As part of its effort to promote a peaceful, credible and citizens-driven elections in Osun State, Yiaga Africa has paid advocacy visits to key election stakeholders in the state in a bid to build collaborations to improve citizens participation. During the advocacy led by Yiaga Africa’s Board and Management, the team visited the Osun State Commissioner of Police, Olawale Olokode; the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Osun State, Prof AbdulGaniy Raji; traditional leaders, Ataoja of Osogbo; and market women leaders.
The meeting provided a platform to build collaboration between Yiaga Africa and key stakeholders in the area of building early systems to prevent electoral violence through information dissemination and voter education.
Speaking during the meeting, Yiaga Africa’s Board member, Ezenwa Nwagwu reiterated the fact that the police occupies an important position in the pyramid of elections stakeholders and it is why Yiaga Africa partners with the police in its elections observation work.
He made reference to the 2018 Osun Governorship elections which was tough for all stakeholders including the Nigerian Police, saying election observers were not allowed to observe the second round of elections. He urged the security to put everything in place to ensure the process is better organised come July 16th, 2022.
In his remarks, the Commissioner of Police, Olowale Olokode reiterated the force’s commitment to partner with Yiaga Africa to ensure it receives information on early signals in a bid to respond immediately to prevent electoral violence, before, during or after the elections.
According to the CP Olokode, the police remains the key agency when it comes to providing internal security and election as an internal activity requires adequate protection of lives, properties and electoral materials. He commended the effort of Yiaga Africa for its transparency and independence, saying its reaction to the 2018 polls in Osun shows the organisation is plain.
He also promised to provide all needed support to ensure a peaceful election, saying the Police will have its representative at Yiaga Africa election observation data centre to enable easy access and response to critical incidents reported from polling units.
During the advocacy visit to the REC, Yiaga Africa also shared its election observation plans saying it will deplore the Parallel Vote Tabulation election observation methodology to provide timely and accurate information on the process.
The REC in his response reiterated the commission’s readiness for a credible poll saying it welcomes Yiaga Africa’s election observation intervention. He described Yiaga Africa as a beneficial partner saying he is available to be part of the Organisation’s voter education program on radio anytime he is invited.