Yiaga Africa ,a civil society organisation, has pledged to promote the intergrity of the 2023 General Election, through its Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT).
Executive Director, Yiaga Africa, Samson Itodo, said this at the Yiaga Africa Watching The Vote (WTV) Media Roundtable on the 2023 Presidential Election and Deployment of PVT, in Abuja on Thursday.
Itodo said that the aim of the round table was for Yiaga Africa to reel out its intervention for the elction and to keep journalists abreast with its programmes.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that PVT was an election day observation methodology that leveraged on statistics and technology for the observation of the process of voting, counting and tallying of results.
The process involved the deployment of citizen observers to randomly sampled polling units to collect data on the conduct of the elections and official polling units results.
Itodo said that with the results assembled from the sampled polling units, a citizen observer group could release projected estimates and verify the accuracy of results declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
He said tha PVT allowed Yiaga Africa WTV to present an accurate and comprehensive assessment of the election day processes.
He said that Yiaga Africa would deploy 3014 statutory and 774 LGAs as well as 48 mobile citizen observers to a representative random sample of 1507 polling units across the 36 states and the FCT.
“For us at Yiaga Africa, when we think about the upcoming 2023 general elections there are a few things that actually come to mind because our vision is a people driven democratic and developed Africa.
“We see that there is a decline in the level of public participation not just in elections but in governance.
“However, there is also the added need to protect the integrity of elections because one of the reasons why people don’t show up at elections, is a lack of trust and faith in the electoral process.
“So we have seen, based on our work and engagement, that there is a need to protect election integrity because if we protect election integrity people will believe that their vote will count in elections,” he said.
Itodo said that although the electoral process had witnessed growth in the use of technology deployment,there was need to create a balance so as to avoid marginalisation .
He said that was why Yiaga Africa thought it was important to frame strategic objectives to align and respond to the technology trend.
He said that the organisation was poised to achieving four objectives in the 2023 election.
Itodo said that the first objective had to do with providing citizens with a repository of accurate, simplified and concise information on the electoral process to improve turnout.
He said that the second was to limit election manipulation through Yiaga Africa’s trends analysis as well as strategic observation.
He said that the third was to protect the integrity of the 2023 elections through data driven election observation and the fourth was to provide technical support to marginalised groups.
Itodo called for the extension of the PVC collection to enable eligible voters get their cards.
Speaking,the National President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr Chris Isiguzo,commended Yiaga Africa for the initiative adding that it showed a sense of commitment to ensuring a credible election.
“This is a very crucial election that has the capacity to make or mar the corporate existence of our beloved country, but we believe that by the time we go through this democratic process that we are going to emerge even stronger as a country,” he said.
Isiguzo said the media remained highly strategic in the electoral process and urged them not to encourage the dissemination of fake news, misinformation and disinformation.
He also advised journalists not to allow political actors take advantage of them and to also not pander to their whims at any time.
”We must therefore via our reportage ensure that we promote development journalism,” he said.
Also speaking,Ms Ladi Bala, the National President of National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), said journalists had critical roles to play in the electoral process as Nigeria election is a project that should be placed above any other issues.
Bala said the 2023 general election would define the future of Nigeria, saying that as critical stakeholders, journalists should play their role well in an unbiased way.