Ahead of the June 18th, 2022, Ekiti State Governorship elections, Yiaga Africa has kicked off advocacy visits to major election stakeholders in a bid to build collaborations and drive for credible and peaceful elections in the state. The aim of the advocacy visits is to share Yiaga Africa’s Watching The Vote election observation plan for the governorship elections in the state while building collaborations to build citizens confidence and encourage participation in the process.
During the advocacy visit, the team led my Board members Chief Ezenwa Nwagwu, Prof Nnamdi Aduba, Management team, Safiya Bichi and Paul James met with Commissioner of Police in Ekiti State, CP Tunde Mobayo and Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) John Fayemi to create partnership with the security agencies on tracking early warning signs for electoral violence and rapid response. Both security agencies in the state reiterate its commitment to partner with Yiaga Africa in a bid to prevent escalation of pre-election and election day violence.
According to the commissioner of Police, the Nigerian Police Force has no option but to collaborate with Civil Society Organisations like Yiaga Africa. According to him, it is due to the level of work these organisations do in building early warning systems and providing information that helps prevent the escalation of election-related violence. He said the nature of work Yiaga Africa does to support electoral stakeholders has made it impossible not to collaborate with the organisation, especially ahead of the upcoming Governorship election in Ekiti State.
On his own part, Commandant of NSCDC commended Yiaga Africa’s effort and voter mobilisation and education saying, credible data released by independent bodies like Yiaga Africa will reduce the tendency of violence. He said advocacies like that of Yiaga Africa will reduce voter apathy and vote buying saying the corps is willing to collaborate in the area of data dissemination on election security. The Police and NSCDC shared reporting lines to coordinate early warning from Yiaga Africa’s Pre-election Observation findings.
The team also visited His Royal Majesty Ewi of Ado-ekiti, Dr Rufus Adeyemo to share its election observation deployment plan while charting pathways on the role of traditional leaders in improving citizens participation in the electoral process. His Majesty commended Yiaga Africa’s role in educating the citizens on the electoral process while encouraging the organisation to remain apolitical in the face of daunting challenges in the electoral space. He sees the opportunities that the intervention brings as another source of educational empowerment for the citizens of Ekiti.
During the visit to the National Council for Women Society, the leadership of the group lamented incessant voter inducement during the previous elections while committing to intensify voter education to mobilise citizens participation in the process. The team shared voter education materials for dissemination among the members across the state.
In a bid to also socialise the Parallel Vote Tabulation election observation methodology with political actors, Yiaga Africa engaged major political parties in the state on the need to play by the rules. Having met with the leadership of the Inter-party Advisory Council, the team met with the All Progressive Congress, Peoples Democratic Party and Accord Party to discuss its role as an independent election observer group in a bid to promote credible elections.