#WatchingTheVote Mid-day Situational Press Statement on the 2018 Osun Gubernatorial Election

Introduction

YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote (WTV) is Nigeria’s largest non-partisan and independent movement of citizens observers. WTV currently has 500 polling unit observers deployed in 250 sampled polling units in all 30 Local Government Areas (LGA) of Osun and 32 mobile observers across the State to observe the ongoing voting process. At the close of polls, the WTV observation will extend to the 30 LGA Result collation centres with 30 observers to observe the results collation process. In order to provide accurate and timely information on the election process, YIAGA AFRICA’s WTV is deploying the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) which is an advanced methodology that employs well established statistical principles and utilizes sophisticated information technologies for election observation. Using this methodology YIAGA AFRICA’s WTV is the only observer group that can independently verify the accuracy of the election result.

Watching the Vote commends the people of Osun for their peaceful conduct at the commencement of polls. The WTV Midday situational statement is based on WTV observation so far and highlights findings drawn from a systematic assessment of four process-related issues which includes: opening of polling units and presence of polling officials and Election materials; commencement of accreditation and voting; use of the smart card readers; and presence of party agents.

These are preliminary findings as of 1:00 pm on election day with reports received from 243 of our 250 sampled polling units. The following data will be updated as additional reports are received from WTV observers at sampled polling units.

 

Watching The Vote Findings

  1. As of 8:00 am, YIAGA AFRICA WTV observers reported that INEC officials had arrived at 91% of polling units.
  2. By 9:00 am, 94% of polling units had commenced accreditation and voting.
  3. On average, polling units had 4 polling officials present, of which 2 were women. 90% of polling units had at least one female polling official present, 62% of polling units had two or more female polling officials present.
  4. In addition, 100% of polling units had security agents present.
  5. Card readers were observed in 100% of polling units. All essential materials (register of voters, indelible ink-marker pen, polling official stamp, voting cubicle, ink pad, Form EC.8A Statement of Results and Form EC.40H Voter Information) were present in 99% of polling units.
  6. APC party agents were seen at 99% of polling units, PDP at 98% of polling units, and SDP at 96% of polling units. On average, seven party agents were present in the polling units.

Watching The Vote commends INEC on continued improvements to the timely opening of polling units, as compared to the Anambra and Ekiti gubernatorial elections. In Anambra, INEC officials were observed in only 28% of polling units by 7:30 am and accreditation and voting had begun by 9:00 am in 39% of polling units and in Ekiti, INEC officials were observed in 78% of polling units by 7:30 am and accreditation and voting commenced in 91% by 9:00am.

Watching The Vote however noted two polling units where observers were initially turned away: Ife-East LGA where voters obstructed the observers from carrying out their tasks and one in Ifelodun LGA where observers were prevented from observing by political party agents.  As of 12:00 noon, both of these situations had been resolved.

In view of the foregoing, YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote makes the following preliminary recommendations:

Preliminary Recommendations

  1. Voters should respect the secrecy of the ballot by complying with laid down procedure for folding of ballot papers and voting. Securing officials are encouraged to take proactive measures to prevent vote buying at the polling unit.
  2. INEC officials especially presiding officers should ensure strict compliance with INEC guidelines for voting, counting and transmission of results.
  3. Party agents and voters should conduct themselves in a professional manner and refrain from preventing accredited observers from observing the election at the polling unit.
  4. Watching The Vote encourages security agents to conduct themselves professionally and to continue to ensure a peaceful process.
  5. INEC and security agencies should ensure result collation centers are accessible to accredited observers, media and party agents.

 Conclusion

WTV calls on Osun voters who are yet to go out to vote to kindly proceed to their polling unit confident that their votes will count. WTV will continue to provide updates on the voting and counting process and will provide an independent verification of the election results as announced by INEC. WTV appeals to INEC, all security agents, political party candidates and their supporters as well as all Osun people to work together to ensure that the Osun gubernatorial election is credible and peaceful.

We once again urge the electorate to remain calm even in the face of challenges that may arise as every Osun voter has the right to participate irrespective of party affiliation. In the interests of transparency and accountability, we recommend INEC to make polling unit results publicly available in a timely manner. This will enhance the confidence of political parties, contestants and the public in the accuracy of the official results.

YIAGA AFRICA’s WTV will observe the process until the end. Our observers will remain at polling units until accreditation, voting, and counting are completed and the official results have been announced and posted by the polling officials. YIAGA AFRICA will issue additional updates as appropriate and intends to issue a preliminary statement on the conduct of accreditation, voting, counting and projection on voter turnout on Saturday, September 22, at the Ideal Nest hotel at 9:00 pm.

Thank you and God Bless the people of Osun!

 Dr. Aisha L. Abdullahi

Co-Chair, Watching The Vote Osun Election Observation Mission

Ezenwa Nwagwu

Co-Chair, Watching The Vote Osun Election Observation Mission

For media inquiries please contact:

Moshood Isah

Communication Officer

YIAGA AFRICA

Tel. +234 (0) 703 666 9339

Email: [email protected]

 

Learn more about #WatchingTheVote at www.watchingthevote.org or on social media on Facebook at facebook.com/yiaga.org or on Twitter @YIAGA.

 

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