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Cablegate: Nigeria: Elections Prep - the Six State Tour

VZCZCXRO0790
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHUJA #0669 1010655
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 110655Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9119
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHWR/AMEMBASSY WARSAW 0225
RUEHCD/AMCONSUL CIUDAD JUAREZ 0223
RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS 6537
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS ABUJA 000669

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DOE FOR CAROLYN GAY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM NI ELECTIONS
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: ELECTIONS PREP - THE SIX STATE TOUR

REF: LAGOS 241

THIS CABLE IS SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. NOT FOR INTERNET
DISTRIBUTION.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Poloffs visited Enugu, Anambra, Kaduna,
Kano, Katsina and Bauchi states over the period of March 20
to 30, meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (where
possible), NGOs, local media, and other stakeholders in the
elections process. With only two weeks to elections, our
Poloffs found local INEC officers to be ill-prepared and
disorganized -- and occasionally just delusional. INEC
headquarters in Abuja announced on March 29 that all Resident
Electoral Commissioners and their Administrative Secretaries
(deputies) would be separated and reshuffled to other states.
NGOs and Media representatives were in general agreement
that the preparations to date are inadequate, though there
was a mix of opinions on how they measure up to 2003
preparations. One NGO reported being visited by the security
services and asked about funding sources in order to
"determine eligibility to observe the elections." END
SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) Poloffs visited INEC in Enugu, Anambra, Bauchi,
Kaduna, Kano and Katsina states, at times meeting with
officials and other times being denied meetings but viewing
the offices. No INEC office would provide us a list of
polling stations or a complete voter registry and several
commented they were awaiting this information from Abuja.
When Poloffs were able to view a portion of the voters
registry, they noted large numbers of incomplete
registrations and/or underage registrants. Our Poloff in
Kano was shown a direct data capture machine by INEC
officials, but the officials were unable to operate the
machine when asked about its use. INEC officials in Katsina
and Enugu admitted that they had not yet hired the requisite
workers to man the polling stations and that training had not
yet begun. Enugu INEC Administrative Secretary told Poloff
on March 29 that the local INEC office was just beginning to
review applications in order to hire the 9000 ad hoc staff
the state would need for the elections. INEC officials
admitted they have not received ballots nor seen samples.
Despite the absence of complete voters and polling station
lists, lack of ballots, failure to hire and train requisite
staff and general disorganizaton viewed at each INEC office,
we heard without fail that everything is on track and even
ahead of schedule.

3. (SBU) In the courtyard outside the Anambra state INEC
office, our Poloff observed approximately 50 metallic
briefcase-style boxes for direct-data capture machines
sitting in the direct sun in 95 degree heat. (Note: we
cannot verify whether or not DDC machines were indeed inside
the boxes.) The courtyard was also strewn with files boxes
of miscellaneous papers. In Katsina, which is the home state
of both Yar'Adua and Buhari and is billing itself as a
showcase state, Poloff was shown clear plastic bags that will
be used to transport the completed ballots. INEC officers
claimed the bags had "secret Israeli-manufactured satellite
chips" imbedded in them which would allow them to be tracked
via GPS on the internet, thereby reducing fraud. (COMMENT.
The officials could not point out where these chips were
embedded in the clear plastic and the bags appeared to be no
more than regular plastic bags. END COMMENT.)

4. (SBU) In Bauchi, media and NGOs told Poloff they expect
trouble with the voter registry on polling day. An estimated
80 percent of registrants in Bauchi were given no receipt or
card and only verbally told their registration number (which
serves as proof of registration). Several stakeholders
reported preparations in Bauchi State are worse than in 2003,
with one media representative noting an increase in violence
as well. NGOs in Bauchi and Kaduna reported visits by the
security services. Despite the lack of an observer
accreditation process, officers reportedly asked the Bauchi
NGO about the organization's activities and funding sources
to "determine eligibility for observing." Individuals in
Kano reported first-hand knowledge that INEC is still
changing the names of Senatorial candidates in Jigawa State.
CAMPBELL

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