Ekiti Governorship elections 2022 will be the first major election to be conducted using the newly signed Electoral Act 2022 which provides an opportunity for an assessment of the implementation of the new Act. While political party primaries had been concluded before the law was signed, the election day procedure will be guided by provisions of the new Act. The efficacy of critical provisions like the neutrality of INEC staff, deployment of technology, election results management and other critical provisions expected to promoted electoral integrity will be tested in Ekiti. Ekiti also presents an opportunity for the assessment of INECs preparations for the 2023 elections based on the commission’s ability to improve on its processes and administration of elections learning from the FCT Area Council and 2021 Anambra governorship elections. Early commencement of preparations for the elections, the implementation of the Electoral Act 2022 and new Guidelines for elections, political party activities, stakeholders engagement and voter participation remain key areas of assessment ahead of the 18 June 2022 Governorship election.
Thus, Yiaga Africa has trained and deployed 24 Watching the Vote (WTV) Long Term Observers (LTOs) across all 16 Local Government Areas in the state to observe and provide information on the level of preparations and other pre-election activities by all elections stakeholders in the state. The pre-election observation will include observing efforts by election stakeholders in educating and mobilizing the voters ahead of the election to improve on the abysmally low turnout recorded in the 2018 elections. Major institutions/stakeholders whose activities will be observed include the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), National Orientation Agency (NOA), Political Parties, Security Agencies. In addition, the involvement of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in the electoral process will be observed. Also, as the INEC concludes Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) in Ekiti State, Yiaga Africa’s observers will observe the collection of Permanent Voters Card (PVC) across all LGAs including other voter education activities in preparation for the polls.
The Long Term Observers were also trained to track, monitor and report incidents of violence that may impact the elections across all the 16 LGAs. The violence monitoring will enable Yiaga Africa’s Watching the Vote to track early warning signs and escalate as necessary to prevent incidents that can hinder the successful conduct of the elections. In addition, WTV pre-elections observers will observe and report issues relating to hate speech, intimidation and harassment of any electoral stakeholder, women, youth and persons with disability and attacks on media or INEC officials. The LTOs will also report any incidents of government restrictions on political activities that may restrict equal participation in the process.
Yiaga Africa’s Pre-elections observation findings will be shared with the public via various media of communication including social media and shared with respective institutions for required action. Recall that, Yiaga Africa’s Board and management paid advocacy visits to Security Agencies, Electoral Management Body, Civil Society Organisations, Leadership of political parties, Traditional leaders and other election stakeholders in the state. This is aimed to strengthen collaborations and bridge gaps in the area of citizens participation while ensuring all stakeholders play their roles to ensure credible and peaceful elections in the state.
#WatchingTheVote is a comprehensive observation initiative that includes the observation of the pre-election environment, deployment of the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) for election day observation and post-election audits. Our goal is to deepen electoral integrity and enhance citizens’ participation by providing credible, accurate and timely information on the process and verifying the outcome of election results. Also, the observation is designed to deter, detect and expose fraud and build citizens’ confidence in the process. Yiaga Africa operates as a civic hub of changemakers poised with the onerous mandate of enhancing the quality of democratic governance, public accountability and civic participation.
Yiaga Africa’s Watching the Vote movement is non-partisan, independent, beholden to none and for all Nigerians.
Executive, Director, Yiaga Africa