By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
Barely 24 hours to the Governorship election in Edo State, Yiaga Africa, through the Watching The Vote citizens movement, has deployed its Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology for the election.
According to Yiaga Africa, the PVT is an advanced election observation methodology that employs well-established statistical principles and sophisticated information technologies in providing timely and accurate information on the conduct of accreditation, voting, and counting, and it independently verifies the official governorship results as announced by the Independent National Election Commission, INEC.
In a statement jointly signed by the Chair of Yiaga Africa election observation mission for Edo State, Dr Aisha Abdullahi, Nigeria’s former Ambassador to Guinea and former African Union Commissioner of Political Affairs and the Yiaga Africa Executive Director, Samson Itodo, pointed that the PVT rely solely on official results from polling units.
“The PVTs are not opinion polls. Yiaga Africa citizen observers do not ask voters for whom they cast their ballot. PVT rely solely on official results from polling units. This tested and proven election observation methodology has been deployed in over 50 countries worldwide, including Nigeria – most recently by Yiaga Africa in the November 2019 Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections where it detected fraud and manipulation of results collation and declined to verify the official results declared by INEC.
“500 stationary observers to a representative statistical sample of 250 polling units and 25 mobile observers in all 18 LGAs as well as 18 collation center observers to each of the LGA Collation Centres to be deployed. The observers will observe the conduct of the process and provide systematic, accurate, and timely information on the Election Day process. Specifically, Yiaga Africa will provide accurate information on the quality of the Election Day process and ascertain if the official results announced by INEC reflect the total votes cast.
“Since PVT is based on official results from a representative random sample of polling units, Yiaga Africa will estimate the state-wide results for the governorship election within a narrow range based on well-established statistical principles. If INEC’s official results fall within Yiaga Africa’s estimated range, then the public, political parties, and candidates should have confidence that the official results reflect the ballots cast at polling units; however, if the announced results have been manipulated and do not match the polling units’ results, Yiaga Africa will expose it.”
According to the statement, the PVT is a component of Yiaga Africa’s comprehensive election observation methodology spanning the electoral cycle. Therefore, in assessing whether the 2020 Edo governorship satisfies the electoral integrity test, Yiaga Africa will consider a range of issues such as shortcomings in the pre-election period, the quality of Election Day processes, and the scale and scope of critical incidents.
“On Election Day, Yiaga Africa will receive 4,500 text messages containing approximately 56,000 individual pieces of information about the 2020 Edo governorship election. These messages will be reviewed and analyzed to ensure the information is complete, authentic, and accurate before dissemination.
“On Saturday night, Yiaga Africa will issue its estimated projections based on its preliminary data. On Sunday, September 20, 2020, at Home Ville Plus Hotel, Benin, Yiaga Africa, will share its preliminary WTV findings on the conduct of setup, accreditation, voting, and counting”, it added.
It further stated that immediately after INEC announces the official results for the governorship election, Yiaga Africa will hold its press conference and issue its statement on the election result. Yiaga Africa Watching the Vote is “Driven by Data – For All Nigerians – Beholden to None!”