By Nefishetu Yakubu
Benin – Yiaga Africa, a civil society organisation, on Sunday, said it had concluded plans to deploy 500 election observers to 250 polling units in the upcoming governorship election in Edo.
Mr Samson Itodo, Executive Director of the organisation, said during a virtual meeting held with journalists in Benin that 24 long term observers and 18 collation observers would also be deployed for the election.
Itodo said the organisation would be using the Watch The Vote (WTV) plan for the elections as citizens vote amidst COVID-19.
“Watching the Vote (WTV) election project is a comprehensive observation of the electoral process which includes the observation of the political party primaries, pre-election activities and the election day observation.
“WTV aim is to provide timely and accurate information about the election processes to voters and stakeholders.
“This will ensure that citizens’ votes count by deterring fraud and manipulation during the conduct of elections and collation of results, thereby building citizens confidence in the process”.
Itodo also explained that the WTV election project was a movement of citizens committed to credible elections using credible data to counter misinformation while also improving quality of election reporting.
He noted that the recruitment process for governance was subject to credible elections which would lead to accountability adding that, office holders would know that there would be consequence for bad governance.
According to him, having an alternative citizens’ voice to speak on the electoral process is very valuable to the electoral process.
” Engaging the media is strategic to building partnership and collaborations in order to disseminate credible information.
“Yiaga Africa is also engaging the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) policies for the conduct of elections amidst COVID-19 to ensure the election is inclusive and meets the test of integrity.
“The experiences of our observation of previous elections in Kogi, Bayelsa and the 2019 elections will serve as a lesson to improve on the quality of the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo,” he said.
According to him, the organisation will be deploying its long term observers to all local government areas to observe and report pre-election activities of INEC, voter education and government response to COVID-19 in the state.