Yinka Kolawole Osogbo
YIAGA AFRICA Watching thursday received the Osun State Resident Electoral Commissioner of Independent National Electoral Commissioner (INEC), Mr. Olusegun Agbaje at thier Training for Long Term Observers in Osun State.
Ahead of the September 22 governorship elections in Osun State, a group, YIAGA AFRICA, has trained 31 long term observers who will work at the pre-election environment in the state.
The pre-election observation will help YIAGA AFRICA detect early warning signals which may affect the credibility of the process, it stated.
During the training exercise in Osogbo, the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of Independent National Electoral Commissioner (INEC), Mr. Olusegun Agbaje, expressed appreciation to YIAGA AFRICA for its collaborative role with the commission over the years as part of efforts towards building a true and lasting democracy in Nigeria.
The REC said: “The collaborative efforts of civil society organisations will in no small measure assist the commission especially in the areas of knowledge sharing workshops, voter and civic education among other efforts.
“I therefore want to use this opportunity to commend the organisers of this very laudable training programme and also urge you to keep the journey going towards making INEC one of the best election management bodies in the world that meets aspirations of the Nigerian people.”
The commission, according to the REC, will leverage on the support of critical stakeholders in ensuring that no stone is left unturned to ensure a credible, violence-free, transparent and acceptable governorship election in Osun State.
As part of preparation for the election, INEC said it has accomplished milestones which include distribution of 1,114,356 Permanent Voters Card (PVCs) representing 66.79 percent collection rate. The smart card reader has been enhanced which is also good news to curb any malpractice. YIAGA AFRICA is also glad that the commission has received non sensitive materials in time for the elections.
“We are excited that INEC has decided to increase its voter education and public enlightenment campaign through critical stakeholders to tackle incidence of vote buying and selling. The commissioner also told us they have engaged stakeholders in a bid to strengthen relationship with a view to sensitise them on the need to always play their roles effectively and positively,” he stated.
The long term observes who also double as Local Government Supervisors were deployed to each of the 30 local government areas in the state to report on events, activities and critical incidents using a specialised checklist and critical incident form. The observation reports from the field are sent in form of coded SMS to the WTV Data Centre bi-weekly while the critical incidents are sent in as they occur and properly escalated after verification.