By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
Barely 24 hours to the Kogi State governorship election, an election observer group, YIAGA AFRICA, Friday, disclosed of deploying 500 observers to 21 local government areas of Kogi State.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Communication Officer, YIAGA AFRICA, Moshood Isah, while explaining why the group will use the Parallel Vote Tabulation, PVT, to give an accurate reports on the election in the State.
According to the group there will be strict observation during the process and expressed optimism that the election will be done according to the Electoral Act.
The statement reads in part, “YIAGA AFRICA will deploy 500 observers on 16 November 2019 to observe Kogi State governorship elections and will have mobile and stationary observers in every 21 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the state.
“We will also deploy observers to the State Collation Centres in every LGA.
YIAGA AFRICA will conduct a parallel vote tabulation or PVT – the gold standard observation methodology that has been utilized throughout Africa and the world.
“This deployment will enable YIAGA AFRICA to provide the most timely and accurate information on the opening of polls; the conduct of accreditation and voting; and the counting, announcement and posting of results throughout the country.
“Based on reports from its observers in 250 sampled polling units, YIAGA AFRICA will also provide an independent projection of voter turnout and will be able to project the vote shares that each party should receive within a narrow range. If the official results fall within YIAGA AFRICA’s estimated ranges, then the public, political parties and candidates should have confidence in the ballots cast at the polling units.”
YIAGA AFRICA also pointed out that, “Only INEC, however, has the legal mandate to announce the election results.”
Meanwhile, the group also raised concerns over the election in the state.
“Emerging concerns which include security threats, violent attacks and attempts to limit electoral competition through violence and intimidation and restriction of campaigns to certain locations.
“INEC should be on the alert regarding logistical concerns especially with locations affected by flood. Drawing from the lessons in the 2019 elections, YIAGA AFRICA is concerned with the trend of arbitrary cancellation of votes by returning, collation and presiding officers during the results collation.
“INEC as the electoral umpire should ensure that the poll is transparent and credible. The Commission must ensure that all election day polling unit and collation processes are conducted within its own guidelines to forestall complaints of bias and illegality.
“YIAGA AFRICA urges all deployed security personnel to remain neutral throughout the election. They must place priorities on protecting human rights, electoral officers, election materials and candidates during the election. Security agencies should avoid harassing and intimidating voters, election officials, observers and members of the media”, it added.
The group also urged the electorates in Kogi to come out to exercise their franchise on Saturday.
“An election characterized by low turnout may not produce the desired result hence it is important for all eligible voters to come out to vote.
“In addition, voters must resist any attempt by politicians to subvert the process through material inducement or cash.
“On Election Day, YIAGA AFRICA’s WTV Data Centre Kogi will open at 6:00 am and will remain open until the counting has finished at all sampled polling units and all WTV citizen observers have sent in all ten of their observation reports. YIAGA AFRICA’s data center is always open to the public and media.
“Throughout Election Day, YIAGA AFRICA will provide – as appropriate – updates on the conduct of the election based on the near real-time reports from its observers.
“This will be released at the data center and posted on social media at YIAGA AFRICA’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/yiaga.org) and YIAGA AFRICA’s Twitter page (@YIAGA).”