To Monitor Hate Speech, Violence , Party Campaigns, Voter Education
The 2019 General Elections is fast approaching with the completion of political party primaries and nomination of candidates and flag-bearers of political parties for another competitive the General elections.
While observation of party primaries signaled the commencement of Pre-election observation ahead of the 2019 elections, YIAGA AFRICA’s Watching The Vote trained and deploy 882 Long Term Observers (LTOs) across Local Government Areas in Nigeria. WTV Long Term Observers will be deployed from November 9th 2018 to February 7th 2019 to observe their pre-election environment ahead of the 2019 general elections. Observers will be armed with Pre-election observation checklists and critical incident forms to report their observation to the Watching The Vote database.
YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote is deploying direct observation of the Pre-election environment to observe the 2019 pre-election environment. party primaries, interviews and desk review of media reports. YIAGA AFRICA WTV deployed at least two Long Term Observers (LTOs), drawn from each of the 36 states and 774 LGAs to observe and report preelection activities and critical incidents.
LTOs will be observing the activities of the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC), voter education campaigns, political party campaigns, activities of marginalized groups, violence indicators, hate speech amongst other pre-election activities as it relates to the 2019 General Elections.
YIAGA AFRICA will provide bi-weekly report of Nigeria’s pre-election environment ahead of the 2019 general elections, followed with recommendations to major election stakeholders including the Nigerian citizens. In this vein, the following activities remain very important and will surely have impact on the 2019 Elections:
Preparatory Activities by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
INEC is the constitutionally mandated body responsible for elections. As such it is important to observe INEC’s activities throughout the electoral process. INEC activities during the pre-election period may include, identifying locations of polling units, recruiting of ad hoc staff (polling officials), training of permanent and ad hoc staff (polling officials), and holding meetings with election stakeholders (political parties and civic organizations).” WTV 822 Long Term Observers drawn from 36 States of Nigeria and 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) will follow these activities closely at their assigned LGAs and also meet periodically with INEC officials based in their assigned LGA to discuss preparations for the elections.
Voter Education Activities by INEC, NOA and CSOs
YIAGA AFRICA’s Watching The Vote will also be observing the level of Voter education by major election stakeholders as it remains an important aspect of every election. For we at YIAGA AFRICA, Voter education campaigns by major stakeholders like INEC, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and civil society organization both witnessed and heard of via the media that maybe providing information through: newspapers, radio, television, the Internet, cell phone ringtones, posters, t-shirts, etc, will be followed closely.
Political Party Campaign Activities
Campaigning by political parties and candidates is a critical element of a genuine election process as It provides an important mechanism for voters to learn about the parties/candidates and their positions on issue that are important to them. In this vein, WTV LGA Supervisors will be observing and reporting rallies by any party or candidate and display of posters for any party or candidate in their assigned LGA.
As an organization, we build early warning signals using various violence indicators like hate speech, voter inducement, inter-community clashes amongst other indicators which may trigger violence. WatchingTheVote Pre-election Observation will track and escalate any trigger of violence ahead of the 2019 elections to enable necessary authorities like the Nigerian Police and other security agencies mitigate threats. This also includes attacks on candidates, their supporters, campaign trails, election officials, media and other election stakeholders. Destruction of posters, billboards and other campaign materials are also major triggers of violence which will be reported and escalated accordingly.
For us at YIAGA AFRICA, election is a process which commences from the Pre-election phase which includes every activity that can impact on the election day process. It can be recalled that, as part of efforts to deepen the integrity of the candidate selection process, YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote observed the conduct of party primaries to assess their compliance with democratic principles, norms and standards enshrined in the legal framework for elections. The observation entailed highlighting recommendations for improving the integrity and quality of party primaries.
YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote (WTV) is Nigeria’s largest non-partisan and independent movement of citizens observers. As part of effort to deepen democracy through credible election observation, YIAGA AFRICA through its WTV project has been observing elections since 2011. YIAGA AFRICA’s WTV recently observed the off-circle Governorship Elections in Ondo 2016, Anambra in 2017, Ekiti and Osun both in 2018.
Executive Director YIAGA AFRICA
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