By Angela Atabo
Abuja, Feb.21, 2019 YIAGA AFRICA, a civil society organisation has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to address the issues of wrong deployment of materials to some states ahead of the elections.
Dr Aisha Abdullahi, Co-Chair, YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote Group made the call while briefing newsmen on INEC’s preparedness for the rescheduled elections on Thursday in Abuja.
Abdullahi said that materials meant for particular states and regions were being taken to other regions and this needed to be quickly addressed ahead of the polls.
She said that the group was also concerned with reports of shortfalls in sensitive and non-sensitive materials like results sheets, stamps and indelible ink.
“We are also worried with reported cases of mistakes in the deployment of materials to some states.
“To avert confusion and crisis, INEC needs to ensure a comprehensive open and inclusive audit of retrieved materials.
“Where materials have been wrongly deployed to states, INEC should ensure the materials are redeployed.
“In the event of shortfalls, INEC should engage local vendors to print materials to address reported cases of shortfalls,‘’she said.
Abdullahi said that YIAGA AFRICA commended the commitment of INEC to sharing information with stakeholders through the daily briefing by the INEC Chairman.
She said that the daily briefing availed citizens with adequate information on INEC’s preparations.
She urged INEC to maintain the briefing throughout the 2019 elections and it should be replicated at the states and local governments level by Resident Electoral Commissioners and Electoral Officers.
She called on INEC to ensure a high degree of transparency at all levels.
Mr Zenwa Nwagwu, a Board Member YIAGA AFRICA urged security agencies to exercise their functions within constitutional limits.
Nwagwu said that the rights of citizens should be respected before, during and after the elections.
“YIAGA AFRICA reminds all security agencies involved in election security operations that the 2010 Electoral Act as amended prescribes electoral offences and sanctions.
“Therefore, it will be unconstitutional and a disregard of the rule of law to invoke sanctions not prescribed by law for electoral offences.’’ he said.
Nwagwu said that YIAGA AFRICA noted a surge in the propagation of hate speech, fake news and misinformation following the postponement of the election.
He said that this portended great danger to peace and national security.
He urged electoral stakeholders, especially candidates and political party leaders to refrain from heating up the polity as Nigeria was on a fringe of a potential electoral conflict if caution was not exercised.
Mr Samson Itodo, the Executive Director, YIAGA AFRICA said the group under its Watching The Vote (WTV) project would observe the polls and release detailed statistics covering all aspects of the Feb. 23 polls.
Itodo said that this would involve accreditation, voting, counting and posting of results, adding that as soon as INEC announced the official results, YIAGA AFRICA would follow up to share its own statement on the accuracy of the results.
According to him, YIAGA AFRICA deployed 3,906 observers in the 774 LGAs to monitor the implementation of INEC’s reviewed election logistical plan using a Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) method.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the PVT is an election observation methodology that is based on a representative random sample of polling units and it is employed for independent verification or challenge of election results.
“Utilising information communications technology and statistical principles, PVT is the gold standard for citizen election observation, and has been utilised throughout Africa and the world,’’ Itodo said.
Itodo said that on Election Day YIAGA AFRICA would expect to receive more than 33,000 observer reports containing over 500,000 unique pieces of information on the process and results of the election.
He said that YIAGA AFRICA was fully prepared to observe the rescheduled 2019 elections, adding that the group was strictly nonpartisan without affiliation to any political party, candidate or state agency.
Edited by Grace Yussuf