Research into wide ranging aspects of the electoral process and democracy generally will be the cardinal preoccupation of the Working Group. Much of the research will be targeted at supporting diverse electoral stakeholders, including INEC, political parties, development partners, security agencies and civil society organizations. Research findings will be published and widely disseminated by the Working Group.
Regular collaboration among election stakeholders
There will be quarterly technical meetings of the Working Group. Each meeting will focus on specific issues of democracy and elections and will include a review of the state of democracy and the electoral process. The technical meetings will issue opinions arising from the deliberations as quarterly “State of Electoral Process” documents, which will be widely disseminated in the media. Each “State of Electoral Process” document will include recommendations addressed to specific agencies and stakeholders. The quarterly “State of Electoral Process” document and findings of NEWG studies will be used to conduct periodic briefings for INEC and other electoral stakeholders, as well as the general public when necessary. These briefings will be arranged to coincide with the end of each quarterly technical meeting of NEWG.
Establish databases on elections
Related to research is the establishment of databases, particularly creation of time datasets on elections, as well as collection of policy documents, laws and guidelines on election matters. Three strategies will be adopted in creating the databases. First will be data from specific researches conducted by the Working Group. Secondly, NEWG will develop specialized data gathering instruments on different aspects of electoral studies and use them to source data from both experts and the general public over time. Based on the responses, datasets and databases will be created and made available to different stakeholders. Finally, NEWG will collaborate with various institutions holding data and documents on elections, such as INEC, the Electoral Institute, security agencies, development partners and the judiciary, to create an open access electronic information bank on elections. This will greatly enhance the study and practice of elections in Nigeria.
Electoral Studies Association of Nigeria (ESAN)
A major activity of the Working Group will be the establishment of ESAN. This will entail legal registration, development of articles of association or constitution, design of structure and fundraising, among others. A Planning Committee will be established by NEWG to drive this process. The goal will be to establish ESAN by 2019. Once ESAN has been established and fully running, NEWG will become one of its standing committees.
Establishment of a web portal
A robust portal web will be established for the Working Group with capabilities for online discussion and other portals. A regular Blog will be established for exchange of ideas. The website will also anchor the membership drive for the electoral studies association. Strong social networking anchored in social and new media will drive NEWG. A social media officer will be recruited to drive this.