WTV Press conference

ELECTION RIGGING ALERT: YIAGA AFRICA CONDEMNS PLOTS BY THE MILITARY AND PARTY AGENTS TO COMPROMISE THE RESULTS COLLATION PROCESS

Statement on Denial of Access to Results Collation Centres
(As at 8:00pm, Saturday, 9th March 2019)

Election Rigging ALERT: YIAGA AFRICA Condemns plots by the military and party agents to compromise the results collation process

Reports reaching the YIAGA AFRICA Watching the Vote data centre reveals that WTV observers and other observer groups have been denied access to observe the result collation process in the following Local Government collation centres

S/NStateLocal Government Area Collation CenterPerpetrator
1.Akwa I bomUran LGA Results Collation Center 

Ukanafun LGA Results Collation Center 
Ikot-Epene LGA Results Collation Center
Military Officers
Military Officers
Military Officers
2Rivers StateEleme Results Collation Center
s
Asari- Toru Results Collation Center

Oyigbo Results Collation Centers 


Gokana Results Collation Center 

Opobo Results Collation Center 

Military Officers
APC Members 
Military Officers
Military Officers

Military Officers
3ZamfaraTsafe LGA Results Collation CenterSecurity Agents

YIAGA AFRICA calls on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to as a matter of urgency ensure that access is granted to observer groups to observe the results collation process at the LGA and state level. YIAGA AFRICA notes that the lack of transparency in the results collation process will undermine the integrity of the elections in those locations. YIAGA AFRICA calls on security agencies especially the military to refrain from interfering with the results collation process.

YIAGA AFRICA once again reiterates its earlier position that military interference with the electoral process is a fundamental breach of the Constitution of Nigeria and a threat to our electoral democracy.

Thank you.

Dr. Hussaini Abdu
Chair, Watching The Vote Working Group

Samson Itodo
Executive Director, YIAGA AFRICA

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YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote 2019 Governorship Elections Mid-day Situational Statement on the Opening and Set-up of Polling units

Introduction

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 elections.

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 Gubernatorial elections.

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.

  1. 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.

Critical Incidents

YIAGA AFRICA has received the following critical incidents from her observers;

  1. Missing 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.
  • INEC 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 of tension.
  • Destruction 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.
  • Voting 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.
  • Ballot 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 Taraba State.
  • Threat to Media Reporters: Reports of abduction of six journalists were received from Ahoada West LGA in Rivers State.
  • Refusal 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.
  • Voter 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.
  • Inducement 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.

Preliminary Recommendations

  1. Speedy 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.
  • Results 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.
  • Application 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.
  • Posting 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.
  • Election 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 military officers.
  • Adequate 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

Samson Itodo

Executive Director, 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.orgor on social media on Facebook at facebook.com/yiaga.orgor on Twitter @YIAGA.

WTV Pre-election press conference for governorship election

YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote Pre-election Press Statement for 2019 Governorship Elections

Introduction

Ladies and Gentlemen, distinguished guests – welcome to the YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote (WTV)’s Preliminary Press Conference on observation plans for the governorship and state assembly elections on March 9, 2019 and the pre-election environment leading up to the elections. This briefing is the first 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 Saturday 9 March 2019 when YIAGA AFRICA will share its Mid-day Situational Statement on the opening of polls and on Sunday 10 March 2019 at 11:00 am when YIAGA AFRICA will share its preliminary statement on the conduct of the elections.

YIAGA AFRICA and Watching The Vote Observation of the 2019 Governorship and State Assembly Elections

On Saturday, 9 March 2019, Nigerians will once again go to the polls to elect their State Governors in 29 States across Nigeria excluding; Kogi, Bayelsa, Edo, Ondo, Anambra, Ekiti and Osun States. The Election will also include the election of the State Houses of Assembly members representing the 991 State constituencies and the Abuja Area Council elections. For these elections a total of 1066 Governorship Candidates contesting in the 29 States and 14, 580 candidates contesting for the State House of Assemblies.

YIAGA AFRICA is a strictly nonpartisan and independent civil society organization without affiliation to any political party, candidate or state agency. YIAGA AFRICA’s Watching The Vote effort includes volunteers representing Nigeria’s diversity: women and men, youth and the elderly, persons with disability, Muslims and Christians from the six geographical zones. YIAGA AFRICA’s observers have all been carefully selected and extensively trained in accordance with strict criteria to ensure their independence and neutrality, are properly accredited with INEC and have signed a project Code of Conduct to uphold standards of impartiality, objectivity and professionalism. YIAGA AFRICA observes on behalf of all Nigerian people and speaks in their name on the basis of verified data.

For the March 9 Governorship elections, YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote will not be deploying the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology. As such YIAGA AFRICA will not be verifying the election day result but will be assessing the election day process at the polling units and collation centres. YIAGA AFRICA will deploy a total of 682 observers to observe the elections in 29 states. This comprises 642 stationary observers and 48 roving observers. YIAGA AFRICA will also deploy observers to 642 LGA results collation centers and 29 state collation centers. Our observers will observe the entire election day process including setup of the polling units, accreditation, voting, announcement and posting of the official results and will send in periodic reports to the Watching the Vote National Data Centre located at Floor 01, Benue/Plateau Hall, Transcorp Hilton in Abuja where they will be processed and analysed. This deployment will enable YIAGA AFRICA to provide the most timely and accurate information on the governorship and state assembly elections in 29 states.

Matters Arising and recommendations

As noted in our statement on the February 23, Presidential and National Assembly elections, the elections were characterized by similar shortcomings that marred previous national elections in Nigeria. As in past elections, logistical challenges faced by INEC that resulted in widespread late opening of polling units and malfeasance by political parties compromised the ability of citizens to vote and undermined public confidence in the process. We maintained that Nigeria lost an opportunity to improve the quality of its elections as compared to the 2015 national elections. The elections were not the elections Nigerians expected neither is it the elections Nigerians deserved. The March 9 elections presents INEC and other stakeholders with an opportunity to address all the gaps and shortcomings observed in the February 23 elections. Nigerians deserve an election that inspires confidence and restore hope in electoral democracy. To this end, YIAGA AFRICA notes the following;

  1. Deployment of Election Materials: YIAGA AFRICA notes the deployment of election materials across the States with at least 27 States confirming the deployment of sensitive and non-sensitive materials in the Local Government Areas of the State. While this is a positive sign, YIAGA AFRICA calls on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure a proper coordination and communication with the transport companies/unions providing logistics support to ensure early deployment of materials and personnel to polling units to break the trend of late commencement of polls.
  • Clarity of Election Day Process: YIAGA AFRICA notes from its observation of the Presidential Elections the need for INEC to ensure proper communication on the election process to ensure uniformity and strict compliance to the electoral guidelines. This includes the need for all Presiding officers/Assistant Presiding Officers at the Polling units/Voting points to ensure that the smart card readers are shown to be zero at the commencement of accreditation and announce the number of accredited voters at the close of polls before sorting and counting of ballots. There is need for clarity on who reserves the authority to cancel ballots and the levels where cancellation will take place.
  • Electronic Accreditation of voters: YIAGA AFRICA notes that during the February 23 elections the Smart Card Readers were not used throughout the process of accreditation of voters in 7% of polling units. In another 2% of polling units persons were permitted to vote without a Permanent Voter Card (PVC). This infractions pose a threat to the integrity of the electoral process if not curtailed. INEC should ensure strict compliance with use of the card readers for voter accreditation. Polling officials who disregard the INEC guidelines and regulations should be sanctioned.
  • Destruction and Attack on INEC Officials, Materials and Structures: YIAGA AFRICA notes the increasing reports of attacks on INEC officials, materials and structures and calls on the security agencies to effectively deploy security protection to properly secure INEC officials and election materials especially on election day. YIAGA AFRICA condemns the vandalization and destruction of INEC office in Ibesikpo, Akwa Ibom State.
  • Transparency of the results collation process: YIAGA AFRICA is concerned with the non-compliance with result collation guidelines by INEC officials especially Presiding Officers, Ward Collations officers and returning officers. INEC should ensure collation centres are accessible to accredited observers. The form EC 40 G should  be revised to include details for cancellation for every polling unit canceled. The current form only captures the name of the polling unit and the total number of registered voters affected without reasons for cancellation. To increase transparency of the collation process, INEC is encouraged to share Form EC40G series with party agents present during the different stages of the collation process.
  • Posting of 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.
  • Strict Compliance on Guideline for Cancellation of Ballots: YIAGA AFRICA in its presidential election observation reports noted the high percentage of cancelled ballots and calls on INEC to ensure that the guidelines on cancelled ballots are strictly adhered to reduce discretion on the part of INEC officials. This includes ensuring 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.  
  • Election Security: YIAGA AFRICA calls on the security agencies to ensure proper coordination especially between the military and police. It is important to note that the Police has the coordinating responsibility of election security and not the soldiers, as such proper lines of communication and rules of engagement should be adhered to. In addition, security agencies must at all cost remain non-partisan and professional in their conduct and operation.

YIAGA AFRICA calls on all political parties contesting in this election to ensure they encourage their supporters to come out and vote within the ambit of the law and to refrain from electoral bribery. YIAGA AFRICA also calls on all Political parties to refrain from deploying thugs or promoting any action that would lead to violence which will disrupt the electoral process.

Voters: YIAGA AFRICA calls on Nigerian citizens who are the biggest stakeholder in this election to turn out in their numbers and cast their votes by properly thumbprinting to reduce the number of rejected/invalid votes.

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

Samson Itodo
Executive Director, 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.

PRESENTATION OF SWOT ANALYSIS FOR YOUTH CANDIDATES IN 2019 ELECTION

YIAGA AFRICA Launches Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) Analysis of youth candidates in the 2019 elections

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) of youth candidates in the 2019 elections

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In the build-up to the general elections, YIAGA AFRICA with support from the Department for International Development (UKAID) undertook an assessment of youth candidates’ campaign activities to identify their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT). The SWOT analysis was designed to facilitate evidence based and constructive engagement with youth candidates running for office in the 2019 elections. The outcome of the study serves as a resource for supporting youth candidates and promoting youth participation in politics. It is designed to enhance the quality of public discourse on youth participation in politics and facilitate data driven programming on civic engagement and political representation.

YIAGA AFRICA recruited, trained and deployed 37 field researchers to 34 states of the federation to study the campaigns of 99 candidates from 36 parties. The candidates were purposively sampled from the 334 youth candidates on YIAGA AFRICA ‘Ready To Run’ online platform. The methodology also entailed in-depth interviews with Interest or Influential Group Leaders in the constituencies of the candidates. Measures were taken by YIAGA AFRICA to ensure the findings of the study represent as much as possible, the general perceptions of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to youth candidates as identified by the respondents that participated in the research. 

Key Findings of the SWOT Analysis

  1. Strengths of Youth Candidates
  2. The popularity of youth candidates or parties, projects undertaken by youth candidates in their constituencies, personal leadership qualities, candidates’ visibility to the various categories of voters, financial backing and strong party structure, were identified as strengths by youth candidates and IGLs interviewed.
  3. 37% of youth candidates acknowledged that they received some form of financial support from their political parties.
  4. 21% of the IGLs surveyed considered qualities such as compassion, being truthful and respectful; being a visionary leader and being academically sound, among others, as the major strengths of the youth-candidates. This observation however varied significantly by geopolitical zone.
  • Weaknesses of Youth Candidates
  • Inadequate funding/inability to access enough funds, unpopularity of a youth candidate’s party platform, political inexperience, gender, religious and ethnic discrimination and candidates’ inability to meet with local, community or constituency associations, were considered as key weaknesses by the youth candidates.
  • Three out of five, 59.9% of the youth candidates, identified inadequate finance as a major weakness and challenge to their electoral success.
  • Only 26% of IGLs identified funding as an important limitation for youth candidates.
  •  7% of IGLs were of the view that failure of the youth candidates to reach out to influential members in their constituencies was a serious weakness.
  • Opportunities of Youth Candidates
  • Availability of and access to social media as a tool of mass communication and mobilisation; unpopularity of the incumbent, popularity of the youth candidates’ party platform especially in their own constituencies, were all identified by IGLs as opportunities for youth candidates, and if utilised effectively, they could enhance their electoral chances.
  • The most popular media used by the youth candidates were Facebook (used by 91 of 99 candidates), posters (87) and WhatsApp (85). This supports the view that youth candidates are very active on social media platforms which they could convert into opportunities to garner support from young voters.
  • About a quarter or 24.2% of the youth candidates identified increased voter education, increased awareness created on Radio/TV, 3%; empowering the youth, 20.2%, as opportunities.
  • 17.3% of the IGLs interviewed believed that the ‘youthfulness’ of youth candidates is an opportunity that could be leveraged upon to mobilize young voters who constitute the majority of the voting population. This view was corroborated by majority of the leaders in North-West, 4.6%, and North-East, 4.2%.
  • 33.3% of youth candidates acknowledged that more consultations, giving gifts to traditional rulers, access to a vehicle or vehicles for political campaigns, and using the mass media as campaign platforms, presented opportunities to be explored further.
  • 13.6% of the IGLs identified zoning, being a female, the only youthful candidate in the election, as potential opportunities, which if skilfully mobilised, could enhance the chances of youth candidates at the polls.
  • Youth candidates were of the view that the unpopularity of an incumbent presented them an opportunity, especially for those of them in the major parties.
  • Threats of Youth Candidates
  • Electoral malpractices, destruction of candidates’ billboards, posters and fliers, verbal attacks and physical violence against the youth candidates and their supporters; conflict between the youth candidates and the leaderships of their political parties, competing against opponents with strong financial war chest, were identified by the youth candidates as electoral threats.
  • 45.3% of the youth candidates believed that the actions of their opponents had negative impacts on their campaign, while only 6.3% believed that their opponents’ actions had a positive impact on their political activities and chances.
  • 48.4% of youth candidates averred that their political opponents’ actions had no impact on their campaigns, but 46.9% of youth candidates confirmed that they suffered verbal or physical attacks from their political opponents;
  • 4.8%, of youth candidates claimed that discrimination and intimidation on the basis of their age or gender, was a threat while only 3% believed that absence of or vague track record, and lack of a political godfather were threats to their chances of success in the 2019 elections.

Chances of Youth Candidates at the 2019 Polls

  1. On the chances of the youth candidates in the forthcoming elections, 26.6% of the IGLs assessed the youth candidates’ chances of success as “very likely” to win election, while 37.1% described their chances of success as just “likely”.
  • 63.7% of IGLs had a favourable assessment of the youth candidate’s ability to win in the 2019 elections.
  • 19% of the IGLs had a negative assessment of their chance, saying the youth candidates were either “unlikely” or “very unlikely” to win election. 17.2% were unsure of the candidate’s chances.

Recommendations

  1. Interpersonal engagements are valuable for political campaigns. Youth candidates should organise face-to-face meetings and adopt a door-to-door approach in their political campaigns. Visiting community leaders in their constituency would increase visibility to local elders and enhance the seriousness with which the later view campaigns by youth candidates.
  • Political parties should demonstrate commitment to youth inclusion by providing direct technical and funding support to youth candidates.
  • Electoral stakeholders like political parties, civil society groups and youth groups should develop a leadership capital development strategy aimed at recruiting and grooming leaders and facilitating political and leadership transition at all levels.
  • NGOs and development partners should focus interventions on youth candidates with defined campaign structures in their constituencies. Such interventions should evolve from consultation with local stakeholders.
  • Youth candidates and NGOs alike should be aware of and be realistic about the threats to the youth candidates’ campaigns posed by, among others; relatively unknown party platforms, popular and wealthy opponents, election malfeasance by opponents, and negative perceptions of youth candidacy by elders and community leaders.

For further inquiries please contact:

Ibrahim Faruk, Senior Program Officer, Youth
Tel. +234 (0) 703 666 9339
Email: [email protected]

Learn more about YIAGA AFRICA by visiting www.yiaga.org

Training of Trainers for Poll Agent training

YIAGA AFRICA TRAINS OVER 1000 PARTY AGENTS FOR YOUNG CANDIDATES 


As part of YIAGA AFRICA’s work under her support to Youth Candidates project, we are providing strategic support to young men and women running for various position in the 2019 General elections through the Not Too Young To Run movement. The goal of this project is to equip youth candidates with necessary tools for running effective political campaigns and building communities/networks for political solidarity and advocacy.

Since the passage of the age reduction constitution amendment into law, YIAGA AFRICA has continued to support to young candidates across all political parties to lead a successful campaign and win elections. Recall that we recently hosted the largest gathering of young candidates in Nigeria to build their competence, network, share experiences and advocate for greater representation and credible 2019 elections.

YIAGA AFRICA has deployed a team of trainers across Nigeria to train polling agents who will be representing young candidates at the 2019 Governorship and state house of assembly elections. In this vein, we have trained our cohort of trainers on the electoral process and how to effectively train poll agents. 

The team will be training at least 1,168 Poll agents representing 241 young men and women running for state assembly elections coming up on 9th March 2019. The team of trainers have also been trained adequately on the election day process, legal framework relating to party agents, rights and responsibilities of poll agents on election day. Having also been trained on the conduct of party agents and ethical issues on election day, YIAGA AFRICA’s team of trainers will train poll agents on to recognize these roles and operate within the electoral law. 

As an organization we recognize the legal framework that recognizes and allows all political parties to submit names of their Polling Agents to the electoral commission and to deploy them after accreditation by the commission.  Section 43 (4) of the Act entitles Polling Agents to  be present at the distribution of election materials as well as being present at the voting, counting, collation and announcement  of election results.

Also, Section 50 of the Act says: “A candidate or a Polling Agent may challenge the right of a person to receive a ballot paper on such grounds and in accordance with the procedures as are provided for in this Act.” Also, according to Section 64 of the Act, “A candidate or a Polling Agent may, where present at a Polling Unit when counting of votes is completed by the Presiding Officer, demand to have the votes recounted…” It is noteworthy that the Polling Agents are also given the opportunity to countersign results of elections and given official copies according to Sections 63 (3) and 74 of the Electoral Act 2010, as amended.

To this end, YIAGA AFRICA is committed to an effective training of party agents who will be representing young candidates and ensure interest of young candidates is protected and their mandate defended effectively.

Signed

Ibrahim Faruk

Senior Program Officer, YIAGA AFRICA

2019 ELECTION VERIFICATION GRAPHICS

YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote Statement on the 2019 Presidential Election Results

YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote (WTV) today briefed the public on the findings from its parallel vote tabulation: a gold standard citizen observation methodology that employsed statistics and information communication technologies to enable YIAGA AFRICA to provide an independent estimate of the vote shares that each party received within a narrow range. Estimates were based on observations from 3,030 observers carefully deployed in pairs to a random statistical sample of 1,515 polling units. If the official results fell within YIAGA AFRICA’s estimated ranges, then the public, political parties and candidates should have confidence in the ballots cast at the polling units.

Based on reports from 1,491 or 98.4% of sampled polling units YIAGA AFRICA’s findings show that for the presidential election the All Progressive Congress (APC) should receive between 50.0% and 55.8% of the vote; and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) should receive between 41.2% and 47.0% of the vote. These figures are consistent with the official results as announced by INEC. For both APC and PDP the official results fall within the PVT estimated ranges.

“YIAGA AFRICA urges Nigerian voters, political parties, candidates and international stakeholders to have confidence in the just-concluded electoral process and the officially announced results,” said Dr. Hussaini Abdu, Chair of YIAGA AFRICA Watching the Vote.

YIAGA AFRICA also called on the Independent National Electoral Commission to provide clarity around two issues that – while they did not affect the overall outcome of the elections – are of pressing concern to the Nigerian people. First, the overall, percentage of cancelled ballots announced by INEC was 3.3% of all registered voters. This figure was four times higher than the rate from 2015 when registered voters in cancelled polling units was less than 1% of all registered votes. Second, YIAGA AFRICA noted discrepancies between the number of registered voters announced prior to the election and the numbers announced during collation and called on INEC to provide an in-depth explanation, including of whether these differences indicated that collation did not conclude in all parts of the country. However, YIAGA AFRICA noted that the PVT data, which projected its estimated vote shares on the basis of the numbers announced at the polling units before any cancelation of results could take place, showed that neither of these issues impacted the outcome of the election.

WatchingTheVote Verification Press Conference

YIAGA AFRICA called upon all political parties, all candidates and the good people of Nigeria to show political maturity and maintain peace in the post-election period. YIAGA AFRICA moreover urged all parties to adhere to legal provisions for filing electoral claims and disputes. Finally, YIAGA AFRICA noted that the challenges experienced during the elections call for a detailed and systematic post-election review to include an inquiry into the cancellation of ballots, an audit of the voter register and a review of the elections operation management systems.

YIAGA AFRICA is a strictly nonpartisan and independent civil society organization without affiliation to any political party, candidate or state agency. YIAGA AFRICA carries out 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.

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WTV Press conference

YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote Statement on Voter Turnout and Results

YIAGA AFRICA undertook the Watching The Vote project to provide Nigerian citizens, presidential candidates, political parties, civil society and INEC with independent information about whether the official results for the February 23, 2019 presidential election truly reflect the ballots cast at polling units. The YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote (WTV) is “Driven by Data – For All Nigerians – Beholden to None!”. On 23 February, 2019, YIAGA AFRICA deployed 3,906 observers throughout the country including 3,030 Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) observers who deployed in pairs to a random, representative statistical sample of 1,515 polling units where they remained throughout the day. With this methodology, YIAGA AFRICA is able independently verify the accuracy of the official presidential election results announced by INEC.

YIAGA AFRICA assures the Nigerian people and stakeholders that, it has received and processed its data from the sampled polling units.

Turnout

YIAGA AFRICA’s preliminary estimates indicate that turnout for the February 23 Presidential Elections will be between 36% and 40% based on official turnout figures collected from the PVT’s representative statistical sample of polling units across the 774 LGAs in the country. 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) that has the mandate to announce results. However, based on currently received observer reports, there will be no run-off for the Presidential elections because a clear winner will emerge. YIAGA AFRICA’s PVT shows that no candidate will receive more than 55% of the vote share.

Only INEC, has the legal mandate to announce the election results and return a candidate as a winner. We urge all stakeholders to respect the commission’s constitutional power and refrain from declaring election results. YIAGA AFRICA enjoins citizens to remain calm and maintain the peace as INEC collates the results. YIAGA AFRICA continues to monitor the results collation until the final completion. As soon as INEC announces the official results, YIAGA AFRICA will convene a press conference to share its own statement on the accuracy of the election results.

Dr. Hussaini Abdu                                                                         Samson Itodo
Chair, Watching The Vote Working Group                                  Executive Director, 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

Moshood Isah WTV

ELECTIONS AND PERENNIAL CHALLENGE OF LOGISTICS AND SECURITY – Moshood Isah

“These were not the elections Nigerians wanted; they were not the elections Nigerians expected; and, most importantly, they were not the elections Nigerians deserved. Our election commission must improve its capacity to deliver credible elections and our political parties must play according to the rules. Failure to do so could fundamentally threaten our democracy”. These are the words of the YIAGA AFRICA’s Watching the Vote Board Chairman at a press conference on the preliminary findings from the 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections.

Nigerians continue to ask the questions on when an election can be conducted with a 100 per cent early deployment of materials and zero per cent violence as delays in logistics deployment along with the perennial electoral disruptions reportedly featured in Saturday’s Presidential and National assembly elections. Having been postponed for one week due to logistic reasons, expectations from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies were upped with the believe that everything must have been fixed before the new date.

Delay in deployment of election materials and issues relating to ballot box snatching, attack on polling officials, disruption of election materials seem to remain in constant competition for prominence in virtually every major election in Nigeria. The hydra-headed issues bedeviling Nigeria’s elections always feature even after all stakeholders declare their readiness to ensure the elections are hitch-free. This leaves several questions regarding the competency of agencies responsible for ensuring peaceful and credible elections in the country.

For instance, credible elections data released by arguably the largest movement committed to credible elections, YIAGA AFRICA says as at 12pm on Election Day, at least 110 critical incidents across the country primarily concerning late arrival of election materials to polling units. While electoral officials are expected to be at polling units by 7.30am so that set-up can commence ahead of the 8am commencement of simultaneous accreditation and voting, statistical reports by YIAGA AFRICA’s #WatchingTheVote observers reported that INEC officials arrived at only 31% of polling units as at 7.30am. Furthermore, statistical reports say as at 10:00 am, only 41% of polling units had opened across the country while even as at close to 12pm in the afternoon, INEC has not achieved 100 per cent logistics deployment as statistics say 74% of polling units had opened nationally. This is even trying to overlook the seven percent polling units where YIAGA AFRICA reported that the card reader was not used for accreditation either due to lack of availability or deliberate violation of the electoral guidelines.

In this vein, elections went into the nights in a handful of polling units with apparently no proper preparation for logistics for a conducive environment which leaves the credibility of the process in jeopardy. In addition to logistics challenges is the security issue which has marred Nigeria’s elections overtime. Report has it that at least 90% of polling units recorded presence of security personnel which in itself is not a complete standard when it comes to conducting credible elections as it is expected that security agents will be seen at all close to 120,000 polling units across the country.

But despite the presence of security checkpoints across the country, reports of political thugs moving in motorcycles in Lagos disrupting the process at will leaves a lot to be desired. A lot of questions are being asked on how political thugs accessed polling units, collation centers and registration area centers to either cart away ballot box, destroy election materials and assaulting voters and election materials. Verified reports from media and election observers show that citizens, observers or election officials were harassed, beaten, intimidated or even killed in some states across Nigeria. More so, at the risk of propagating unverified reports, social media footages of injured citizens and burning of electoral materials remain a real cause of security concerns.

It is difficult to understand if security officials deployed at polling units gave way for hoodlums to execute their heinous plans or this was done with the support of security officials as alleged at some quarters. While it remains surprising that the Police Inspector General, Muhammed Adamu confidently reiterated the force readiness to protect every life especially during this period, Nigerians are yet to see major arrests of these electoral offenders.

Recommendations are not always far-fetched but its implementation to the later remains a major challenge the nation has faced overtime. Election and security analysts have called for comprehensive framework for the prosecution of electoral offenders in the country. Unfortunately, just as Nigerians have hardly seen arrest of electoral offenders, it becomes impossible to prosecute them. Thus if heads do not role and people in the position of authority do not account for the happenings in their jurisdictions, then the vicious circle of logistics and security issues will continue to feature in every electoral process.

Moshood Isah is the Media Officer of YIAGA AFRICA

WatchingTheVote Preliminary Press Conference for the 2019 Presidential election

YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote Preliminary Press Statement


Introduction

Ladies and Gentlemen, distinguished guests – welcome to the YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote (WTV)’s Preliminary Press Conference on the conduct of the 23 February 2019 presidential election. This briefing is the fourth in a series of planned press conferences to be hosted by YIAGA AFRICA. Our subsequent briefing will hold at the same location and is planned to immediately follow the announcement of official election results by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote initiative is Nigeria’s largest non-partisan and independent movement of citizen observers. On 23 February, YIAGA AFRICA deployed 3,906 observers throughout the country including 3,030 parallel vote tabulation (PVT) observers who deployed early in the morning in pairs to a random, representative statistical sample of 1,515 polling units where they remained throughout the day. This methodology enables YIAGA AFRICA to independently verify the accuracy of the official presidential election results announced by INEC.

At this time, YIAGA AFRICA is able to provide statistically valid data about the conduct of the election in the entire country as at 23 February, 2019 — from the opening of polling units through accreditation, voting and counting until the posting of results – and can independently project the vote shares that each candidate should receive within a narrow range. If the official results fall within YIAGA AFRICA’s estimated range, then the public, political parties and candidates should have confidence in the ballots cast at the polling units. Only INEC, however, has the legal mandate to announce the election results. As soon as INEC announces the official results, YIAGA AFRICA will convene a press conference to share its own statement on the accuracy of the election results and will publicize these projections.

YIAGA AFRICA also observed the process of collation in all State Collation Centers and deployed mobile or roving observers to every one of the 774 Local Government Areas to capture critical incidents occurring both within and in the vicinity of polling units.

This Preliminary Statement draws on findings as of 10:00 am on 24 February 2019, with complete observer reports received from 1,399 of the 1,515 sampled polling units or 92% of polling units reporting. The following data will be updated as additional reports are received from WTV observers at sampled polling units. What follows is a systematic assessment of four important process-related issues: accreditation and voting, counting of ballots, announcement of results and posting of results. This is the summary of the findings and the complete PVT findings are included as an Appendix.

Preliminary Findings

The 23 February presidential election was characterized by many of the same shortcomings that have marred previous national elections in Nigeria. As in past elections, INEC’s logistical challenges and misconduct by political parties undermined the integrity of elections and the ability of some citizens to vote. These issues do not necessarily undermine the overall credibility of the process, but Nigeria missed an opportunity to improve the quality of its elections as compared to 2015 national elections. These were not the elections Nigerians wanted; they were not the elections Nigerians expected; and, most importantly, they were not the elections Nigerians deserved. Our election commission must improve its capacity to deliver credible elections and our political parties must play according to the rules. Failure to do so could fundamentally threaten our democracy.

YIAGA AFRICA also received reports from 16 polling units, approximately 1 percent of the sample, where voting did not hold or was disrupted before it could be concluded on 23 February 2019. Eight of these polling units were in Rivers State (see Appendix II).

1) Summary of Watching the Vote Findings on Polling Unit Set-Up and Opening

On 23 February 2019, YIAGA AFRICA released comprehensive data on polling unit opening and set-up in a Mid-Day Situational Statement and Press Statement on Polling Unit Set-Up.  These are both available through the YIAGA AFRICA Watching the Vote website.

Of note, despite the announced one week election delay and the assurances by the Electoral Commission on the eve of the elections that all was set for the elections, polling units opened late throughout the country. As of 7:30 am, YIAGA AFRICA WTV observers reported that INEC Officials had arrived at 31% of polling units. As of 10:00 am, 41% of polling units had opened across the country. By 11:30 am, 74% of polling units had opened nationally. As was the case in 2011 and 2015, polling units in the South East and South South opened later than in other geopolitical zones. At 11:30 am, YIAGA AFRICA WTV observers reported that 74% of polling units had opened as of 11:30 am.

Election materials were present in 86% of polling units, specifically, Smart Card Readers were present in 99% of polling units. Polling officials in 94% of polling units adhered to new INEC guidelines to demonstrate that no voters had been accredited by the Smart Card Reader at the time of opening. As at 12:00 noon, WTV Observers reported that the Smart Card Reader was functioning and in use in 96% of polling units.

During the set-up and opening of polling units African Democratic Congress (ADC) party agents were seen at 23% of polling units, All Progressives Congress (APC) party agents were seen at 98% of polling units, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) party agents were seen at 99% of polling units, and Social Democratic Party (SDP) agents at 23% of polling units.

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WatchingTheVote Preliminary Press Conference for the 2019 Presidential election

YIAGA AFRICA WatchingTheVote Preliminary Statement on the 2019 Presidential Election

Press Release

YIAGA AFRICA on 24 February 2019 presented its preliminary findings on the conduct of the 23 February presidential election to the Nigerian public and assembled media.

According to YIAGA AFRICA , the 23 February presidential election was characterized by many of the same shortcomings that have marred previous national elections in Nigeria. As in past elections, INEC’s logistical challenges resulted in late opening in 59% of polling units that, together with instances of misconduct by political parties in some polling units, compromised the ability of some citizens to vote and undermined public confidence in the process. These issues do not necessarily undermine the overall credibility of the process, according to YIAGA AFRICA, but Nigeria missed an opportunity to improve the quality of its elections.

“These were not the elections Nigerians wanted; they were not the elections Nigerians expected; and, most importantly, they were not the elections Nigerians deserved. Our election commission must improve its capacity to deliver credible elections and our political parties must play according to the rules. Failure to do so could fundamentally threaten our democracy,” said Chair of the WTV Working Group Dr. Hussaini Abdu.

Despite the one week delay, YIAGA AFRICA noted that INEC continued to experience significant logistical challenges on 23 February that resulted in late opening of polling units. YIAGA AFRICA’s Watching the Vote findings showed that polling units opened late throughout the country with only 41% of polling units open as at 10:30 am and with polling units in the South South and South East opening later than polling units in other geopolitical zones. Once polling units opened, most polling units had essential election materials. Smart Card Readers were present in 99% of polling units and were largely used throughout accreditation and voting. However, YIAGA AFRICA is concerned by tally sheet data gathered from its observers indicating that nearly half of voters may have voted with the Smart Card Reader authenticating only their Permanent Voters Card and not their fingerprints. YIAGA AFRICA also notes that counting procedures were not rigorously adhered to in all polling units, and registers with particular concern that results were not publicly posted at the polling unit in 19% of polling units. Finally, YIAGA AFRICA noted that its preliminary estimates for voter turnout indicate that turnout will be lower than in 2015.

YIAGA AFRICA employed the parallel vote tabulation (PVT) methodology – the gold standard for citizen observation. On 23 February WTV deployed 3,030 observers to a representative statistical sample of 1,515 polling units, 46 observers to 23 voting points,and 822 mobile observers located in all 774 LGAs. This strategy enables YIAGA AFRICA to provide timely and accurate information on accreditation, voting, and counting as well as to independently verify the official results of the presidential election as announced by INEC. Immediately after INEC announces the official results for the presidential election, YIAGA AFRICA will hold its own press conference and issue its statement publicizing its independent estimates of the election results. 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 this.

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. The Watching The Vote project is “Driven by Data – For All Nigerians – Beholden to None!

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