Election Contextual Analysis (ECA) is an innovative approach to the monitoring of election that allows policy makers to benefit from analytical reports derived from the knowledge, experience and networks of country experts. Similar to political economy analysis, ECA focuses on the main drivers and retardants of political tension and electoral manipulation in order to highlight particular areas of concern and guide donor activity accordingly. Under the ECA framework, a management team, with both academic and policy expertise coordinate a team of researchers with specialist knowledge and skills to produce a series of timely reports tailored to a policy audience. ECA project reports will be based on analysis by researchers with a strong understanding of political economy analysis and with prior country specific fieldwork experience. In addition to providing donors with important and relevant information about real and potential triggers and drivers of electoral malpractice and violence, ECA reports support policy makers and international election observation teams to identify false assumptions, confirm existing information, gain fresh insights and identify appropriate interventions.
The advantages of the ECA approach over conventional methods of election monitoring are:
Utilizing researchers with pre-existing networks of informants enables ECA reports to capture information that are not available via the media or the Internet. Given their knowledge of the local environment and languages, ECA researchers are able to monitor news sources that are often not accessible and/or overlooked by conventional approaches, affording policy makers insights into issues that they would otherwise lack.
Whereas conventional monitoring efforts often rely on teams with little prior knowledge and experience of the country, the ECA Project is conducted by recognized experts that are capable of identifying important early warning signs through their local networks.
. The great experience of in-country ECA experts with many years of research and field experience places them in a unique position to better analyse and accurately interpret contemporary events.
ECA researchers, most of whom typically hold a doctorate in a relevant discipline and have published their work in leading international journals, are particularly highly trained, ensuring world class analysis.
Duties and Responsibilities
Election Contextual Analysis towards the 2015 general election in Nigeria will cover 19 states that were carefully selected to reflect areas of particular interest, while also offering a representative picture of the country as a whole on zonal geopolitical basis. It focuses on the presidential election, as well as other national and sub-national electoral contests, especially for governorship and legislative positions.
ECA will monitor three selected themes at the national level based on the interpretation and analysis of information contained in reports generated from the selected states. These themes will include:
National level electoral framework
INEC election preparation activities;
Input by CSOs and domestic monitoring organisation;
Constitutional and legal frameworks;
Application of the gender issues in the electoral process .
The Constitutional Conference;
Nomination and campaign strategies of the political parties;
Elite fragmentation and alliances during political party primaries;
Party platforms, policy debates and public opinion;
Political (in)stability and security threats
Security of INEC staff;
Political violence and prospective breakdown of public order and public safety;
Management, disposition and performance of the security forces;
Deployment of the security forces.
Selecting states is always difficult, because depending on the adopted criteria, a good case can be made for almost all of the 37 units (36 states plus the FCT). The selection of states was therefore conducted through a collaborative process based on extensive consultation. To this end, a working group of academics, civil society representatives, and political experts was convened to discuss and provide a methodology for state selection. The proposed 19 states were identified according to four main criteria.
Equal coverage of Nigeria’s six geo-political zones to ensure a balanced and comprehensive picture of the country based on the political and/or ethno-religious sensitivities. Three states were selected from each of the six geo-political zones, plus Kaduna State in the Northwest zone making for 19 states in total as highlighted in Table I.
Intensity of party/personal competition
Electoral problems often arise in two very different types of states: a) states in which one party enjoys a strong majority, and uses its political control to manipulate favourable electoral outcomes, b) battleground states, as well as states with very high number of registered voters where no political party is in total control, which can lead candidates to embrace very desperate strategies to “win” elections. For this reason, and to ensure a representative sample, some states were selected based on variation in the level of personal and party competition.
A further consideration in the 2015 general elections is the tension generated by the defection of five (5) Governors and some notable political figures from the ruling PDP to the opposition APC. The PDP has already stated its intention to win back these “lost states”. Political competition in these states is likely to be particularly intense. An attempt was therefore made to accommodate these states, as well as those in which elites are divided in their political allegiance.
2011 general election results;
Recent political activity including defections and counter defection;
Consultation with political experts from each geo-political zone.
History of electoral manipulation and disputes
A history of electoral manipulation and violent disputes suggests that some states have the basic ingredients to become a source of concern in 2015. However, while there were severe problems in almost all states in 2007, the picture in 2011 and other subsequent stand-alone governorship and legislative by-elections was more varied. In order to ensure a representative sample, a number of states where electoral manipulation and disputes are more pronounced than in the past, along with cases in which the competence and quality of electoral officials has been questioned were included.
Election Observation reports from 2007;
Coverage of recent governorship and other by-elections;
Papers published in peer reviewed academic journals;
Consultation with election experts including INEC officials and election monitors.
Levels of political instability
While the ECA election project does not seek to explain nor address violence or instability that is unrelated to the forthcoming 2015 general elections, it is important to assess how existing instability and conflict may shape the electoral contest. In some states, high and increased levels of violence and insecurity may cause elections to be abandoned, deferred, or held only in part of the territory. This would have major ramifications at the presidential, gubernatorial and legislative level. However, it is important to recognise that while many parts of the country have become quite unstable over the past five years, some parts of the country remain largely stable. To ensure a representative sample, states that appears to be more, and less, stable were selected in each of the geo-political zones.
Reports by organizations such as International Crisis Group;
The Council for Foreign Relations Nigeria Security Tracker;
Consultation with local experts from each geo-political zone.
Information will be collected from a range of sources. The most important resource for the ECA project will be the reports regularly submitted by the researchers based in the selected states. This will generate original and up-to-date-empirical material which otherwise are not available through other sources such as the Internet and existing donor reports. In order to cross-check these findings and produce robust and reliable analysis, the reports will be triangulated with a number of other data sets to ensure that the project makes the most of existing material:
Hotspots violence analysis produced by DFID, INEC and others;
Nigeria Security Tracker of the Council on Foreign Relations Africa programme;
Public opinion data (where it is found to have been scientifically conducted);
Reports produced by donors and stakeholders;
Information produced by domestic monitors and INEC.
ECA at the State level will deliver:
Initial five-page political landscape report;
A first report of 10 pages;
A second report of 10 pages;
An update report of 2 pages;
A third and final report of 10 pages.
ECA at the National level will deliver:
An initial first background report of 30 pages with a two-page executive summary and a 10 page summary of the political landscape in the 19 selected states;
A second report of 30 pages with a two page executive summary;
A report update (third report) of 10 pages with a two-page executive summary;
A final report of 30 pages with a two-page executive summary.
Overall responsibility for overseeing the Project will reside with the UNDP/DGD Project Director, supported by a project management team of two persons with strong skills on comparative analysis. Consultants will not be contracted full time, and the number of days awarded to each consultant will be planned in relation to the needs of the project and the work being done by the other consultants, this management structure will deliver value for money.
Three lead consultants will be appointed with joint responsibility for:
Managing the researchers and ensuring timely delivery of their (three) reports;
Editing and producing four reports, two main pre-election reports, one report update, and one post-election report.
Producing overviews and executive summaries for each report.;
Producing a final report and project summary that will include a discussion of lessons learned;
Presenting findings to donors in Abuja and elsewhere in Nigeria as required;
Responding to donors’ requests for further information and questions as required.
Researchers & Deliverables
Researchers will be selected for their knowledge of relevant states, and their ability to write analytically and concisely under considerable time pressure. If possible, researchers will be hired who can cover more than one state. The ideal scenario would be to have a team of one researcher covering each state, which will significantly reduce both coordination challenges and travel expenses. Contributions or agreement with relevant institutions is also been considered.
Each researcher will provide the following:
Initial 5 page political landscape report for the relevant state;
1st report of 10 pages;
2nd report of 10 pages;
Update report of 2 pages;
3rd and final report of 10 pages.
The management team will deliver:
A first report of 30 pages with a two page executive summary;
A 10 page summary of the political landscape in the 18 states;
A second report of 30 pages with a two page executive summary.;
A report update (third report) of 10 pages with a two page executive summary;
A final report of 30 pages with a two page executive summary.
The PLAN project will deliver three election reports ahead of the elections, two full reports and one update. The first full report will be delivered in July 2014. The scheduling of the reports is designed to offer carefully targeted advice and guidance to policy makers when they need it most. The main reports will be disseminated in July, early enough to feed into donors’ overall planning and thinking around the poll and, in early December, following the primaries, when the candidates and alliances that will contest the elections are known. An update report will then be delivered in January, a month before the polls.
The management team will also be on hand to offer a full briefing to election observers at the most appropriate time in relation to their schedule.
A final report on the elections, including lessons learned, will be released at the end of March 2015.
The proposed schedules of activities are as follows:
Consultation on proposed state selection;
First ECA Workshop with key stakeholders and experts;
Finalize selection of research team;
Training and orientation of researchers;
Production of first report by management team;
First report released and presented in Abuja.
August – October
Monitoring team conducting desk research;
Researchers following events through their network.
Production of second report by management team.
Second report released and presented in Abuja
Monitoring team fieldwork/conducting desk research
Production of report update by management team
Updated report released and presented in Abuja
Presidential elections & National Assembly elections monitored by research team;
Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections monitored by research team.
Production of final report by management team;
Final report released and presented in Abuja;
End of project.
Possible difficulties and challenges
Political instability and electoral violence;
Outcome of Constitutional/Electoral Law review process;
Outcome and recommendations of the Constitutional Conference;
Possibility that elections may not hold or may be deferred either in totality or parts of the count;
Adherence to ECA Project Timetable.
Risk mitigation measures
Execution of Project through the instrumentality of a reputable research institution;
Recruitment of experienced field researchers resident in the selected states;
Periodic review and evaluation of security situation;
Periodic monitoring and analysis of internal and external political development;
Observation of developments in and deployment within the military and other security forces.
Sound knowledge of contextual analysis/landscape mapping/ political economy analysis;
Proven track record of delivering high quality work in a timely manner;
Strong analytical, facilitation and communications and documentation skills;
Knowledge of monitoring and evaluation or of key areas of research such as political parties, civil society, electoral violence or of one of Nigeria’s six geo-political zones;
Ability to present information orally to a high level audience;
Cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability.
Required Skills and Experience
Master’s degree and above in any of the social sciences.
Strong skills in written and spoken communications in English;
Knowledge of at least one (1) Nigerian language.
At least five (5) years’ relevant experience and proven track record in research work;
Experience in monitoring or analyzing elections, democracy and governance programmes an advantage;
Experience of conducting fieldwork in Nigeria