Ahead of the 2023 General elections, Yiaga Africa is set to partner the National Orientation Agency, as part of an effort to intensify voter education campaigns, especially on educating citizens on how to locate their polling units before election day. This was revealed on Wednesday, during an advocacy visit by the Board and Management of Yiaga Africa led by Board member, Ezenwa Nwagwu to the Director General of the Agency in Abuja.
During the visit, Director General of the agency, Dr Garba Abari said the partnership was necessitated due to the need for citizens to be further educated on how to locate their polling units after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) relocated some voters to new polling units. He said, “Yiaga Africa’s work brings a great value to what the NOA is doing”.
According to Dr Abari, only a proper synergy between government agencies and Civil Society Organisations will help to promote credible elections saying both NOA and Yiaga Africa should always explore areas of collaboration saying the effort to deepen democracy is for all Nigerians. He further reiterated that, the conduct of a peaceful and credible elections is for the benefit of all Nigerians.
Also speaking during the visit, Yiaga Africa’s Director of Programs Cynthia Mbamalu said the partnership with the Agency is crucial at this point in time considering its mandate of citizens' enlightenment and voter education. She said “considering the fact that elections are a heated period of divisive campaigns, the NOA plays an important role in inspiring the spirit of National unity.
According to her, Yiaga Africa has invested in promoting citizens' oversight in the electoral process through the deployment of statistics and technology, saying the impact of fake news is dangerous in the electoral process. Thus, “on election day, Yiaga Africa’s WatchingTheVote will deploy the Parallel Vote Tabulation methodology to provide accurate and timely information in the electoral process saying the organization has been observing the pre-election environment since November 2022 while providing information on the activities of election stakeholders like the National Orientation Agency and the electoral commission.
In his remark, Board member Ezenwa Nwagwu commended the effort of the agency in promoting citizens participation in democratic process. He said, “ the intervention of NOA has increased citizens' patriotic consciousness”, saying this flows from the ideological background of the Director General.
He said, consolidating Nigeria’s democracy is not a tea party and the agency is a very important partner and that’s why Yiaga Africa embedded NOA in its partnership drive.