Anambra polls: CSO Yiaga Africa begins pre-election observation — official

Yiaga Africa, a civil society organisation, on Sunday, in Abuja, said it had commenced its pre-election observation of Anambra state ahead of the Nov. 6 governorship election in the state.

In a statement, Director of Programs, Yiaga Africa, Cynthia Mbamalu, said that the organisation would be tracking and reporting pre-election activities for the immediate response of stakeholders through, its ‘Watching the Vote (WTV), citizens’ election observation project.

According to Mbamalu, through the observation, Yiaga Africa would also be tracking the efficacy of the role of major election stakeholders, early warning signs and any form of incidents that can hinder the successful conduct of the elections.

“This will enable us to share the information with recommendations to respective stakeholders in the Anambra election.

“Pre-elections observation findings will also be shared with 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 ‘Watching The Vote’ project has trained and deployed Long Term Observers (LTOs) across all 21 local government areas of the state,’’ she said.

Mbamalu said that as part of its comprehensive pre-election observation efforts, the WTV pre-election observers would also observe issues related to the activities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

She identified some of the activities to include recruitment and training of ad hoc personnel, identification of polling units, meeting with stakeholders, voter education and information campaigns  and the collection and distribution of Permanent Voters Card (PVC).

The Yiaga Africa official also said the pre-election observation would also include  activities relating to security agencies and incidents capable of undermining the electoral process;  voter information campaigns by the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).

“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.’’

Government’s restrictions on political activities or unjustifiable military deployments into the state, would also form part of the pre-election observation, which would enable Yiaga Africa to verify and report this information to the relevant authorities for proper action, Mbamalu said.

She added that periodically, Yiaga Africa would release its pre-election observation reports to stakeholders, especially INEC,  security agencies and the general public. (NAN)