Praise Azeh January 16, 2024 0

Praise Azeh

“I now pronounce you…”

Hold on.

This isn’t a love story.

Well, maybe some sort of love story, but definitely not between a woman and I.

Let’s go back to the top. 

“I now pronounce you…a CODE staff”


I officially started my journey as a CODEr (term for CODE staff) in November 2023.

As usual, I got in and had to carefully watch my surroundings as I was in a new environment.

The first thing I noticed was the warm ambiance of staff; everyone was very friendly and welcoming. 

I had thought it was the usual newbie welcome where everyone just gave a smile as required. However, so many weeks later, that warmth hasn’t reduced. 

Could I be more grateful?

Thus, getting settled in wasn’t hard for me. I easily found my spot and got right to it.

Then, it happened!

My boss walked in on my first day (Tuesday) and said the words that hit me hard at first, but later led me into one of the best first experiences I’ve ever had on a job.

“Are you the new Comms guy?”, he asked with a smile that so quickly switched into a straight face.

“Yes, Sir”, I responded

“Get ready, you’re going with us on Thursday to Kogi state, for the elections monitoring. I want to see what you can do with us on the field.”

I went blank.

Was he serious? Was he joking? My first day at the office and I am being told to prepare for a journey!

A lot of thoughts ran through my mind, but I later decided to go on the trip (though it was later made optional). It ended up being a great decision as I got valuable professional and personal experience that I’m still running with, months after.

Why were we going to observe elections?

CODE is an accredited Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) observer, ensuring free and fair elections through systematic observation. Our reports contribute to transparency, accountability, and the credibility of the democratic process in Nigeria. Leveraging on our election intelligence tool – UZABE, we have actively engaged in monitoring elections both internationally- in the US, Kenya, and Liberia, and nationally, including the recently concluded 2023 Nigerian general and off-cycle elections in Kogi, Bayelsa and Imo states. 

Amazing, isn’t it?

We got to Lokoja just after noon and got straight to work.

Our first stop was the Central Bank of Nigeria, Lokoja, to crosscheck sensitive and non-sensitive election materials. Then, we went straight to the hotel and set up our Situation Room.

The Situation Room is where we track electoral happenings, get first-hand news, verify, and post. The hub in Lokoja covered for the three states: Kogi, Imo, and Bayelsa.

I was taught how the UZABE platform worked, and on the D-day, we got right into it. 

It was a tasking and yet, beautiful experience.

We had to keep tabs on and upload information being sent by our over 80 observers across all the polling units in the three states. Most importantly, we had to verify them, as we are known for pushing out only verified information.

I had to develop press statements for the various press releases we had and then co-coordinate the media briefing, where I was introduced as the new Media Officer for CODE.

It was an amazing experience!

Thankfully, it was a peaceful election and we set off back to Abuja on Sunday.

I left Lokoja fulfilled.


I had contributed my part in enlightening citizens and contributing to a free and fair election.  This was the first time I was involved in an election (aside from just voting) and played a significant part in its proceedings.

I’m happy with the work we do at CODE and I’m ever grateful to have joined this family.

Did I also mention that the journey was very comfortable and ‘food-filled’?

Yes! CODE takes very good care of CODErs.

I look forward to more experience-filled and impactful trips.

Till the next…