Starting from mid-November 2014, when the ban on presidential campaign was lifted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), West Africa, monitored, tracked and documented promises made by the Presidential candidates of the two leading political parties – the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC). President Muhammadu Buhari, who won the presidential election of March 28 2015 under the platform of APC, made several of promises during the electoral campaigns. The campaigns were widely reported in television, newpapers and other online resources. The promises were derived mainly from two documents; APC Manifesto (An Honest Contract with Nigeria), and My Covenant with Nigerians.
As a way of ensuring that promises made during electioneering process are kept and accountability mechanism is instituted, the Centre conceptualised the Buharimeter. The initiative aims to address the challenges of governance, civic participation and effective service delivery in Nigeria. The central focus of this initiative is to bridge the existing gap between the government and the governed thereby facilitating a process through which democratic accountability becomes the norm. It is a platform to ensure that the dividends of democracy are delivered to Nigerians who overwhelmingly voted for change during the 2015 general elections. Through Buharimeter, civil society groups, citizens, the media, academia, practitioners, political parties and other stakeholders will work together to assess the performance of the new administration and produce reports on the status of the implementation of promises made by President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC government.
The performance of the government will be measured using the following interrelated methodologies:
- Citizens’ contribution: The contributions are three-pronged: a) through web-based application, the general public will have the opportunity to participate in online survey to rate the performance of the government; b) submit missing promises and suggest updates on the implementation of the promises; and c) participate in general discussions by making comment on policy pronouncements of the government in achieving its set targets. Nevertheless, the information gathered through this method are fact-checked.
- Media partnership:Forging partner with journalists working on focus sectors is very important to having access to first-hand information about actions taken by the government. Our media partners will directly feed information to the CDD through an application built into the platform. Thus, there is huge reliance on information coming from this source.
- Monitoring of media reports: On daily basis, CDD monitors news reports emanating from both print and electronic media to update performance of the government.
- Periodic Survey and Spot-Check of Physical Projects: We believe that the conduct of periodic survey to elicit information about citizen’s satisfaction of the government performance is vital to assessing the new administration. In a case that a promise is related to a physical project, our team will periodically spot check to verify status of implementation. I-Witness feature on the platform also allows citizens to provide update on physical project from anywhere in the country.
- Working with MDAs to monitor policy implementation: Our team frequently engage with government officials in appropriate Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to access policy documents and get updates on actions taken by the government towards achieving campaign promises. Policy documents are periodically assessed so as to provide alternative policy option, where necessary.
All these form an analytical framework for measuring the status of the promises made by the government. Delivering on Campaign Promises report will be released biannually, although there will be monthly reports that give update on progress on monthly basis. Besides, first 100 days report will be released. The reports will feed into a monitoring and evaluation strategy that will show the overall status of the progress made by the government in fulfilling these promises.
The project is designed to ensure that citizens contribute in deepening democracy in Nigeria. Therefore, participation in the programme is a key indicator that citizens are ready to engage President Mohammadu Buhari’s
administration in another level of democratic accountability in Nigeria.