Ahead of the observation of the 2023 general elections, Yiaga Africa has commenced a comprehensive review of its national election observation structures and stakeholder advocacy with an exploratory visit to Borno State. The engagement led by Elections Manager; Paul James saw the team visit election stakeholders to reactivate the Watching The Vote project structure in the State as the team plan to observe the general elections next year.
During the visit to Maiduguri, Borno state capital on Tuesday, September 13, the WTV team engaged its Local Government Area Supervisors representing Maiduguri Metropolis, Dikwa, Biu, Kaga, Kala Balge, Gwoza and Jere while discussing the political and security context of the state ahead of the general elections. The engagement according to Paul James is to enable the project to prepare for pre-election observation and recruitment of polling unit observers.
The team revealed socio-economic challenges, youth restiveness and other political and security dynamics which could impact the conduct and observation of elections in Borno state and environs. Local Government Supervisors in the state also revealed the potential of voting at Internally Displaced Persons Camps and the fact that the majority of the IDP camps have been relocated to their various LGAs from the state capital.
As part of stakeholder engagement, Yiaga Africa visited the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) where the commission reiterated its commitment to collaborate with Yiaga Africa in a bid to strengthen the electoral process. Speaking during the meeting, Admin Secretary Hussaini said, “our doors are always open to working with you because we are partners in progress”. Similarly, the Police Public Relations Officer, Sani Kamilu lauded Yiaga Africa for its timely visitation saying independent observers play a critical role in the electoral process.
Yiaga Africa’s Watching the Vote’s observation of the 2023 general elections involves a comprehensive observation of the electoral process including the observation of events in the pre-election phase leading to the election days. Yiaga Africa’s observation of the pre-election period environment will commence in October 2022 through February 2023 and involve the deployment of 822 Long Term Observers across all the 774 LGAs in the 36 States and the FCT to track and report on activities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), National Orientation Agency (NOA), Political Parties, Security Agencies and the involvement of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in the electoral process as well as tracking and reporting early warning signs for electoral violence.