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YIAGA Africa deploys technology to check credibility of results

By Matthew Ogune, Abuja
19 September 2020   |   4:11 am
Ahead of the September 19 governorship election in Edo state, Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA Africa), through the Watching The Vote citizens movement...

Ahead of the September 19 governorship election in Edo state, Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA Africa), through the Watching The Vote citizens movement, is deploying its Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology to verify the official governorship results as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

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 INEC.

YIAGA’s Executive Director, Samson Itodo, who disclosed this yesterday in Abuja, said the PVTs are not opinion polls.

Itodo explained: “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.”

Itodo stated that the group would deploy 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 centre observers to each of the LGA Collation Centres.

He continued: “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 reflects 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 our 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.”

Itodo further said: “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, we 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 analysed 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 HomeVille Plus Hotel, Benin, we will our preliminary WTV findings on the conduct of setup, accreditation, voting, and counting. Immediately after INEC announces the official results, we will hold our press conference and issue statement on the election result.”