Stakeholders Condemn Vote Buying as YIAGA AFRICA hosts INEC, CSOs, Media to Reflect on Ekiti Governorship Elections

Ekiti election may have come and gone but there is a lot to reflect upon ahead of future elections. This was why YIAGA Africa hosted a high-level round table discussion on the just concluded Ekiti Governorship Elections.

YIAGA AFRICA’s Watching The Vote on Tuesday hosted National Commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Civil Society Organisations, Security agencies and media to highlight the prospect and challenges of the just concluded Governorship Elections in Ekiti.

As expected, the issue of Vote buying took centre stage as various stakeholders took time out to condemn reported voter inducement during the just concluded Governorship Elections in Ekiti State. Speaking during the round table held in Abuja, National Commissioner of INEC in charge of South-west, Prince Adedeji Soyebi condemned the issue of vote buying which he described as a monster which should not continue.

According to Prince Soyebi, tracking Vote buying is becoming difficult for the commission as over 80% of vote buying takes place after citizens cast their votes.  He said, “we need to come to a level of criminalizing both Vote buying and selling”.

Soyebi said that though INEC did a good job in conducting credible election in the Ekiti state, the only thing people remembered about the election was the issue of vote-buying.

The national electoral commissioner said that the menace had eaten deep into the political system of the country and needed to be stopped.

“It makes it very difficult for the commission to really have a say because the moment the person casts his or her vote, he or she goes somewhere to collect his or her money.’’

He said that the commission had been talking about vote-buying since the Anambra election and would continue to do so through increased sensitisation of voters, through voter education for them to shun the act.

Soyebi said that when it became impossible for politicians to snatch ballot boxes, they resorted to buying votes.

During the discussion, Commissioner in charge of Operations Hajiya Amina Zakari lauded YIAGA AFRICA for successful deployment of the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology in the Ekiti elections and other elections in recent times. Hajiya Zakari said, early deployment of INEC Personnel and materials was due to proper planning which has become a norm in the commission saying it took recommendations from CSOs like YIAGA AFRICA.

Hajia  Zakari, said that INEC did not rig the election in any way because the same template it used in Ekiti state was what it had been using since the Kogi governorship election.

“Deployment of technology has improved the quality of our elections but has also increased the cost of elections”, she said. “After every election, we debrief and identify challenges and factors corrections into the next elections”, Hajiya Zakari said.

She further commended deployment of security which according to her has reduced ballot box snatching and stuffing to the barest minimum. The only issue according to the National Commissioner, is Vote buying which she condemns strongly. According to her vote buying not only undermine the legitimacy of the elected but also affects quality of governance saying we need to continue to speak against the monster while urging security to rise to the challenge of arresting and prosecuting offenders.

While appreciating the contribution of major election stakeholders towards advancing our democracy, Executive Director, YIAGA AFRICA, Samson Itodo said, though the election went well, there was need for INEC to address voter inducement, a development he noted had reached “astronomic and very embarrassing heights “and undermining the country political legitimacy.

He described the act as a mockery of Nigeria democratic process which needed to be addressed with critical input of everyone in the country.  Mr Itodo also said that the results declared by INEC during Ekiti state governorship election reflected the votes counted.

 

TRUIMPHING LAGOS CITY: THE INEC CAMPUS OUTREACH

Written on 26th June 2018

On 25th June 2018, even though the rains have come to stay, it was a bright sunny day in the city of Lagos, Nigeria. The J.F Ade Ajayi Auditorium was filled to the brim; the stage alit with bright lights and an impressive panel. All was set for the second INEC Campus Outreach, collaborated with the European Union, YIAGA Africa, EU-SDGN and ECES.

With a successful completion of the first Campus Outreach in Abuja headlined by prominent celebrities such as musicians TuFace “TuBaba” Idibia, Cobhams and comedienne Helen Paul, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) decided to take the second phase of #YouthsVoteCount to the University of Lagos. This time, the celebrity line-up was made up of Omotola Jakade-Ekeinde, Ayo “AY” Mayokun, BasketMouth and Helen Paul. As expected, the hall was filled with students who were fans of these celebrities, and the best way to get today’s youth is by imbibing their interest with things they love and appreciate, like the talented four seated at the stage before them. All in all, it was expected to be a rapturous and successful event, and it was!

Samson Itodo, Executive Director of YIAGA AFRICA

 

The Executive Director of YIAGA Africa, Samson Itodo, alongside the Communications Manager of the European Union, Mrs Laolu took the stage to welcome the students, and to also indulge everyone on how necessary it was for Nigeria at this moment, to be conversant with the initiative of #YouthsVoteCount. With the incoming 2019 elections gearing closer with each passing day, the importance of getting one’s Permanent Voters Card cannot be over-emphasized. Also, in light of the recent signing of the #NotTooYoungToRun Bill into Law, the need for youths to be fully and passionately engaged in governmental matters is immensely necessary, and this was why INEC was making the push for to engage youths from across different tertiary institutions across the country to be fully a part of the movement of #YouthsVoteCount.

The INEC Chairman Professor Yakubu Mahmood, made the welcome address to the students, encouraging them for showing interest in governance and the need to take the electoral process to heart. The panellist answered decisive questions from the audience, who mainly had questions that bridged on the collection of PVCs, the bureaucracy and difficulty that allegedly surrounded it.

Also in attendance was the Ambassador, Delegation of the European Union to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr Ketil Karlsen, who gave his thanks to the crowd of students, appreciating their eagerness and efforts of being a part of the movement, and their enthusiasm to know everything they can about collection of PVCs, and the electoral process in general. The celebrities also gave their insights on how the students and youths can get more engaged in the process—by starting up the bare necessity of getting their PVCs. With that hurdle crossed, there will be an assurance of getting and being a part of the 2019 Elections, and hopefully, making their votes count!

 

The way and manner people sold their votes in Ekiti was demeaning – Nwagwu, election observer

An election observer in the recently conducted governorship election in Ekiti State, Mr. Ezenwa Nwagwu, who is also the Chairman, Partners for Electoral Reform and member, Working Group of Watching The Vote, YIAGA Africa, in this interview with TUNDE AJAJA speaks on his findings during the election and what can be done to improve on the process

As an observer in the Ekiti governorship election, what is your assessment of the election?

Let’s start from establishing the fact that observers are process watchers, and it’s fair to assess the election first from the administration by the electoral body itself, the Independent National Electoral Commission. First was the distribution of electoral materials, opening of polls, accreditation and voting and the process of announcing the results. The electoral materials were distributed on time and the innovation in Ekiti was that we saw the tracking of electoral materials, unlike in the past when the challenge was that politicians would connive with electoral officers to divert these materials, like the ballot papers and you would hear that people were thumb printing ballot papers somewhere. But in this election, there was no such complaint and there was no complaint about shortage of Form EC8. Looking at the opening of polls, we (observers) had 250 sample polling units with two observers attached to each of the polling units across the state. The result was that INEC overcame the challenge of delay in early voting, which characterised previous elections like Anambra and Ondo, because in Ekiti, 78 per cent of the polling units were ready by 7.30am and by 9am, 98 per cent of the polling units were up and running. It’s a huge improvement. Then, talking about accreditation and voting, we had very minimal issue about that. Less than three per cent of smart card failure was recorded, which is also a very huge leap and even where those challenges occurred, they were immediately rectified. For the first time, INEC introduced a form called E60A, which is an enlarged result sheet that it mandated its officials to paste in every polling unit. So, party agents and polling officials had the results from polling units. There were complaints about not allowing observers to enter local government collation centres, but at the polling unit, nobody was prevented from having those results. In terms of accreditation, opening of polls, INEC did an excellent job in Ekiti.

Beyond the conduct of INEC, the conduct of politicians was also of interest. What did you observe as regards vote buying, which characterised the election?

I think we are not looking at vote buying holistically. I would prefer to start from party primaries, where we have consistently seen the huge display of money. If we do not pay attention to how much people pay to become a candidate of the dominant political parties, we may not get it right. When you get to party primaries, the mouths of the delegates are wide open to be induced and we all know that it’s the highest bidder that eventually wins.

If the issue has always been there, why is the issue of vote buying suddenly this loud?

If you look at it from that point I just told you, the reason why we are hearing a lot about vote buying in this election is that INEC did very well. If logistics had failed and collation and verification didn’t go properly, that is what people would be talking about. We naturally don’t pay attention to this inducement, and vote buying has always been there. Politicians used to go to the house of voters to induce them and sometimes they even ask them to swear. But now, the difference is that there were willing voters who wanted to sell their votes; that is the one they call ‘see and buy’ and it is happening on election day around the polling unit areas, where party agents position themselves in strategic areas and voters who want to sell are paid, they go to vote and show evidence.

Where did the Nigerian electorate get it wrong?

The worry is that we are not doing a holistic engagement on the issue of election financing and its consequences for our country. With vote buying, it means the legitimacy of even the winner is in question and then the respect that he has to show to the voters will not be there because it is a transactional relationship. That is why you see the level of arrogance from people in power, because they no longer hold it to the people and they believe that they bought the victory. Do an approximation of, say N5,000 to about 400,000 voters, that’s about N2bn. So, even if they didn’t buy all of them, they could end up spending about N1bn, which is a lot of money. Thus, the winner of that election will not have any serious regard for the voters.

But there are at least five policemen and at least one civil defence personnel in each polling unit, why were they not able to prevent this, because vote buying is a criminal offence?

I saw that question coming. They are between a rock and a hard surface in dealing with that challenge, and the reason is simple. Just close your eyes and imagine that a policeman goes to arrest a party agent who is involved in vote buying, what will be the reaction of those who sent him to do it? They would say the security agents are harassing their supporters. Those politicians will not tell the world that it is because of vote buying.

Should the security agents then abdicate their responsibilities because of sentiment?

The issue is that there is a delicate balance between the two, because if in the course of arresting them you create chaos, you have affected the polling in that area. What I’m saying is that inasmuch as we want the security agents to ‘do their work’ in that regard, the attitude of the politicians and the narrative that they put out, which many people don’t even interrogate, could make it worse. For example, 20 minutes crisis around Fajuyi in front of the government house, some newspapers cast headlines that ‘Ekiti boils’. Ekiti has 16 local governments, but 20 minutes action around that one spot created anxiety everywhere. Election is a competitive enterprise and politicians throw in everything they have. The moment the security agents make an arrest in that regard, instead of telling people that their people were buying votes, they would tell the world that they were being intimidated.

So, what is the solution, or is it something everyone has to live with, especially knowing that it will likely get worse?

The solution is advocacy. The media needs to come strong on the politicians. The stringent advocacy we did on INEC was what improved it to the point that we are now commending it. If we kept quiet when in the past a former INEC chairman would announce results when people had barely reached the polling unit, I don’t think we will be here commending INEC. If we pay the same level of attention to the current malfeasance, we’ll see improvement. The dynamics of elections keep changing; you solve one problem, you find yourself in another. My thought is that this one would live out its own time, but if we continue to push, it will get better. By the time I started the campaign against vote buying after Edo governorship election, people didn’t take me seriously. Even my colleagues felt I was wasting my time. But now, the impunity that followed the elections from Edo to Anambra, Ondo and now Ekiti is why we are getting panicky. But for me, it’s a consistent advocacy by all stakeholders, if we are committed and we do not have vested interest, especially the media and observers, because people come into the election with vested interest, which blocks their eyes from learning for future elections. As civil society, you see some of our colleagues telling you that they reject results. What is your interest to be rejecting result?

The Osun governorship election is just few months away, is it not likely that there would be advanced vote buying?

I am confident that if we continue to shout about it, things would change. Some people say you need to talk to traditional rulers when doing advocacy but traditional rulers position themselves during election. Their own vote buying takes place before election day. This is their harvest time. In Osun, every aspirant will go and pay homage and receive blessings from them. When they go there, they don’t go empty handed. Churches would start building projects and launching and they would be calling politicians to come for launching. It is part of vote buying. People know these things, but we keep quiet and pretend like we don’t know. There are people supporting these candidates because they want to get contracts and appointments and theirs is delayed gratification. So, to have the purity and conscience to elect the leaders that would serve the interest of the people, we need to sit down and have a stakeholders’ conversation around vote buying and its implication for us. In Nigeria, we follow fad, and that is why everyone is talking about vote buying now, but we will not do any conversation around how to deal with it in a holistic manner. My point is that if the people of Osun and Nigeria want a good election, they would be the one to desire it and maintain it. In Anambra State, the impunity was glaring but the way and manner it came in Ekiti to the point where people were talking about taking money for a pot of soup is demeaning. It diminishes the quality of citizenship of that state and even those who would participate in it in the future. Look at the morality of vote buying; there is a moral stigma. Even though you may legally survive it, in the consciousness of self-respecting people, you will not earn their respect. If you were in Ekiti and you saw how money exchanged hands and the winner comes to you and says he’s the winner, it comes to your mind that we know how you got it. Moral legitimacy is very important for leadership.

The two parties had been engaged in buck passing over the issue of vote buying, with both of them denying it, even though it was common knowledge that they both did it. As an observer, what did you observe?

The dominant political parties are completely complicit in vote buying. People knew that the state government sent N3,000 to people; what was that for? Go and check electoral law and see what vote buying is. And apart from that N3,000, they still shared money physically. In the places where I was, I saw two friends coordinating for the two parties. In Ikere-Ekiti, I saw that happen, because I understand Yoruba and they were talking about it. So, the two dominant political parties were involved. Even some who were not even dominant were sharing other things, like phones and plasma television. So, contextually, there were people who spent money and there were others who didn’t.

The PDP has alleged that there was rigging, and some others are saying there was no rigging. Did you observe rigging in that election?

There was no rigging. You see, the political parties are very lazy. Like I said, polling unit result was handed over to party agents and there were no disruptions. The only disruption was in one or two polling units. In the remaining 2,000 plus polling units, they already had their results. Any political party can compute polling unit by polling unit, but their laziness is such that even after the election, they may not have the patience to collect the results from their agents at the polling units. When you say rigging, it’s not about grandstanding. We were on ground, and there was no polling unit where the party agents did not receive results and signed for them. So, it is simple; collect the results per polling unit from all your party agents and put the figures on excel to compute. Politicians want to attack the credibility of INEC and the media should not allow themselves to be used. The truth is that, as observers, we testify to the fact that INEC has improved. If you cast your mind back, what we probably would be having now is that materials were diverted to the house of someone where the thumb printing was done. But there was nothing like that in this case. So, given the announcement of results per polling unit, which your agents have, where did the rigging take place? If the election failed, you would not hear of vote buying; rather, the bashing of INEC would be so much. Just because politicians can’t have anything on INEC, all of us have to be shouting about something that had been going on before but we were not talking about. So, in terms of rigging, forget it. There was no rigging because results were pasted at each polling unit. INEC even instructed its ad hoc staff to snap and send the pasted results to a WhatsApp group. If politicians were not lazy, that computation is a simple thing to do. On the election day, as the results were coming in, the campaign manager should be in a place getting the results, maybe through WhatsApp, from the party agents on the field, so they could compute them, but did you see that happen? They don’t have that patience; their arrogance is even nauseating.

PDP says it is going to court, but given the narrative that there was no rigging and that it was also involved in buying votes, would there be sufficient ground to take that step?

Going to court is part of the electoral process. It’s a good thing and I don’t have a problem with it. It’s better than option AK47. So, we should not trivialise that option. They should test their case in court.

Observers like you would have collated your observations and recommendations, how does that impact on the outcome of the election and what does your observation translate to, especially with the brazen manner people sold their votes?

We are process watchers and why do we observe elections, because people don’t ask that question? It is first to deter people from doing what is wrong, because in some places, when people want to do something bad, they caution themselves because of the presence of observers. So, we are some kind of watchdog over the process. We don’t interfere with the process because we are not election monitors, but some people don’t understand the difference. We observe, take note and report to improve the process in future and observation impacts on the credibility of the election. That is why any observer who goes to a place and interferes with the election process does not know his job. All the credible election observation groups addressed a press conference in Ado-Ekiti that day and that is why none of the credible ones talked about the result.

Looking at the forthcoming elections, what should be done, beyond advocacy, to prevent this narrative from festering?

Let us have a stakeholder engagement on elections generally, and being the institution that sits at the topmost pyramid of elections, INEC should lead the way for stakeholder engagement and not just voter education. When you hear INEC say voter education, they buy airtime on television and radio and they talk about how to vote. But people know how to vote; that is not the problem. The problem is that we are not engaging ourselves. Before Osun election, we should engage traditional rulers and say people are watching them when they bless candidates. The voter engagement should break these things down. Some of our guys in the media need election training, to know what to look out for. The final thing I want to say is that we should not go to Osun and be talking about the height of the candidates; we should situate our conversation around issues. If you hear that they are not paying salaries in Osun, the question should be what will you do to ensure that people are paid their salary as and when due? In Ekiti, there were no issues around that conversation at all. Everything we discussed before the election was the use of tear gas on Governor Ayodele Fayose and his neck pain. That was what was discussed. People didn’t pay attention to the position of Ekiti State on the chart in the last WASSCE and NECO. In some other countries, those would have been the issues. So, let us go to Osun with a correct narrative.

Whilst we blame the media for its shortcomings, do you also blame them that a debate was organised and the two major candidates didn’t show up, without apologies, yet people voted en masse for the two. Should the electorate not be blamed for that?

No, I don’t think we should blame the victims. The first thing is that the arrogance of the dominant political parties doesn’t start at the debate, it starts at attending meetings. Go to any INEC stakeholder meeting with political parties, those dominant political parties usually send low-ranking staff to those meetings. So, that arrogance is there. Then, the whole idea of media ownership also has something to do with the debate. Some would tell you TVC organised it and that it is owned by someone with political interest and people know that not all media organisations are neutral. Also, in the 16 local governments in Ekiti State, many of the communities stay days without power. So, you organised a television programme and large number of the people you want to talk to are not watching. The second is that you assume that since it is called the fountain of knowledge, then the people are all literate. Some people may not be able to connect. We need to have a broader conversation about media ownership and how they play up their vested interest, which could discourage some people from engaging on those platforms. If NTA organises a debate in 2019, they will say it’s a Federal Government platform and the opposition people will say no, likewise some other stations. My view is that we talk too much to INEC and we are afraid of talking to politicians because in one way or the other, we all have one thing we want to benefit from them. Let’s talk to the politicians because they are the problem of our democracy. Their hate speech, irresponsible languages and some things they throw into the election make it difficult for people to stay on issues. Let us make our elections issues-based and not allow the politicians to distract us.

SOURCE: The Punch

TAKING THE NORTHWEST: THE #YOUTHAFFIRMATIVEACTION UNIVERSITY DEBATE

Bayero University Kano came alive with unbridled excitement on the 19th of July 2018 as YIAGA Africa took the initiative, YouthAffirmativeAction, to its grounds for the first of its debates. Supported by the Ford Foundation, the initiative had been birthed from April 2018, with the goal to get youths more included into the governmental and development of the country. With youths making up over 60% of the Nigerian population, it is underwhelming to know that such a high number is less represented in governmental issues. This spurred the need for the initiative. Townhall meetings were organized in different geo-political zones, and debates slated in tertiary institutions. We wanted the youths to speak for themselves—are they really prepared and capable of taking their own futures in their hands?

With BUK as the starting point, the debate was crucial. But the students attended in impressive numbers, even before the programme began in full swing. The hall was full, and in time, the programme began with the welcome remarks from Ibrahim Faruk, the Senior Program Officer from YIAGA Africa, who welcomed the audience, giving insights to what is expected of the programme. In time, the Dean of the Faculty of Communications, Professor Umaru Pate made the first special remarks. He congratulated the students for their impressive turnout, highlighting that this shows they are enthusiastic about governance and youth development issues in the country, and how to bring about the much needed change that has to be done to revamp the sector. After all, it is true that if one expects a re-modification of something, he/she must be ready to be fully inducted to it, and moved by the cause to do such.

The Audience wait in anticipation

As the debates were prompted to begin, The Executive Director, Organization for Community Civic Engagement (OCCEN), Dr Abdulrazaq Alkali, made the second special remarks. He advised the audience on the need to stay united, because the debates were initiated for one cause and one cause alone—to create conversations about youth involvement in governance, general politics and overall, participation in leadership roles within Nigeria. “We are all in this together, and we want to make a difference, so even if some of the debaters are from Kaduna State University, which is the opposing team, we should stay united on what the message is about—true governance.”

The hum in the room became excited as the Moderator, Efe Ozugha of YIAGA Africa introduced the debaters to the stage. The teams were sectioned into #TEAMKANO of the host school, Bayero University Kano  and #TEAMKADUNA of the visiting school, Kaduna State University. Consisting each of a male and female, it was very noticeable that the gender balance had been effected, and the need for both genders to give insights in respective personalities, acute professionalism, and also with heart. The Judges took  their place and the audience waited in anticipation. It was clear that the topic: “Competent Youths are Unavailable for Competitive Politics in Nigeria” was albeit a sensitive one, but also an important opening for discourse and interaction, especially with the 2019 elections close by, and the recent victorious signing of the #NotTooYoungTooRun Bill into Law. After the rules were given, the debates began in full force.

#TeamKano

#TeamKano

As the speakers from Bayero University stressed their points against the motion, one could not avoid seeing the fire that bristled with their words. The lady especially, took the centre stage, quickly taking over the crowd as they cheered her confidence and eloquence on. She mentioned that youths were not efficiently ready to take over full power, because with power comes responsibility, and if majority of the youths were not yet responsible, how will they effectively change the status quo for good? It was also impressive to see how the male speaker stated same, saying with the recent infamous news coming from the youths in the media, it speaks bad of the cause because it makes it clear that maybe, truly, youths are not ready to run and take responsibility of the governance and true leadership in Nigeria.

But as the speakers of the visiting school of Kaduna State University emerged, they stressed that this was the time for youths to actually take charge of the future. It was necessary now, because the conversation was boiling; youths are being given the chance to make a chance, with the signing of the#NotTooYoungToRun Bill, the uproar of youths being encouraged in developing careers such as politics, high-tech and information, the natural youthful drive for new things, and most especially, the need to make and change Nigeria to be the best and arrive at its full potential. They gave examples of already succeeding young people effecting change and putting Nigeria on the global mark for excellent endeavours, innovation and development. It was clear that the onus lies on the youths to support each other, because, “it takes a village”

#TeamKaduna

#TeamKaduna

After the concluding points were made by both teams, the Judges took time to deliberate the teams to select the winner, while the audience engaged in asking questions and giving personal insights to topic shared. Women in the audience took a major part, giving their views and even projecting solutions! It was a thrilling interaction, and soon the results were ready, and the winning school emerged as Kaduna State University. All the debaters were awarded certificates of participation, and the winners were given a special certificate for their emergence as victors. Kaduna State University will represent the North West Zone in the Final Debates which will hold in Abuja on an upcoming date.

Overall, the debates were exciting and evergreen true of how youths in Nigeria were all united on the same front—creating the awareness for young people to effectively be a part of governance and leadership in Nigeria, and encouraging them to achieve their full potential to fulfill that cause.

Coalition of United Political Party (CUPP), Direct Primaries and Implication on Youth Candidacy – by Ibrahim Faruk

As preparations for the 2019 general elections kick off, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on 9 July 2018 formed a coalition with 38 other political parties in the country named the Coalition of United Political Party (CUPP). The Coalition was sealed with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by the leaders of the parties, in a bid to work together towards winning the 2019 Presidential elections. The Coalition also agreed to mobilize support for consensus candidates at the centre, states, and the legislative arm of government.

While the emergence of the Coalition of Political Party (CUPP) provides an opportunity to support young candidates in the 2019 elections it should not present a potential threat to the gains that have been achieved with the passage of the age reduction/Not Too Young To Run law.

Following the signing of the Not Too Young To Run bill into law, the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan urged Nigerian youths to immediately take advantage of the new law and commended the Not Too Young To Run Movement for their resilience towards ensuring younger Nigerians can actively participate in elective positions in governance at all levels.

Similarly, Young men and women in political parties now have the responsibility to hold the leadership of their parties accountable to the public commitments made by members of the CUPP towards ensuring youth inclusion and match words with actions as the 2019 elections present an opportunity for young people to assert their power not only as voters or campaign merchants but also as qualified electoral candidates.

In even a more cheering news, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomole recently stated that the party will adopt the process of direct primary to choose its governorship candidate for the Osun governorship election. The adoption of the direct primary, according to Oshiomole is to, ‘ensure popular participation and deepen democracy’.  This is laudable and as a matter of fact, the gains achieved with the passage of the Not Too Young To Run law would be consolidated with the adoption of direct primary by all 68 currently registered political parties to inclusion of all interests within the party.

The youth vote remains the most critical bloc in the 2019 elections and political parties seeking to win elections in the spirit of inclusion, participation and deepening democracy must reserve party tickets for youth aspirants; uphold internal party democracy to safeguard the emergence of more youth candidates and most importantly commit to non-violent elections.

The Not Too Young To Run Movement which remains a non-partisan and citizen-led movement of citizens dedicated to the defense of democracy and nation building and will not be transiting into a political party, is however committed to inspiring and supporting more youth candidates with content and character to run for office through its Ready To Run initiative and other interventions aimed at promoting youth candidacy in the 2019 elections.

Ibrahim Faruk is a Senior Program Officer with YIAGA AFRICA and a member of the Not Too Young To Run Movement, based in Abuja. He can be reached via [email protected]. He tweets via @IbrhmFaruk

The Moment #WatchingTheVote VERIFIED Ekiti Governorship Elections

It’s just few Hours after the announcement of the Official Results of the Ekiti Governorship Elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)

The Cameras are set, and the world is eager to know the Outcome of YIAGA AFRICA’s WatchingTheVote deployment of 500 Polling Unit Observers, 25 roving observers and 16 Collation observers.

At the Press Conference addressed by YIAGA AFRICA’s Executive Director Samson Itodo, Board members Prof Nnamdi Aduba, Ezenwa Nwagwu, Watching The Vote Project Director, Cynthia Mbamalu and Pre-Election Manager Safiya Bichi, WTV data revealed information on the conduct of the the election day process and procedure.  According to Samson Itodo, WTV findings shows that the All Progressives Congress (APC) should receive between 49.1 per cent and 54.7 per cent the votes cast. For the Peoples Democratic Party, he said that the party should receive between 43.1percent and 48.7 percent of the votes and that no other party should receive more than one percent of the votes share.

Itodo said that the INEC official result for the election was consistent with YIAGA Africa WTV estimate.

He said: “In view of the consistency between INEC official result and our WTV estimates, we confirm that the official results reflect the ballot cast at the polling unit.

“Had the official results been changed at the ward, LGA or state collation centres, the official results would not have fallen within the YIAGA Africa WTV estimated ranges.

“The official results fall within the estimated ranges and therefore, governorship contestants, parties and voters should have confidence that INEC’s official result for the Ekiti 2018 gubernatorial election reflect the ballots cast at polling units.

“To this end, we urge all stakeholders to accept the outcome of the election or seek redress, using legal means of electoral dispute resolution.’’

Itodo said that to buttress the consistency more, it was important to highlight that the counting process at polling units was transparent and included representatives from the two political parties that received the most votes.

He said that in 85 per cent of polling units, counting was concluded at 4 p.m., adding that incidents of intimidation, harassment or violence were reported in five per cent of polling units during counting.

According to him, on the average, three party agents were present during the counting process.

Itodo said that INEC’s official results for turnout and rejected ballots were also consistent with YIAGA Africa WTV estimates.

#WatchingTheVote Verification Statement on the 2018 Ekiti Gubernatorial Election

Protocols

Introduction

Ladies and Gentlemen, it gives us great pleasure to welcome you to the YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote (WTV) Verification Statement of the 2018 governorship election in Ekiti. This press briefing is the fourth in a series of press conferences to be hosted by YIAGA AFRICA WTV during the 2018 Ekiti governorship election. This briefing covers the accuracy of the official results as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The WTV project is “Driven by Data – For All Nigerians – Beholden to None!” WTV employed the parallel vote tabulation (PVT) methodology on Election Day – the gold standard for citizen observation. WTV deployed 500 stationary observers in pairs to a representative statistical sample of 250 polling units and 25 mobile observers located in all 16 local government areas (LGAs) of Ekiti state. WTV also deployed 16 collation centre observers to each of the LGA Collation Centres. This deployment strategy enabled YIAGA AFRICA to provide timely and accurate information on the conduct of accreditation, voting, and counting as well as to independently verify the official results and turnout for the Ekiti gubernatorial election as announced by INEC. The verification statement is based on reports from 246 of 250 (98%) sampled polling units. YIAGA AFRICA continues to receive reports from its observers on ground and will include this data in its final report.

On the eve of election day, YIAGA AFRICA raised awareness of five critical issues: (1) INEC Form EC.60E polling unit results being posted at the polling unit; (2) observers’ access to collation centres; (3) conduct of deployed security officials; (4) hate speech and inciting statements by key political actors; and (5) voter inducement and vote buying.

Yesterday, the people of Ekiti state went to the polls to elect a governor that will lead the state for the next four years. Yesterday evening, YIAGA AFRICA issued a detailed PRELIMINARY statement on the conduct of accreditation, voting, and counting. This statement noted that most elements of the electoral process at polling units were generally conducted according to regulations, but highlighted concerns about: secrecy of the ballot and vote buying and bribery.

During the Preliminary Statement Press Conference yesterday evening, YIAGA AFRICA also highlighted that turnout for the Ekiti gubernatorial election will be between 42% and 48% based on official turnout figures collected from the PVT’s representative statistical sample of polling units across the 16 LGAs in the state.

Finally, YIAGA AFRICA highlighted having a stable estimated range for the election outcome, it was INEC’s mandate to announce results. However, based on yesterday’s received observer reports, YIAGA AFRICA’s PVT showed that no candidate would receive more than 56% of the vote share.

YIAGA AFRICA undertook WTV to provide the general public, governorship candidates, political parties, and INEC with independent information on the conduct of the election and to help ensure the official results for the Ekiti gubernatorial election truly reflect the ballots cast at polling units. YIAGA AFRICA is committed to confirming the official results if they reflect the ballots cast at polling units and exposing manipulation if the results are changed during the collation process.

#WatchingTheVote Election Day Observation

YIAGA AFRICA’s WTV initiative employed the parallel vote tabulation (PVT) methodology for Election Day observation. This is the gold standard for citizen observation and provides accurate and timely information on the conduct of the accreditation, voting, and counting at polling units and is able to independently verify the accuracy of official election results. For the PVT, YIAGA AFRICA deployed 500 trained and accredited stationary observers in teams of two to a representative statistical sample of 250 polling units across Ekiti.

The sampled polling units were determined by established statistical principles to ensure the resulting information is representative of the state and unbiased. The sample includes polling units in every one of the 16 LGAs in Ekiti. The number of sampled polling units in each LGA is based on the percentage of polling units and registered voters in the LGA. For example, Efon LGA has 5.4% of all the polling units in Ekiti (119 of 2,195) and 5.2% (13 of 250) of WTV’s sampled polling units in Efon LGA. While not identical the percentage of every LGA are very close, clearly demonstrating that the PVT sample is representative of the entire state.

All observers were carefully recruited according to established criteria to ensure that they are independent and non-partisan. All observers had to attend a thorough training on how to observe the process and send in observation reports via coded text messages using their mobile phones. All observers had to sign a pledge of neutrality and were given a code of conduct to which they must adhere when observing. Finally, all observers had to participate in two simulation exercises before election day to demonstrate that they were fully prepared to observe.

YIAGA AFRICA’s WTV observers witnessed the entire process on Election Day. They deployed to polling units at 7:00am and observed setup, accreditation and voting, and counting. Every stationary observer sent in coded text messages containing their reports to YIAGA AFRICA’s data centre located here at Eleventh House Hotel, Ado-Ekiti. Throughout the day they sent in a total of eleven text messages on the conduct of the election – including sending the official results for their assigned polling station as announced by the INEC officials.

For turnout, the vote for each candidate/political party and rejected votes, the PVT produces an estimated range based on the untainted polling unit results. The PVT produces an estimated range rather than a specific percentage because results are collected from a representative statistical sample of polling unit. This range is calculated using long established statistical formula. However, because the PVT is based on the untainted results from polling units, the official results must fall within the PVT’s estimated range for them to reflect the ballots cast at polling unit. Thus, if the official results fall within the PVT’s estimated ranges, then the official results accurately reflect the ballots cast at polling units. However, if the official results fall outside the PVT’s estimated ranges, then the official results were changed. YIAGA AFRICA is committed to confirming the official results if they reflect the ballots cast at polling units and exposing manipulation if the results are changed during the collation process.

It is important to note that a PVT is not an exit poll. An exit poll involves asking voters for whom they voted. For the PVT no voters were asked how they voted. YIAGA AFRICA WTV observed witnessed the entire election day processes of accreditation and voting, counting through the announcement and posting of official results of the polling unit. The figures they reported were the untainted official results for the polling unit as announced by the polling officials.

Results Verification

Based on reports from 98% (246 of 250) sampled polling units YIAGA AFRICA’s statistical analysis shows that All Progressives Congress (APC) should receive between 49.1% and 54.7% of the vote; Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should receive between 43.1% and 48.7% of the vote; no other party should receive more than 1% of the vote share

Table 1:      Comparison of INEC Official Results with YIAGA AFRICA WTV Estimates for Select Political Parties for the Ekiti 2018 Gubernatorial Election
Party INEC YIAGA AFRICA WTV Match
Official Result Estimate Margin of Error Estimated Range
Lower Limit Upper Limit
APC 51.3% 51.9% ±2.8% 49.1% 54.7% ü
PDP 46.3% 45.9% ±2.8% 43.1% 48.7% ü
Note: No other party received more than 1% of the vote share
Source: YIAGA AFRICA WTV Ekiti 2018

The INEC official result is for the 2018 Ekiti State gubernatorial election consistent with the YIAGA AFRICA WTV estimate. Had the official results been changed at the ward, LGA or state collation centres, the official results would not have fallen within the YIAGA AFRICA WTV estimated ranges. Because the official results fall within the estimated ranges, governorship contestants, parties, and voters should have confidence that INEC’s official results for the Ekiti 2018 gubernatorial election reflect the ballots cast at polling units.

It is important to highlight the counting process at polling units was transparent and included representatives from the two political parties that received the most votes.

  • At 85% of polling units counting had concluded by 4:00 pm.
  • Incidents of intimidation, harassment or violence were reported in 5% of polling units during counting.
  • On average, three party agents were present during the counting process.
  • Further, at 94% of polling units APC party agents received a copy of the EC.8A results form and at 95% of polling units PDP party agents received a copy of the EC.8A results form. At 38% of polling units part agents from other parties received a copy of the EC.8A results form.

INEC’s official results for turnout and rejected ballots are also consistent with YIAGA AFRICA WTV estimates. YIAGA AFRICA is able to estimate that turnout is 44.5% with a margin of error of ±3.1% (between 41.4% and 47.6%) while INEC’s official result is 44.4%. Similarly, YIAGA AFRICA estimates rejected ballots are 4.3% with a margin of error of ±1.1% (between 3.2% and 5.4%) while INEC’s official result is 4.7%. These results are consistent.

Observations

  • At 97% of polling units the card reader was used throughout the accreditation and voting process. In 3% of polling units located in Ekiti West LGA, Gbonyin LGA, Ido/Osi LGA, Ilejemeje LGA and Moba LGA, the card reader malfunctioned but was not replaced.
  • At 8% of polling units incidents of vote buying or bribery were recorded at some point throughout the day.

Critical Incidents

  • At two polling units in Emure, Local Government Area the voting process was disrupted by thugs; at one of these sites the YIAGA WTV observer was also carried away but later released.
  • In one polling unit in Moba and one polling unit in Ise/Orun observers reported critical incidents of card reader malfunction.
  • In one polling unit in Irepodun/Ifelodu voters showed how their ballot papers were marked before putting them in the ballot box.

Preliminary Recommendations

  1. In view of the consistency between INEC official results and our WTV estimates, we confirm that the official results reflect the ballot cast at the polling unit. To this end, we urge all stakeholders to accept the outcome of the election or seek redress using legal means of electoral dispute resolution.
  2. The incidence of vote buying and voter inducement during elections undermines political legitimacy and makes a mockery of our democracy. This growing trend needs to be abated ahead of subsequent elections. INEC should take intentional steps to protect the secrecy of the ballot to enforcing her electoral guidelines. The Security agencies should devise new strategies for detecting and apprehending individuals or groups involved in vote buying and selling during elections.
  3. Stakeholders like INEC, NOA and CSOs should engage in robust advocacy against vote buying. Political parties and candidates should be encouraged to promote issued-based participation at elections.
  4. There is need for openness and transparency in the deployment of security personnel for elections. This will boost confidence in electoral stakeholders and citizens. The membership of the Inter agency Committee on Election Security (ICCES) needs to be reviewed to mainstream other stakeholders like civil society.
  5. YIAGA AFRICA notes the new innovations introduced by INEC to the electoral process. We recommend that the commission and other stakeholders should undertake robust voter education to enlighten voters and stakeholders on the new innovations. Specifically, we recommend increased voter education on the voting process as it relates to folding of ballot papers.

Conclusion

YIAGA AFRICA calls on Dr. Kayode Fayemi and all APC supporters to be magnanimous in victory. For those candidates who did not win, we urge them to accept the results because they reflect the votes cast. YIAGA AFRICA calls upon all candidates, all parties and all Nigerians to show political maturity and to maintain the peace.

YIAGA AFRICA commends INEC on the timely opening of polls with essential materials present as well as the timely announcement of results.  However, YIAGA AFRICA also recommends that INEC take all necessary steps to address those challenges seen in Ekiti’s poll, including instances of card reader malfunction that were not addressed in some polling units. YIAGA AFRICA further recommends, as WTV had during the Ondo 2016 polls and Anambra 2017 polls, to improve the ability of the card readers to reliably verify voter fingerprints and ensure voter accreditation procedures are adhered to.

YIAGA AFRICA would like to thank the many Nigerians across the state who volunteered to serve as non-partisan election observers on behalf of all the people of Ekiti. YIAGA AFRICA commends the dedication of the permanent INEC staff in Abuja and Ekiti state who organized the election; the commitment of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members who served as poll officials, and the professionalism of the security agents who worked to keep the peace on Election Day. YIAGA AFRICA also appreciates the collaboration of our development partners and their commitment to Nigerian initiatives to ensure credible elections in our country.

Through the WTV initiative, YIAGA AFRICA is committed to promoting more credible elections by providing independent information on the conduct of elections and independently verifying the accuracy of election results. #WatchingTheVote is For All Nigerians, Beholden to No One, and Driven By Data.

Long live Ekiti state, long live Nigeria.
Thank you.

— End —

Hussaini Abdu PhD                                              Samson Itodo
Chair,                                                                       Executive Director
YIAGA AFRICA WTV Working Group                    YIAGA AFRICA

For media inquiries please contact:
Moshood Isah: Tel. +234 (0) 703 666 9339
Email: [email protected] AFRICA.org

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

 

About YIAGA AFRICA

YIAGA AFRICA is a non-governmental organization promoting democracy, constitutionalism and youth participation in Africa. YIAGA AFRICA achieves its goal through research, capacity development and policy advocacy. YIAGA AFRICA operates as a citizens’ movement poised with the onerous mandate of enhancing the quality of democratic governance, public accountability and civic participation. YIAGA AFRICA has been involved in election observation since 2007 and it is one of the leading organizations working on elections in Nigeria.

The YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote (WTV) is a citizen-led election observation initiative aimed at enhancing the integrity of elections in Nigeria using technological tools like SMS and evidence-based research methodology tools for election observation. The initiative is designed to promote credible elections and boost citizens’ confidence in the electoral process through citizens observation of electoral activities in the electoral cycle. YIAGA AFRICA is enhancing the quality of democracy in Nigeria using Watching The Vote as a platform for promoting cutting-edge electoral policies, credible elections, civic participation and democratic consolidation.

 

Appendix I

Distribution of All Polling Units and PVT Sampled Polling Units for

2018 Ekiti Gubernatorial Election

S/N LGA Registered Voters Polling
Units
Percent of Total Polling
Units
Sampled Polling
Units
Percent of Total Sampled Polling Units Observers
1 ADO EKITI  168,534 207 9.4% 24 9.6% 48
2 EFON  27,282 119 5.4% 13 5.2% 26
3 EKITI EAST  56,682 95 4.3% 11 4.4% 22
4 EKITI SOUTH WEST  50,652 188 8.6% 22 8.8% 44
5 EKITI WEST  54,257 184 8.4% 21 8.4% 42
6 EMURE  34,130 93 4.2% 10 4.0% 20
7 GBONYIN  49,953 103 4.7% 12 4.8% 24
8 IDO / OSI  53,077 139 6.3% 16 6.4% 32
9 IJERO  59,300 138 6.3% 16 6.4% 32
10 IKERE  61,867 86 3.9% 10 4.0% 20
11 IKOLE  63,614 182 8.3% 21 8.4% 42
12 ILEJEMEJE  15,944 91 4.1% 10 4.0% 20
13 IREPODUN / IFELODU  66,513 160 7.3% 18 7.2% 36
14 ISE / ORUN  42,474 108 4.9% 12 4.8% 24
15 MOBA  48,628 112 5.1% 13 5.2% 26
16 OYE  60,427 190 8.7% 21 8.4% 42
  TOTAL  913,334 2,195 100.0% 250 100.0% 500

 

 

Appendix II

The below table is a comparison of INEC official results with the YIAGA AFRICA WTV estimates for all 35 political parties contesting the Ekiti 2018 gubernatorial election.

Appendix II:   Comparison of INEC Official Results with YIAGA AFRICA WTV Estimates for All Political Parties the Ekiti 2018 Gubernatorial Election
Party INEC YIAGA AFRICA WTV Match
Official Result Estimate Margin of Error Estimated Range
Lower Limit Upper Limit
A 0.1% 0.1% +/-0.0% 0.1% 0.1% ü
AA 0.0% 0.0% +/-0.0% 0.0% 0.0% ü
ACD 0.3% 0.3% +/-0.1% 0.2% 0.4% ü
AD 0.1% 0.1% +/-0.0% 0.1% 0.1% ü
ADP 0.3% 0.3% +/-0.1% 0.2% 0.4% ü
AGA 0.0% 0.0% +/-0.0% 0.0% 0.0% ü
AGAP 0.0% 0.0% +/-0.0% 0.0% 0.0% ü
ANRP 0.0% 0.0% +/-0.0% 0.0% 0.0% ü
APA 0.3% 0.3% +/-0.1% 0.2% 0.4% ü
APC 51.3% 51.9% +/-2.8% 49.1% 54.7% ü
APDA 0.1% 0.1% +/-0.1% 0.0% 0.2% ü
APGA 0.0% 0.0% +/-0.0% 0.0% 0.0% ü
BNPP 0.0% 0.0% +/-0.0% 0.0% 0.0% ü
DA 0.0% 0.0% +/-0.0% 0.0% 0.0% ü
DPC 0.0% 0.1% +/-0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
DPP 0.0% 0.0% +/-0.0% 0.0% 0.0% ü
FJP 0.0% 0.0% +/-0.0% 0.0% 0.0% ü
GPN 0.0% 0.0% +/-0.0% 0.0% 0.0% ü
ID 0.1% 0.0% +/-0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
KOWA 0.0% 0.0% +/-0.0% 0.0% 0.0% ü
LP 0.1% 0.0% +/-0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Appendix II:   Comparison of INEC Official Results with YIAGA AFRICA WTV Estimates for All Political Parties the Ekiti 2018 Gubernatorial Election
Party INEC YIAGA AFRICA WTV Match
Official Result Estimate Margin of Error Estimated Range
Lower Limit Upper Limit
MMN 0.0% 0.0% +/-0.0% 0.0% 0.0% ü
MPN 0.1% 0.0% +/-0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
NDLP 0.0% 0.0% +/-0.0% 0.0% 0.0% ü
NPC 0.0% 0.1% +/-0.0% 0.1% 0.1%
PANDEL 0.0% 0.0% +/-0.0% 0.0% 0.0% ü
PDC 0.3% 0.3% +/-0.1% 0.2% 0.4% ü
PDP 46.3% 45.9% +/-2.8% 43.1% 48.7% ü
PPA 0.2% 0.1% +/-0.1% 0.0% 0.2% ü
PPN 0.0% 0.0% +/-0.0% 0.0% 0.0% ü
SDP 0.1% 0.1% +/-0.1% 0.0% 0.2% ü
UDP 0.0% 0.0% +/-0.0% 0.0% 0.0% ü
UPN 0.0% 0.0% +/-0.0% 0.0% 0.0% ü
YDP 0.0% 0.0% +/-0.0% 0.0% 0.0% ü
YPP 0.0% 0.0% +/-0.0% 0.0% 0.0% ü
Source: YIAGA AFRICA WTV Ekiti 2018

 

#WatchingTheVote Preliminary Process Statement on the 2018 Ekiti Gubernatorial Election

Protocols

Introduction

Ladies and Gentlemen, it gives us great pleasure to welcome you to the YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote (WTV) Evening Statement on the Process of the 2018 governorship election in Ekiti. This press briefing is the third in a series of press conferences to be hosted by YIAGA AFRICA WTV during the 2018 Ekiti governorship election. Although YIAGA AFRICA has received data from 245 of 250 sampled polling units and currently has a stable estimated range for the election outcome, it is the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with the mandate to announce results. YIAGA AFRICA will follow up with a fourth press briefing IMMEDIATELY after INEC announces the official results of the Ekiti gubernatorial election to issue its verification statement on whether the official results reflect the ballots cast at polling units.

The WTV project is “Driven by Data – For All Nigerians – Beholden to None!” WTV employed the parallel vote tabulation (PVT) methodology on Election Day – the gold standard for citizen observation. WTV deployed 500 stationary observers in pairs to a representative statistical sample of 250 polling units and 25 mobile observers located in all 16 local government areas (LGAs) of Ekiti state. WTV also deployed 16 collation centre observers to each of the LGA Collation Centres. This deployment strategy enabled YIAGA AFRICA to provide timely and accurate information on the conduct of accreditation, voting, and counting as well as to independently verify the official results for the Ekiti gubernatorial election as announced by INEC. The preliminary report on the conduct of accreditation, voting, and counting is based on reports from 245 of 250 (98%) sampled polling units. YIAGA AFRICA continues to receive reports from its observers on ground and will include this data in its final report.

YIAGA AFRICA undertook #WatchingTheVote to provide the public, governorship candidates, political parties, and INEC with independent information about whether the official results for the Ekiti gubernatorial election truly reflect the ballots cast at polling units. If the announced results reflect the ballots cast at polling units then we will confirm the outcome. If the announced results have been manipulated and do not match the results posted at polling units then YIAGA AFRICA will expose it.

Preliminary Election Day Findings

YIAGA AFRICA’s #WatchingTheVote observers witnessed accreditation, voting, and counting at polling units in all 16 LGAs. Set-up findings were provided in a press release earlier in the day. As of this time, YIAGA AFRICA’s preliminary findings are based on reports from 245 of 250 sampled polling units.

Accreditation and Voting

  • At 88% of polling units the card reader functioned throughout the day.
  • At 98% of polling units every potential voter’s permanent voter card (PVC) was checked by the card reader. At 92% of polling units every potential voter’s PVC was checked against the register of voters. At 100% of polling units no one was accredited to vote who did not have a PVC.
  • At 94% of polling units every potential voter’s fingerprints were checked by the card reader.
  • 84% of polling units were set up so no one could see how the voters marked their ballot papers. However, at 16% of polling units it was possible to see how a voter’s ballot paper was marked when it was put in the ballot box.
  • At 100% of polling units indelible ink was applied to the cuticle of a finger of every accredited voter.
  • During accreditation and voting, at 6% of polling units voters crowded the polling officials and at 9% of polling stations there were incidents of intimidation, harassment or violence.
  • 27% of polling units completed accreditation and voting by the designated time of 2:00pm while by 3:00pm 83% of polling units had completed accreditation and voting.
  • At 1% of polling units ballots/ballot boxes were snatched of stuffed during accreditation and voting.
  • At 26% of polling units voters in the queue were not allowed to vote when accreditation and voting ended at 2:00pm.

Counting

  • At 98% of polling units polling officials showed how every ballot paper was marked to everyone present.
  • At 14% of polling units an ADP polling agent signed the official results form (EC.8A).
  • At 98% of polling units an APC polling agent signed the official results form (EC.8A).
  • At 97% of polling units a PDP polling agent signed the official results form (EC.8A).
  • At 17% of polling units polling official recounted the ballot papers.
  • At 94% of polling units the official results were posted for the public to see.
  • At 78% of polling units, presiding officers used the Smart Card Reader to transmit results from the polling units.
  • In 72% of polling units, presiding officers reported that the transmission was successful.

Turnout

YIAGA AFRICA’s preliminary estimates indicate that turnout for the Ekiti gubernatorial election will be between 42% and 48% based on official turnout figures collected from the PVT’s representative statistical sample of polling units across the 16 LGAs in the state. If INEC’s official turnout falls within WTV’s estimated range then it accurately reflects the ballots cast at polling units.

Results

Although YIAGA AFRICA currently has a stable estimated range for the election outcome, it is the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with the mandate to announce results. However, based on currently received observer reports, YIAGA AFRICA’s PVT shows that no candidate will receive more than 56% of the vote share.

Conclusion

Ladies and gentlemen of the press, it is important to remember that the Ekiti gubernatorial election is not yet over and that this report reflects YIAGA AFRICA’s preliminary findings on the conduct of accreditation, voting, and counting. INEC is still in the process of tallying results and has not yet announced the outcome of the election. YIAGA AFRICA will continue to observe the entire process and will issue additional statements as appropriate. YIAGA AFRICA calls on all contesting political parties and candidates to allow INEC to finish its work without interference and to urge their supporters to remain calm. Further, YIAGA AFRICA calls on the people of Ekiti to be peaceful and reject any calls for violence as INEC tallies the result for the gubernatorial election. YIAGA AFRICA will also issue a comprehensive report after the election has concluded that contains our final findings and recommendations.

YIAGA AFRICA would like to thank the many Nigerians across the state who volunteered to serve as non-partisan election observers on behalf of all the people of Ekiti. YIAGA AFRICA commends the dedication of the permanent INEC staff in Abuja and Ekiti state who organized the election; the commitment of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members who served as poll officials, and the professionalism of the security agents who worked to keep the peace on Election Day. YIAGA AFRICA also appreciates the collaboration of our development partners and their commitment to Nigerian initiatives to ensure credible elections in our country.

YIAGA AFRICA, through the #WatchingTheVote initiative, is committed promoting more credible elections by providing independent information on the conduct of elections and independently verifying the accuracy of election results. #WatchingTheVote is For All Nigerians, Beholden to No One, and Driven By Data.

Long live Ekiti state, long live Nigeria. Thank you.

— End —

Hussaini Abdu PhD                                              Samson Itodo
Chair,                                                                       Executive Director
YIAGA AFRICA WTV Working Group                    YIAGA AFRICA

 

For media inquiries please contact:
Moshood Isah: Tel. +234 (0) 703 666 9339
Email: [email protected] AFRICA.org

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

 

APPENDIX 1

Distribution of All Polling Units and PVT Sampled Polling Units for

2018 Ekiti Gubernatorial Election

S/N LGA Registered Voters Polling
Units
Percent of Total Polling
Units
Sampled Polling
Units
Percent of Total Sampled Polling Units Observers
1 ADO EKITI  168,534 207 9.4% 24 9.6% 48
2 EFON  27,282 119 5.4% 13 5.2% 26
3 EKITI EAST  56,682 95 4.3% 11 4.4% 22
4 EKITI SOUTH WEST  50,652 188 8.6% 22 8.8% 44
5 EKITI WEST  54,257 184 8.4% 21 8.4% 42
6 EMURE  34,130 93 4.2% 10 4.0% 20
7 GBONYIN  49,953 103 4.7% 12 4.8% 24
8 IDO / OSI  53,077 139 6.3% 16 6.4% 32
9 IJERO  59,300 138 6.3% 16 6.4% 32
10 IKERE  61,867 86 3.9% 10 4.0% 20
11 IKOLE  63,614 182 8.3% 21 8.4% 42
12 ILEJEMEJE  15,944 91 4.1% 10 4.0% 20
13 IREPODUN / IFELODU  66,513 160 7.3% 18 7.2% 36
14 ISE / ORUN  42,474 108 4.9% 12 4.8% 24
15 MOBA  48,628 112 5.1% 13 5.2% 26
16 OYE  60,427 190 8.7% 21 8.4% 42
  TOTAL  913,334 2,195 100.0% 250 100.0% 500

 

 

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

Introduction

YIAGA AFRICA #WatchingTheVote (WTV) is observing the 2018 governorship election in Ekiti state. YIAGA WTV deployed 500 carefully trained stationary observers and 24 mobile observers in all the 16 local government areas (LGAs) in Ekiti state. YIAGA AFRICA also deployed 16 collation centre observers to each of the LGA collation centres and the state collation centre. YIAGA AFRICA WTV is leveraging on the parallel vote tabulation (PVT) methodology to observe elections. PVT is a tested and advanced methodology that employs well established statistical principles and utilizes sophisticated information technologies for election observation. YIAGA AFRICA’s WTV project provides the most timely and accurate information on the conduct of voting and counting and uses the only observation methodology that can independently verify the official governorship results as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Findings

YIAGA AFRICA’s WTV observation for the Ekiti 2018 gubernatorial elections is fully operational. At this time, YIAGA AFRICA has received reports from 242 of 250 sampled polling units across the 16 LGAs.

These are preliminary findings as of 12:00 pm on election day. The following data will be updated as additional reports are received from WTV observers at sampled polling units.

  1. As of 7:30 am, YIAGA AFRICA WTV observers reported that INEC officials had arrived at 78% of polling units.
  2. By 9:00 am 91% of polling units had commenced accreditation and voting.
  3. In those polling units where INEC officials and materials arrived, 83% of polling units had four polling officials present, 7% had more than four polling officials present and 10% had fewer than four polling officials present. 89% of polling units had at least one female polling official present, 54% of polling units had two or more female polling officials present.
  4. In addition, 99% 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. ADP polling or party agents were seen at 15% of polling units, APC at 100% of polling units, and PDP at 100% of polling units.

YIAGA commends INEC on the timely opening of polling units, particularly as compared to the Anambra gubernatorial election where 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.

In view of the foregoing, YIAGA AFRICA WTV makes the following preliminary recommendations:

Preliminary Recommendations

  1. Voters should turn out confident that polling units are open with essential materials present.
  2. INEC should continue to uphold the secrecy of the ballot by ensuring voting cubicles and ballot boxes are situated to guarantee the secrecy of the ballot. Security agents deployed to polling stations should apprehend an individual or group involved in vote buying.
  3. Parties should ensure that their representatives are present to observe the process and counting.
  4. INEC should continue to adhere to the election guidelines as voting continues and throughout the process.
  5. YIAGA AFRICA encourages security agents to conduct themselves professionally and to continue to assure a peaceful process.
  6. We urge public and private media organizations to uphold the core principles of ethical journalism in their reportage of the election.

 

About YIAGA AFRICA and Watching The Vote

YIAGA AFRICA is a non-profit civic hub of changemakers building democratic societies in Africa anchored on the principles of inclusion, justice, rule of law and accountability. YIAGA AFRICA achieves its goal through research, capacity development and policy advocacy. YIAGA AFRICA has been involved in election observation since 2007 and it is one of the leading organizations working on elections in Nigeria.

YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote is a citizen-led election observation initiative aimed at enhancing the integrity of elections in Nigeria using technological tools like SMS and evidence-based research methodologies to further election observation. The initiative is designed to promote credible elections and boost citizens’ confidence in the electoral process through citizen’s observation of electoral activities in the electoral cycle. YIAGA AFRICA is enhancing the quality of democracy in Nigeria using the WTV as a platform for promoting cutting-edge electoral policies, credible elections, civic participation and democratic consolidation.

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, and counting on Saturday, July 14 at the Eleventh House hotel at 7:00 pm.

— End —

Hussaini Abdu, PhD                                                                                     Samson Itodo

Chair                                                                                                               Executive Director

YIAGA AFRICA WTV Working Group                                                            YIAGA AFRICA

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.

 

#WatchingTheVote Pre-Election Press Statement on the 2018 Ekiti Gubernatorial Election

YIAGA Africa today presented its #WatchingTheVote (WTV) project and deployment plans for the Saturday, July 14, Ekiti state gubernatorial election. On Election Day, YIAGA Africa will employ the parallel vote tabulation (PVT) methodology – the gold standard for citizen observation. WTV will deploy 500 stationary observers to a representative statistical sample of 250 polling units and 25 mobile observers located in all 16 local government areas (LGAs) of Ekiti state. YIAGA will also deploy 16 collation centre observers to cover all of Ekiti’s LGA-level collation centres. This deployment strategy will enable YIAGA Africa to provide timely and accurate information on the conduct of accreditation, voting, and counting as well as to independently verify the official results of the Ekiti gubernatorial election as announced by INEC.

Throughout Election Day, YIAGA Africa will provide updates on the conduct of the election based on the near real-time reports from its observers. These will be released at the data centre and posted on social media at YIAGA Africa’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/yiaga.org) and YIAGA Africa’s Twitter page (@YIAGA). On Saturday, July 14, 2018, at 7 pm, YIAGA AFRICA will release its estimated projections based on its preliminary data. On Sunday, July 15, 2018, at 10 am at Eleventh House, Ado-Ekiti, YIAGA Africa will also share its preliminary WTV findings on the conduct of set-up, accreditation, voting and counting. Immediately after INEC announces the official results for the gubernatorial election, YIAGA Africa will hold its own press conference and issue its election results verification statement.

During the press briefing, YIAGA Africa also shared findings from its final report on the pre-election environment in Ekiti State as part of the WTV Pre-Election Observation or PREO project. The report summarizes findings from 24 long-term observers who have been deployed in all 16 Local Government Areas of Ekiti State since May 25. Covering the period from July 6 to July 11, 2018, the report highlighted three important findings:

First, YIAGA Africa applauded the increase in voter education activities observed this period on the part of both the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) and civil society organizations but noted an absence of campaigns to specifically target women, youth and persons with disabilities in many LGAs. Second, YIAGA Africa noted high levels of campaign activity across the state and remarked on the active role played by women and youth to canvass for votes. YIAGA AFRICA urged INEC to respect the results counting and announcement procedures, including the posting of Form EC 60E even with the introduction of new electronic collation technologies. YIAGA AFRICA expressed concerns with the overzealous and hostile conduct of security personnel deployed to the state for the election. YIAGA AFRICA calls on security agencies to uphold the principles of non-partisanship, transparency, civil policing and professionalism in the conduct of their affairs. Finally, YIAGA Africa expressed concern at increasing reports of voter inducement, as both witnessed and heard of by citizen observers, noting that even rumours of voter inducement can undermine citizen confidence in the integrity of elections.

YIAGA Africa YIAGA AFRICA is a non-profit civic hub of changemakers building democratic societies in Africa anchored on the principles of inclusion, justice, rule of law and accountability. YIAGA Africa achieves its goal through research, capacity development and policy advocacy. YIAGA Africa has been involved in election observation since 2007 and it is one of the leading organizations working on elections in Nigeria.

 

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.