The Commissioner of Police in Ekiti State, CP Tunde Mobayo has said that 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.
CP Mobayo said this on Tuesday when the Board and Management of Yiaga Africa’s Watching The Vote team paid an advocacy visit to him at his office in Ado-Ekiti. He said, “Your input to Nigeria’s democracy is very fundamental and as important as that of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigerian Police. Your work in the electoral process is important and unique, and your contribution will soften the ground for us”, he said.
The Commissioner welcomed Yiaga Africa’s intervention in the area of providing information on early warning signals and pre-election observation, emphasising that this will make the work of the Police easier as they plan to provide a peaceful environment ahead of the June 18th electoral showpiece.
On its part, Yiaga Africa disclosed that its mission in Ekiti is to observe the entire electoral process from the pre-election environment, to the election day and post-election environment. Speaking on behalf of the organisation, head of the Yiaga Africa delegation, Ezenwa Nwagwu said the Police is a strategic partner in the process given that they play a crucial role in ensuring credible and peaceful elections. He said the visit to the commissioner shows “the mutuality of our efforts in ensuring peaceful elections in Ekiti State”.
In her remark, head of Knowledge Management and Learning, Safiya Bichi revealed that Yiaga Africa will be deploying Long Term Observers across all Local Government Areas in the state to observe the pre-election environment. The observation will provide information on indicators of electoral violence like hate speech, gender-based violence, amongst others. Other pre-election activities to be observed, according to Bichi, include preparatory activities of election stakeholders, political parties’ campaigns, voter education, and the involvement of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) in the electoral process.
As part of its advocacy for a citizens-driven credible and peaceful elections in the state, Yiaga Africa also paid an advocacy visit to the Ewi of Ekiti State HRM Dr Rufus Adeyemo to chart pathways on how traditional institutions can play crucial roles in boosting citizens’ confidence in the process. Similarly, the team also engaged the Interparty Advisory Council (IPAC), political parties, Market Women and other key stakeholders in their effort to ensure a credible Ekiti 2022 Governorship election.
Other members of the Yiaga Africa delegation to the CP include Board member, Prof. Nnamdi Aduba; Yiaga Africa’s Election Manager, Paul James; Media Officer, Moshood Isah; Program Officer, Opeyemi Haruna and State Focal Point for Ekiti State, Gbenga Adesunloro.