The Watching The Vote Hour election program on Peoples FM Bayelsa and Prime FM Kogi is aimed to empower citizens in both states to engage the electoral process while making informed decision, YIAGA AFRICA has said. The Civic Advocacy hub through its Watching The Vote (WTV) project has reiterated its commitment to see that citizens especially prospective voters in both Bayelsa and Kogi State, make informed decisions ahead of the November 16 Governorship elections in the states through constant engagement on Radio and other communication channels.
Speaking during the second episode of the weekly radio program; WTV Hour on Peoples FM Yenagoa, Training Manager Paul James said, the election circle are chained from the Pre-election activities up to the post-election period thus it behooves on the citizens to participate in the process right from the pre-election period. During the one hour program, Paul James emphasized the importance of the pre-election environment and why citizens need to engage the process saying the pre-election activities by stakeholders will go a long way in determining the credibility of the process.
According to him, YIAGA AFRICA has deployed 21 Long Term Observers who are currently observing prelection activities like Voter Education, Party campaigns, Activities of marginalised group amongst other activities which include the early warning indicators of electoral violence. He urged people of Bayelsa to track political parties’ campaign and manifestoes in order to be able to make informed decision.
“YIAGA AFRICA will be sharing its pre-election report with stakeholders like the electoral commission, Security agencies, Civil Society Organisations, Media and the citizens. This according to him will enable stakeholders take the right decisions ahead of the election. For instance, when we detect violent indicators, hate speech or any flash point during this period, we immediately escalate to security agencies so they can nib it in the bud as soon as possible”, he said.
He said, Long Term Observers currently residents in Local Government of observation, are observing pre-election activities around their Local Government. On election day however, observers will be deployed to sampled polling units and will remain stationary till the end of the election day process. This election day observation methodology is known as the Parallel Vote Tabulation which is the gold standard for election observation across the world.
Listeners have continued to make more inquiry about the process with questions around the collection of Permanent Voters Card and replacement of lost ones. Prospective Voters also inquired about the PVT methodology and why it makes use of estimates rather than actual figures. Reacting to this, Paul reiterate that the PVT focus on quality data and provides accurate information on the electoral process from the commencement of polls to the announcement of election results saying PVT only verifies election results announced by the electoral Commission.