Yiaga Africa Trains 646 Observers for Ondo Governorship Election

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Ahead of the October 10 Governorship elections in Ondo State, Yiaga Africa; a citizen-led movement committed to promoting credible election under the Watching The Vote (WTV) efforts, has trained its 646 observers that  will be deployed to observe the election.

Samson Idoto, the executive director of YIAGA disclosed this in a statement made available to newsmen.

The training tagged; Election Day observation training was held in 47 training centres spread across all 18 LGAs in the state. 600 Polling Unit Stationary Observers, 27 Local Government Area roving observers and 18 collation centre observers who are all resident in Ondo state, benefited from the training. The 18 Collation Centre observers will deploy to all 18 Local Government Area collation centres to observe, document and report the process at the collation level.

Having recently trained election observers for the just concluded Edo Governorship election, Yiaga Africa’s cohort of 46 Master Trainers with extensive experience from their involvement in all the major elections conducted since 2017, stepped down the training to the local government supervisors and the polling unit observers in Ondo state. The training held from 29th September – 3rd October 2020 exposed citizen observers to the elements of election observation and reporting.

Yiaga Africa citizen observers were trained on the essentials of election observation beginning from understanding the Election Day process as provided in the Independent National Electoral Commission’s manuals and election guidelines, Election Day deployment, to the WTV observation methodology, using the observation forms. The observers were also exposed to the guidelines and principles of election observation in line with the global principles of Global Network for Domestic Election Monitors.

Having conducted its first major off-circle election amidst COVID-19 pandemic in Edo, albeit the challenges of crowd control and not maintaining physical distancing across most polling units, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must make effort to ensure improvement in the adherence to safety guidelines for the October 10th Ondo gubernatorial election. Thus, observers were also trained on how to track and report adherence to the COVID-19 prevention protocols at the polling units and LGA results collation centers. In ensuring citizen observers adhere to COVID-19 safety guidelines, Yiaga Africa has provided facemasks to all its citizen observers to ensure access to the polling units for observation.

“For the 2020 Ondo State governorship election, Yiaga Africa’s Watching The Vote (WTV) will employ the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology on election day and will deploy 600 stationary observers in pairs to a representative statistical sample of 300 polling units and 28 roving observers, 18 Collation Center observers in each of the 18 LGAs of Ondo State. The deployment strategy will enable Yiaga Africa to provide timely and accurate information on the conduct of accreditation, voting and counting as well as to independently verify the official results for the gubernatorial election as announced by INEC.

“The Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) is an Election Day observation methodology that leverages statistics and technology for the observation of the process of voting, counting and tallying of results. Citizen observers are deployed to randomly sampled polling units to collect data on the conduct of elections and official polling unit level results”, the statement added.

With the results assembled from the sampled polling units, a citizen observer group can release projected estimates and verify the accuracy of results declared by the election management body. Using this methodology, observer reports are sent via SMS to a central database which enables WTV to analyse and share timely findings on the conduct of the election in near real-time.

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