Ahead of the February 16 Presidential election, YIAGA AFRICA’s under its Watching The Vote (WTV) project has concluded plans to train at least 3030 citizen observers who will be deployed to randomly selected polling units to observe Nigeria’s Presidential election. Speaking during the refresher training of Trainers during the week, WTV project Director, Cynthia Mbamalu said the training of citizen observers will commence 5th February and run through 9th of February 2019 in 149 centres across all 36 states in Nigeria.
She said, the team have a total number of 42 Master Trainers who were with the team during the Governorship elections in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun, 48 State Focal Points and 15 team members who will be deployed to training centers across Nigeria. She reiterated that, the aim of the WTV project is to promote electoral integrity and boost confidence of citizens in the electoral process.
According to Mbamalu, “as the largest citizen movement committed to credible elections in Nigeria, we will be deploying the largest number of observers for the 2019 Presidential election and we will provide accurate and real time information on the election day process”. The information YIAGA AFRICA will be providing to citizens according to Mbamalu include, time of arrival and set up by polling officials, commencement of accreditation and voting, functionality of the smart card reader and deployment of security officials.
“we will also be observing the process of voting, sorting and counting while also verifying the accuracy of the official elections result released by the electoral commission”, she said.
Training Manager, Paul James also emphasized the importance of training and retraining of observers because the election observation methodology used by YIAGA AFRICA’s WTV lays emphasis on accuracy and precision. According to James, “we will be deploying the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology which is a proven election day observation methodology that allows non-partisan citizens to observe the entire election day process using Information Communication Technology and Statistics”. According to him, the PVT enables YIAGA AFRICA to provide accurate and real time information on the election day process and verifying the accuracy of the elections result.
He said “What determines the quality of the PVT is not the numbers, it’s the response rate by the observers”. Therefore, the observer’s response is of paramount importance.