The Federal Government may have put embassies and diplomats under surveillance over suspicions that they may interfere in election matters by introducing Parallel Voting Tabulation (PVT) centres across the country.
The government’s action is said to be in reaction to reports that the diplomats may have brought in some sophisticated equipment meant for election monitoring and installed them in their embassies.
The Federal Government and security agencies believe that the said diplomats and their embassies were meddling in the electoral exercise, an act which is forbidden in diplomatic circles.
Regardless of the move, international polls observers, including embassies with strong ties with Nigeria insist that the forthcoming elections were very critical not only for the survival of the country but also for the West African sub-region.
There are however concerns that what the country’s security agencies have referred to as ‘surveillance equipment’ could just be the PVT system, which has been introduced by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The PVT, a vote integrity monitoring application is principally a replica of electronic vote transfer application with improvements in taking audio, visual tabulation of results, starting from basic polling units.
Osita Chidoka, the Special Adviser on Strategy and External Engagements to the National Chairman of the PDP said the device, which has an error margin of less than 5 percent is a scientific device which prevents rigging and assures the credibility of the election result.
“The PVT is a tool that will assure that PDP partisans accept the result of the elections and that the country remains peaceful and respectful of its differences. We are aware that other PVTs will be conducted by civil societies.
“Hard copies of the signed voter tally provided to all party agents by the INEC officers will be transported to the central command centre should future disputes need to be reconciled.
“We have built a national network of fully equipped situation rooms and call centres. PDP has established a reporting system for the PVT through the wards to the district headquarters, to the states and to the national tally centre.
“The system has redundancies built at all levels, in the event of an internet or communications shutdown or failure or any other eventualities,” Chidoka explained.