A non Governmental Organization, YIAGA Africa under it’s Watching The Votes (WTV), said that it will be deploying 500 observers for the Saturday governorship election, in Kogi state.
The group also added that they have mobile and stationary observers in all 21 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state so as to have accurate and comprehensive reports of the electoral process.
YIAGA AFRICA, a non-partisan and independent citizens movement on electoral integrity has equally called on security agencies to tackle violence threats and early warnings as the electorate go to the polls.
Executive Director, YIAGA AFRICA, Samson Itodo, who made the call on Friday in Lokoja during a pre-election press briefing hosted by YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote (WTV), said the call was imperative to avoid escalation or spillover on election day.
According to Itodo, INEC as the electoral umpire should ensure that the poll is transparent and credible, adding that the Commission must ensure all polling unit and collation processes are handled as scheduled.
“YIAGA AFRICA urges security agencies to ensure protection for vulnerable voters especially women and persons with disabilities”, he said.
He said YIAGA AFRICA will be deploying 500 observers for the election, adding they have mobile and stationary observers in all 21 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the state.
“YIAGA AFRICA 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. Only INEC, however, has the legal mandate to announce the election results”, he said.
During the Press briefing, YIAGA AFRICA raised 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.
The report also put INEC 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.
“YIAGA AFRICA calls out to the people of Kogi state to come out en mass to exercise their civic responsibility by voting for their preferred governorship candidate on Saturday”, he said .Share this on WhatsApp