As the November 11 governorship election in Imo State approaches, a political group supporting the Imo State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Senator Samuel Anyanwu, has raised concerns about alleged election interference by the election monitoring group, YIAGA Africa. The group, known as “Orlu West Senatorial District for Anyanwu 2023” and led by Donatus Nwogu, claims that YIAGA Africa is aligned with the Labour Party (LP) and is planning to influence the election outcome in favor of LP.
YIAGA Africa, on the other hand, disputes these claims and emphasizes its non-partisan stance, asserting that it does not support any specific political party or candidate.
The PDP group alleges that YIAGA Africa has a close association with the LP’s Deputy Governorship Candidate, Tony Nwulu, and is reportedly mobilizing resources and personnel across the state to promote LP in PDP strongholds. They claim that YIAGA Africa plans to use the Parallel Voter Tabulation (PVT) system to favor the Labour Party.
Donatus Nwogu, speaking on behalf of the PDP group, has reported these concerns to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and called on INEC to prevent partisan monitoring groups, including YIAGA Africa, from compromising the credibility of the election.
Nwogu states, “The PDP, as one of the strong contenders in the election cannot fold its arms in silence and watch this happen. We have informed INEC of this development and we are ready to take it further if INEC does not act on our report.”
In response, YIAGA Africa’s Programmes Director, Mrs. Cynthia Mbamalu, affirms the organization’s non-partisan status and its commitment to promoting electoral integrity. She clarifies that YIAGA Africa utilizes the Process and Results Verification for Transparency (PRVT) methodology to observe elections and provide accurate data on the election day process. According to Mbamalu, YIAGA Africa’s “Watching the vote” initiative is data-driven and serves all Nigerians without favoring any particular party.
The ongoing dispute highlights the importance of impartial election monitoring and the challenges that can arise when political affiliations are perceived. YIAGA Africa remains accredited by INEC to observe the Imo State election and plans to deploy non-partisan citizen observers to monitor the voting process and verify the results.