Yiaga Africa has concluded plans to train over 3800 citizen observers who will be deployed to sampled polling units nationwide to observe the 2023 Presidential Elections. This was revealed on Thursday by the Director of Programs Cynthia Mbamalu at the end of the State-level election day observation training for Master Trainers held in Abuja. The conclusion of training of master trainers on the electoral process and election observation methodology signifies the readiness of Yiaga Africa’s WatchingTheVote project to deploy to all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for the training of polling unit observers.
During the training Mbamalu reiterated the importance of the 2023 general elections to the sustainability of Nigeria’s democracy saying the stakes for the elections are high and the elections will be competitive. She said “when the stakes are high and elections are competitive, there will be higher demand for election observation findings from independent and non-partisan citizen observer groups”.
“Democracy is very important to us and election remains a cardinal feature in our democracy. If the electoral process doesnt guarantee sanctity of vote, then there is a problem”, she said. According to her, the 2023 election is a symbol of hope for Nigeria and the African region. She further urged the master trainers to infuse the sense of patriotism and importance to citizen observation of the 2023 elections.
“Citizen observers should also understand the new provisions of the electoral act and how it will impact on the conduct of the 2023 elections”, she said.
While reminding Master trainers about the important role they play in the electoral process, Executive Director of Yiaga Africa, Samson Itodo said, “it is important to underscore the value of election observation to citizen observers nationwide saying the information sent to database will have a huge implication on the elections.
He further urged Master Trainers and citizen observers to remain politically neutral at all times especially when they are engaged as Yiaga Africa’s volunteers for the elections. “Do not allow your personal sentiment becloud your sense of judgment”, he said.