….promises to expose all election frauds
By Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA- AHEAD of general elections on February 16 and March 2, 2019, a Civil Society Organisation and election observer, YIAGA Africa, at the weekend, disclosed deploying the Parallel Vote Tabulation, PVT, methodology and 3, 906 election observers to polling units in all 774 local government areas across the country.
The Executive Director, YIAGA Africa, Samson Itodo, disclosed this at an interactive session with the media tagged ‘YIAGA Africa Watching the Vote Media Roundtable on the 2019 Elections and Parallel Vote Tabulation’ held in Abuja.
Samson who expressed concern on accurate reportage before, during and after the elections said it has become imperative for the media to work together with YIAGA Africa to give accurate data on election results for the world to rely on and also to boost the confidence of voters in the country over results that would emanate from each polling unit indicating a credible, fair and acceptable electoral process.
According to him the organization deployed PVT in the 2011 and 2015 general elections respectively included recent governorship elections in some states. He also added that YIAGA Africa has technical partners include National Democratic Institute, NDI, USAID and UKaid.
The PVT was developed in the Philippines by activists under the auspices of the Philippine National Citizen Movement for Free Elections, NAMFREL, who are widely recognized as the pioneers of the quick count, or Parallel Vote Tabulation, PVT, during the 1986 presidential election in that county to uncover the massive vote counting fraud.
He said: “The call to action by different stakeholders to quickly rise up in defence of democracy and as we go into these elections in the next two weeks we have got a big challenge before us, and that challenge before us is that this election reflect the will and wishes of the Nigerian people, and to make that happen Civil Society and the media would really need to work together because February 16th and March 2nd is only the unique opportunity that Nigerians will have to assert their sovereignty and the process for which they would do that has to be in compliance with standards.
“So what we are going to be doing in deploying the Parallel Vote Methodology, PVT, is to ensure that that process is actually free, fair and credible.
“And more importantly, the message actually for the Nigerian people as well as the politicians who would stop at nothing but to compromise the process is if there is fraud, if anyone attempts to compromise this election The YIAGA Africa Watching the Vote Parallel Vote Tabulation will expose it. We are sending this warning out that we would expose it.”
He also assured Nigerians, candidates and political parties on what YIAGA Africa is doing by giving alternative to the Nigerian people on accuracy on election results based on its capacity to verify whether any results declared by INEC, particularly on the presidential election and there would be no need to take to violence, cause any form of instability because there is a methodology that can provide evidence.
Also speaking was Training Manager, YIAGA Africa, Paul James disclosed that 3,906 observers would be deployed to the wards in all the 774 local government areas of the country.
“YIAGA Africa will be deploying 3, 906 observers in all the 774 Local Government Areas of the country. We are currently in the process of concluding the recruitment of these observers that we intend to train them under the PVT methodology.
“They would be deployed our sample polling units and then they observe the entire election process from the beginning of the election to the end of the election and they send in information to us in their purest form.
“The deployment is systematic, we get the data and share the data, we don’t just get data from the blues and make unnecessary reports, the observers deployed to the polling units report based on what is happening is in their polling units. The PVT will also detect and expose vote buying during the 2019 election.
Also speaking in the same vein, the Senior Advisor, Elections, NDI, Richard Klein, stressed on accurate data the media should have access to as part of their reportage via YIAGA Africa.
Klein also said the PVT would drastically reduce election results manipulation as the results would be directly sent to the YIAGA Africa data centre in Abuja by its observers immediately from the polling units in all 774 LGAs.