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Cablegate: Nigeria: If Accreditation Is This Disorganized...

VZCZCXRO1483
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHUJA #0685/01 1011518
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 111518Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9147
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHWR/AMEMBASSY WARSAW 0232
RUEHCD/AMCONSUL CIUDAD JUAREZ 0228
RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS 6564
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 SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 000685

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DOE FOR CAROLYN GAY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: IF ACCREDITATION IS THIS DISORGANIZED...


ABUJA 00000685 001.2 OF 002


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

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. INEC's April 10-11 Abuja accreditation
briefing for international and domestic observers, clearly
thrown together with little or no preparation, provided few
answers and raised more doubt as to INEC's organizational
capabilities. Iwu and other INEC officials, while offering
little concrete information in their presentations, instead
took the opportunity to chastise observers for not
understanding the "context of Nigeria" and caution that
observers are permitted only to watch and report, not to
interfere. In response to questions, INEC officials stated
53 domestic organizations were approved to supply observers,
among these the umbrella Transition Monitoring Group (TMG)
organization whom many had feared would not be accredited.
INEC officials announced that election results will be
annulled in any location where violence occurs. As of the
end of the first day, no clear method for accreditation had
been explained and confusion reigned. Mission observers
received accreditation at noon on April 11, however, many
groups were still awaiting their accreditation at that time.
END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) Without notice or invitations, INEC held an
accreditation briefing for domestic and international
observers on April 10-11 at the Abuja Hilton. (NOTE: Post
learned of the conference late on April 9 through USAID
partners working closely with INEC. There were reports that
one TV station aired an announcement on April 9, though most
individuals with whom we spoke heard about the briefing
through word of mouth.) At the start of the conference,
poloffs noted numerous NGO representatives desperately
calling colleagues to let them know of the affair. An
agenda, hastily passed to a select few attendees halfway
through the morning, indicated that the second day of the
conference will be a repeat of the first, presumably for
those unable to attend the April 10 portion. Poloffs spoke
to no less than six INEC representatives on the morning of
the first day, but no one could tell us definitively what was
needed for accreditation or how it would be done. INEC's
Director for International Affairs was able to obtain
accreditation materials for the Mission by noon on April 11;
however, the venue was full of domestic observers and some
international groups still awaiting their credentials when
poloff arrived to pick up Mission credentials.

3. (SBU) INEC Chairman Maurice Iwu, in a presentation to the
assembled observers, ran down a scorecard on elections
preparations -- giving the INEC a 100 percent. He maintained
that INEC had accredited "every credible organization" as
observers and cautioned international organizations that "not
all that claim to be civil society organizations and NGOs
actually are." Iwu also informed observers that the INEC
would set up five hotlines in each state and ten in Abuja for
observers and the general public to call in and report
problems. The hotline numbers are not yet set up, however,
and Iwu was not able to give specifics. Chairman of the INEC
Election Monitoring and Observation Committee (EMOC)
Ekpenyong Nsa gave a brief presentation titled "Election
Observation in Nigeria," which contained no information on
the elections, but rather focused on chastising observers for
not understanding the Nigerian context and provided
background on the population, land area, climate, geography
and national holidays of Nigeria.

4. (SBU) The presentations were followed by an interactive
Q&A session, in which INEC officials listened to several
questions and then answered a select few. This was the only
portion of the briefing where election procedures and
policies were discussed. Officials noted that TMG, an
umbrella organization made up of approximately 200 NGOs and
civil society groups and funded by USAID partners, was among
the 53 organizations approved for accreditation. As well,
EMOC Chairman Nsa told observers election results will be
nullified in any location where violence occurs. Other items
of note include:

-- Voters who appear at polling stations without either a
temporary or permanent voter registration card will not be

ABUJA 00000685 002.2 OF 002


allowed to vote. Officials maintained voters who did not
receive temporary cards upon registration should report
before the elections to their ward elections officer to
receive their permanent cards. (COMMENT. This instruction
was given at the briefing only. Poloffs are not aware of any
public information campaigns educating the public on this
procedure. Given that contacts in some areas have reported
large percentages of registrants receiving no card or receipt
due to malfunctioning printers, there could be significant
numbers turned away on election day. END COMMENT.)

-- All election results other than Presidential will be
announced by the INEC Returns Officer at the highest level of
collation (i.e., State Returns Officers will announce
governors, Ward Returns Officers will announce Ward delegates
to the State Assemblies, etc.). Only INEC Returns Officers
are authorized to announce results. No announcements may be
made by television, radio or other sources. INEC Chairman
Iwu will announce the winner of the Presidential election.

-- The number of polling stations will remain 120,000 (as in
2003). Polling sites will be at the same locations as 2003.
If a polling site has grown to more than 750 people since the
2003 elections, "baby units" will be set up at the polling
site to handle the extra people.

-- Results will be transmitted to Abuja both in hard copy and
electronically (using GSM cellular technology and the
internet).

-- Individuals will not be permitted to remain in the polling
stations after voting. No one will be permitted to "loiter"
within 300 meters of the polling station. When asked about
campaigns urging voters to remain at polling stations to
"protect their vote," Nsa chastised, "you must learn to trust
us."

-- Polling stations will be open from 8am to 3pm, with all
voters who arrive at the station prior to 3pm being permitted
to vote.

-- INEC claims to have "looked through" the voters register
to weed out underage and multiple registrants. These
individuals have been placed on an alternate list and will be
required to show proof of age or identity. (COMMENT. There
is no national ID card and no information was given on how
these individuals will prove either age or identity. END
COMMENT.)
CAMPBELL

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