Ahead of the Bayelsa and Kogi State governorship elections only few weeks away, YIAGA AFRICA’s Watching The Vote which is the country’s largest citizen-led election observation project has again harnessed the power of film to influence informed decision making by the voting populace and to also assure them of their ability to verify the accuracy of the election results.
Introducing character names such as Tare and Shehu representing both election regions, the film narrates how using a methodology called Parallel Vote Tabulation that employs ICT and statistics, they will ensure the credibility of the electoral process. The film also hammers on voter education, bringing to light the resultant effect of using our voting power, which is the Permanent Voters Card, the PVC. The video also portrayed everyday life of a typical Bayelsa, Kogi citizens and of course by extension a Nigerian while portraying possible motivation behind voting decisions.
The film shows Tare, (a typical Bayelsan name), law abiding citizen who has previous experience of voting and looks forward to the next election with cautious optimism. Having been exposed to voter education messages on radio and newspaper and also remembering the largest citizen movement committed to credible elections, YIAGA AFRICA, Tare renews her hope and is confident of participating in the process come November 16.
Similar scenario applies to Shehu (kogi name) who is caught in between voting and apathy but finally makes a decision as he remembers YIAGA AFRICA’s Watching The Vote will observe and provide accurate information on the process. The Short film is scheduled to be released on State Television and on social media in due time ahead of the Governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi state.
The cast and crew worked tirelessly from before the break of dawn to create an inspiring and informative film that will put power back in the hands of the people and put their minds to rest. After all, we are YIAGA AFRICA and we are watching the vote.
YIAGA AFRICA has grasped the value of filmmaking in promoting media for development and in time past have invested in documentaries and short film such as Winning Women that explores the participation and representation of women in Nigeria’s elections and Below the Legal Line that explores the participation of young Nigerians below the voting age of 18 in Nigeria’s democracy.
The screen through which we have been able to live the experiences of great campaigns has been through that of the media. It has in every way shaped our opinions about issues around us and I can rightly say that it has compelled us to voice out and even act upon those opinions. It is now no doubt that media especially audio-visuals has attracted the attention of everyone regardless of political or socio-economic strata. But then again it begs the question of why people still cringe and sometimes hide at the sight or click of a camera. Would it suffice to say that in these instances, the camera has become mightier than the sword?
Looking at Nigeria’s political scenery, the use of audio-visual communication will project a transparent political system. This is so important that the Twitter account of the president with 2.3 million followers and that of the nation’s electoral body the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC with 1.3 million followers both leverage on video contents in disseminating information and in the engagement of the public especially the youth demography. Nigeria now realizes the importance of film in shaping public narratives with titles such as the 4th Republic and If I am President with the later enjoying a screening at YIAGA AFRICA’s The Convergence; the largest ever-gathering of elected lawmakers in Nigeria.