Yiaga Africa has called on the leadership of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and media in Osun State to arm themselves with the knowledge of the Electoral Act 2022 and the Nigerian Constitution in order to engage citizens from an informed perspective. This call was made by its Board member, Ezenwa Nwagwu on Thursday in Osogbo during a post-election debrief with leadership of CSOs and media in the state.
According to Ezenwa, “the essence of this post-election meeting is to examine how we can improve in future elections. The engagement will enable us to harvest all the granular details about the July Osun Governorship election from the lenses of the CSOs who participated in the election, in the state.”
He however said, before CSOs can engage the process and suggest recommendations, they first must have adequate knowledge about the laws guiding the process and the constitution.
He said, “most times, people perceive election as an event but for us at Yiaga Africa, we see election as a process that commences with pre-election environment, election day and post- election engagement”.
While it is important to analyse the successes and challenges of election stakeholders, he said it is also important to put the mirror before us and review performance of CSOs during the election and how they can lead citizens’ engagement beyond elections. This will influence policies as the recommendations from the engagement can go to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security agencies and other election stakeholders to improve the process going forward.
“It is the recommendations, reports and interventions of CSOs in the past that is yielding the incremental progress currently being experienced in the electoral process,” he reiterated.
Also speaking during the event, the Chairperson of Osun State Chapter of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Ayegbayo Motunrayo lauded stakeholders for their effort on an improved electoral process. She said there are a lot of lessons learnt and opportunities to increase citizens participation.
In his remarks, the chairman of Osun State council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr Wasiu Ajadosu, commended Yiaga Africa, INEC, and other stakeholders for their support at the election. He urged INEC not to regard the Osun election as a perfect process, but to focus on how to improve further elections.
Also, President of Network of Non-Governmental Organisations in Osun, Mr Michael Oluseyi, commended security agencies for their professional conduct during the election and charged INEC to look for ways of curbing vote buying and selling in future elections.