YIAGA Africa, the biggest election observer group presently has said it is deploying 3,906 observers throughout the country, for the 2019 Presidential election.
Chairman, YIAGA Africa, Watching the Vote Dr Hussaini Abdu, stated this in his remarks at YIAGA Africa Watching The Vote(WTVs)Preliminary Press Conference on Observation Plans for the Presidential election on February 16 2019 and the pre-election environment leading up to the 2019 elections
In his words” for the Presidential election, YIAGA Africa will deploy a total of 3,906 observers throughout the country. This is comprised of 3,076 stationary Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) observers deployed to a random representative statistical sample of 1,515 polling units and 23 voting points. 877 roving observers and 8 Working Group Members who run real time election analysis. He added that YIAGA Africa will also deploy observers to the state collation centers in every state.
According to him “ Utilizing information communications technology and statistical principles, PVT is the gold standard for citizenship election observation and has been utilized throughout Africa and the world, adding that in recent elections in Africa, the conduct of PVTs by nonpartisan citizen organisations has bolstered citizen confidence and provided credible independent estimates of presidential election results”
The Chairman further stated that “On Election Day, YIAGA Africa expects to receive more than 30,000 observer reports containing over 500,000 unique pieces of information in the process and results of the election. Over 94 data clerks as well as a team of data analyst will work tirelessly throughout February 16/17 to process, analyse and verify these reports at the Watching the Vote National Data Centre”
Dr Abdu maintained that the deployment will enable YIAGA Africa to provide the most timely and accurate information on the opening of the polls, the conduct of accreditation and voting, the counting and announcement and posting of result throughout the country.
The Chairman further revealed that “YIAGA Africa had received reports from its long term observers in Anambra state regarding a fire in the INEC headquarters in Awka. The fire reportedly destroyed upwards of 4,000 smart cards readers and is the third fire reported in an INEC facility over the previous two-week period”
“Fires were also recently reported at the INEC headquarters in Abia and Plateau states. YIAGA Africa registers concern regarding this trend and calls on state security forces to remain vigilant in providing adequate security for sensitive election materials and personnel.
In her remarks, Watching the Vote Project Coordinator, Cynthia Mbamalu said what they are focusing on is the election process, how voting and counting was done at the polling units and getting the results from each of the sample polling units.
In addition, we will have mobile observers who will be roving across each state and local governments, so that if there are incidence, they will send us physical incidence reports and we escalate that, so we have a total of 822 mobile observers across the states and a team of experts (8) of them who serve as our experts, working group and give analysis of our findings.
She maintained that in deploying the PVT, “We would verify the accuracy of the elections results announced by the electoral commission and will also provide updates from when polling officials will arrive polling units, security conduct, and how each voter was processed at the point of accreditation and voting”.