Anambra Guber: Group commences pre-election observation
By Lawrence Nwimo
A non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting electoral integrity in Nigeria and Africa, YIAGA Africa, has commenced its observation of the pre-election environment in Anambra State ahead of the November 6 governorship election in the State.
Through, its WatchingTheVote, (WTV) citizens’ election observation project, the group said it is tracking and reporting pre-election activities in the State for immediate response by relevant stakeholders.
A statement signed by the YIAGA Director of programmes, Cynthia Mbamalu, said the pre-election observation was to track the efficacy of the role of major election stakeholders preparatory for the election. It further said it will seek to report warning signs and any form of incidents that could truncate the successful conduct of the election.
According to the statement, the pre-election observation activities would enable it share the obtained information with recommendations to respective stakeholders in the Anambra State governorship election.
The statement read in part; “YIAGA pre-elections observation findings will also be shared to the public via various channels of communication, including Social Media. The pre-election observation builds on the observation of the political Party primaries and the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration, (CVR) exercise in the State.
“The ‘WatchingTheVote’ project has trained and deployed Long Term Observers (LTOs) across all 21 Local Government Areas of the State. As part of its comprehensive pre-election observation efforts, the WTV Pre-Election observers will observe issues related to the activities of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC). These includes; recruitment and training of adhoc personnel, identification of Polling Units, meeting with stakeholders, voter education and information campaigns to the collection and distribution of Permanent Voters Card.
“The pre-election observation also includes; activities relating to security agencies and incidents capable of undermining the electoral process; voter information campaigns by National Orientation Agency (NOA) and other Civil Society Organizations.
“Also, as political Parties launch their campaigns across the Local Government Areas, our Long Term Observers will be tracking campaigns and rallies associated with various political Parties. Observers will also observe adherence to COVID-19 guidelines as well as the level of citizens’ education on the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 virus.
“WTV pre-elections observers will also observe and report issues relating to hate speech campaigns, intimidation and harassment of any electoral stakeholder and attacks on media or INEC officials.
“Pre-election observers will also report government restrictions on political activities or unjustifiable military deployments into the state. This will enable YIAGA Africa to verify and report this information to relevant authorities for proper action.
“Periodically, YIAGA Africa will release its pre-election observation reports to stakeholders, especially the electoral commission, Nigerian security agencies, and the general public. The report will provide information on emerging issues and recommendations for immediate action.
“As a civic hub dedicated to the promotion of electoral integrity and credible elections and as an INEC accredited observer group, YIAGA Africa will also be deploying citizen observers to observe the Election Day activities.”