Tuesday, November 30, 2010

USA Africa Dialogue Series - Project 2011 Swift Count of Elections Launched in Nigeria

Launch of Project 2011 Swift Count on Thursday, September 16,
2010 at Lagos/Osun Hall, Transcorp Hilton Hotel
What are our Objectives?

The principal objectives of the partners are the following:

 To promote free, fair, peaceful, credible and legitimate elections in Nigeria;
 To deter possible fraud and mistakes in the electoral process by observers
throughout the process;
 To enhance transparency of the electoral process by providing timely, systematic and
representative reports on the conduct of voting and counting;
 To build confidence, when appropriate, in the accuracy of the official results as
announced by INEC through independent verification; and
 To demonstrate the strength and benefit of partnership and collaboration among
Nigerian civil society towards enhancing the credibility of the electoral process;

In meeting these objectives, the partners will be guided by the Nigerian Constitution, the
recently amended electoral laws,the international and regional standards for the conduct of
elections and election observations. Our activities will also be informed by "Declaration of
Global Principles for Nonpartisan Election Observation and Monitoring by Citizen
Organizations". These principles were drafted by the Global Network of Domestic Election
Monitors (GNDEM) and affirm Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
(UNDH) which essentially promotes genuine democratic elections, expressed by the free will
of the people, as the basis of the derivation of governmental authority.
12 A.E Ekukinam Street, Utako District, Abuja
Tel: 09 8700764 or 07098120144
Email: info@pscnigeria.org
Website: www.pscnigeria.org
Face book: Project 2011 Swift Count
Twitter: swiftcount
Media inquiries should be directed to: Muritala Abdul-Rasheed at +234 8163464024
Project 2011 Swift Count involves comprehensive observation of the 2011 general election including systematic observation of voting and counting at a representative random sample of polling using the PVT methodology and employing information and communication technologies (ICTs). The partner organizations will jointly deploy and receive reports from a total of 9,000 observers who will be stationed at 4,500 polling stations located in all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as well as in all 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs).
Through "Project 2011 Swift Count" the partner organizations will jointly seek to provide the public, political parties, electoral authorities with.

There is a lack of confidenceamong Nigerians in the conduct of elections and the accuracy of the results following successive elections that have failed to meet international and regional standards. However, in response to the public commitment of the President to genuine elections and the appointment of a new Chair for the Independent National Election Commission (INEC), Project 2011 Swift Count is being undertakento promote free, fair, peaceful, credible and legitimate elections for all Nigerians. This endeavour is being jointly implemented by: Federation of Muslim Women's Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN); Justice, Development and Peace/Caritas Nigeria (JDPC), Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and Transition Monitoring Group (TMG).

This initiative involves comprehensive observation of the generalelections (beginning with voterregistration) using advanced observation methodologies.As part of theproject, observers are deployed to a representative random sample of polling stations in all 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs). It is possible to draw a statistically sound sample because, in accordance with the Section 46 of the Electoral Act 2010,INEC provides a comprehensive list of all polling stations. Project 2011 Swift Count also employs information and communication technologies (ICTs) to rapidly transmit observer reports. Observers send coded text messages via mobile phones directly into a computer database located at a national information centre.

Deploying observers to a sample of polling stations and rapidly transmitting their reports using text messages,permits the initiativeto use time-tested statistical principles to provide quick,precise and representative information on voting and counting. In addition,because observers record the individual results from sampled polling stations,Project 2011 Swift Count canindependently verify the accuracy of the official results as announced by INEC in Abuja.The projectwill not announce official results. This is the responsibility of INEC.
As this is the first time the methodologyis being used in Nigeria, Swift Counts are being undertakenfor the presidential election and six gubernatorial elections (one in each geo-political zone).
Project 2011 Swift Count will carry out its observations in accordance with the "Declaration of Global Principles for Nonpartisan Election Observation and Monitoring by Citizen Organizations".

Goal of Project 2011 Swift Count
Project 2011 Swift Count'svisionis a Nigeria where elections are free, fair and peaceful as well as viewed as credible and legitimate by its citizens. To achieve this goal, project seeks toenhance the confidence of the public and political contestants in the electoral process and the official results as announced by INEC. By providing more precise and representative information on voting and countingas well as independent verification of the official results as announced by INEC, Project 2011 Swift Count can: deter possible electoral fraud; increase transparency in the electoral process; and ensure that the elections truly reflect the will of the people.

Use of the Swift Count Methodology
The Swift Count methodology was first developed by citizen observers in the Philippines in 1986. It has been used in numerous countries in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe. In Africa, the Swift Count approach was recently employed for the Constitutional Referendum in Kenya in August 2010. It has also been usedin Ghana, Madagascar, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.For Project 2011 Swift Count, the methodology is being adapted to the unique conditions present in Nigeria.

Project 2011 Swift Count Leadership
National Steering Committee (NSC) 1st Co-Chair is Akuro George the 2nd Co-Chair is Mashood Erubami. The other NSC members are: Dr. Aisha Akanbi; Rev. Fr. Zacharia Samjumi; Priscilla Achakpa; Rev. Fr. Bernard Asogo; Ruben James; and Farida Sada Yusuf. In addition, Hajia Bikisu and Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) are honorary members.

Project 2011 Swift Count Structures
A joint National Secretariat, headed by Victor Agbogun,is responsible for the day-to-day manage-ment of Project 2011 Swift Count. The structure includes State Coordinating Committees in all 36 states plus the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as well asLGA Supervisors in all 774 LGAs. For the general elections, Project 2011 Swift Count is deploying thousands of volunteer observers to polling stations located in every LGA.All staff and observers are:recruited from the four partner organization; trainedthrough Project 2011 Swift Count; and accredited by INEC.

Support to Project 2011 Swift Count
Project 2011 Swift Count partners are responsible for the design, implementation and conduct of the initiative as well as the content of all observation statements.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID) provide support for Project 2011 Swift Count. The project receives technical assistance from the National Democratic Institute (NDI). A Memorandum of Understanding exists to ensure ownership of the initiative by the Project 2011 Swift Count partners.


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