- All eyes are on Ekiti as the state prepares for a governorship election on Saturday, July 24
- Election observers are on ground to keep an eye on the entire electoral exercise to ensure its credibility and YIAGA Africa is leading the pack with its Watching the Vote election reports
- The group has expressed concern at significant reports of voter inducement as both witnessed and heard of by citizen observers
YIAGA Africa on Tuesday, July 10, released its third report on the pre-election environment in Ekiti state as part of the Watching the Vote (WTV) Pre-Election Observation (PREO) project.
The report summarizes findings from 24 long-term observers who have been deployed in all 16 local government areas of Ekiti state since Friday, May 25, to gather systematic information on the pre-election environment, including early warning signs of violence.
NAIJ.com gathered that the observers are locally recruited and report on activities in their communities using a standard checklist once every two weeks.
The report - which covers the period from Saturday, June 23 to Thursday, July 5, highlighted four important findings:
1. Watching the Vote observers reported that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is currently undertaking the distribution of Permanent Voters Cards in all local government areas of the state.
YIAGA Africa called upon all registered voters who have not yet collected their permanent voters’ card from the appropriate ward distribution center to do so before the deadline on Wednesday, July 11.
2. YIAGA Africa commended INEC for beginning preparations in the state early, which included activities undertaken to inform and educate voters. YIAGA particularly applauded voter education efforts targeted at women, persons with disability and youth.
However, YIAGA observers reported lower levels of voter education activities conducted by both INEC and civil society organisations in this third period as compared to the previous report.
3. YIAGA Africa noted a high level of campaigning as the election draws near. YIAGA Africa called on all electoral stakeholders to participate peacefully in the process, including at campaign rallies.
4. YIAGA Africa expressed concern at significant reports of voter inducement as both witnessed and heard of by citizen observers, noting that even rumours of voter inducement can undermine citizen confidence in the integrity of elections.
Meanwhile, YIAGA has said it employ the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology on election day - the gold standard for citizen observation.
On election day, WTV will deploy 500 stationary observers to a representative statistical sample of 250 polling units and 25 mobile observers located in all 16 local government areas of Ekiti state. WTV will also deploy 16 collation centre observers to each of the local government area collation centres.
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NAIJ.com gathered that this deployment strategy will enable YIAGA Africa provide timely and accurate information on the conduct of accreditation, voting, and counting as well as to independently verify the official results for the Ekiti gubernatorial election as announced by INEC.
YIAGA Africa has been involved in election observation since 2007 and it is one of the leading organizations working on elections in Nigeria. The organisation achieves its goal through research, capacity development and policy advocacy.
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