Independent and credible election observers play a significant role in advancing democracy in any given country. By shaping the perceptions of people about the quality and legitimacy of electoral processes, more eligible citizens feel empowered to participate in future voting exercises. The support for electoral institutions is also strengthened in cases where the results of the independent election observer and national electoral commission tally.
In 2017, Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ) with the support of the Ford Foundation, conducted trainings for about 200 undergraduate students of journalism to hone their skills and give them a platform to showcase their investigative, data and multimedia reporting talents and also build a critical mass of future leaders for Nigerian newsrooms. As the piloted training component ended, about four Hundred (400) students benefited at an average of 50 students in each of the eight beneficiary universities. A website called Campus Reporter and a mobile application was also developed to aggregate all campus generated stories.
The tremendous impact of this project was culminated when trained campus journalists from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka made history as the first Nigerian students group to independently monitor a gubernatorial election in Nigeria. The students reporting of the election were used as feeds on PREMIUM TIMES Election Centre (PTEC). PTEC is designed as a comprehensive web platform for elections monitoring and reporting in Nigeria with primary feature of election result tabulation. It is designed to hold crucial election data and visualise election results in real time. PTEC was developed as digital solution to combat election malpractices in Nigeria.
The team of campus journalists have also been applauded for recording 98% accuracy in their findings from the election polling booths. And so, with the 2019 elections at close heels, PTCIJ hopes to continue in its efforts towards ensuring free and fair elections in Nigeria.
*This project was done in collaboration with the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) and with the funding support of Ford Foundation.