As the Anambra state election approaches, organizations, government, its officials and media houses are all hands on deck to make sure that a credible election is held. In this regard, Premium Times in collaboration with Centre for Democracy and Development and the OSIWA held a training on the 12th of September 2017 at Chicotel Hotel Awka, Anambra state, with a group of prospective election observers.
It kicked off at 9.30am with an introduction from Adedeji Adekunle of Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism and down to the participants, then Mr. Idris Akinbajo the Managing Editor of Premium Times in his introductory speech said that the training is meant to teach the participants on how to go about observing electoral processes.
“It isn’t a compulsory training and therefore anyone who feels he or she won’t be available for the job or is too partisan is free to opt-out.”
The first session began with Yusuf Shamsudeen of Centre for Democracy and Development an election expert, with a presentation tagged- Understanding Nigeria’s Electoral Cycle.
He said that the electoral cycle encompasses series of activities and processes leading up to elections as well as time between and after elections. Election is a continuous process and not an isolated event. Anambra state and some other states in Nigeria have an off-cycle electoral system, with that of Anambra been attributed to the Ngige-Peter Obi era.
He went further to talk about electoral activities. Pre-election activities, the election proper, and the post-election activities. Most people argue that the post-election the same as the pre-election since elections are a continuous process. These activities include legal framework, planning and implementation, voters’ registration amongst others.
Idris Akinbajo of Premium Times, speaking on Journalism and Pre-election observation: Expectations and Methods, said this process involves the monitoring of matters existing or occurring before an election. With focus on the upcoming Anambra election, this can be done through information gotten from candidates, political parties, INEC, residents, eligible voters, civil society organizations and others.
The training had an attendance of 26 participants. These participants at the end of the training were charged with the responsibility of doing their research on the pre-election activities in the state in other to be able to hold aspirants accountable for their actions and help the citizenry make informed choices.
In an interview with one of the participants, Mgbedike Emmanuel Ejiofor, he said: “It was very educating and also an eye opener that makes us more refreshed and aware of the right steps to take during the election periods”.
Mr. Shamsudeen Yusuf said that the expectations from the training are high and include working with the trainees to achieve accountability and transparency. “To provide a context for what will happen before, during and after election” he said.
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