Spaces for Change (S4C) is pleased to announce the commencement of the Judiciary and Civic Space project supported by Luminate. The project aims to interrogate the extent the judiciary expanded or contracted the civic space during the just-concluded 2023 general elections in Nigeria. In other words, the project will examine how the decisions of various courts on issues related to the 2023 elections have either opened or closed the civic space. To meet this objective, this project will track and analyze the proclamations and decisions of diverse courts on electoral disputes across the thirty-six states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, highlighting their disparate effects across sectors, specific groups, and a broad spectrum of civic actors.
The project will utilize the civic space monitoring platform hosted by Spaces for Change | S4C – www.closingspaces.org – and other law reporting platforms to track the preponderance of electoral contests and decisions of courts related to the 2023 general elections. Combining case tracking and case monitoring with pre-existing impressions, media reportage, and key informant interviews with legal practitioners, litigants, judicial officers, and the media, S4C will gather empirical evidence for deepening understanding of the dynamics of the electoral process in the Nigerian civic space and for enabling courts to balance the competing democratic values whenever they are at stake.
The project’s mapping and analysis results will form the baseline for interrogating the systemic dysfunctions in the politico-legal environment that allow threats to the civic space to thrive and persist during electoral cycles. The project’s technical approach and comprehensive scope will shed light on the complex dynamics and linkages between the electoral process and civic space in Nigeria, which will be useful for policymakers, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders. By so doing, the project will build new knowledge and evidence for improving respect for democratic norms during elections and for enhancing civic participation in democratic processes in Nigeria.
Luminate is a philanthropic foundation that works to ensure that everyone – especially those who are underrepresented – has the information, rights, and power to influence the decisions that affect their lives.