Ladies and Gentlemen, distinguished guests – welcome to the YIAGA
AFRICA Watching The Vote (WTV)’s Midday Situational Press Conference on Opening
and Set-Up of Polling Units for the governorship and state assembly elections
on March 9, 2019. This briefing is the second in a series of three planned
press conferences to be hosted by YIAGA AFRICA. We equally invite you to join
us at the same location on Sunday 10 March 2019 at 1:00 pm when YIAGA AFRICA
will share its findings from the observation of the conduct of the governorship
For the Governorship election, YIAGA AFRICA deployed 682 observers
across 642 LGAs in 29 states where governorship elections are conducted. These
include 642 stationary observers and 40 roving observers. YIAGA AFRICA will also
deploy observers to 642 LGA results collation centres and 29 state result
collation centres. Our observers were properly trained to observe the entire
election day process from opening and setup of the polling units,
accreditation, voting, announcement and posting of the official results. All
report will be send in reports via coded text messages to the National Data
Centre to enable YIAGA AFRICA provide timely information on the conduct of
election in the polling units observed. This statement is an update on the
Mid-Day Situational assessment of the opening of polls for the 9 March, 2019
Watching the Vote Polling Unit Set-Up Findings
This report contains initial WTV findings as at 11:30 am on
election day, with complete reports received from polling units visited by the
Watching the Vote observers in 642 LGAs in the 29 states where Governorship
Elections are being conducted.
- As of 7:30 am, YIAGA
AFRICA WTV observers reported that INEC officials had arrived at 56% of 663
polling units visited across the 29 States.
- By 9:00 am, 77% of 663
polling units visited had commenced accreditation and voting.
- 585 of polling units
visited had 4 or more polling officials present, of which at least 2 are
female. The polling units visited in the North West geopolitical zone had fewer
women as polling officials than other zones. In addition, 95% of these 584
polling units visited, had security personnel present.
- Of the 585 Polling units
visited, APC party agents were seen in 76% polling units and PDP party
agents in 97% polling units.
- Essential materials
(register of voters, indelible ink/marker pen, polling official stamp, voting
cubicle, ink pad, presidential ballot box and polling unit booklet) were
present in 99% of 585 polling units. Specifically, Smart Card Readers were
present in 99% polling units visited.
YIAGA AFRICA has received the following critical
incidents from her observers;
and Incomplete materials:
Reports on missing ballot papers were received during the distribution of
materials at the Rufu RAC Ussa LGA of Taraba State. In Kosofe LGA of Lagos
State INEC officials as at 12noon were yet to deploy as packs of ballot papers
were missing. Reports of incomplete ballots papers were received from ward 10, Eleta II Polling Unit 32, Ibadan
South East LGA in Oyo State.
Adhoc official Refusing to Deploy:
Reports of adhoc officials protesting non-payment of their monies from previous
election were received from Agege and Oshodi/Isolo LGAs in Lagos State. Due to
security reasons and lack of adequate security protection, INEC official
declined to deploy sensitive materials to the Open space Imenyi polling unit
009, ward 11, Emuoha LGA, Rivers state. It is important to note that 4
persons were previously killed on March 8, 2019 in the ward which created a lot
and Burning of Election Materials:
Reports on burning of election materials were received from Umughara Ward II affecting 13 Polling Units as well as Oriuzo
Ward and Ekka Ward all in Ezza North LGAs in Ebonyi State.
without the Smart Card Reader: WTV
observers reported voting without card reader in custom II polling unit 028,
Shehuri Hausari Mairi ward code 011 in Bama LGA Borno State.
Box Snatching: This was reported
in Gidan Sarki PU 006 ward 09, Soba LGA in Kaduna state. Another report was
received from Efere Town hall polling unit 002, ward 2 in Eleme LGA in Rivers
State where hoodlums accompanied by military men hijacked ballot papers and
result sheets. Group of thugs also snatched the ballot box and chased voters
away in UBE Primary School polling unit 002, Magwai Ward in Jalingo LGA of
to Media Reporters: Reports
of abduction of six journalists were received from Ahoada West LGA in Rivers
to Deploy: INEC officials and
materials yet to be deployed in Abua – Odua LGA in Rivers state due to a clash
between the APC and PDP party supporters and the military. This was also
reported in Giadom guest house junction polling unit 010, ward 1, Khana LGA
with some APC agents and military personnel disrupting deployment.
Intimidation: voter intimidation by
PDP agents reported in Bakin Kasuwa Polling Unit 001/007/Gassol LGA in Taraba
State. This was also reported from Giadom guest house junction polling unit
010, ward 1, Khana LGA by some APC agents.
and Vote buying: APC and PDP agents
engaged in vote buying by distributing money ranging from N100 to N500 and
bathing soap in Sabon Garin Wudil Ward 008, Kano State University of Science
and Technology Polling units 16 and 17, Wudil LGA, Kano State. This was also
reported in Eleme – LGA Ward 02, Ekenkwan Polling unit 006, Ward 02, and Epere
polling unit 002 with reports of between N50,000 and N30,000 given to polling
officials, N1000 for voters and N100,000 to security personnel.
Resolution of Logistics Challenges: YIAGA AFRICA calls on INEC to resolve issues relating to shortage
of election materials, non-payment of allowances for adhoc officials and
malfunctioning of Smart Card Readers.
Collation: As collation begin
in a couple of hours, YIAGA AFRICA reiterates it call to INEC to ensure strict
compliance with the electoral guidelines on results collation. The results
collations centres should be accessible to accredited observers, media and
party agents. INEC should respond to reports of substitution of trained
collation officers mid-way to elections in some states like Plateau and Imo.
of the Margin of Lead Principle: YIAGA
AFRICA call on INEC to ensure collation officers are abide by the guidelines
and regulations on management of margin of lead principle. Results should not
be declared and winner returned where the total number of registered voters in
cancelled polling units will affect the margin of lead between candidates. This
is in consonance with Section 26 and 53 of the 2010 Electoral Act as amended.
Furthermore, YIAGA AFRICA urges INEC to ensure that where the scenario in the
INEC guidelines on cancelled ballots provides for the election to be conducted
the following day, that such elections are conducted as so required to reduce
the threat of disenfranchising voters for no fault of theirs. INEC should also
ensure the public is duly informed in a timely manner of its decision.
of Polling Units Results using Form EC 60 E:
YIAGA AFRICA urges the Commission to fully comply to the Electoral Guideline
for the conduct of the general election by posting Forms EC.60E series in all
collation centers. This recommendation is made based on WTV presidential
election observation findings of results not posted in 19% of the observed
sampled polling units.
security: YIAGA AFRICA condemns
the role played by the military in disruption of elections and intimidation of
voters and electoral personnel in some states. YIAGA AFRICA calls on security
agencies especially the military to refrain from further disruption of
elections in some states especially Rivers state. We call on the President
Buhari to call the military to order and ensure accountability for erring
Security of Polling Units and Result Collation Centres: YIAGA AFRICA calls on the security agencies to
adequately deploy security to the polling units and result collation centres to
prevent the rising trend of disruption of the process, intimidation of voters
and INEC officials and threat to lives.
YIAGA AFRICA undertook
the Watching The Vote project to provide Nigerian voters, governorship
candidates, political parties, civil society and INEC with independent
information on the conduct of the elections. The Watching The Vote project is
“Driven by Data – For All Nigerians – Beholden to None!”
Thank you and God Bless the people of Nigeria!
Dr. Hussaini Abdu
Chair, Watching The Vote Working Group
Executive Director, YIAGA AFRICA
For media inquiries please contact:
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Email: [email protected]
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