The 2019 election is barely 360 days away and we are yet to conclude on the amendments to the Electoral Act, the budget for the Independent National Electoral Commission for 2018 that directly impacts on the planning for the February 2019 General Elections and the increasing demand by citizens for the auditing of the National Voter Register especially with the controversial allegation of underage voters from the just concluded Local Government Elections in Kano State. In addition, is the rising insecurity, the rise of ethnic militancy and fragmentation as well as the poor state of the economy remain key issues as we move towards the 2019 General Elections.
As Several issues dominating the electoral discourse remain contentious and while each side of the argument will affirm superiority, the important question on how all these impacts on the success and credibility of the 2019 general election is yet to answered. The maiden edition of the YIAGA Africa WatchingTheVote Election Dialogue Series will be providing a platform for key stakeholders to debate on these issues while seeking to provide answers to the question: “Is Nigeria’s Democracy Under Threat?” The Panel session which will be chaired by the Immediate Past Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC); Professor Attahiru Jega, billed to take place on 22nd February 2019 with Distinguished Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu, Udo Jude Ilo, Idayat Hassan and Chef (Barr.) Dan Nwanyanwu as speakers. The WTV Election Dialogue Series is a high level electoral policy dialogue designed to create a platform for engagement on the 2019 general elections in Nigeria. The event-based series provides an opportunity for key election stakeholders and citizens to engage on pathways for ensuring free, credible and peaceful elections in 2019.
While the 2015 general election was largely believed to be free and fair, it was far from perfect with records of poor voter turnout. The 2019 elections present’s more intriguing prospects with more citizens getting interested in the election as indicated in the rate of turn-out for the Continuous Voter Registration exercise and the whole discourse on having more young people and new alliances contest for the elections. As an active participant in the elections and one of the Election observer groups in Nigeria, there is no better time to build on the lessons learnt from previous elections and engage stakeholders; INEC, Political Parties, Civil society Organizations (CSOs), Media, Security Agents and citizens for better preparation for the forthcoming 2019 general election. This is most needful as Nigeria begins the countdown on the “Road to 2019” General Elections.
Executive Director, YIAGA Africa