(as of 12 noon Saturday 23 February 2019)
Gentlemen, distinguished guests – welcome to the YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote
(WTV)’s Mid-day Situational Press Statement on the ongoing Presidential
Election. This briefing is the third in a series of planned press conferences
to be hosted by YIAGA AFRICA. This statement will contain detailed statistics
covering critical aspects on the commencement of the 23 February polls. YIAGA
AFRICA will be releasing further reports containing detailed statistics on the
set-up, accreditation and voting and counting. As soon as INEC announces the
official results, YIAGA AFRICA will follow up with a press conference to share
its own statement on the accuracy of the election results and will
independently be able to project the vote shares that each candidate should
receive within a narrow range. If the official results fall within YIAGA
AFRICA’s estimated ranges, then the public, political parties and candidates
should have confidence in the ballots cast at the polling units.
YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote deployed 3,906 observers throughout the country
to every state and all 774 local government areas (LGAs). These includes 3,030
parallel vote tabulation (PVT) observers who deployed in pairs to a random,
representative statistical sample of 1,515 polling units where they will remain
throughout the day. This deployment will enable YIAGA AFRICA to independently
verify the accuracy of the official presidential election results when they are
announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). YIAGA AFRICA
also deployed mobile or roving observers to all the 774 Local Government Areas
to capture critical incidents occurring both within and in the vicinity of
polling units across the country and will also observe the process of collation
in all State Collation Centres.
undertook the Watching The Vote project to provide Nigerian voters,
presidential candidates, political parties, civil society and INEC with
independent information about whether the official results for the 23 February
2019 presidential election truly reflect the ballots cast at polling units. The
Watching The Vote project is “Driven by
Data – For All Nigerians – Beholden to None!”
Watching the Vote Mid-day
Situational Statement contains initial finding as of 11:30 am on election day,
with reports received from 1,439 of the 1,515 sampled polling units. The
following data will be updated as additional reports are received from WTV
observers at sampled polling units. What follows is systematic information on
the opening and setup of polling units.
1. As of 7:30 am, YIAGA AFRICA WTV observers reported that INEC Officials
had arrived at 31% of polling units. However, arrival rates varied by
geopolitical zone. YIAGA AFRICA WTV observers reported that INEC poll officials
were present by 7:30 am in 34% of polling units in North Central zone, 42% of
polling units in North East zone, 37% of polling units in North West, 21% of
polling units in South East zone, 19% of polling units in South South zone and
33% of polling units in South West zone.
10:00 am, 41% of polling units had opened across the country. Opening rates again varied by geopolitical
zone. YIAGA AFRICA WTV observers reported that 44% of polling units in North
Central zone, 47% of polling units in North East zone, 46% of polling units in
North West, 27% of polling units in South East zone, 21% of polling units in
South South zone and 52% of polling units in South West zone had opened as of
11:30 am, 74% of polling units had opened nationally; however, opening rates
continued to vary by geopolitical zone. YIAGA AFRICA WTV observers reported
that 76% of polling units in North Central zone, 83% of polling units in North
East zone, 74% of polling units in North West, 61% of polling units in South
East zone, 58% of polling units in South South zone and 86% of polling units in
South West zone had opened as of 11:30 am.
As of 12:00 am,
the YIAGA AFRICA WTV Data Center had also received 110 verified critical
incident reports primarily concerning the late opening of polls. Of additional note:
- Arrest and detention
of accredited observers: In Kafanchan, the YIAGA AFRICA supervisor was arrested
and detained at the Kafanchan Area command in Kaduna state this was
however resolved as the observer was later released.
- Observers not allowed
to observe: YIAGA AFRICA received reports from one polling unit in Yobe State,
Machina Local Government Area, Damai Ward where observers were denied
access to the polling unit to observe. YIAGA AFRICA is in contact with
local authorities and continues to follow the situation closely.
- Snatching of Election
Materials: election materials were reported to be snatched by unknown persons
at the RAC centre in Okrika LGA, River state which led to no voting in
ward 06, 07, 08 and 09 of Okrika LGA in Rivers State. This was also
reported in PU 003 ward 10 Emohua LGA, Rivers state.
- Vote buying: reports of vote
buying in PU 010/01/10/13 Omala LGA in Kogi state.
In view of the
foregoing, YIAGA AFRICA WTV makes the following preliminary recommendations:
1. Extension of voting hours: YIAGA AFRICA calls on INEC to extend the
voting period across board to ensure that all eligible voters exercise their
franchise. Voting is expected to ordinarily be conducted from 8am to 2pm, which
is approximately 6 hours of voting. In view of the late opening of polls, INEC
should ensure clear communication on an extension of the time for close of
polls to all polling officials and the public.
2. Speedy resolution of logistical challenges:
YIAGA AFRICA urges INEC to resolve identified logistical challenges in a timely
manner to ensure a smooth process and to ensure that all polling units open
before 2pm to avoid a second day of voting. This is also important to ensure
that there are no further delays at the point of collation. INEC needs to
address issues relating to missing names on the voters register and non payment
of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) drivers who were
expected to support the deployment of election materials and personnel to
3. Ensure quality and transparency of the
results collation process: From all indications, YIAGA AFRICA expects that
collation of results will occur at night. To this end, collation centres should
be provisioned with adequate lighting facilities and calculators to avoid
computational inaccuracies that could undermine the integrity of the elections.
Independent Observation: INEC is encouraged to remind Resident
Electoral Commissioners to instruct all election officials under their
supervision to allow accredited citizen observers to access polling units in
accordance with the electoral law. This includes instruction to the security
personnel to allow the free movement of accredited observers.
to Electoral Guidelines:
With the late commencement of polls, YIAGA AFRICA calls on INEC to ensure that
polling officials strictly adhere to the electoral guidelines on accreditation
and voting across board. This includes ensuring that there is no attempt to
speed up the process of accreditation — proper application of the Smart Card
Reader to accredit voters must continue throughout the country.
6. Conduct of Party Agents: Political party agents deployed to the
polling units should remain through the voting and counting processes and
should continue to conduct themselves in a professional manner, including
showing respect for the right of citizen observers to observe the process.
commends the Nigerian people for their resilience and commitment to vote in
this election. We urge voters to remain patient and vigilant to ensure their
votes count. We call on voters who are yet to turn out to vote to proceed to
their polling units before 2pm confident that the PVT will provide timely,
statistically representative information about the conduct of the election as
well as an independent check on the accuracy of the officially announced
results. YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote will continue to observe the process to
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 plans to issue a
preliminary statement on the conduct of accreditation, voting and counting on
Sunday 24 February at 10:00 am in the Watching the Vote National Data
Center at the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja. You are all kindly invited to join us
at this time. WTV appeals to INEC, all security agents, political party
candidates and their supporters as well as all Nigerian people to work together
to ensure that the Election is credible and peaceful.
Thank you and God
Bless the people of Nigeria!
Dr. Hussaini Abdu
Chair, YIAGA AFRICA
Watching The Vote
For media inquiries please
Communication OfficerYIAGA AFRICATel. +234 (0) 703 666 9339
Email: [email protected]
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