TheVote team had a successful roundtable discussion with 20 media houses cutting across Radio, Television and Print media in Anambra state. The aim of the discussion is to establish a partnership with the media practitioners in the State and to discuss a media plan for effective coverage of Pre-election and election day activities.
During the discussion, Program Manager introduced #WatchingTheVote and its objectives along with the mission and vision of the Youth Initiative for Advocacy Growth and Advancement (YIAGA) to the media. She explained that #WatchingTheVote is a citizen’s observation project that is data and tech-driven with a primary objective of promoting electoral integrity and a credible, free and fair election conducted in accordance with international and regional standards as well as the Electoral laws in Nigeria.
To observe the election WatchingTheVote will be deploying the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology which as explained by the training Manger, Paul James as an advanced Election Day observation methodology that uses well-established statistical principles and sophisticated information technology to observe the election by providing real-time information on the conduct and can independently verify the accuracy of official election result announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
For the Anambra Governorship election, #WatchingTheVote will be providing accurate and comprehensive assessment of the Election Day processes, such as whether election officials followed the proper procedures, the presence and behavior of party agents, secrecy of the vote, and transparency of the counting process. WatchingTheVote has also deployed pre-election observers in the 21 local government areas to observe the pre-election activities, activities of INEC, political parties (candidate nominations and rallies) and other election stakeholders and track early warning signs using advanced observation methodologies.
For the November 2017 Anambra State Election, #WatchingTheVote will deploy 500 stationary and 27 mobile citizen observers to a representative random sample of polling units across all 21 local government areas (LGAs) in Anambra State. The sample is carefully drawn by a trained statistician to ensure every LGA is included proportionally in the sample. The number of sampled polling units for each LGA is therefore based on the percentage of polling units and registered voters in that LGA.
For effective media reportage of #WatchingTheVote activities, copies of the sample for the PREO reports, Pre-Election Statements, Election Day Preliminary Statements, and E-day Verification Statement were shared with the media practitioners at the meeting by the Monitoring and Evaluation manager, Safiya Bichi who led the discussion on the role of media in electoral reportage.
The evolution of the social media has further created new forms of citizen’s engagement especially the young generation who constitute a larger percentage of the online community and the voting population. Recognizing the importance of social media as a veritable tool for communication and engagement during the election, Watching the vote will be deploying different communication strategies and using both new and social media to engage the people. This formed a major part of the discussion by the Media Officer, Moshood Isah facilitated the session on YIAGA-WTV social media resources and media convergence for election coverage. For YIAGA, election observation can only build citizen’s confidence in the process if there is proper communication of the methodology and the findings of from the observation.
The media practitioners present expressed their commitment. The Chairman of Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the state, appreciated the WTV team and hopes this is the beginning of sustainable partnership with the media in the state as he promises adequate support to the team.
For YIAGA, elections remain fundamental to democratic governance and development and with Watching The Vote YIAGA intends not only to observe the election but to build citizens’ confidence in the election process while promoting active participation of the people of Anambra States in the election.