Analyzing and Visualizing Nigerian Pre-Election Trends

Guided by the principle that timely and reliable information about electoral preparations and early warning signs can mitigate the spread of electoral violence, Nigerian Global Network of Domestic Election Monitors (GNDEM) member Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) launched a unique Pre-Election Observation, PREO, ahead of the nation’s long-anticipated general elections.

The 2015 Nigerian elections, which were recently rescheduled from 14 February to 28 March for political reasons, face enormous challenges. The Independent National Election Commission (INEC) recently introduced biometric technology into its voter registration and voter verification process, and is currently facing logistical challenges. Meanwhile, the nation’s battle against Boko Haram in the northeastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa continues to intensify. Given present threats to electoral integrity, TMG’s effort to gather and disseminate quality information on the pre-election period is all the more important in shaping public confidence in the process.

In November 2014, TMG deployed a team of over 900 nonpartisan pre-election observers across each of the country’s 774 local government areas (LGAs). TMG’s observers are well placed to collect information on the pre-election climate, as they are recruited from within the communities they observe and are familiar with the local contexts of each LGA.

Every two weeks, observers submit reports via coded text messages on questions relating to electoral preparations, indicators of electoral violence, fraud and and other irregularities. Because a standard checklist of priority questions is used for each regularly scheduled report, observers’ responses can be quickly aggregated and tracked over time.

By mid-February, TMG had released six PREO reports. The organization will also issue three additional reports in the lead-up to the rescheduled elections. You can look for these reports in the pre-election section of their website.

TMG’s reports have provided crucial information on the status of electoral preparations and early warning signs of electoral violence to Nigerian citizens, the government, INEC, and various domestic and international actors. Through its observer reports and data, TMG has been able to visually represent pre-election trends across all of Nigeria, including through mapping. The systematic and longitudinal nature of the PREO effort has allowed TMG to better understand state, regional and national trends and to produce comprehensive and timely publications that highlight key issues for public awareness.

While the PREO is not sample-based like the parallel vote tabulation (PVT) methodology, which TMG will employ on election day, TMG is currently the only citizen observer group with a trained observer in every LGA collecting structured data on the pre-election environment.

TMG’s PREO demonstrates the comparative advantage of data gathered from more systematic long-term observation. Higher quality information in an easily analyzable format has allowed TMG to detect trends and produce creative visual representations of the pre-election environment. PREO reports offer distilled, digestible analysis that allows stakeholders to track election-related information, from campaigns and party rallies to hate speech and incidents of violence. Furthermore, the availability of the reports on TMG’s website and social media accounts has helped to share credible information on Nigeria’s pre-election environment both within the country and internationally. The methodological and data-driven nature of TMG’s observation will continue to have a major positive impact as the country heads towards elections next month.

All of TMG’s PREO reports are available as resources on the GNDEM website and at For more information on this effort, please contact TMG at [email protected] or +2348011901111 or GNDEM at [email protected]. You can also visit TMG's Facebook page.

TMG's PREO Reports

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