Osun Poll: Group Trains 31 Pre-Election Observers

The Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement-Africa (YIAGA-Africa), on Thursday in Osogbo said it had trained 31 long-term pre-election observers for the September 22 governorship election in Osun.

A statement by Executive Director of YIAGA-Africa, Mr Samson Itodo, said the trained observers would help the group to detect early warning signals which may affect the credibility of the electoral process.

He said that the observers, who would also act as local government supervisors, had been deployed across the 30 local councils in the state.

Itodo said that the group’s “Watching The Vote (WTV) project’’ is a citizen-led election initiative aimed at enhancing the integrity of elections using technology and evidence-based research methodology tools for election observation.

“Through the Pre-Election observation, YIAGA Africa will track early warning signs and any form of incident that can hinder the successful conduct of the election.

“In this vein, WTV pre-election observers will observe and report issues relating to hate speech campaigns, intimidation and harassment of any electoral stakeholder and attacks on media or INEC officials,” Itodo said.

The statement said Osun Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Olusegun Agbaje, who was at the forum, had commended YIAGA on its efforts at building a lasting democracy in Nigeria.

Agbaje said that the collaborative efforts of Civil Society Organisations would in no small measure assist the commission, especially in the areas of knowledge sharing workshops as well as voter and civic education.

“I, therefore, want to use this opportunity to commend the organisers of this very laudable training programme.

“I also urge you to keep the journey toward making INEC one of the best election management bodies in the world that meets the  aspirations of the Nigerian people,” the statement quoted Agabje as saying.