are verified and published on the Situation Room’s social media platforms.
Incidents reported by field observers are escalated to relevant election stakeholders, such as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies, for prompt resolution. The Situation Room issues statements based on these reports, drawing attention to issues such as logistics challenges, security concerns, voter intimidation, and inducement. It calls upon the appropriate authorities to take immediate action in curbing such challenges.
One of the areas of particular focus for the Situation Room is the collation and transmission of election data, which it often identifies as the “weak link” in the Nigerian electoral system. By closely monitoring this stage of the electoral process, the Situation Room aims to ensure transparency and credibility in the declaration of winners.
With Dr. Y.Z Ya’u as its new Convener, the Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room is poised to strengthen its efforts in promoting free, fair, and transparent elections in Nigeria, thereby contributing to the growth and consolidation of democracy in the nation.