As part of YIAGA AFRICA’s work under her support to Youth Candidates project, we are providing strategic support to young men and women running for various position in the 2019 General elections through the Not Too Young To Run movement. The goal of this project is to equip youth candidates with necessary tools for running effective political campaigns and building communities/networks for political solidarity and advocacy.
Since the passage of the age reduction constitution amendment into law, YIAGA AFRICA has continued to support to young candidates across all political parties to lead a successful campaign and win elections. Recall that we recently hosted the largest gathering of young candidates in Nigeria to build their competence, network, share experiences and advocate for greater representation and credible 2019 elections.
YIAGA AFRICA has deployed a team of trainers across Nigeria to train polling agents who will be representing young candidates at the 2019 Governorship and state house of assembly elections. In this vein, we have trained our cohort of trainers on the electoral process and how to effectively train poll agents.
The team will be training at least 1,168 Poll agents representing 241 young men and women running for state assembly elections coming up on 9th March 2019. The team of trainers have also been trained adequately on the election day process, legal framework relating to party agents, rights and responsibilities of poll agents on election day. Having also been trained on the conduct of party agents and ethical issues on election day, YIAGA AFRICA’s team of trainers will train poll agents on to recognize these roles and operate within the electoral law.
As an organization we recognize the legal framework that recognizes and allows all political parties to submit names of their Polling Agents to the electoral commission and to deploy them after accreditation by the commission. Section 43 (4) of the Act entitles Polling Agents to be present at the distribution of election materials as well as being present at the voting, counting, collation and announcement of election results.
Also, Section 50 of the Act says: “A candidate or a Polling Agent may challenge the right of a person to receive a ballot paper on such grounds and in accordance with the procedures as are provided for in this Act.” Also, according to Section 64 of the Act, “A candidate or a Polling Agent may, where present at a Polling Unit when counting of votes is completed by the Presiding Officer, demand to have the votes recounted…” It is noteworthy that the Polling Agents are also given the opportunity to countersign results of elections and given official copies according to Sections 63 (3) and 74 of the Electoral Act 2010, as amended.
To this end, YIAGA AFRICA is committed to an effective training of party agents who will be representing young candidates and ensure interest of young candidates is protected and their mandate defended effectively.
Senior Program Officer, YIAGA AFRICA