The 2019 General Elections is fast approaching with campaigns in full gear, it is important that election stakeholders put everything in place to ensure a peaceful and credible elections come February 16 and March 2nd 2019. Recently, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) released the list of registered voters while also following up with the procedure of voting on election day.
As the largest citizen movement committed to credible elections in Nigeria, YIAGA AFRICA’s Watching The Vote has commenced a nationwide advocacy visit to election stakeholders in Nigeria. This is in a bid to share the promises of the WTV Project, discuss the deployment plans for the 2019 elections, seek stakeholder buy-in and explore areas of collaboration as well as to provide information on the ongoing pre-election observation across Nigeria. The Pre-election observation being observed by our 822 Long Term Observers across Nigeria has revealed salient information on level of Voter Education and what role stakeholders need to play to ensure improved citizen participation in the electoral process.
Using our National structure of one or more State Focal Point in each of the 36 states and one Local Government Area Supervisor in each of the 774 LGAs, we have commenced our advocacy visits to some major election stakeholders in Nigeria to enable us to discuss our reports and recommendations from the pre-election environment and share our plans for the observation of the 2019 general elections. The Advocacy visit wouldn’t have come at a better time as it enables YIAGA AFRICA’s Watching The Vote project reach out to elections stakeholders which include, INEC, the Nigerian Police Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC), National Orientation Agency, Nigerian Union of Journalists, other Civil Society Organisations, Traditional and Religious Leaders as well as Faith Based Organizations (FBOs.
While informed citizen participation is vital to a credible election, we believe that not only the electoral commission have a role to play in educating voters, other stakeholders including religious and traditional leaders can play huge roles as influencers to their followers in preaching the electoral message. Similarly, there is no credible elections without peace, and this makes our advocacy visit to Police and the NSCDC very vital at this crucial point in time. The visit to security agency nationwide will enable us analyse the early warning systems we have built to ensure security threats are nipped in the bud.
As an organization, we believe the mass media are key to information dissemination especially at this election period. This is why our Watching The Vote team are also paying advocacy visits to the Nigerian Union of Journalists offices across Nigeria as this will ensure that information on the electoral process will be amplified as wide as possible.
In the coming days, WTV working group will also carry out advocacy visits to critical election stakeholders at the national level to inform them about the WTV plans for the observation of the elections to introduce them to the WTV methodology. Just as the ongoing engagements at by the State Focal Points at the State level, the visits by the working group aim to instill confidence in the electorates that the electoral process will be systematically observed, and its results independently verified. The working group will also host a media and CSO round table to explore areas of collaboration and to intimate them about the plans WTV on the electoral processes.