Ekiti Decides: International observers express fears over insecurity, rigging

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A group of election observers, YIAGA AFRICA, has assured the people of Ekiti State that their votes will count in Saturday’s governorship election going by the preparations and assurances of the Independent National Electoral commission (INEC) and the security agencies.

YIAGA AFRICA Executive Director, Samson Itodo, expressed concern at the disturbing rumour of voter inducement ahead of the election, saying such was capable of undermining citizens’ confidence in the integrity of election.

Itodo, who spoke at a Civil Societies Organisation (CSO)/Media Parley in Ado Ekiti where he released YIAGA AFRICA’s third report on the pre-election environment in Ekiti State as part of the Watching the Vote (WTV) Pre-Election Observation (PREO) project, said peaceful election was expected in view of the heavy deployment of policemen and other security agents.

He said the organization would deploy strategy that would enable it 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.

While lauding the instruction by INEC that electoral officers should post the result of each unit there, Itodo urged electorate to insist that the results were pasted saying such had vital roles to play in transparency.

He said YIAGA would employ the parallel vote tabulation (PVT) methodology on Election Day – the gold standard for citizen observation.

“On July 14, 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 (LGAs) of Ekiti State” in addition to deployment of 16 collation centre observers to each of the council area collation centres.

While reviewing findings of the report which covers the period between June 23 and July 5, 2018, Itodo called on all registered voters yet to collect their permanent voters’ card from the appropriate ward distribution center to do so before the deadline on Wednesday, July 11.

He commended INEC for beginning preparations in the state early, which included activities undertaken to inform and educate voters, particularly applauded voter education efforts targeted at women, persons with disability and youth.

According to him, YIAGA observers reported lower levels of voter education activities conducted by both INEC and CSOs in this third period as compared to the previous report.

While noting 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.
According to him, YIAGA AFRICA, an NGO which has been involved in election observation in Nigeria since 2007, promotes democracy, constitutionalism and youth participation in Africa, and achieves its goal through research, capacity development and policy advocacy.

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