Ado-Ekiti — A Nigerian frontline Election Monitoring Group, Yiaga Africa, would deploy 541 elections observers to monitor the June 18 governorship poll in Ekiti State.
Addressing journalists yesterday during a media round table discussion in Ado Ekiti, a Board Member of Yiaga, Mr. Ezenwa Nwagwu, said the high number of personnel deployment is to ensure that the votes of the electorate count.
Nwagwu noted that Yiaga would be introduce a novel approach tagged “Watch The Votes Initiative (WTV),” to ensure that the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) and other state actors, would align with international best practices in conducting the much awaited poll.
The Yiaga boss said that Ekiti is unique because of its history and for having the highest number of educated people in the country, adding that Nigerians would be expecting high ethical conduct from them in this election.
Nwagwu described the WTV as a technology-driven initiative that would be deployed for Parallel Votes Tabulation (PVT) to ascertain the authenticity of votes being counted and expose fraud, rigging, and manipulation.
He preached against violence, which has been considered an impediment to the growth of Nigeria’s democracy and posited that such tendency would always necessitate negative apathy and affect the electoral system.
He said: “A total of 250 observers will be deployed in pairs to monitor polling units. We will also have 25 roving WTV observers and another 16 that will be stationed in the 16 local government areas.
“Their tasks are to monitor accreditation process, voting, counting and collation of results and the announcements at various levels.
“Our task as a reputable election observer group is to ensure that we build confidence in the citizens and let them be rest assured that their votes will count.
“However, Nigerian democracy is making progress and our role as stakeholders is to continue to inspire confidence in the citizens and let them know that the best form of government is democracy, despite all the challenges.
“If it is about dividends of democracy, military also provides that. Some of the edifices and infrastructures in the Federal Capital Territory were provided by the military, but we all jumped out of our houses and said we didn’t want them. That is why we must defend this democracy.”
Describing INEC as pivotal and critical to the success of the poll, Yiaga Project Manager, Mr. James Paul, tasked the commission to be well prepared for the coming electoral battle, saying that any infraction from the umpire could mar the process and plunge Ekiti into crisis.
Paul urged the electorate to resist vote buying because it represented an evil that is currently plaguing good governance and stalling participatory democracy in the country.
Paul said the observers group would monitor INEC and political parties’ preparedness for the poll, noting that the success of any election is determined largely by its pre-election preparations.