By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
As the governorship election in Bayelsa and Kogi States fast approaches, an election observer, YIAGA AFRICA, yesterday, disclosed training of 1, 077 citizen observers.
The disclosure was made in a statement signed by the Executive Director, YIAGA AFRICA, Samson Itodo, as it forms part of its preparations to cover both elections.
According to Itodo the observers were trained under the Watching The Vote, WTV, project, leveraging on its 48 Master Trainers who conducted a series of training in previous elections from the Anambra 2017, Ekiti and Osun 2018, and 2019 general elections.
He also explained that the observers were trained on the essentials of election observation beginning from understating the Election Day process as provided in the Independent National Electoral Commission’s Manuals and Election guidelines, Election Day deployment, to the WTV observation methodology, using the observation forms and reporting and then guidelines/principles for election observation in line with the global principles of Global Network for Domestic Election Monitors.
WatchingTheVote is a comprehensive observation of the electoral process which includes the observation of the political party primaries, pre-election environment in all Local government areas and the Election Day observation which deploys the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT).
The PVT is a systematic observation of the voting and counting process at a representative random sample of polling units using statistical principles and information and communication technologies (ICTs) to rapidly transmit observer reports from the Polling Units to a central database.
He said: “YIAGA AFRICA under the Watching the Vote (WTV) project has concluded a comprehensive Election Day observation training for 1077 Citizen Observers in both Kogi and Bayelsa State ahead of the November 16, Governorship elections in both states.
22 Master Trainers were deployed to 20 Training Centers across eight Local Government Areas in Bayelsa State, to train all 520 Observers in Bayelsa State. Similarly, a total of 26 Master Trainers successfully trained the 526 citizen observers across all 21 Local Government Areas in Kogi State.
“In addition, a total of 29 LGA results collation observers were also trained by the WTV team. The training has adequately prepared citizen observers to observe the November 16 Governorship election which includes the Kogi West Senatorial election”, he said.
On card readers, he (Itodo) said observers were trained on training on how to observe the usage and functionality of the card reader using a tally sheet to track how each voter is processed.
“Recognizing the importance of the smart card reader for the accreditation of the voters and in line with previous observation report on the usage and functionality of the Smart Card readers, WTV observers have been trained on how to observe the usage and functionality of the card reader using a tally sheet to track how each voter is processed.
“This will enable us to track adherence to the electoral guidelines which stipulates the use of smart card readers to verify the PVCs and authenticate fingerprints of voters.
“Observers will also be observing and reporting critical incidents like delay in the arrival of electoral officials, non-usage of the smart card reader, harassment of electoral officials or voters, assault or any other shocking incident that can negatively impact on the electoral process”, he added.
Meanwhile, he further explained that “To further ensure the accuracy of election data, we have set up two simulation exercises where the WTV trained observers will respond to various election scenarios by sending their messages to the WTV database before the election.
“This will enable trained YIAGA AFRICA WTV data clerks to assess the quality of observers and training received and further enable the team to test the technology deployed for the observation ahead of the November 16, election.
He also assured that “Using the PVT, YIAGA AFRICA’s WTV will be providing credible and accurate information on the Election Day process and will be determining if the official results reflect the votes cast at the polling units.”