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Nigeria Decides 2019: CDD launches centre for electoral analysis, combating fake news 

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THE Centre for Democracy and Development, CDD, has officially kicked off activities for its Election Analysis Centre, a situation room designated for the gathering and reviewing of  information about the 2019 general elections.

The launch took place in Abuja, where the centre will also be situated till the elections are conducted.

Hassan Idayat, Director of CDD, noted that the coming elections are deserving of attention taking into account the number of political parties that are scheduled to participate and the huge number of eligible voters.

She said the centre has been studying elections in Nigeria since her return to democracy in 1999 and making efforts to ensure there is confidence in the electoral process and the Nigerian democracy.

In 2019, she said, CDD is establishing a bigger election analysis centre to serve as a one-stop shop for rigorous analyses… and to provide accurate and real-time analyses of events,  in the build-up to the polls and post-election.

“Importantly, embedded in our analysis centre is our fake news analysis, and I think that is the most important addition we are having in the 2019 elections. Nobody thought when we started this election that it is one that will actually be decided by fake news,” the director added.

“On our fake news [team], we have six experts that, with the support of the Canadians, have been combating fake news.”

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While giving his goodwill message, the Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Philip Baker, praised the works of the centre, and described the launch as exciting.

“What I really love about this innovation is what is said that it will be a one-stop shop. That says it all; this notion that all the analyses will be in one place, bringing that efficiency and cohesion to the data, which could be used for so many good things including continuing to build democracy for the future,” he remarked.

Providing details about the CDD’s fact-checking project, AlHassan Ibrahim, the organisation’s Programme Assistant, said the team has focused primarily on Twitter and Facebook, mining data between December and January, 2019.

He said 118,649 tweets were collected within the said time frame, and the CDD found a high level of automated messages on the platform with many of them focusing on issues such as Biafran agitations and proposed electoral boycott.

Ibrahim also said the CDD will be publishing more indepth reports over the next few weeks in further exploring the dynamics surrounding the county’s election.

Other guests in attendance are Joe Abah, DAI’s Country Director; Kole Shettima, chairman of the CDD International Governing Council; Adele Jinadu, chairman of the CDD Election Analysis Centra; Jude Ilo, OSIWA’s Country Officer and Head of Nigeria Office and Clement Nwankwo, convener of the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room.

Ketil Karlsen, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Nigeria; Paul Lehmann, Austrailian High Commissioner to Nigeria; and Hamzat Lawal, chief executive officer of Connected Development; were also at the event.

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In ensuring the successful implementation of the electoral analysis project, CDD is partnering with Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), MacArthur Foundation, National Endowment for Democracy, National Democratic Institute, United States Institute for Peace, and the Canada High Commission. The media partners include Arise News, Premium Times, and TheCable.

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'Kunle works with The ICIR as an investigative reporter and fact-checker. You can shoot him an email via aadebajo@icirnigeria.org or, if you're feeling particularly generous, follow him on Twitter @KunleBajo.

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