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Yiaga Africa Begins Preparations for the Edo State Governorship Election

Yiaga Africa has commenced preparations for its observation of the Edo State governorship elections which is scheduled for September 21st 2024 with a two-day intensive training for its local government supervisors, during which it charged the supervisors to ensure accurate, simplified, and data-driven reportage of pre-election activities in their various LGAs to promote citizens’ participation in the process. 

The training was held in Benin, Edo State, from June 27-28 under the #WatchingTheVote project, which is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and aims to build citizens’ confidence in elections. It drew participants from all the 18 local government areas of the state who were trained on the Process and Results Verification for Transparency (PRVT) methodology that is used in the election observation process. 

The training in progress

In her opening remarks, Cynthia Mbamalu, the Director of Programs for Yiaga Africa, emphasized that #WatchingTheVote will provide credible, independent, and objective information on the process and outcome of the election. She urged participants to be non-partisan and objective in their reporting of pre-election activities.

“This training is important for helping you understand the DOs and DONTs of observing the pre-election activities in the state which include security related issues, INEC activities in the state, voter education and violence monitoring,” she said. 

Cynthia Mbamalu, Yiaga Africa’s Director of Programmes

She also stressed the need for the supervisor to ensure they provide accurate and impartial reports.

Other topics covered during the training include violence monitoring, election day procedures, election observation tips and best practices, and how to administer and report the election observation checklist.

A session during the training

The PRVT methodology employed under the #WatchingTheVote Initiative is aimed at providing all stakeholders in elections, including the public, with credible, independent, and objective information on the conduct of the election. The methodology is based on sound, time-tested statistical principles and uses a representative sample of polling units. This ensures that the #WatchingTheVote Initiative can provide the most comprehensive and accurate picture of the election process in Edo State devoid of bias, and which can truly reflect voting patterns and conduct on election day.

Participants at the training and the #WatchingTheVote team in a group photo.

The #WatchingTheVote team also paid advocacy visits to election stakeholders including the Edo State Commissioner of Police and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Edo State to share some of Yiaga Africa’s activities in the state and to seek areas of collaboration that will ensure free, fair, and credible elections.

The #WatchingTheVote team with the Edo State Commissioner of Police

During the visit to the Commissioner of Police, the team informed the top cop that #WatchingTheVote observers will observe pre-election activities such as violence monitoring, security-related issues, political party activities, and INEC preparations.

The Commissioner of Police presenting Yiaga Africa with the award

In his response, the Commissioner of Police Funsho Adegboye, mni stated that the police are prepared for the election and assured us of providing adequate security to protect the citizens. He also urged Yiaga Africa to intensify its efforts in carrying out voter education in the state to encourage people to shun violence during the elections. A highlight of the visit was the presentation of an award to Yiaga Africa by the Edo State Police Command for its contribution to democracy and credible elections.

The team was received during the visit to the INEC office in Edo State by its Head of Elections and Political Parties, Mr Akpoguma Emmanuel, where it shared some of YIaga Africa pre-election activities in the state as well as its deployment plan for the election.

The INEC Head of Elections and Political Parties Monitoring in Edo State with the #WatchingTheVote team

In his response, Mr. Emmanuel shared details of INEC’s ongoing activities in the state and the plans being put in place to ensure a free, fair, and credible election. He mentioned that INEC is making efforts to ensure that the voter registration centers are more suitable and accessible for the election. Additionally, he emphasized the need for Yiaga Africa to share its pre-election observations with INEC, as this information will aid in planning and mitigating election risk factors.

Presenting him with reports of the #WatchingTheVote Initiative

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