…engages, Media, Security agencies, Political parties
Yiaga Africa through its Watching The Vote is strengthening collaboration ahead of the Governorship elections in Anambra State, through strategic stakeholder engagement and advocacy visits to important stakeholders, as the team continues pre-election activities in the state. During the two-day advocacy, the team engaged the leadership of the Nigerian police and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Nigerian Union of Journalists, Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), and traditional rulers in Anambra state.
The engagement with security provided a platform for discussion around issues of election security and building early warning systems to prevent electoral violence as stakeholders plan for the November governorship election. During the visit to the Commissioner of Police, Chris Owolabi, Watching The Vote Board member, Ezenwa Nwagwu highlighted the importance of the Nigerian police in ensuring credible elections, emphasizing that the Police are at the top of the pyramid of strategic election stakeholders. In his words, “as the Co-chair of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on election security, the Commissioner of police remains a very crucial stakeholder in ensuring credible elections.”
Similarly, Yiaga Africa Director of Programs, Cynthia Mbamalu reiterated that the advocacy will help build citizens and police relationships ahead of the Governorship election. “Yiaga Africa will share its reports from violence-monitoring to ensure the police take action, to prevent violence from escalating.”
In his reaction, CP Owolabi reiterated the Force’s willingness to collaborate with Yiaga Africa saying the State police command will do everything possible to ensure the Anambra Governorship election is peaceful. While admitting that the activities of secessionist groups is a potential threat, the CP however remained confident that Anambra state is not known for violence during elections.
On his own part, the commandant of NSCDC, Vincent Ogu said the visit of Yiaga Africa is timely with just a few months to the elections. He promised to provide adequate security to all election observers while ensuring all political parties have a level playing ground to operate.
Also, recognizing the role of media in elections, the WTV team met with the leadership of the Nigerian Union of Journalists in Anambra to strengthen the existing partnerships and discuss the need for data-driven reports of elections. Chairman of the Union ably represented by the secretary recalled the role played by Yiaga Africa in de-escalating tension during the 2017 Governorship election in the state, saying the NUJ is committed to strengthening its relationship with Yiaga Africa to provide timely and accurate information on the elections.
The team also met with His Royal Majesty, Eze Nwanne, Dr. Sir, Ngene Ezeike iv Nibo, Obu Ezeike Nibo Ezeike to discuss the role of traditional rulers, as opinion leaders and agenda shapers in a bid to use his position to encourage citizens participation in the Anambra Governorship election. The advocacy visit also provided an avenue to discuss Yiaga Africa’s deployment plans for the November Governorship elections and seek stakeholder buy-in and explore areas of collaboration.