The Youth Initiative for Advocacy Growth and Advancement (YIAGA) on November 17 2016 organized a training workshop on the Watching the Vote election observation methodology for journalists in Ondo State.

The training which held in Akure, Ondo State, had representatives of over 15 media organizations across the state.

Speaking at the training, Cynthia Mbamalu, Project Lead for Watching the Vote and YIAGA’s Programs Manager said the media is an integral part of the work the organization does. She recognized the important role the media plays in strengthening democracy in Nigeria.

Mbamalu stated that the work done by Civil Society Organizations like YIAGA will be futile without the tremendous work of the media.’

“Authoritarian governments are quick to clamp down on the media because of the important role they play. As an election observation group, our efforts will be futile if the media do not know what we are doing”, Mbamalu said.

Mbamalu revealed that YIAGA will be deploying the Watching the Vote methodology to observe the election. She explained that the Watching The Vote methodology uses the Parallel Voter Tabulation model, an advanced methodology for election observation to assess the conduct of the Ondo Governorship election.

“The Watching The Vote methodology will provide all stakeholders in elections including the media and the general public, with credible, independent and impartial information on the conduct of Election Day”, she said.

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Cynthia Mbamalu, Project Lead for #WatchingTheVote addressing journalists

Ms. Mbamalu stressed the importance of the media to the success of Watching The Vote and the entire electoral process in Nigeria. She added that the essence of the media training is to create a synergy between the media and the Watching The Vote team and beyond.

“Watching The Vote will be driven by lots of media reportage. We need the support of the media because they can amplify the efforts of organizations like ours. The more informed the citizens; the higher the level of political participation”.

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Journalists listening with rapt attention at the #WatchingTheVote media training

Paul James, Watching The Vote Consultant reiterated the importance of the media training as election observation reports cannot be shared with the public without the media.

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Francis Madugu of NDI speaking to journalists at the #WatchingTheVote media training

The members of the media present at the training reiterated their resolve in supporting the Watching The Vote efforts in ensuring free, fair and transparent Ondo Governorship elections.