Ondo 2016: Group launches `Watching the Vote’ project

A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Youth Initiative for Advancement and Advocacy Growth (YIAGA) said it would deploy machinery to ensure transparency and credibility in Nov. 26 governorship poll in Ondo state.
Executive Director of the group, Mr Samson Itodo, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja.
Itodo said that the group had launched “Watching the Vote (WTV)’’ campaign to ensure that it achieved its objective in the Ondo election.
He explained that the campaign was a citizen-led election observation initiative that would use data and technology to enhance the integrity of the election.
According to Itodo, WTV is the first of its kind in the country and we are introducing it to strengthen the electoral process and ensure free and credible elections.
He said that that there was need for the civil society to engage stakeholders in the Ondo election, stating that this became necessary because there seemed to be a lull in the activities heralding the poll.
“No serious engagement is ongoing on the part of civil society in the election and there are no activities on the social media.
“The people are not engage in open debate and not much jingle by candidates and there are no many posters around,’’ he said.
On his part, Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, Chairman of Partners for Electoral Reform, told NAN that the WTV was an initiative that would promote election credibility in Nigeria.
Nwagwu said that the initiative had the responsibility to put the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on its toes to ensure the credibility and transparency of the election in Ondo state.
He said that INEC must be supported to conduct a free, fair and credible election in the state, adding that there was no alternative to transparent elections, “hence the introduction of WTV’’.
Nwagwu said that the initiative was also important, looking at the history of electoral violence ranging from the “wetie” to other electoral impasse that led to destruction of lives and property in the then Western region.
He therefore stressed that the politics of Ondo state could not be taken for granted when trying to conduct a free and fair election.
“Our responsibility as actors in the electoral process is fundamental to the success of the electoral process and meddlesomeness by security agents in the process can have a negative effect, so we must intensify advocacy,’’ Nwagwu added.
He, however, called on members of WTV to be committed to the project of election observation, adding that all hands must be on deck to make it a success.
“The success of the project will require more commitment, punctuality and effectiveness,’’ he advised.

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