WTV MID DAY SITUATION PRESS CONFERENCE

YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote Mid day Situational Statement on the Set up and Opening of Polls



Introduction

Ladies and Gentlemen, distinguished guests – welcome to the YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote (WTV)’s Situational Press Conference on Opening and Set-Up of Polling Units for the March 23, 2019 governorship supplementary elections. 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, March 24 2019 at 2:00pm when YIAGA AFRICA will share its findings from the observation of the conduct of the elections in each of the states affected.

For the Governorship supplementary elections, YIAGA AFRICA deployed 258 stationary polling unit observers, 6 roving observers and 97 LGA results collation centre observers. The 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 reports are sent via coded text messages to the National Data Centre to enable YIAGA AFRICA provide timely information on the conduct of elections in the polling units observed.

Watching the Vote Findings

This report contains initial WTV findings as at 1:30 pm, with complete reports received from her observers in 225 Polling units in 89 LGAs in the 5 states where the Governorship Supplementary Elections are being conducted.

  1. As at 7:30 am, YIAGA AFRICA WTV observers reported that INEC officials had arrived at 83% of 23 PUs in Bauchi, 46% of 65 PUs in Benue, 68% of 28 PUs in Plateau, 48% of 85 PUs in Kano and 98% of 45 PUs in Sokoto state. 
  • At 9:00 am, 100% of 22 PUs in Bauchi, 71% of 56 PUs in Benue, 100% of 27 PUs in Plateau, 78% of 76 PUs in Kano and 100% of 39 PUs visited in Sokoto had commenced accreditation and voting.
  • 100% of the polling units visited in Bauchi, Benue, Plateau and Sokoto states had both APC and PDP agents present. While 97% of polling units in Kano had APC agents and 87% had PDP agents.
  • All the polling units visited in Bauchi, Benue, Plateau, Kano and Sokoto state had 4 or more polling officials present. At least 1 in 4 of the officials is a female. When compared to other states, the polling units visited in Bauchi state had fewer women as polling officials. In addition, not less than 96% of polling units visited in these states, had security personnel present.
  • One or more essential materials like register of voters, indelible ink/marker pen, polling official stamp, voting cubicle, ink pad, gubernatorial ballot box and polling unit booklet, were not seen in 10% of 59 PUs in Bauchi, 37% of 23 PUs in Benue, 33% of 28 PUs in Plateau, 18% of 79 PUs in Kano and 9% of 40 PUs visited in Sokoto state. More importantly, Smart Card Readers were present in 100% of polling units in Benue, Plateau and Sokoto state and were not present in 2% of 57 PUs in Bauchi and 1% of 79 PUs in Kano state.
  • Polling units were set up so that voters could mark their ballot paper in secret without exposure in: 87% of 23 PUs in Bauchi, 95% of 57 PUs in Benue, 85% of 26P Us Plateau, 81% of 79 PUs in Kano and 90% of 40 PUs visited in Sokoto states.

Critical Incidents

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

  1. Voter Suppression and Intimidation: YIAGA AFRICA received reports on voter suppression manifested in the form of denying voters access to polling units by political thugs. This was prevalent in Kano State in the specific locations; In Kofa Gida Allahrama PU 008, Kanawa Cikin Gari Ward 05, in Sumaila LGA; Zango PU 021, Karaye ward 03, Karaye LGA; and Agawawa, PU 012, Bichi ward 02, Bichi LGA in Kano state, voters believed to be supporters of one of the major parties were harassed by party thugs. In some cases, the thugs chased out the voters from the polling unit.
  2. Intimidation of Observers and media reporters: In PUs 008 and 010, Kwarkiya Ward of Minjibir LGA Kano state, WTV Observers’ Election Observation Checklist were snatched and destroyed by thugs alleged to be supporters of the All Progressives Congress (APC). . Observers were also chased away in polling unit 008, Kanawa ward; Cikin Gari ward 05, in Sumaila LGA; and PU 07, Batayya ward 02, Albasu LGA in Kano state. In Zango PU 021, Karaye ward 03, Karaye LGA in Kano state, observers and media reporters were chased away by political party thugs.
  3. Disruption of the Electoral Process: YIAGA AFRICA also received reports of destruction of the election materials, clash between political party agents and political thugs which resulted in disruption of the process. For instance Election materials for Azendi-Eshi Council Ward-02 of Ukum LGA in Benue state were burnt before deployment to polling units. This affected the commencement of the elections in all the polling units under this ward. In Tse Akough- Near Tse Ak Polling unit 012, Yaav Ward, Kwande LGA in Benue state, a political party thug attempted to snatch the ballot papers and it resulted to a fracas between party agents at the polling unit. The security officials intervened by providing security for INEC officials. A clash between APC and PDP supporters disrupted the process and threatened voters and observers access to Naadatul Islam primary school polling unit, Gwammaja ward 21, Dala LGA and PU  021 (Zango 4), Karaye ward of Karaye LGA, Kano state. This was later resolved after the police intervened.  In Kofar Gidan Litti Kulku l, PU 020, Yelwa ward 12 of Dala LGA, Kano state, voting process commenced after 10am due to disruption of the electoral process and determination of political party thugs to prevent commencement of polls. Voting was also disrupted in Dudu PU 010, Rara ward 03, Raba LGA in Sokoto as political thugs were reported to have snatched the ballot box for the polling unit.

4. Vote Buying:

Widespread reports of vote buying and selling were received from polling units in Plateau, Kano and Benue states.

5. Bribery and Conspiracy: YIAGA AFRICA received reports of bribery of polling officials and security officials in Angwa Kasua 001 PU, ward 11, Mangu LGA in Plateau State. In PU 001, Kodape Primary School, Karu, Nassarawa state, security agents particularly the Nigerian Police received bribes from party agents. Embarrassingly, the negotiation for the bribe resulted in a brawl between police and party agents.

6. Threat to Secrecy of the Ballot: In PU 011 Darki Zango Islamiya, ward Darki, Wudil LGA in Kano State, voting was conducted without a voting cubicle, with party agents allowed to cross-check how each voter voted.

Preliminary Observation

  1. YIAGA AFRICA notes the resilience demonstrated by registered voters in some states to cast their vote in the supplementary elections. Kano, Bauchi and Sokoto recorded an appreciable level of turnout of women and youths for the election.
  • YIAGA AFRICA condemns the deployment of thugs by the two major political parties in the elections. Despite huge deployment of security personnel for the elections, political thugs visibly attacked voters and disrupted elections in some polling stations in Kano and Benue states without any resistance or reprimand from security agencies. This is worrisome and raises serious questions on the effectiveness of security deployment for the supplementary elections.
  • Proliferation of small and light arms: YIAGA AFRICA notes with concern the possession of small and light arms by political thugs in the election. This illegal possession of arms poses a threat to political stability and human rights. There’s need to investigate the illegal possession of arms by political thugs and hold their sponsors to account.
  • In view of the contentious nature of the elections in some states, INEC should strengthen its oversight on the results collation process. Judging from experience, collation and returning officers should be put under strict supervision as the collation process begins to halt any attempt to cancel votes arbitrarily. Where returning and collation officials misapply the electoral guidelines, the Commission should ensure timely reversal of such misapplication and communicate its decision in a timely manner. This is essential for boosting stakeholder confidence in the elections.
  • INEC should maintain its periodic briefing with election stakeholders on the elections at the National and state levels. INEC’s online and offline media platforms should be utilized in sharing information with the public. YIAGA AFRICA reiterates its earlier call to INEC to make public the data on PVC collection rates in the affected polling units.
  • YIAGA AFRICA urges security agencies to perform their functions within constitutional limits. We reiterate our call on security agencies to provide adequate security for election materials and officials, accredited observers, media personnel and voters. Also, security agents must remain non-partisan and professional throughout the election. We call on the leadership of the Nigerian police to investigate reports of bribery and corruption against police officers on election duty.

YIAGA AFRICA will continue to observe the elections in the 5 states where her observers are deployed. As noted earlier, YIAGA AFRICA will deploy 97 LGA results collation centre observers to monitor the results collation process. We urge INEC to ensure the results collation centers are accessible to observers, media and party agents. As an independent election observer group, we will provide a detailed assessment report of the result collation process in the 5 states with governorship rerun elections.

YIAGA AFRICA is undertaking 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.



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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2019 ELECTION VERIFICATION GRAPHICS

YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote Press Release on the 2019 Presidential Election Results

TRANSCORP HILTON, ABUJA, Nigeria – 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.

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.

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.

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

INEC POSTPONES ELECTION

YIAGA AFRICA STATEMENT ON THE RESCHEDULING OF THE 2019 GENERAL ELECTIONS

YIAGA AFRICA receives with a deep sense of disappointment the news of INEC’s postponement of the Presidential and National Assembly elections from Saturday, 16th of February to February 23rd 2019 and Governorship/State Assembly elections from Saturday, 2nd March 2019 to March 9, 2019. This postponement is without doubt an indication that the Commission may have overestimated its own capabilities and/or underrated the challenges associated with the management of election logistics. While the anxiety and anger over the postponement is understandable and expected, we understand that the decision is in the interest of the country. INEC should without any further delay provide detailed information on the nature and degree of the logistical challenges that occasioned the postponement. This in addition to an elaborate logistical plan for the rescheduled elections and security of the exposed election materials. INEC needs to improve its communication and public engagement to give assurances to Nigerians. The citizenry deserves to be properly informed and reassured that such postponements will not remain a permanent feature of our electoral process.

We urge all Nigerian citizens and registered voters in particular to remain calm and exercise restraint as INEC works towards the new dates. This development is a test of our patriotism and resilience, we therefore urge citizens to keep faith with the process and remain hopeful that the rescheduled elections will meet all standards of credible elections. We also urge all registered voters to come out massively and vote for the candidates of their choice on the new dates. We encourage all stakeholders to take advantage of this window to provide additional voter education and mobilize the electorate to exercise their franchise.

We also seize this opportunity to ask all political party actors to show understanding and exercise patience. We urge them to stay away from making allegations, spreading rumors and hate speech to avert overheating the polity. We implore our friends and partners from the international community, foreign and fellow domestic observers to show understanding and empathy as Nigeria moves towards the proposed dates for the 2019 elections. The role of the media in maintaining calm, dowsing suspicion and preventing the spread of fake news cannot be over emphasized. We plead with the press to continue to disseminate messages and information that will bring greater stability to Nigeria. The security agencies should remain vigilant and proactive to diffuse any crises that may emanate as a result of this postponement.

The YIAGA Africa Watching The Vote will continue to provide the most timely and accurate information on the conduct of the 23rd of February, 2019 elections and will give an independent estimate of the officially announced presidential election results. YIAGA Africa reiterates its readiness to deploy its 3,906 observers to all the 774 local government areas in the country, and will continue to ensure that Nigerian elections are conducted in a transparent, credible and peaceful manner.

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

For media inquiries please contact:

Moshood Isah, Communication Officer
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.