By Taiye Agbaje and Angela Atabo
TrackNigeria: YIAGA AFRICA, a Civil Society Organisation (CSO), assures Nigerians that the organisation would verify the accuracy of the votes declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the Saturday’s presidential election.
Mr Samson Itodo, Executive Director of the organisation, gave the assurance at a news briefing on the preliminary report of YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote (WTV) in Abuja.
He said through its parallel vote tabulation (PVT) method, the group would not hesitate to expose fraud if detected in the election outcome.
“Please, we appeal to the media to tell Nigerians that YIAGA AFRICA will be in the position to verify the accuracy of the votes declared by INEC.
“We are assuring Nigerians that any fraud detected in the votes declared by INEC will be exposed. So there is no need for any one to incite violence in the course of vote collation,” he said.
Also speaking, YIAGA AFRICA’s Board Chairman, Dr Hussaini Abdu, while presenting the preliminary statement, urged all the stakeholders in the election to refrain from acts that could plunge the nation into chaos.
According to him, YIAGA AFRICA employed the parallel vote tabulation (PVT) methodology- the gold standard for citizen observation.
“On Feb. 23 WTV deployed 3, 030 observers to a representative statistical sample of 1, 515 polling units, 46 observers to 23 voting points and 822 mobile observers located in all 774 LGAs.
“This strategy enables YIAGA AFRICA to provide timely and accurate information on accreditation, voting and counting as well as to independently verify the official results of the presidential election as announced by INEC,” he said.
Abdu said that immediately INEC announced the official results for the presidential election, the group would hold its own newsconference and issue its statement publicising its independent estimates of the election results.
“If the announced results reflect the ballots cast at polling units, then we will confirm the outcome.
“If the announced results have been manipulated and do not match the results posted at polling units, then YIAGA AFRICA will expose this,” he said.
Abdu, who reminded Nigerians that the process was not yet over, urged them to remain peaceful while waiting on INEC to announce the official results.
“Political leaders should urge their supporters in particular to calmly await the official results and take appropriate actions against any party members who engage in violence or incite violence,” he enjoined.
He said it was disheartening that the group’s preliminary estimates indicated that turnout for the presidential elections would be less than the voter turnout rate for the 2015 presidential election based on official turnout figures collected from the PVT’s representative statistical sample.
The Head of the ECOWAS Observation Mission to Nigeria and former Liberian President, Mrs Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, also attended the briefing. (NAN)