A civic organisation, Yiaga Africa, which is also one of the observers in the forthcoming Ekiti State governorship election, says it’s Watching the Vote (WTV) scheme will expose malpractices peradventure such occurs.
Yiaga noted this in a statement jointly signed by its Executive Director, Samson Itodo, and Ezenwa Nwagwu, a board member.
While commending efforts put in place by the Independent National Electoral Commission to ensure credible elections, the body, however, stated that with its Parallel Vote Tabulation Methodology, it will expose malpractices peradventure there are significant discrepancies between figures collated by its 500 stationary observers and the official figures released by the electoral body.
“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.”
Yiaga Africa further appealed to both the permanent and ad hoc staff of INEC, security agents, political party candidates and their supporters as well as the people of Ekiti to work together to ensure that the governorship election is credible and peaceful.
Explaining further, the civic body stated, “Yiaga Africa will deploy 500 stationary observers to a representative statistical sample of 250 polling units and 25 mobile observers located in all 16 LGAs of Ekiti State. WTV will also deploy 16 collation centre observers to each of the LGA Collation Centers.
“The sampled polling units were determined by established statistical principles to ensure the resulting information is representative of the state and unbiased.
“Over the course of Election Day, Yiaga Africa’s data centre in Ekiti will receive 4,500 text messages containing approximately 60,500 individual pieces of information about the 2022 Ekiti governorship election.
“Once the text messages are received at Yiaga Africa’s data centre, they will be processed and reviewed to ensure the information is complete, authentic and accurate.
“Since Yiaga Africa is based on official results from a representative random sample of polling units, Yiaga Africa will be able to 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.
“The PVT is a component of Yiaga Africa’s comprehensive election observation methodology spanning the electoral cycle.
“Therefore, in assessing whether the 2022 Ekiti 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.”
Meanwhile, the body pointed out unresolved challenges which it said had in the past undermined public confidence in the electoral process. While commending INEC’s effort to improve voter access to polling units by creating an additional 250 polling units in Ekiti State, it queried why there is an imbalance in the distribution of voters to polling units while noting that there is no adequate public information on the new polling unit’s location.
It stated, “Based on INEC’s final list of polling units there are 75 polling units with over 1000 registered voters, 11 with over 2000 voters and 1 polling unit with 3,429 registered voters.”
On the issue of deployment of new technology to promote electoral integrity, Yiaga Africa expressed concern over the low public participation in mock exercise conducted by INEC with the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) noting that this may affect eligible voters on the election day.
It also noted, “As enshrined in the INEC guidelines, the conclusiveness of the election will be determined by a comparison of the total number of voters who collected their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and margin of lead between the first two candidates.
“To safeguard the transparency of election results, it is imperative for INEC to publish the disaggregated data of the number of PVCs collected per polling unit. While INEC has revealed that 76% of PVCs have been collected in Ekiti State, the collection will end on June 16, 2022.
“As soon as the PVC collection is suspended, Yiaga Africa urges INEC to provide updated figures of PVCs collected before election day and make this information available on its website.”
Also, Yiaga applauded the decision of INEC to refrain from storing sensitive materials at the Central Bank of Nigeria amid allegations of partisanship levelled against the Governor of the CBN.