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12 Aug
0

Ondo Police Assures Peaceful Polls as Yiaga Africa Pays Advocacy Visit

Ondo State Police Command has said its men will remain apolitical, impartial, and discharge their duties professionally during and after the October 10 governorship election.

Police Commissioner Salami Bolaji gave the assurance when he received a delegation of Yiaga Africa Initiative, who visited him to ascertain the level of police preparedness for the election and seek collaborative effort for peaceful Governorship elections come October 10, 2020.

Yiaga Africa team during an advocacy visit to Commissioner of Police in Ondo state

The advocacy visit to the Police became necessary according to Yiaga Africa’s Director of Programs, Cynthia Mbamalu to enable the team to discuss the critical role of police and how to partner to ensure a violence-free governorship election.

According to Cynthia, Yiaga Africa’s violence monitoring will provide timely and accurate information and early warning signals to enable immediate response from the security. Said she, “Yiaga Africa’s role as an observer group, among other functions, is to see that the police maintain an impartial stance with stakeholders, to achieve a hitch-free, fair and credible governorship election in October.”

In his response, CP Bolaji said, “the command is ready to work with the relevant bodies to ensure the success of the election. We are ready to provide security for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials and their materials, to ensure nothing untoward happens during and after the election.’’

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12 Aug
0

Yiaga Africa Watching The Vote Report on Nasarawa Central State Constituency Bye-Election

Yiaga Africa Watching The Vote Report on Nasarawa Central State Constituency Bye-Election: Nassarawa bye-election underscores the complexity of safeguarding public health and electoral integrity

Introduction
As a precursor to the upcoming 2020 governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states, the  Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conducted a bye-election on Saturday, August 8, 2020, in the Nasarawa Central State Constituency to fill the vacancy created by the death of Hon. Adamu Suleiman Ibrahim. The bye-election was conducted in 44 polling units across seven wards in Nasarawa local government area (LGA) with a total of 71,919
registered voters. The bye-election was strategically important for three reasons. First, it is the first election to be conducted by INEC amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. It provided a litmus test for INEC’s Policy on Conducting Elections in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the new Voters Code of Conduct for Elections. Second, the people of Nasarawa Central Constituency voted for a new representative after months without representation in the State House of Assembly. Lastly, INEC introduced INEC Results Viewing (IReV), a new election result viewing portal to provide public access to results from polling units in near real-time. Accordingly, INEC deployed electronic tablets to the polling units to recapture and re-authenticate voter identification information, especially facial identification and the transmission of election results.

Yiaga Africa Watching The Vote (WTV) did not deploy the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology for the bye-election but instead deployed stationary and roving citizen observers to observe the election in 22 out of the 44 polling units where the bye-election held. The citizen observers monitored the voting and counting process, compliance with health safety guidelines, and efficacy of the electronic tablets used for results transmission and voter accreditation.
Despite low voter turnout, technological challenges, and non-compliance with some public health guidelines, the election was peaceful with no incidences of violence. The security agencies maintained professional conduct throughout the election. The voters in Nasarawa LGA deserve commendation for their resilience to participate in the election despite the logistical hiccups that resulted in the late commencement of voting in several polling units and the risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. While INEC took some measures to follow COVID-19 health guidelines including providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like face masks, hand gloves, thermometer for temperature checks and hand sanitizers at all observed polling units and sanitizing all voters’ fingers before reading their fingerprints with the Smart Card Reader, INEC experienced challenges maintaining physical distance
between voters and ensuring that all voters wore face masks/coverings while at the polls. In addition to massive vote-buying, political parties provided facemasks and handwashing equipment at the polling units to lure voters to cast their votes. It is evident that INEC and other health institutions will need to take measures based on lessons learned from this election to guarantee the enforcement of health safety guidelines during subsequent elections amidst COVID-19, particularly for the upcoming off-cycle governorship elections in Edo and Ondo. Electoral technology can enhance electoral transparency as observed with the IReV platform; however, it has the potential to undermine the credibility of elections and decrease voter participation if the tools and systems are not tested, verified and deployed in line with Open Election Data principles coupled with adequate public sensitization on their functionality and efficiency. Electoral technology such as the Smart Card Readers and electronic tablets may also disenfranchise voters and trigger violence if they do not function properly or polling officials aren’t adequately trained on how to operate them.

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12 Aug
0

Edo/Ondo Polls: Yiaga Africa Kicks off WatchingTheVote Radio Hour

Ahead of the Edo and Ondo governorship elections, Yiaga Africa through its Watching The Vote (WTV) project has kicked off, a citizens engagement program to provide a platform for stakeholders to chart pathways to credible and peaceful polls in both states. The Radio program tagged ‘Watching The Vote hour’ according to Director of programs Cynthia Mbamalu also provides the opportunity to engage citizens of Edo and Ondo on the need to participate actively in the electoral process.

WTV Hour at Rhythm FM Edo

Watching The Vote hour was flagged off on Rhythm FM 93.7 Benin, Edo state and Adaba FM 88.9, Akure, Ondo state on 29th July 2020 and 6th August 2020 respectively, by Director Programs Cynthia Mbamalu and Head of Elections, Paul James as both called on citizens’ participation in the upcoming Governorship elections in the state.

Speaking during the maiden edition of the program in Edo, Director of Programs, Cynthia Mbamalu said Watching The Vote Hour became necessary because citizens should participate in the electoral process from an informed position and thus information about the electoral process should be disseminated to the public accordingly. She further said the project is out to provide timely information on both the pre-election environment and the Election Day activities in order to counter misinformation and rumors.

She said ‘we have just concluded the training of 24 Long Term Observers in Edo. They will be observing activities of political parties, activities of election management bodies, and violence monitoring. The information gathered during this period will be released to election stakeholders for an immediate response on issues that could impact on the electoral process”.

Also speaking during the show is Head of Elections Paul James who revealed that Yiaga Africa will be deploying 500 polling unit observers for the Edo Governorship elections using the Parallel Vote Tabulation methodology. He said the PVT is a proven Election Day observation methodology that enables non-partisan citizen observers to observe and report the Election Day process. He said Yiaga Africa will be providing accurate and timely information on the election process.

Wtv Hour on Rhythm FM Benin

For the Edo Governorship elections, Watching The Vote Hour is aired every Wednesday on Rhythm FM 93.7 from 8.30am to 9.30am. Similarly, for the Ondo polls, WTV hour is aired on Thursdays between 5-6pm on Adaba FM 88.9FM

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12 Aug
0

Press Statement : Nasarawa bye-election underscores the complexity of safeguarding public health and electoral integrity

Yiaga Africa Press Statement on Nasarawa Central State Constituency Bye-Election :

Nassarawa bye-election underscores the complexity of safeguarding public health and electoral integrity

As a precursor to the upcoming 2020 governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conducted a bye-election on Saturday, August 8, 2020, in the Nasarawa Central State Constituency to fill the vacancy created by the death of Hon. Adamu Suleiman Ibrahim. The bye-election was conducted in 44 polling units across seven wards in Nasarawa local government area (LGA) with a total of 71,919 registered voters. Yiaga Africa Watching The Vote (WTV) did not deploy the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology for the bye-election but instead deployed stationary and roving citizen observers to observe the election in 22 out of the 44 polling units where the bye-election held.

Despite low voter turnout, technological challenges, and non-compliance with some public health guidelines, the election was peaceful with no incidences of violence. The security agencies maintained professional conduct throughout the election. The voters in Nasarawa LGA deserve commendation for their resilience to participate in the election despite the logistical hiccups that resulted in the late commencement of voting in several polling units and the risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. While INEC took some measures to follow COVID-19 health guidelines including providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like face masks, hand gloves, thermometer for temperature checks and hand sanitizers at all observed polling units and sanitizing all voters’ fingers before reading their fingerprints with the Smart Card Reader, INEC experienced challenges maintaining physical distance between voters and ensuring that all voters wore face masks/coverings while at the polls. In addition to massive vote buying, political parties provided facemasks and handwashing equipment at the polling units to lure voters to cast their votes. It is evident that INEC and other health institutions will need to take measures based on lessons learned from this election to guarantee the enforcement of health safety guidelines during subsequent elections amidst COVID-19, particularly for the upcoming off-cycle governorship elections in Edo and Ondo. Electoral technology can enhance electoral transparency as observed with the IReV platform; however, it has the potential to undermine the credibility of elections and decrease voter participation if the tools and systems are not tested, verified and deployed in line with Open Election Data principles coupled with adequate public sensitization on their functionality and efficiency. Electoral technology such the Smart Card Readers and electronic tablets may also disenfranchise voters and trigger violence if they do not function properly or polling officials aren’t adequately trained on how to operate them.

Major Findings

  1. Transparency of election results management process: Public access to polling units’ results improved with the introduction of the INEC Results Viewing (IReV) platform. This innovation enhanced the transparency of the process as polling officials uploaded images of polling unit level results onto the portal. As of 4 pm on election day, results from two polling units were uploaded for public viewing. By 10:20 pm, results from all of the 44 polling units were uploaded onto the platform. All of the uploaded images of the result sheet (Form EC 8 A) were duly signed and stamped except the result sheet from Polling Unit 004 Oshikpe in Ara 1 Ward. The uploaded results sheet from five polling units had blurred images, while seven other results sheets had corrections. Based on the guidelines and process flow, polling officials were required to take photos of the result sheet and upload directly on the portal at the polling unit. Yiaga Africa observed some polling officials breached this guideline and uploaded the images at the ward collation center. Most of the polling officials interviewed during the bye-election alluded to inadequate training on Android tablet usage.
  1. Technological Challenges with Voter Authentication: Yiaga Africa citizen observers reported delays in the commencement of accreditation and voting in several polling units due to the failure of the newly introduced tablets to recapture voters’ facial identity. Accordingly, while there was early deployment of personnel and materials by INEC, accreditation, and voting commenced late in several polling units. The average time for commencement of accreditation and voting in observed polling units was 9:30 am. In some polling units, accreditation and voting started at 11:00 am. The Smart Card Readers were used throughout the process in the majority of polling units visited. The electronic tablets were also deployed across all of the polling units for uploading polling unit level results.
  1. With the closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic, polling officials encountered difficulty in securing tables and chairs for polling unit set up. This resulted in delays in the polling unit set up despite the early arrival of polling officials.

 

  1. Vote-buying: Political parties, candidates, and politicians still engaged in and abetted vote-buying in the full glare of the public and security personnel. The secrecy of the ballot was severely compromised by party agents who interfered with the voting process and engaged in vote-buying and voting by proxy. Votes traded between N500 and N1,000 across polling units observed, especially in PU 004, UNG Mallam, PU 005, and PU 006 Angwan Dutse.

 

  1. Non-compliance with COVID-19 Election Guidelines: Yiaga Africa WTV observers reported noncompliance with health safety guidelines by polling officials and voters. Voters were allowed into the inner queue without facemasks and physical distancing in all polling units.

 

  1. Low voter mobilization: According to INEC, the turnout of voters for the election is 17.2% indicating abysmal turnout. Yiaga Africa observers observed a high turnout of women voters compared to male voters in the polling units visited.

Recommendations

For INEC

  1. INEC should collaborate with security agencies to enforce all health safety guidelines particularly those regarding wearing of facemasks/covering and maintaining physical distance between voters
  2. INEC should ensure technological tools and devices are configured, tested, and fully charged before deployment on election day. Polling officials should be adequately trained on new technological tools ahead of election day to ensure effective management of elections
  3. INEC should scale the INEC Results Viewing (IReV) portal to all subsequent elections. In doing so, the Commission should ensure election results conform to open election data principles such as timeliness, granularity, analysable, accessible etc.
  4. Maintain regular engagement with stakeholders and share adequate information on new policies and guidelines ahead of election day.
  1. INEC should continue to review its voting processes to allow voters to cast ballots without interference and intimidation
  2. INEC should liaise with state governments and school authorities to ensure access to tables and chairs in schools to facilitate polling unit set up during elections

For National Assembly

  1. Accelerate the consideration of electoral amendment bills and ensure their quick passage. This will confer legality on laudable innovations introduced by INEC and upscale the electoral results viewing to an election results collation and transmission portal.

For Security agencies

  1. Support INEC in enforcing COVID-19 safety guidelines during elections as well as arrest individuals involved in vote trading and disruptive behavior during elections
  2. Maintain professionalism and impartiality in managing election security

Conclusion

Yiaga Africa commends the voters in Nassarawa LGA for their peaceful conduct, resilience, and patience on election day. INEC deserves commendation for introducing the results viewing platform. It signals a leap in our quest to ensuring transparency of election results management. Yiaga Africa is concerned with the challenges of conducting a governorship election while adhering to the COVID-19 guidelines. INEC provided thermometers for temperature checks and hand sanitizers for sanitizing each voter’s finger before their fingerprints were read by the Smart Card Reader; however, Yiaga Africa observers reported significant challenges in maintaining physical distancing and ensuring voters wore masks/face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Clearly, the Nassarawa bye-election underscores the complexity of conducting elections amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. INEC must ensure effective enforcement of all COVID-19 guidelines ahead of and during the upcoming off-cycle governorship elections in Edo and Ondo. Achieving this will require the support and collaboration of all stakeholders, especially the voters, political parties, and their supporters.

Signed

Samson Itodo

Executive Director, Yiaga Africa

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12 Aug
0

YouthDay: Nigerian Project of building next generation of civic actors – Ovinuchi Ejiohuo

Of the many problems facing the sustainability of Nigeria’s democracy, lack of youth inclusion at an early age stands in the forefront especially at the formative years when young people begin to take control of not just their body but also their mind; being responsible for their actions.

Despite the feeling of hopelessness and inadequacies that one might think exists for youth civic and political action, Yiaga Africa’s innovative program; Democracy Camp sponsored by National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is engaging young people in secondary schools in Nigeria who in turn are engaging with themselves, their institutions, and democratic processes. Their participation and actions are not only influencing the outcomes of political issues but is achieving the global goals for sustainable development.

Watch the Democracy Camp 2020 documentary ‘The Grassroots’  to find out about the innovative solutions and inspiring stories from young changemakers:

In a span of 7 years, the program has impacted over 2000 students across over 200 secondary schools in Nigeria.

However, this is in only about 2 of the 6 geopolitical regions of the country but provides an opportunity for the program to scale and impact even more youths in every part of the nation and even the African continent.

According to previous participants of the program; who are mainly students, the approach and practical teaching style of the initiative is fun and different from conventional classroom experiences. This makes the understanding of the concept much easier.

As the world celebrates the International Youth Day 2020 with the theme: Youth Engagement for Global Action, here are some ways in which youths can engage and take actions in their community;

Get involved and participate actively in community/school activities – clubs, using writing and other art forms, student government, volunteer. Also, know your fundamental human rights as guaranteed by the constitution.

It is also imperative to engage with lawmakers, community leaders, and relevant institutions – write them issue-based letters and articles, call or text, engage them on social media, organize or join peer visits, take part in town-hall events.

Avoid and discourage violence and dispel/discourage fake news and false information especially on social media while keeping responsible friends and relationships.

Most importantly, Stay healthy – eat right, stay fit, practice clean hygiene while following safety and health guidelines.

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09 Aug
0

INEC Hails Yiaga Africa’s Role in Election Observation encourages balance report

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has hailed the contribution of Yiaga Africa to credible elections in Nigeria, saying it has observed beyond a reasonable doubt the organization’s role to see improvement in credible elections and citizens’ participation. This was contained in a speech delivered by the Ondo State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Ambassador, Dr. Rufus Olohuntoyin Akeju, during his appearance at the training of Yiaga Africa’s Watching The Vote Long Term Observers on Thursday, August 04, 2020, in Akure, Ondo state.

According to him, the activities of Yiaga Africa, a civil society organization in election observation has been noted in the Governorship elections of Kogi and Bayelsa. He said “the organization is seen to be playing this role effectively as partners to the commission in the onerous task of the consolidation of Nigerian democracy. “It is our hope that Yiaga Africa will partner with the commission for a well-conducted gubernatorial election in Ondo state on 10th October 2020”.

Dr Akeju reiterated that Yiaga Africa’s role as election observers is important because they help to point out areas that need immediate improvement in the electoral process. During his speech, he provided electoral data about the state which includes information about polling units and voting points, saying the state has Three Thousand and nine (3009) polling units. According to him, the 18 Local Government Areas in the state will host 203 Registration Area Centres

He also said the commission will be using the same voter register from during the 2019 elections as the COVID-19 pandemic has hindered any form of Continuous Voters’ Registration (CVR) process. “We have a total of one million, eight hundred and twenty-two thousand, three hundred, and forty-six (1,822,346) registered voters. Of this figure, a total of one million, four hundred and seventy-eight thousand, four hundred and eighty-six (1,478,486) voters have collected their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) to vote, leaving a total of Three hundred and seventy-two thousand, eight hundred and eighty-eight (372,888) PVCs yet to be collected by their owners”, he revealed.

He however said, the commission at the state is monitoring all pre-election activities to ensure they are done according to enabling laws, political parties’ constitution and in accordance with the COVID-19 prevention protocols of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and Presidential Task Force. He further shared information on the readjustment of the timeline on the commencement of polls and other safety precautions to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.

He concluded his speech by urging Yiaga Africa to remain balanced in its report saying, “election observers are expected to emphasize on resolving electoral problems rather than apportioning blames”.  In his words, “let your assessment be placed in the proper context and written with care to avoid any misinterpretation. I wish to encourage you to make your statement verifiable and give much adherence to ethics to guarantee your impartiality”.

Meanwhile, as part of its pre-election engagement and collaborative effort for a credible election, the Management of Yiaga Africa‘s  Watching The Vote project had on Wednesday, August  7th, 2020, paid an advocacy visit to the Resident Electoral Commissioner of Ondo state, Amb. Dr. Rufus Akeju.

The visit according to the Director of Programs, Cynthia Mbamalu was aimed to build a strong partnership with the electoral commission while sharing Yiaga Africa’s election observation deployment plan for the elections. She said, as an accredited observer for the Ondo Governorship elections, it is pertinent to build a good relationship with the commission to promote citizens’ participation and ensure credible elections.

“After observing the political party primaries, we are currently training 27 Long Term Observers who will be deployed across all Local Government Areas in the state to observe and report the pre-election environment”, she said.

For Election Day, she said “Yiaga Africa will deploy 600 observers using a special election observation methodology called the Parallel Vote Tabulation. The goal is to provide timely and precise information on the process and build citizens confidence in the electoral process”,  she said the project will also be deploying to all LGA collation centers to observe the process.

According to Cynthia, “Yiaga Africa will be conducting a lot of voter education via various platforms including a weekly radio program which will provide platforms for citizens and stakeholders to engage”. “Yiaga Africa through its Local Government Supervisors is ready to provide support to the commission in conducting voter education at the local government level”, she concluded.

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04 Aug
0

Edo Decides 2020: Yiaga Africa Parleys Media for Credible, Peaceful Election

As part of activities marking the pre-election engagement, Yiaga Africa’s Watching The Vote (WTV) project interacted with the media cohort in Edo state, building collaboration on amplifying accurate and timely information before, during and after the Edo Governorship election. The media roundtable held in Benin, Edo state capital, saw the full representatives of broadcast and print media with the Chairman of the state chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalist (NUJ) committing to partnering Yiaga Africa in sensitizing, educating, and enlightening the citizens of the state on the need for a credible and peaceful election.

During the discussion, Director of Programmes, Cynthia Mbamalu, said Yiaga Africa’s election team is a citizen’s movement committed to the credible election in a bid to increase citizens’ participation in the process. She also solicited support from journalists in sensitizing and enlightening members of the public on the need for a violence-free election in the Edo State governorship election. She said media partnership would provide accurate information to the electorate in a bid to achieve credible election in the state.

On his part, Programme Manager, Elections, Paul James, said it’s Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT); which is a proven election day observation methodology will help detect and deter fraud while providing timely information on the election process. According to him, the PVT will enable Yiaga Africa to verify the accuracy of the election results released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Election program manager Paul James discussing PVT during media parley in Edo

Mr. Paul James also revealed that Yiaga Africa has trained 24 Long Term Observers from across all 18 Local Government Areas in Edo state who will be observing and reporting the pre-election environment to enable dissemination of accurate information to election stakeholders before the election. According to him, the team will also train 500 personnel to be sent to sample the various polling units on Election Day.

James said, “For the Edo State governorship election, #WatchingTheVote will deploy observers in pairs to a representative random sample of 250 polling units in every LGA. A total number of 500 WTV polling unit observers will be deployed to observe the accreditation, voting and counting processes on Election Day.” He said they will use their mobile phones to send coded text messages of observation reports to Yiaga Africa’s WTV Data Centre in Benin

In his response, Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Edo State chapter, Roland Osakue, pledged to collaborate with Yiaga Africa, in curbing election violence and encouraging citizens to protect their votes.

He said, “If elections must be free and fair the rules must be adhered to. The umpire must not be biased and the players must play by the rules are not compromised, the election will be violent free”.

Roland Osakwe, Edo NUJ chairman speaking during media parley

According to him, “election is not a do or die affair, the supporters of these politicians have taken it to a point that they must get it at all times and most of the people they use are youths. Youths have become tools especially when they are induced financially.”

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28 Jul
0

Our Contract with Nigerians : House of Representatives Legislative Agenda for 2020-2023

The 9th House of Representatives assumed office at a time of rapid, inexorable change in our country and around the world. The speed and pace of change have not abated since we first swore the oath of office, and it is unlikely that it would. We do not have the luxury of proposing overseeing over a system of slow, incremental change. The people who have sent us to represent them do not expect and will not accept proposals that seek to maintain the status quo. We are, therefore, called to a mission of radical change, of impossible things made possible. We have a responsibility to build a nation where the best dreams and highest aspirations of all our people are within reach.

Last year, the House of Representatives pledged to pursue a Legislative Agenda that was explicit in its commitment to champion social justice, promote individual aspiration, provide public services and infrastructure and finally support business, innovation, and private enterprise. We were making good progress in fulfilling the promises we made in that Agenda when the world changed. The novel and deadly Coronavirus emerged and expose most cruelly, long-ignored weaknesses in our economy, our systems of public governance, education, security, social justice and
social welfare, and so much else.

The last few months have made clear, that we have to move faster and farther than we had previously thought, or else we may well be the generation that answers to history for superintending over the final and systemic collapse of this our beloved nation. The kind of fundamental change we need begins with a wholesale reimagining of the structures and assumptions that have long underpinned much of our existence as a country. We have too long accepted that certain things cannot be changed, or that the process of change is too hard or too disruptive. We are now deeply mired in the consequences of this choice, in the unfulfilled promises and failures of our system that limit our ability to reach for the stars and threaten our continued existence as a nation.

The updated Legislative Agenda of the 9th House of Representatives is our response to this new reality. We have in this new document, renewed the commitments we made in our first year, but this time with accelerated timelines for implementation, key performance indices to measure performance and clearly identified actions in the immediate to long term. What we now have, is a contract with the Nigerian people, against which all our efforts will be measured, and from which we must not fall short as our nation battles to emerge stronger in the wake of the devastating
impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

I thank all of the Nigerian people for the support and encouragement we have thus far received, and I ask for more of the same as we work together in the joint task of nation-building. And may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila
Speaker of the House of Representatives,
Federal Republic of Nigeria

Download Legislative Agenda of the House of Representatives for 2020-2023 

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25 Jul
0

Edo Elections: Yiaga Africa, Partners Police for Peaceful Polls

Ahead of the Edo State Governorship elections, Yiaga Africa is set to commence the observation of the pre-election environment including violence monitoring to provide information and recommendation for immediate response by the election stakeholders.

This formed major the crux of the discussion during the advocacy visit by the Board and Management of Yiaga Africa’s Watching The Vote project to the Edo State Commissioner of Police Mr Babatunde Johnson Kokuko (mni), on Friday, July 24 2020. The mission led by a member of the Watching The Vote working group,  Ezenwa Nwagu and Director of Program, Cynthia Mbamalu, provided an opportunity to explore areas of collaboration in a bid to ensure peaceful elections in Edo state come September 19.

Speaking during the meeting Ezenwa Nwagwu reiterated the fact that the security holds a very strategic position in the election stakeholders pyramid and it is important the police as the lead security agency for elections should be aware of activities of election observers. This according to him underscores Friday’s advocacy visit in other to share Yiaga Africa’s election observation deployment plan.

Also speaking during the meeting, Director of Programs said, Yiaga Africa, will train and deploy Long Term Observers across all 18 Local Government Areas in Edo state. According to her, the observers will be observing the pre-election observers which include activities of the electoral commission, political party campaigns, voter information/education campaigns, adherence to COVID-19 guidelines and importantly, violence monitoring. The information received from observers across the state especially in violence monitoring will be escalated to security agencies for a response to prevent violence ahead of the elections, she said.

In his reaction, Commissioner of Police (CP) Mr Kokumo lauded Yiaga Africa’s initiative saying “what Yiaga Africa stands for and set out to do is laudable and I commend your organisation in this regard”.  He said the command is open to partnering to promote peaceful election in the state. The CP also assured the cooperation of the officers in the Local Government Areas towards a hitch-free observer deployment and during the distribution of observer kits.

He further reiterated the Police commitment to discharge its statutory responsibility of protecting lives and properties. “We will be proactive and we will leave no stone unturned to ensure level playing ground for all candidates irrespective of political party affiliation”, he said.

For the Edo Governorship elections, the CP said the Inspector General of Police (IGP) is complementing the effort of the state government by sending eight-speed boats to secure the waterways. “We have coastal and riverine communities cutting across six Local Government Areas. We will be commissioning four-armed boats and four-speed boats”, he said.

He said the police will also be having air wing for aerial surveillance to track criminals hibernating in the forest saying all these security measures will be out in place, before, during and after the Governorship elections in the state.

According to the CP Kokumo, the state police command will be receiving technical support from other states to ensure the election is held in a secured environment while also ensuring all COVID-19 protocols are observed to the later. “To enable us to achieve this, we will have series of training, workshops and seminars with INEC and other security agencies and we will also conduct step down training for other officers of the force that will be involved in the elections”, he concluded.

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17 Jul
0

July 17th : No Corruption Day – All You Need To Know

On the 17th July 2020, tagged  #NoCorruptionDay, we are joined by dedicated citizens; the likes of MI Abaga, Alex Ekubo, Osas Igodaro, Lillian Esoro, Jeff Bankz & others – who are willing to use their platforms to share this powerful message and also supported by organizations such as SERAP (Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, Accountability Lab, Ukaid and Yiaga Africa. We have activities centered around #NoCorruptionDay geared towards tackling corruption through mindset reorientation.

In 2019, SERAP undertook a survey to assess & highlight key behavioral and belief patterns about corruption across Nigeria. The survey birthed the Anti-Corruption Social Norms Report.

This report found that 40% of respondents do not believe in the possibility of successfully ending corruption in Nigeria. 43.3 % do not believe they have a role to play in the change dings lend credence to the idea that corruption has become a Nigerian norm. 71% of research respondents were found to depend on the internet and Social media to reset social norms and get information so naturally, these media became the avenues to prioritize to help policy makers and Anti-corruption agencies effectively reach Nigerians.

  • Marking #NOCORRUPTIONDAY on the 17th of July would be the final lap of a sensitization journey. The journey that will begin about 10 days before will involve a quiz that highlights the role individuals play in perpetuating corruption, a tick-off list of corrupt practices we may unconsciously engage in daily & a breakdown of relevant aspects of the report that could reshape the thinking of the average Nigerian. (more…)

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