WTV Pre-election Press Conference for the 2019 elections

YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote PVT Pre-election Statement for 2019 Presidential Election

Ladies and Gentlemen, distinguished guests – welcome to the YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote (WTV)’s Preliminary Press Conference on observation plans for the presidential election on 16 February 2019 and the pre-election environment leading up to the 2019 elections. This briefing is the first in a series of four planned press conferences to be hosted by YIAGA AFRICA. We equally invite you to join us at the same location on Saturday 16 February 2019 when YIAGA AFRICA will share its mid-day situational statement on the opening of polls and on Sunday 17 February 2019 at 10:00 am when YIAGA AFRICA will share its preliminary statement on the conduct of the 16 February election process. This preliminary statement will contain detailed statistics covering all aspects of the 16 February polls including accreditation, voting, counting and posting of results. As soon as INEC announces the official results, YIAGA AFRICA will follow up with a fourth and final press conference to share its own statement on the accuracy of the election results and will publicize these projections.

YIAGA AFRICA and Watching The Vote Observation of the 2019 Presidential Election

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 geo-political 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. YIAGA AFRICA will deploy a parallel vote tabulation or PVT. Findings are from a statistical sample of polling units located in all 774 LGAs that is truly representative of the entire country and therefore provide unbiased information on the overall conduct of the presidential election and the accuracy of the results.

YIAGA AFRICA conducts comprehensive observation of elections. In the pre-election period, YIAGA AFRICA deployed 822 Long Term Observers (LTOs) in all 774 Local Government Areas (LGA) of Nigeria. These citizen observers monitored political developments and preparations for the general elections over a four months period. For the Presidential election, YIAGA AFRICA will deploy a total of 3,906 observers throughout the country. This is comprised of 3,076 stationary PVT observers deployed to a random representative statistical sample of 1,515 polling units and 23 voting points; 877 roving observers; and 8 Working Group members who run real time election analysis. YIAGA AFRICA will also deploy observers to the State Collation Centres in every state. Our observers will observe the entire election day process from setup of the polling units through the announcement and posting of the official results and will send in periodic reports to the Watching the Vote National Data Centre located in the 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 opening of polls; the conduct of accreditation and voting; and the counting, announcement and posting of results throughout the country. Based on reports from its observers in the sampled polling units YIAGA AFRICA will also provide an independent projection of voter turnout and will be able to project the vote shares that each party should receive within a narrow range. If the official results fall within YIAGA AFRICA’s estimated ranges, then the public, political parties and candidates should have confidence in the ballots cast at the polling units. Only INEC, however, has the legal mandate to announce the election results. As soon as INEC announces the official results, YIAGA AFRICA will follow up with a fourth and final press conference to share its own statement on the accuracy of the election results and will publicize these projections.

Utilizing information communications technology and statistical principles, PVT is the gold standard for citizen election observation, and has been utilized throughout Africa and the world. In recent elections in Africa, the conduct of parallel vote tabulations by nonpartisan citizen organizations has bolstered citizen confidence and provided credible, independent estimates of presidential election results in Zimbabwe (2018), Kenya (2017), Ghana (2016), Zambia (2016 and 2015), Côte d’Ivoire (2015) and Burkina Faso (2015). YIAGA AFRICA has also deployed this methodology for recent off-cycle gubernatorial elections in Nigeria, including: Osun (2018), Ekiti (2018), Anambra (2017) and Ondo (2016).

On election day YIAGA AFRICA expects to receive more than 30,000 observer reports containing over 500,000 unique pieces of information on the process and results of the election. Over 94 data clerks as well as a team of data analysts will work tirelessly throughout February 16 and 17 to process, analyse and verify these reports at the Watching the Vote National Data Center located on Floor 02 of the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja. On 16 February, the Watching The Vote National Data Center will open promptly at 6:30 am and will remain open until counting has finished at all sampled polling units and all YIAGA AFRICA citizen observers have sent in their observation reports. The WTV National Data Center is open to the public and media at all times. Throughout election day, YIAGA AFRICA will provide timely updates on the conduct of the election based on the near real-time reports from its observers. These will include press conferences at the WTV National Data Center to share a mid-day situational statement on 16 February 2019 and a press conference on the morning after (Sunday February 17) to share preliminary data on the process. YIAGA AFRICA will share regular post on social media including YIAGA AFRICA’s Facebook page – facebook.com/yiaga.org and through YIAGA AFRICA’s Twitter handle @YIAGA.

YIAGA AFRICA undertook the Watching The Vote project to provide Nigerian voters, presidential candidates, political parties, civil society and INEC with independent information about whether the official results for the 16 February 2019 presidential election truly reflect the ballots cast at polling units. The Watching The Vote project is “Driven by Data – For All Nigerians – Beholden to None!

YIAGA AFRICA’s Pre-Election Observation Main Findings

On 9 November 2019, YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote launched a nation-wide observation effort to promote electoral integrity through the collection of structured information about the pre-election environment. The effort aggregates reports from a trained network of 822 citizen observers locally recruited from the 774 LGAs of the country. Every two weeks, observers report on pre-election developments in their Local Government Area using a structured checklist. The reports provide nation-wide information about trends around: preparatory activities undertaken by INEC; voter education by INEC, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and civil society organizations; political party campaign activities; and early warning signs of electoral violence. YIAGA AFRICA has already released four reports on the pre-election environment, which are available online at https://watchingthevote.org/  The following findings and recommendations are grounded in reporting from 11 to 24 January 2019:

  1. Voter Education: WTV findings show that INEC, National Orientation Agency (NOA) and civil society organizations (CSOs) have expanded voter education efforts to more LGAs as election day draws closer. Watching The Vote observers directly/indirectly witnessed voter education activities conducted by: INEC in 74% of LGAs, NOA in 48% of LGAs and CSOs in 63% of LGAs; an increase over previous reporting periods. YIAGA AFRICA congratulates concerned actors on increased efforts made to raise voter awareness to date and urges them to continue efforts to provide credible, accurate information about the electoral process in the days remaining before the election – particularly in the South East and South West geopolitical zones where such efforts have not been as widely reported by Watching the Vote observers.
  • Electoral campaigns: WTV observers witnessed intense campaigning by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with observers in 90% of LGAs reporting the presence of a PDP party rally and observers in 87% of LGAs reporting the presence of an APC party rally. Observers in 36% of LGAs reported the presence of an African Democratic Congress (ADC) party rally during the reporting period while observers in 47% of LGAs reported the presence of a Social Democratic Party (SDP) party rally. YIAGA AFRICA commends political parties for their active engagement in the process and encourages them to continue to urge peaceful engagement on the part of their supporters.
  • Voter Inducement: WTV continued to track instances of voter inducement, with reporting rates remaining comparable to those obtained during previous reporting periods. From 11 to 24 January, Watching The Vote long-term observers in 18% of LGAs directly or indirectly witnessed acts of voter inducement. YIAGA AFRICA remains concerned that voter inducement may create an unequal playing field for candidates and parties as well as undermine the integrity of the vote.  YIAGA AFRICA calls on all Nigerian citizens to resist efforts to purchase their votes. Political party leadership at the highest levels should sanction any party members found to be engaging in such conduct and we urge security agencies to apprehended any individual involved in the act of voter inducement or vote buying.

Finally, YIAGA AFRICA received reports from its long-term observers in Anambra State regarding a fire in the INEC Headquarters in Awka. The fire reportedly destroyed upwards of 4,000 Smart Card Readers and is the third fire reported in an INEC facility over the previous two-week period — fires were also recently reported at the INEC Headquarters in Abia and Plateau States. YIAGA AFRICA registers concern regarding this trend, and calls on state security forces to remain vigilant in providing adequate security for sensitive election materials and personnel.

Conclusion

YIAGA AFRICA is fully prepared to observe the 2019 presidential and National Assembly elections. To that end, we invite the assembled guests to accompany us now on a tour of the WTV National Data Center where a live simulation exercise is currently underway to test the readiness of our observer network to observe and the functionality of our data management systems. At present, all 3,076 PVT observers are sending in practice reports based on an election day scenario, which will be duly processed by the data clerks and data analysis teams. YIAGA AFRICA stands ready to observe the presidential elections on behalf of all Nigerians and to ensure that the people’s votes are accurately counted. YIAGA AFRICA calls on the citizens of Nigeria, the parties and candidates, INEC and the forces of law and order to also play their parts to ensure a peaceful, credible and inclusive process.

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]

WTV Prelection Press Conference for the 2019 election

YIAGA AFRICA Pre-election Press Release on the 2019 Presidential Election

YIAGA AFRICA today briefed the public on its plans to deploy 3,906 observers on 16 February 2019 to observe the presidential and National Assembly elections. YIAGA AFRICA will have mobile and stationary observers in every geopolitical zone and state as well is in every single one of Nigeria’s 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs). YIAGA AFRICA will also deploy observers to the State Collation Centres in every state.

YIAGA AFRICA today briefed the public on its plans to deploy 3,906 observers on 16 February 2019 to observe the presidential and National Assembly elections. YIAGA AFRICA will have mobile and stationary observers in every geopolitical zone and state as well is in every single one of Nigeria’s 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs). YIAGA AFRICA will also deploy observers to the State Collation Centres in every state.

YIAGA AFRICA will conduct a parallel vote tabulation or PVT – the gold standard observation methodology that has been utilized throughout Africa and the world. This deployment will enable YIAGA AFRICA to provide the most timely and accurate information on the opening of polls; the conduct of accreditation and voting; and the counting, announcement and posting of results throughout the country. Based on reports from its observers in 1,515 sampled polling units YIAGA AFRICA will also provide an independent projection of voter turnout and will be able to project the vote shares that each party should receive within a narrow range. If the official results fall within YIAGA AFRICA’s estimated ranges, then the public, political parties and candidates should have confidence in the ballots cast at the polling units. Only INEC, however, has the legal mandate to announce the election results.

Dr. Hussaini Abdu, Chair of the YIAGA AFRICA Watching the Vote explains that, “YIAGA AFRICA’s Watching The Vote effort includes volunteers from all walks of life: women and men, youth and the elderly, persons with disability, Northerners and Southerners, Muslims and Christians. 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.”

YIAGA AFRICA will hold a press conference Saturday 16 February 2019 at the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja in the Borno Room to share its mid-day situational statement on the opening of polls. YIAGA AFRICA will also organize a briefing on Sunday 17 February 2019 at 10:00 am to share its preliminary statement on the conduct of the 16 February election process. This preliminary statement will contain detailed statistics covering all aspects of the 16 February polls including accreditation, voting, counting and posting of results. As soon as INEC announces the official results, YIAGA AFRICA will follow up with a fourth and final press conference to share its own statement on the accuracy of the election results and will publicize these projections.

YIAGA AFRICA PVT findings are from a statistical sample of polling units located in all 774 LGAs that is truly representative of the entire country and therefore provide unbiased information on the overall conduct of the presidential election and the accuracy of the results. 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

AFRICA-YOUTH

YIAGA AFRICA Statement on Africa Youth Day: Raising Youth Voices against Corruption in Africa

Africa Youth Day is a day set aside every year to promote the increased recognition of youth as key agents for social change, economic growth and sustainable development in all areas of African Society. It is an occasion to celebrate the youth on the continent, opportunity to contribute and channel youth motivation, energy and creativity towards political, social and economic renewal. The African Union theme of the year is, “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.” The Africa Youth Day theme for 2018, “Raising Youth Voices against Corruption in Africa” is in line with various decisions and declarations focusing on the engagement and development of young people.

H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission asserts that “to enable the African youth to fight against corruption, governments must provide a viable environment through the implementation of policies which favour investments in the four pillars (of Africa’s Demographic Dividend)”.

The AU Demographic Dividend Roadmap’s fourth pillar highlights the importance of ensuring participatory, representative and inclusive political processes of young people that are increasingly educated, cosmopolitan, and tech-savvy.

Corruption is the bane of any progressive society. It stifles entrepreneurship, professionalism and erodes the values of hard work and honesty, and is one of the root causes of under-development in our society.

Raising youth voices is essential for success in curbing corruption; youth represent a significant portion of the population and are generally more open to social change and political transformation, since they may have less interest in maintaining the status quo.

 

Against this backdrop, youth can play a pivotal role in the fight against corruption. Young people are more open to wide-scale socio-political transformation and have less vested interested in maintaining the status quo. Young people are an integral element for the success of cultural changes in attitudes and behavior towards corruption and in the shaping of the values of tomorrow, since they represent the present and future of their countries.

The Bounce Corruption Project, a nationwide campaign designed to give citizens and media a leadership role in the fight against corruption is one of the ways YIAGA AFRICA is raising youth voices against corruption in Africa. By promoting effective citizen’s oversight and mobilization for accountable governance, Bounce Corruption seeks to complement efforts by state and non-state actors in creating a zero-tolerance environment for corruption in Nigeria.

On Africa Youth Day, YIAGA Africa calls on African governments to honor their commitments and implement policies that strengthen the fight against corruption. YIAGA AFRICA calls on young Africans to rise against corruption by upholding the values of integrity and holding public officials to account.

Citizens, especially the youth population, which is Nigeria’s largest demographic to raise their voices against corruption in Nigeria.

#BetheFutureToday #BetheVibe #AfricaYouthDay #YouthAgainstCorruption

 

Signed:

YIAGA AFRICA

#WatchingTheVote Preliminary Process Statement on the 2018 Ekiti Gubernatorial Election

Protocols

Introduction

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

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

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

Preliminary Election Day Findings

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

Accreditation and Voting

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

Counting

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

Turnout

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

Results

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

— End —

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

 

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

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

 

APPENDIX 1

Distribution of All Polling Units and PVT Sampled Polling Units for

2018 Ekiti Gubernatorial Election

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

 

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

  1. Introduction

 Ladies and Gentlemen, it gives us great pleasure to welcome you to the YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote (WTV) Pre-Election Press Briefing on the 2018 governorship election in Ekiti state. This press briefing is the first in series of press conferences to be hosted by YIAGA AFRICA WTV during the 2018 Ekiti governorship election.

On July 14, 2018, the people of Ekiti state will go to the polls to elect a governor that will lead the state for the next four years. This is the sixth governorship election the electoral commission will conduct since the 2015 general elections. Thirty-five candidates from 35 political parties are in the race for the governorship seat. Over 667,000 registered voters who collected their Permanent Voter Card (PVC) will be expected to vote in Saturday’s election. The election promises to further test the country’s democratic credentials ahead of the 2019 general elections.

The WTV project is “Driven by Data – For All Nigerians – Beholden to None!” As such, WTV will employ the parallel vote tabulation (PVT) methodology on Election Day – the gold standard for citizen observation. On July 14, WTV will deploy 500 stationary observers to a representative statistical sample of 250 polling units and 25 mobile observers located in all 16 local government areas (LGAs) of Ekiti state. WTV will also deploy 16 collation centre observers to each of the LGA Collation Centres. This deployment strategy will enable YIAGA AFRICA to provide timely and accurate information on the conduct of accreditation, voting, and counting as well as to independently verify the official results for the Ekiti gubernatorial election as announced by INEC. If the announced results reflect the ballots cast at polling units, then we will confirm the outcome. However, if the announced results have been manipulated and do not match the results posted at polling units, then YIAGA AFRICA will expose it.

  1. WTV Pre-election Observation

As part of our efforts to deepen electoral integrity, YIAGA AFRICA launched the Pre-Election Observation (PREO) component of the WTV project in May 2018. Under the PREO, YIAGA AFRICA collected pre-election environment data from citizen observers and shared reports on election day preparedness of key stakeholders and early warning signs for electoral violence.

The PREO initiative entailed deploying long-term observers (LTOs) to each of the 16 LGAs of Ekiti state to gather systematic information about the pre-election environment, including early warning signs of electoral violence. WTV LTOs were equipped with a checklist to observe and report on the electoral and political environment in the state. All WTV LTOs reside within the LGAs where they observe activities relating to voter education, political campaigns, marginalized groups (youth, women, and people with disabilities) and election-related violence in the pre-election period. The observers reported their observation findings on a bi-monthly basis via coded text messages to YIAGA AFRICA’s online database. YIAGA AFRICA also deployed a team of electoral experts and researchers to assess the political environment for the election. The team conducted interviews and consultations with relevant electoral stakeholders about the process.

YIAGA AFRICA WTV PREO observation findings provide an indication of emerging trends during the pre-election period. Key findings from the July 6 to 11, 2018 PREO report include:

  1. Election preparatory activities are currently undertaken by INEC in all the 16 LGAs of Ekiti state. These preparatory activities conducted by INEC include the distribution of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), voter education and election observation kits by INEC.
  2.          Voter education activities undertaken by both INEC and CSOs as observed by WTV observers increased during the period from July 6 to 11. However, YIAGA observers were not exposed to any voter education activities during the period in Ekiti East, Gbonyin, Ido-Osi, Ijero, Ikere, Ilejemeje, Moba or Oye LGAs.
  3. Voter education programming and messaging targeted at special interest and marginalized groups, such as youth, women and people with disabilities (PWDs) has been consistently observed by PREO observers since May 25 in the LGAs of Ekiti South West, Ikere, and Ilejemeje.  Consistent voter education programming targeted at youth, women and PWDs was also noted in the LGAs of Efon, Ekiti West, Ido/Osi, Ikole and Ise/Orun. In all other LGAs, observers either did not observe or observed only limited campaigns targeting marginalized groups since May 25.
  4. Youth and women groups are increasingly engaging the political space by campaigning and canvassing for votes for political parties and candidates. Fifty-four per cent of observers (13 of 24) witnessed or heard of women canvassing for votes during the reporting period and 63% (15 of 24) of observers witnessed or heard of youths canvassing for votes during the reporting period.
  5. Political campaigns and politicking have heightened in the state few days to the elections. Based on our observation, only two parties have dominated the political space; APC and PDP.  Campaign rallies for both APC and PDP were reported by observers in every LGA except Moba during the July 5-11 reporting period.
  6. Voter inducement through the distribution of money and gift items by politicians and their supporters is on the increase; 29% of observers (7 of 24) reported seeing the distribution of money or gift items by candidates in the LGAs of Ekiti East, Ekiti West, Gbonyin, Ido/Osi, Ijero, Ilejemeje and Irepodun/Ifelodun.  In addition, 50% of observers (12 of 24) heard additional reports of such acts taking place in the LGAs of Ado Ekiti, Efon, Ekiti South West, Emure, Ikole and Oye. 
  1. Emerging Concerns on the 2018 Governorship elections and recommendations

YIAGA AFRICA WTV is also concerned about the following issues, which are capable of undermining the credibility of the election if not addressed:

  1. Compliance with Results Counting and Announcement Guidelines: Based on the INEC guidelines, polling unit results shall be posted at the polling unit using FORM EC 60 E. Judging from history, we are concerned polling officials will not adhere to INEC directive or comply with the guideline. We would like to reiterate that posting results at the polling unit will enhance the integrity of the elections, therefore Supervising Polling Officers (SPOs) and INEC monitors should ensure Presiding Officers post the polling unit results at the polling units using FORM EC 60 E. INEC should endeavour all polling staff who flout this directive are duly sanctioned. This responsibility should not fall to the wayside because of the introduction of electronic results transmission, which INEC will pilot in this election. The WTV Project will closely observe the newly piloted e-collation process and urges INEC to ensure transparency and openness in the result collation and transmission process. Voters are also encouraged to take pictures of the results posted at the polling unit using the FORM EC 60 E.

 

  1. Access to Collation Centres: According to INEC, collation centres are accessible to accredited observers, party agents and media. Experience has shown that duly accredited observers and journalists are sometimes denied access to collation centres at the ward and local government level by security agencies; however, observers have expressed interest to observe the collation of results at all levels. YIAGA AFRICA WTV is concerned that duly accredited observers, including our very own Results Collation Centre observers, may be prevented from observing results collation in some centres particularly in centres with large numbers of registered voters and polling units, otherwise called ‘swing wards.’ INEC and the security agencies should ensure accredited party agents and observers are granted access to collation centres as their presence will enhance the integrity of the process.

 

  1. Conduct of Deployed Security Officials: YIAGA AFRICA has observed instances of overzealous behaviour on the part of security officials deployed for the election. For instance two of YIAGA AFRICA’s observers were arrested and detained on July 11, 2018, in Ado-Ekiti for no justifiable reason. All security agents on election duty must uphold the principles of non-partisanship, transparency, civil policing and professionalism in the conduct of their affairs. YIAGA AFRICA calls on security agencies deployed for the election to respect the rights of citizens and observers, including the right to freedom of movement on election day for duly accredited observers.

 

 

 

  1. Hate speech and inciting statements: YIAGA AFRICA is concerned with the increasing level of hate speech and inciting statements by key political actors in the state especially the dominant parties. These unguarded statements could lead to a breach of peace in the state. The key contenders in the governorship race should desist from making inciting statements and urge their supporters to refrain from any act that can potentially result in electoral violence. We urge the security agencies to sanction any individual or group propagating hate speech in this election.

 

  1. Voter inducement and vote buying: YIAGA AFRICA is worried about the level of voter inducement in the state by politicians and their supporters. Cash and material inducements such as free Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) or fuel for petrol engines are doled out to voters in exchanges for their votes. This ugly trend of voter inducement or vote buying undermines the political legitimacy and makes a mockery of our democracy. We are concerned that this election may be determined by the highest bidder if INEC does not take intentional steps to protect the secrecy of the ballot. The voters must resist any attempt by politicians to subvert the process through material inducement or cash. We urge voters to cast their votes according to their preferences.

 

 

  1. WTV Election Day Observation

YIAGA AFRICA’s WTV Election Day deployment is based on the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology – the gold standard for citizen observation. The PVT is an advanced observation methodology that employs well-established statistical principles and utilizes sophisticated information technologies. YIAGA AFRICA’s WTV provides timely and accurate information on the conduct of accreditation, voting, and counting as well as independently verifies the official governorship results as announced by the INEC. YIAGA AFRICA deployed the methodology in the 2017 governorship election in Anambra state, as well as in 2016 in Ondo State, and verified the official results.

For the 2018 Ekiti gubernatorial election, 500 stationary WTV observers are deployed to a representative statistical sample of 250 polling units located in all 16 LGAs. The sampled polling units were determined by established statistical principles to ensure the resulting information is representative of the state and unbiased. The PVT sample of polling units is truly representative of all of the polling units because the percentage of sampled polling units for each LGA is similar to the percentage of all polling unit for each LGA. For example, Efon LGA has 5.4% of all the polling units in Ekiti (119 of 2,195) and 5.2% (13 of 250) of the sampled polling units are in Efon LGA. While not identical, the percentages for every LGA are very close, clearly demonstrating that the PVT sample is representative of the entire state (Appendix I demonstrates the representativeness of sampled polling units).

YIAGA AFRICA’s WTV 500 stationary observers, 25 mobile observers and 16 collation centre observers were carefully recruited according to established criteria to ensure that they are non-partisan. All YIAGA AFRICA citizen observers had to sign a pledge of neutrality and were given a code of conduct to which they have to adhere when observing.

On Election Day, WTV observers will report to their assigned polling units at 7:00 am and remain there throughout setup, accreditation and voting, counting and the announcement and posting of the official results. Throughout the day, every citizen observer at sampled polling units will send in eleven coded text messages to the Ekiti data centre located here at Eleventh House, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti. Coded text messages sent by WTV citizen observers will provide detailed information on the conduct of the process as well as the official results for the polling unit as announced by the polling officials. Over the course of Election Day, YIAGA AFRICA’s data centre will receive 5,500 text messages containing approximately 56,000 individual pieces of information about the 2018 Ekiti governorship election. Once the text messages are received at YIAGA AFRICA’s data centre, they will be processed and reviewed to ensure the information is complete, authentic and accurate.

On Election Day, YIAGA AFRICA’s Ekiti data centre will open at 6:00 am and will remain open until counting has finished at all sampled polling units and all WTV citizen observers have sent all eleven of their observation reports. YIAGA AFRICA’s data centre is open to the public and media at all times.

Throughout Election Day, YIAGA AFRICA will provide – as appropriate – updates on the conduct of the election based on the near real-time reports from its observers. These will be released at the data centre and posted on social media at YIAGA AFRICA’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/yiaga.org) and YIAGA AFRICA’s Twitter page (@YIAGA).

On Saturday, July 14, 2018, at 7 pm, YIAGA AFRICA will release its estimated projections based on its preliminary data. On Sunday, July 15, 2018, at 10 am at Eleventh House, Ado-Ekiti, YIAGA AFRICA will share its preliminary WTV findings on the conduct of set-up, accreditation, voting and counting. Immediately after INEC announces the official results for the gubernatorial election, YIAGA AFRICA will hold its own press conference and issue its election results verification statement. Verification of the election results will be based on the INEC official results as announced by poll officials at the 250 sampled polling stations. WTV is NOT an exit poll. No voter is asked for whom he/she voted.

Since WTV is based on official results from a representative random sample of polling units, YIAGA AFRICA will be able to estimate the state-wide results for the governorship election within a narrow range based on well-established statistical principles. If INEC’s official results fall within YIAGA AFRICA’s estimated range, then the public, political parties and candidates should have confidence that the official results reflect the ballots cast at polling units; if the announced official results do not reflect the ballot cast, YIAGA AFRICA will expose it.

 

 

Conclusion

YIAGA AFRICA is ready to observe the 2018 Ekiti gubernatorial elections. To demonstrate our readiness, YIAGA AFRICA is conducting a full simulation exercise today Thursday, July 12 at Eleventh Avenue, Behind TOS Filling Station, Near Bawa Estate, Iworoko Road, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State. It will involve all 500 WTV citizen observers sending in practice coded text

messages to YIAGA AFRICA’s computer database. This will test every aspect of WTV to ensure that all citizen observers are prepared and that all reporting systems function properly on Election Day.

YIAGA AFRICA calls on Ekiti voters to go to the polls confident that their votes will count. WTV will provide independent verification of the election results as announced by INEC. YIAGA AFRICA appeals to INEC permanent and ad hoc staff, all security agents, political party candidates and their supporters as well as all Ekiti people to work together to ensure that the Ekiti gubernatorial election is credible and peaceful. Election Day is expected to be long for voters who will spend hours at the polling unit queuing for accreditation and voting. It is likely to be hot and tempers may rise. We urge the electorate to remain calm even in the face of challenges that may arise as every Ekiti voter has the right to participate irrespective of party affiliation. In the interests of transparency and accountability, we recommend INEC to make polling unit results publicly available in a timely manner. This will enhance the confidence of political parties, contestants and the public in the accuracy of the official results. YIAGA AFRICA wishes to encourage all registered, PVC-holding voters of Ekiti to go out on Saturday, 14th July 2018 to vote their choice in the Governorship election.

Long live Ekiti state, long live Nigeria.

Thank you.

 

— End —

 

Hussaini Abdu, PhD                                                                                     Samson Itodo

Chair                                                                                                               Executive Director

YIAGA AFRICA WTV Working Group                                                            YIAGA AFRICA

 

For media inquiries please contact:

Moshood Isah

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.

 

About YIAGA AFRICA

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

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