Blog

09 Nov
0

Weekly Updates on the #EndSARS Judicial Panel of Inquiry – No. 2

31st October – 7th November 2020

In line with the demands of the youth to set up an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of all reports of police misconduct, Judicial Panels of Inquiry have been set up in 29 states. The panels are expected to ensure justice for victims of the dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other police units. Our findings reveal that 28 states have so far inaugurated panels of inquiry. Data from 27 states indicated that only 21% (53) of the 252-panel members are women. While youth representation is at 18.2% (46-panel members).

The Judicial Panels of Inquiry have begun sittings and collection of petitions/memoranda in at least 16 States. These states include – Akwa Ibom State, Anambra State, Bauchi State, Benue State, Ebonyi State, Edo State, Enugu State, Kaduna State, Katsina State, Kwara State, Lagos State, Niger State, Ondo State, Ogun State, Osun State and Plateau State, Taraba State with many inaugural sittings in the last week. Reports from the Yiaga Africa citizens observer deployed to the Lagos State Judicial panel of Inquiry reveals that: the panel sat for a total of 6 days and a total of 10 reports/presentations were submitted (5 oral and 5 written), mostly against the defunct SARS unit. Out of the 10 petitioners, 4 young persons and women, respectively. Also presented before the Panel, was the report of the current threats and attacks to members of the #EndSARS movement by security officers.

Reports from the observation from Ogun state reveal that the sitting on November 5, 2020, received a total of 11 reports/presentations (8 oral and 3 written). Of the 11 petitioners; 6 were young people and 1 was a woman. For both Lagos and Ogun states; 60% of the petitioners were victims of police brutality while 20% were family members of victims and the other 20% were government representatives. In addition, the evidences tendered include; picture and footage of a supposed SARS official beating the victim, photos of a man brutally beaten by cops of the SARS operations, damaged phone, loan card, and photos of a damaged car by gun bullets.

On Saturday, 7th November, 2020 the sitting of the Lagos State Panel of Judicial Inquiry probing the alleged shooting of #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki toll gate were unable to receive submissions and petitions due to the absence of the two youth members of the panel, Oluwarinu Oduala, and Temitope Majekodunmi. Oduala, who is one of the leading voices of the #EndSARS Movement, and has been an active member of the Panel was not present at the day’s sitting in protest against the unjust freezing of her bank account by the Central Bank of Nigeria. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently obtained a court order freezing the accounts of 20 #EndSARS promoters till January 2021. One of those affected was Oduala. Retired Justice DorsOkuwobi, the Chairperson of the Panel had no other option but to suspend Saturday’s sitting as the Panel could not form a quorum in the absence of the two youths representatives while noting that the Panel was confronted with a situation which prevented Oduala from attending the day’s sitting. She also noted that she was not certain if the two youths’ representatives will eventually pull out from the Panel.

Yiaga Africa and Enough is Enough (EIE) Nigeria hereby notes and recommend the following measures be adopted to ensure the Panels deliver on their responsibility adequately without fear of reprisal:

1. Targeted Attacks and Harassment of Members of the Panel and #EndSARS Movement: We note with concern the recent attacks and clampdowns on some members of the Panels representing youths. This action has grave implications towards building citizens’ confidence in the Panels and in the ability of the Panels to ensure justice for victims of police brutality. In the interest of justice, we hereby call on the Government acting through the Central Bank of Nigeria to refrain from implementing this tactical intimidation of freezing the bank accounts of lawful citizens, who exercised their constitutionally guaranteed rights and some of whom are performing national duty in seeking justice for victims of police brutality. We recommend the immediate unfreezing of the accounts and a cessation of the attacks and harassment of youth representatives on the Panels to enable them carry out their assignments.

2. Lack of Cooperation to Ensure Panel’s Access to Information by Some Security Agencies: We also note with deep concern the lack of cooperation from security agencies especially the military, in granting access to the venue of the inquiry to independent and/or citizens observers and poor/lack of information provided to the panel to enable panel members adequately discharge their responsibility. Media Reports indicate that investigative visits by the Panel have been met with stiff resistance and opposition from security agencies (Nigerian military). We however, call on the security agencies to work with the panels in providing requisite information requested for and to welcome this process as a critical reform process to improve the work of the security agencies. We also call on the Panels to ensure transparency, fairness and participation as they sit and to conduct their responsibility without fear of intimidation by security agencies.

3. Short Timelines for Reporting and Submission of Petitions/Memoranda: From our findings, we note that the Panels of Inquiry in some states have issued short timelines for the submission of memoranda. We, therefore, call on the panel to extend the deadlines for submission of memoranda, considering sufficient time the Panels have to work – in order to ensure all victims of police brutality submit their memoranda/petitions to the Panels.

4. The Need to Deploy Technology to Promote Transparency and Participation: There is a need to explore all available mediums to facilitate citizens access to the Panels of Inquiry and their proceedings. As a result, we call on all the Panels of Inquiry to embrace the use of technology: social media or traditional media channels to allow members of the public to follow live sittings of the panels and submit petitions and memoranda. We commend the Panels in Lagos, Kwara and the National Human Rights Commission Panel in FCT for deploying technology to promote participation via public-facing channels and call on other state Panels to do the same. This will further promote transparency and build confidence in the process.

5. Provide Disaggregated Data and Profile of Members of the Panel: To ensure representation and quality decision, it is important the panels provide disaggregated data and the profile of members of the panel in the respective states.

 

Signed

Cynthia Mbamalu                                                                    ‘Yemi Adamolekun

Yiaga Africa                                                                                 Enough is Enough Nigeria

 

DOWNLOAD REPORT

Read More
02 Nov
0

Weekly Updates on the #EndSARS Judicial Panels of Inquiry – No.1

Weekly Updates on the #EndSARS Judicial Panels of Inquiry – No.1

26th – 30th October 2020

On October 14, 2020 The National Economic Council (NEC) led by the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo directed the immediate establishment of State-based Judicial Panels of Inquiry across the country to receive and investigate complaints of Police brutality or related extrajudicial killings.

The panels are expected to ensure justice for victims of the dissolved Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and other police units. The Judicial Panels which would be set up in all the States would include representatives of Youths, Students, Civil Society Organizations, retired police officers of high repute,  representative of the State Attorney General, a representative from the National Human Rights Commission and would be chaired by a respected retired State High Court Judge.

As of 30th October 2020, – 28 states across the country have set up the Judicial Panels of Inquiry and the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry began sitting on Monday, 26th October 2020. Data from 25 states shows a total of 37 youth representation (16.3%) and 51 women representation (22.5%) out of 227 members of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry.

 

Yiaga Africa and Enough is Enough (EIE) Nigeria note and recommend the following measures be adopted by the Panels in each of the states:

Provide Disaggregated Data: there is a lack of information on members of the panels especially with respect to the age of the youth representatives, number of women, qualification. Panels are encouraged to release the profiles of all members of the panel and ages of youth and student representatives to ensure youth are represented by youth.

Deploy Technology to Promote Participation: We note with concern the lack of public-facing channels for engagement with the panels. We call on the panels to embrace the use of technology via social media or traditional media channels to allow members of the public to follow live sittings of the panels. This will promote transparency and build confidence in the process.

Adopt a People-Friendly Mode of Submission of Petition: We note that the format required to submit petitions and memoranda to the Panels is laborious, time-consuming and likely to discourage participation. Panels are advised to accept electronic submissions where applicable in order to reduce the burden of submission on the petitioners.

Effective and Periodic Communication on the Panel: to ensure accountability, the panel is advised to ensure periodic communication providing updates on the sittings of the panel. In addition, the panel is advised to guarantee access to independent observers to monitor the proceedings.

 

Signed

Cynthia Mbamalu  Yiaga Africa

Yemi Adamolekun

Enough is Enough (EIE)

Read More
28 Oct
0

#EndSARS Protest: Finding a Pathway to Sustainable Peace and Development

As we continue to condemn the use of ‘live bullets’ on unarmed protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate, on October 20, 2020, we also join our voices to condemn acts of thuggery, hate speeches, and fake news. We particularly condemn the hoodlums that attacked security facilities and personnel of the Nigeria Police Force as two wrongs never make a right. We still maintain that the 5-for-5 demand by the #EndSARS movement should be urgently met in the interest of the Nigerian state. One of the demands is the transparent prosecution of the officers responsible for the brutality against citizens. In order to build trust in government, we immediately request the prosecution of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) officers who have been identified in the killings, torture, and rapes of citizens.

On this note, we applaud the request of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to the Minister of Justice and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, to ensure speedy prosecution of 35 operatives of the defunct SARS. These officers were accused of human rights violations and abuse of office in a report by the presidential investigation panel.

We have watched with disdain the impunity, and outrightly denounce the assault on public and private properties by hoodlums. The attack in many states of the federation on warehouses, and the looting of COVID-19 palliatives, which were supplied by the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CA-COVID), has thrown up another worrying dimension and exposes the rot and corruption in our governance system.

We unequivocally condemn these attacks and call on the Governors’ Forum to tell Nigerians why they (Governors) intentionally hoarded food items supplied in good faith by the Coalition.  We have read various official statements from some of the state governments and an unofficial statement attributed to the CA-COVID. Some of the statements raise some credibility questions.
As a Civil Society Collective, we have begun tracking initiated court cases, particularly in Lagos and Ogun, this in addition to the panels of inquiry/restitution set up by the states; so far we are reviewing the 27 of the 36 states that already announced these measures. We have also begun to document shreds of evidence with a view to track and underscore the various human rights abuses, following the End SARS protests; this includes the launch of the Missing Persons Portal and tracking of cases specific to violence against women. In addition, we are ready to provide live streaming and tech support to the Panel setup, in order to enhance the credibility of the investigative process.

We are worried that the NHRC which announced its constitution of an independent investigation panel into the activities of the dissolved SARS does not have a constituted Governing Council. We immediately call on President Mohammadu Buhari to grant the Commission the needed capacity to conduct this investigation by inaugurating the Commission’s Governing Council without further delay. In Section 7 (3) of the National Human Rights Commission Act, the Executive Secretary lacks the power to act without a Governing Council, thus invalidating any action taken by the Anthony Ojukwu led Commission.

Signed:
1. Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD)
2. Enough is Enough (EIE)
3. Partners for Electoral Reform
4. Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)
5. Centre for Information, Technology and Development (CITAD)
6. Yiaga Africa
7. Global Rights
8. Project Alert
9. Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC)
10. Paradigm Initiative (PIN)
11. Rule of Law and Accountability Centre (RULAAC)
12. HEDA Resource Centre
13. African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL)
14. Community Life Project (CLP)
15. Protest to Power
16. Social Action
17.  Right to Know
18. Lawyers Alert
19. International Press Centre (IPC)
20. Private and Public Development Centre
21. South Saharan Social Development Organisation
22. Partners West Africa- Nigeria
23. Centre LSD
24. Connected Development (CODE)
25. Stakeholders Development Network (SDN)
26. BUDGiT
27. CWCW Africa
28. Peering Advocacy and Advancement Centre in Africa (PAACA)
29. Invictus Africa
30. Alliance for Credible Election (ACE)
31. Prisoners’ Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA)
32. Resource Centre for Human Rights (CHRICED)
33. Reboot Design

Read More
21 Oct
0

STOP KILLING OUR YOUTH: A Press Statement on Incessant Killings of Nigerian Youth by Security Agencies

On 20 October 2020 Nigerians and the world watched in horror as armed military officers shot at peaceful and harmless #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate, in Lagos state. Based on eyewitness accounts, the shootings left some protesters dead and many more with injuries. This action by the military is highly reprehensible and threatens the core foundations of our democracy. The rights of citizens to protest is a constitutionally guaranteed right, therefore deploying armed soldiers to shoot at innocent citizens amounts to an assault on the constitution. We maintain that the youths at the Lekki Toll Gate, Lagos State on 20/10/2020 were exercising their constitutionally guaranteed right to peaceful assembly, right to life, right to dignity of a person, and freedom of expression. No citizen deserves to die or be injured for exercising their constitutionally guaranteed right to peaceful assembly. This is a grave injustice under this government to Nigerian youths.

Together with other civil society organizations, human rights activists and citizens, the Not Too Young To Run movement condemns in its entirety the deployment of military personnel and armed security officers to unleash terror on peaceful protesters at the Lekki Tollgate on 20 October 2020. We strongly condemn the incessant intimidation, unlawful arrests and detention, extortion, harassment, and wanton killings of Nigerians across the country, especially Nigerian youth by security agencies in the course of the #EndSARS protest. We also condemn the complicity of security agencies as they watched armed thugs and hoodlums attack peaceful protesters and citizens which led to the loss of lives and properties in Abuja, Lagos, Oyo, Kano and Edo states. We strongly condemn the attempt by the Federal and State Government, Armed Forces and Security agencies to deny the existence of these attacks and the shooting at young Nigerians.

The last two weeks have seen a reawakening of Nigerian youth to fight for a country they can call home. Young people protested and agitated for an end to police brutality and human rights violation. These protests are legitimate and constitutional. Nigerian youth constitute the largest demographic of the nation’s population and are the most affected by the abuse and brutality of officers of the security agencies. These actions have direct, adverse effects on the wellbeing, safety, productivity and consequently, the economy of our dear nation. Nigeria cannot afford to silence its youth. Nigeria cannot afford to ignore this injustice to the youth.

As a movement we demand:

  1. A comprehensive investigation into the shooting of innocent and harmless #ENDSARS protesters by heavily armed soldiers at the Lekki toll gate. This investigation should unravel those culpable including the individual/persons who sanctioned the military operation.
  2. An immediate withdrawal of the military and other security officers deployed to quell the #EndSARS protesters in Lagos and other states.
  3. A national address by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the attacks and killings of protesters by security officers, especially the 20 October 2020 shooting in Lagos state and other states.
  4. The National Assembly should convene an emergency session to address the Lekki Tollgate killings and as a matter of urgency conduct an investigative public hearing on these reported extrajudicial killings of #EndSARS protesters by security agencies and ensure accountability and justice for the injured and dead protesters.
  5. The international community sustains its pressure in holding the Nigerian government to account for its commitment to human right protection. International sanctions should be deployed against public officials who violate the Nigerian constitution by assaulting the rights of citizens.

Finally, as we reject the suppression of ongoing protests and state-sponsored violence against young people, we mourn with families who have lost loved ones in the course of the #EndSARS protests. We commend millions of Nigerian youths who have remained resolute, against all odds to demand for their rights and make their voices heard. Lastly, we call on Nigerian youth to remain peaceful and non-violent as the struggle for a just, equitable and inclusive Nigeria remains alive.

Signed.

Not Too Young To Run movement

 

__________________

For enquires contact:

Moshood Isah, Tel. +234 (0) 703 666 9339

Email: nottooyoungtorun@yiaga.org

 

 

Read More
20 Oct
0

Women at the Forefront of the EndSars Movement – Chinemerem Onuorah

Over the past few years, there have been calls by Nigerians to end the unit of the Police Force called the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), for brutalities against innocent Nigerians, and the misuse of their powers. In the past two weeks, however, Nigerian youths have relentlessly protested and asked for an end to SARS. Well-meaning Nigerians have continued to lend their voices in support of what has been described as wanton and arbitrary harassment and in some cases killing of young men and women by officers of the Nigerian police force. While victims of SARS cut across gender, tribe and religion, it is believed that young men constitute a good percentage of the assault by officers that should be protecting citizens. Thus it is interesting that a lot of women have been at the frontline of this EndSars movement. This no doubt goes a long way in emphasizing the unity in purpose of the movement to end police brutality and by extension reform the entire police force in Nigeria.

While the EndSars movement has been described as a “leaderless” movement, some women have provided some form of leadership and provided legal, financial, medical and moral support to the unrelenting protesters. Prominent among them is Aisha Yesufu; the renowned “iron lady” who has always defied all odds to speak against injustice. The Nigerian Socio-political activist, and also the co-convener of the Bring Back Our Girls movement dared authorities and faced near-death escapades in her effort to demand justice for innocent citizens murdered by officers of the Nigerian Police Force. In what is now seen as the symbol of the movement, the early hours of October 12th had pictures of Aisha Yesufu circulating the internet. The picture had been taken at the protest ground in Abuja. Like a statue of liberty, Aisha was fully clothed in her hijab, and her right fist was raised high.

Another important stakeholder of the ongoing EndSars movement Feyikemi Abudu, known better as FKAbudu, is an entrepreneur who is also among the founders of the Feminist Coalition group. She most notably at the start of the protest collated the names of arrested and detained protesters and provided legal support to get them free. On every occasion, she succeeded in freeing these people, and it became common to send her names and locations of arrested protesters. There was a video of an elderly woman who was slapped by a policeman, because she came out to protest; there was also one about two young girls who were beaten and dragged across dusty roads, into a police station. However, with the help of FK Abudu, they were released – hurt, but free.

Another early motivator of an offline protest to end police of this movement is Rinu Oduala, a social media influencer and a human rights activist. She used her huge social media platform to publicise the protests, and she was among the first people out in the street protesting.

Similarly, a notable organisation known as the Feminist Coalition Group formed by young, Nigerian feminists to champion equality for women in Nigeria has continued to source and managed funds to ensure law abiding protesters get all needed support. So far, this organisation has catered to the legal, financial and healthcare needs of the protesters. They set up Flutterwave, a donation link which Nigerians both home and abroad have used to raise money to aid the protests. As of 19th October, the bursary has about 73million Naira. Daily, the organisation gives a rundown of new donations, and how much has been disbursed. The transparency and accountability this organization operates with is something the government should aim to achieve.

One would think that women would not care enough to champion this movement, because men have mostly always been the ones directly affected, and so it is quite touching to see women actively participating. The active participation of women in this movement is an encouraging thing. It is a morale-booster showing that women see the pain and are empathetic enough to want to put an end to it. There was a protest by mothers who wanted to march against the woman who was slapped; it goes further to prove that a mother who has seen the terror that is SARS and is willing to march against it, has sensitized her household.

There are women marching on the streets, the ones making the movement go viral on social media, and the ones who choose to work behind the scene. There are also powerful women like Chioma Agwuebo; Executive Director of Tech Her, who provided both moral and material support to the movement. There are definitely unnamed and unknown women who are doing their best in their circle. All their efforts come together and make a huge impact because all of it is toward one goal – to end police brutality and restore good governance in Nigeria.
The cheering news also is that Women are also being called to the negotiation table as stakeholders make efforts to find lasting solutions to police brutality in Nigeria. An interesting appointment into the judicial the panel in Akwa Ibom state is that of Mmanti Umoh, a young woman who participated in the #EndSARS protested in Uyo with her two adult sons.

Chinemerem is a Communication Assistant at Yiaga Africa
Email: onuorahchinemerem@gmail.com
Twitter : @mererah

Read More
19 Oct
0

Violent reprisal of Peaceful Protests Constitute Dangerous Assault on Citizens’ Constitutional Rights

In the last two weeks, the streets of Nigeria have been convulsing with protests and agitations. The clarion call as reflected in the multitude of young Nigerian voices is for an end to police brutality and all related abuses, which unaccountable policing has left in its wake. For the avoidance of doubt, these protests are legitimate, and young people who ignited the movement have a right to express their grievances using the weapon of protest.

While #EndSARS is focused on the immediate concern of a brutish policing system, the protesters are also inherently voicing their anger against a governance system, which has failed to reckon with them. #EndSARS is, therefore, an affirmation of citizen’s readiness to resist bad governance in all its ramifications beginning with inadequate government response over the prolonged trend of police brutality. The accumulated anger of citizens over decades of failure in the delivery of basic social services, endemic corruption, and impunity of political office holders has precipitated distrust of, and lack of confidence in the state and its institutions. These frustrations are visible in the pent-up anger, which has been boiling over in mass street protests in cities across the country.

Collectively, we affirm the validity of the protests, and the grievances driving the organization and mobilization of popular anger. Police brutality in particular, and the brutality of security, armed forces, and law enforcement agents towards citizens, in general, is a fact and a reality that cannot be contradicted. In this respect, we strongly condemn the thinly veiled threat issued by the Military High Command, wherein the unacceptable move is being made to crush the peaceful protests. Such a threat is ill-conceived in the face of legitimate citizens’ protest and a threat to constitutionally guaranteed rights. We call on the military to immediately withdraw its ill-advised attempt to undermine the constitutional freedom of citizens to voice their displeasure about the state of the country.

We reject in its entirety the move to draft in the military to quell the protests, even where there has been no violent conduct on the part of protesters.  The Military should remain in their barracks and at their duty posts, defending the territorial integrity of the country, and not deployed in a dangerous anti-people and anti-democratic operation to crush a people who are exercising their right to freedom of association, freedom of expression, and freedom of assembly. It is important we state here that the commencement of the Exercise Crocodile Smile VI is ill timed and will exacerbate the distrust of citizens.

It is important to let the Nigerian authorities know that the entire world is watching its response to the legitimate demands of the youth. The world is watching the state-sponsored assault on the freedom of expression, and association of Nigerians in the forms of illegal bans on a protest by the governor of Rivers State [CO1] and the authorities in the Federal Capital Territory. These bans are patently unlawful and constitute an ominous prelude to what we suspect would be a harsh clampdown on citizens.

The ongoing protests to end police brutality and compel sorely needed reform of the police and policing, is thus a legitimate movement, raising legitimate concerns, making legitimate demands, and as such because the movement is exercising universally recognized and constitutionally guaranteed rights, the movement must be protected, and not repressed.

We must reiterate here that the practice of dehumanizing citizens and stripping them of their dignity, which has become endemic in the security and defence sectors, is a manifestation of the institutional decay and systemic crisis of governance. This is a measure of the failure of political leadership by Nigeria’s ruling class. This is why what is expected of any responsible government, political leadership, and ruling class, is to step back and reflect and to undertake a radical overhaul and comprehensive root and branch reforms of the security and law enforcement agencies, as well as of the armed forces.

So far, we can confirm at least 13 persons have been extra judicially killed  in the course of the peaceful protest (Oyo – 4; Edo – 2; Ondo – 1; Osun – 2; and Lagos – 4). In addition is the attack on peaceful assembly in 8 states (Oyo, Lagos, Edo, Plateau, Anambra, FCT, Kano and Osun).

We join the youths of Nigeria to demand:

1)      Accountability for previous, current, and ongoing acts of the brutalization of citizens from the government and its agencies. Offending officers must be identified, investigated, prosecuted, and punished.

2)      That a mechanism is put in place to identify all previous and current victims of police brutality, to ensure that they get justice, including compensations.

3)      That all those arrested during the ongoing protest be released unconditionally.

4)      That the President constitutes and summons an emergency and inaugural meeting of the Nigeria Police Council [NPC] provided for in the 1999 CFRN [as amended], in section 216, and whose composition and functions were clearly stated in Part III [Supplemental and interpretation], sections 27 & 28 of the same constitution.

5)      That the government moves beyond cosmetic approaches in responding to the yearnings of protesting citizens. Building confidence would involve moving speedily to implement key first steps, including the expeditious public trial of police officers who have been accused with evidence and are found to have perpetrated crimes, including extra-judicial killings, against the Nigerian people.

6)      That an independent and multi-stakeholder committee, including the acknowledged representatives of the protesting youths among others, be constituted to oversee the implementation, and undertake monitoring and assessment of the implementation of the Police Act 2020 as the basis for undertaking the institutional and systemic reforms that are urgently needed.

Finally, as we reject the repression of ongoing protests, we commend millions of Nigerian youths who have defied the odds to make their voices heard. This is just the beginning as we stand with the youths of Nigeria who have taken leadership to demand accountability and a better Nigeria. The struggle has just begun, and the people of this country must brace up to take their destinies into their hands.

Signed:

  1. Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD-West Africa)
  2. Enough is Enough (EIE)
  3. Partners for Electoral Reform
  4. Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)

5.Centre for Information, Technology and Development (CITAD)

  1. Yiaga Africa
  2. Global Rights
  3. Project Alert
  4. Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC)
  5. Paradigm Initiative
  6. Rule of Law and Accountability Centre (RULAAC)
  7. HEDA Resource Centre
  8. African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL)
  9. Community Life Project (CLP)
  10. protest to Power
  11. Social Action
  12. Take Back Nigeria Movement (TBN)
  13. Right to Know
  14. Lawyers Alert
  15. Private and Public Development Centre
  16. South Saharan Social Development Organisation
  17. Partners West Africa- Nigeria
  18. Centre LSD
  19. Connected Development (CODE)
  20. Stakeholders Development Network (SDN)
  21. BUDGiT
  22. CWCW Africa
  23. Peering Advocacy and Advancement Centre in Africa (PAACA)
  24. Invictus Africa
  25. Prisoners’ Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA)

Read More
11 Oct
0

Process and Results Verification Statement on the 2020 Ondo Governorship Election

Introduction

On October 10, 2020, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conducted the 2020 Ondo governorship election. Yiaga Africa Watching The Vote (WTV) deployed its Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology to ensure the integrity and sanctity of the ballot were protected and guaranteed. Six hundred (600) stationary observers were deployed in pairs to a representative statistical sample of 300 polling units. Twenty-eight (28) mobile observers located in all 18 Local Government Areas and Nineteen (19) collation centre observers were also deployed to the 18 LGA Collation Centres and 1 to the state collation centre. With this deployment, Yiaga Africa is positioned to provide timely and accurate information on accreditation and voting and counting and independently verify the Ondo gubernatorial election’s official results as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). On election day, Yiaga Africa released its situational report on the election day process. This report is an update to the findings shared on election day and the results verification statement.

Yiaga Africa notes the significant improvement in INEC’s management of election logistics. The people of Ondo state deserve commendation for their resilience and peaceful conduct during the voting, counting and result collation process. However, Yiaga Africa deplores the isolated incidents of intimidation and harassment of observers, voters and polling officials by party thugs, which led to violent disruption of the voting process in a limited number of units and likely resulted in the disenfranchisement of voters in the affected locations. Yiaga Africa observers reported acts of violence, intimidation, harassment and assault directed against women especially female voters, polling officials, security, party agents or observers in 6% of polling units.

Nigerian elections are signposted with practices that compromise the freedom of choice and undermine political legitimacy. Yiaga Africa notes with great concern the menace of vote-buying and the impunity exhibited by major political actors in procuring votes with huge amounts of cash during the Ondo governorship election. Across several polling units, the secrecy of the ballot was severely compromised despite attempts by polling officials to prevent voters and party agents from showing how ballot papers were marked. On election day, votes traded between N1000 and N7,000 at the polling unit. It is Yiaga Africa’s opinion that the massive vote buying employed by political actors in the election made it difficult for voters to freely cast their ballots in the polling units where they occurred. It is disappointing that elections are largely defined by the highest bidder and spender.

Whilst Yiaga Africa urges INEC to undertake reforms to protect the secrecy of the ballot, it is important to note that vote-buying is a governance challenge that diminishes human dignity and questions the legitimacy of electoral outcomes. Addressing this menace requires a multi-pronged approach that fosters improved public governance, abolishes do-or-die politics and strengthens mechanisms of accountability.

As stated in our pre-election reports, Yiaga Africa undertook Watching the Vote to provide citizens, governorship candidates, political parties, and INEC with independent information on whether the official results truly reflect the ballots cast at polling units. 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 in the polling units. However, if the announced results have been manipulated and do not match the polling unit results, Yiaga Africa will expose it.

Election Day Process Findings

Yiaga Africa’s Watching the Vote observers observed accreditation and voting and counting at polling units in all 18 LGAs. These findings on the process are based on reports from 295 of 300 (98%) sampled polling units.

Accreditation and Voting

  • At 88% of polling units, the card reader functioned throughout the day and in 9% of the polling units, the card reader malfunctioned but was fixed.
  • At 98% of polling units, every potential voter’s permanent voter card (PVC) was checked by the card reader.
  • At 95% of polling units, every potential voter’s fingerprints were checked by the card reader.
  • At 99% of polling units, indelible ink was applied to the cuticle of a finger of every accredited voter.
  • 95% of polling units were set up so no one could see how the voters marked their ballot papers. Nevertheless, at 8% 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 some point throughout the day. Voters crowded the polling officials in 13% of polling units.
  • In addition, in 4% of polling units, voting was conducted without a voting cubicle, and in 5% of polling units the voting cubicle was not set up in a way that would preserve the secrecy of the ballot.
  • Party agents attempted to influence the vote in 10% of polling units – including, in some limited instances, through open vote-buying.
  • 100% of polling units had a hand sanitization point (hand sanitizer/soap and water).
  • In 6% of polling units, women were particularly affected by incidents of intimidation, harassment or violence (this includes women as voters, polling officials, security, party agents or observers).
  • 37% of polling units completed accreditation and voting by the designated time of 2:30 pm, while by 4:30 pm, 97% of polling units had completed accreditation and voting.

Counting

  • At 99% of polling units, polling officials showed how every ballot paper was marked to everyone present.
  • At 99% of polling units, an All Progressives Congress (APC) and a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) polling agent signed the official results form (EC.8A).
  • At 8% of polling units and at 89% of polling units the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) polling agent signed the official results form (EC.8A) respectively.
  • At 11% of polling units, polling officials recounted the ballot papers.
  • At 96% of polling units, the official results were posted for the public to see.
  • At 80% of polling units, presiding officers used the Smart Card Reader to transmit results from the polling units.
  • At 77% of polling units, presiding officers used the electronic tablet to transmit the Result form EC8A.
  • In 8% of polling units no polling officials were women, 30% of polling units had one woman polling official, 39% of polling units had two women polling officials and 19% of polling units had three women officials. In 4% of polling units, all four polling officials were women. In 41% of the polling units, the presiding officers were women.

Results Verification

Based on reports from 97% (291 of 300) of sampled polling units, Yiaga Africa’s statistical analysis shows that the APC should receive between 48.9% and 54.1% of the vote; the PDP should receive between 31.2% and 36.6% of the vote; ZLP should receive between 10.5% and 13.3% of the votes, while no other party will receive more than 1% of the vote share.

Table 1:    Comparison of INEC Official Results with Yiaga Africa WTV Estimates for Select Political Parties for the 2020 Ondo Gubernatorial Election
Party INEC Yiaga Africa WTV Match
Official Result Estimate Margin of Error Estimated Range
Lower Limit Upper Limit
APC 51.1% 51.5% ±2.6% 48.9% 54.1%
PDP 34.2% 33.9% ±2.7% 31.2% 36.6%
ZLP 12.1% 11.9% ±1.4% 10.5% 13.3%
Note: No other party received more than 1% of the vote share
Source: Yiaga Africa WTV Ondo 2020

The INEC official result for the 2020 Ondo State gubernatorial election falls within the Yiaga Africa WTV estimate. Had the official results been changed at the ward, LGA or state collation centres, the official results would not have fallen within the Yiaga Africa WTV estimated ranges. Because the official results fall within the estimated ranges, governorship contestants, parties, and voters should have confidence that INEC’s official results for the 2020 Ondo gubernatorial election reflect the ballots cast at polling units.

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

  • At 94% of polling units, counting had concluded by 4:00 pm.
  • Incidents of intimidation, harassment or violence were reported in 3% of polling units during counting.
  • Further, at 98% of polling units, APC party agents received a copy of the EC.8A results form; at 98% of polling units, PDP party agents received a copy of the EC.8A results form, at 9% of polling units, SDP party agents received a copy of the EC.8A results form and at 87% of polling units ZLP party agents received a copy of the EC.8A results form; in 83% of polling units’ party agents from all parties present received a copy of the EC.8A results form.

INEC’s official results for turnout and rejected ballots also fall within Yiaga Africa WTV estimates. Yiaga Africa is able to estimate that turnout is 33.4% with a margin of error of ±1.3% (between 32.1% and 34.7%) while INEC’s official turnout is 32.6%. Similarly, Yiaga Africa estimates rejected ballots are 2.8% with a margin of error of ±0.3% (between 2.5% and 3.1%) while INEC’s official result for rejected ballots is 3.1%. This can be compared to the Ondo 2016 governorship turnout rate of 35% and Ondo state turnout rate of 33% in the 2019 presidential election.

Critical Incidents

Yiaga Africa received and confirmed 28 critical incident reports from its WTV observers. The incident reports capture instances of infractions that could undermine the electoral process. These included:

  1. Disruption of the Voting Process & Stuffing of Ballot Box: Election infraction, including disruption of the voting process and stuffing of ballot boxes were reported and confirmed from: Odoewu/Onipanu, open space polling unit (PU 009) of Idale-Logbosere ward (04) in Idanre LGA, Ago Joshua, L.A. school (PU 007), Isalu/Ehinpetu ward (07) in Idanre, Surulere PU (003) in Oke-Igbo II ward of Ileoluji/ Okeibo LGA and Oniseere I & II, St. Peters Oniseere (PU 007) in Ofosu/Oniseere ward (09) Idanre.
  2. Vote buying and interference by party agents: Reports of voter inducement and vote-buying were reported from across the LGAs. Specifically, reports of vote-buying were received from Pu 015 St. Paul Primary School Mosunmola Olowu Area. Ondo Westlga, Pu 008 Uwayowa Camp, Oke-Ose LGA, Obaile 007, ward 9 Akure North LGA, Centre. Pu 15, ward 9 Ondo East LGA, PU 008 Uwayowa Camp, Okeoselga, Apurere Health Centre. PU 15, Ward 9 Ondo East LGA, Open Space at Onisoosi I, PU 007, ward 02, Ondo West LGA
  3. Intimidation or harassment of voters and polling officials: Yiaga Africa recorded intimidation and harassment of voters, observers and polling officials by political party agents. These cases were reported from: Ago Onipanu unit 4. 28/03/02/001 Itanorowo, st colmans sch, Asoko Idanre LGA, Oniseere I & II, st Peters Oniseere (PU) 007, ward 09 Idanre LGA.
  4. Community Collusion: In Open Space at Onisoosi (PU 007) of Ward 02 in Ondo West, community members and party agents crowded around the voting cubicle and influenced how voters marked their ballots.
  5. Interference by Security Personnel: There was chaos at St. John Primary School II (PU 025) in Ggogi/Isikan Ward 02 of Akure South LGA because security personnel were observed to be revealing voters’ choice. Specifically, the security personnel positioned themselves close to the voting cubicle and could see how voters marked their ballots.

While these incidents are serious and must be addressed by electoral stakeholders, they did not occur at levels and rates that would substantially undermine the integrity of the overall electoral process or the results due to the large margin between the contestants.

Conclusion

Yiaga Africa calls on the winning candidate and his supporters to be magnanimous in victory. For those candidates who did not win, we urge them to accept the results because they reflect the votes cast. Yiaga Africa calls upon all candidates, all parties and all Nigerians to show political maturity and to maintain the peace.

Given the significant rate of procedural infractions around counting of spoilt and counterfoil ballot paper, Yiaga Africa recommends better training for election day INEC ad-hoc officials. While these infractions do not undermine the integrity of the process, they are a sign that election day officials’ training can be improved.

Yiaga Africa commends INEC for its efforts to improve on the election day process and efforts to comply with the COVID-19 protocol with respect to providing disinfectant/hand sanitizers in all polling units. Yiaga Africa however, believes that there are opportunities for improvement in our elections and calls on INEC to conduct a post-election audit on both the Edo and Ondo governorship elections in order to enable the Commission to assess its performance, identify operational areas for improvement and drive policy reforms to effectively plan for future elections. Additionally, the National Assembly should accelerate reforms to the Electoral Act to legalize the effective deployment of technological tools to promote citizen’s participation and enhance transparency in the electoral process. The INEC Result Viewing portal deployed for the election has demonstrated how citizens’ access to polling unit results increases the integrity of the electoral process and encourages acceptability of electoral outcomes.

Yiaga Africa commends the National Peace Committee (NPC) for responding to the call by stakeholders on the threat of violence as indicated in Yiaga Africa’s Pre-election observation report. The interventions contributed in no small measure to the peaceful conduct of the election.

Yiaga Africa would like to thank the many Nigerians across the state who volunteered to serve as non-partisan WTV citizen observers on behalf of all the people of Ondo. Yiaga Africa commends the dedication of the permanent INEC staff in Abuja and Ondo state who organized the election and the commitment of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members who served as poll officials. Yiaga Africa would like to thank sister election observer groups and the international community for their solidarity and support.

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

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

— End —

Ezenwa Nwagwu                                                  Dr Aisha Abdullahi

Co-Chair                                                                    Co-Chair

Yiaga Africa WTV Working Group                                    Yiaga Africa WTV Working Group

For media inquiries please contact:

Moshood Isah

Communication Officer

Yiaga Africa

Tel. +234 (0) 703 666 9339

Email: misah@yiaga.org

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

 

Appendix I: Distribution of all polling units and PVT sampled polling units

 

Distribution of All Polling Units and PVT Sampled Polling Units for the
2020 Ondo Gubernatorial Election
S/No LGA Registered Voters Polling Units Percent of Total Polling Units Sampled Polling Units Percent of Total Sampled Polling Units Observers
1 AKOKO NORTH EAST 80,040 135 4.49% 14 4.67% 28
2 AKOKO NORTH WEST 72,139 166 5.52% 16 5.33% 32
3 AKOKO SOUTH EAST 35,747 76 2.53% 8 2.67% 16
4 AKOKO SOUTH WEST 101,842 168 5.58% 16 5.33% 32
5 AKURE NORTH 74,821 106 3.52% 11 3.67% 22
6 AKURE SOUTH 290,267 302 10.04% 30 10.00% 60
7 ESE-ODO 70,014 126 4.19% 13 4.33% 26
8 IDANRE 82,449 112 3.72% 11 3.67% 22
9 IFEDORE 75,257 151 5.02% 15 5.00% 30
10 ILAJE 132,189 271 9.01% 27 9.00% 54
11 ILEOLUJI/OKEIGBO 73,051 157 5.22% 16 5.33% 32
12 IRELE 66,959 132 4.39% 13 4.33% 26
13 ODIGBO 136,146 210 6.98% 21 7.00% 42
14 OKITIPUPA 110,572 246 8.18% 24 8.00% 48
15 ONDO EAST 50,496 74 2.46% 8 2.67% 16
16 ONDO WEST 172,815 233 7.74% 23 7.67% 46
17 OSE 69,087 126 4.19% 12 4.00% 24
18 OWO 128,455 218 7.24% 22 7.33% 44
  Total 1,822,346 3,009 100.00% 300 100.00% 600
Source: Yiaga Africa WTV Ondo 2020

Appendix II

The below table is a comparison of INEC official results with the Yiaga Africa WTV estimates for all 17 political parties contesting the 2020 Ondo gubernatorial election.

Appendix II:     Comparison of INEC Official Results with Yiaga Africa WTV Estimates for All Political Parties in the 2020 Edo Gubernatorial Election
Party INEC Yiaga Africa WTV Match
Official Result Estimate Margin of Error Estimated Range
Lower Limit Upper Limit
A 0.0% 0.0% 0.1% 0.0% 0.1% ü
AA 0.0% 0.0% 0.1% 0.0% 0.1% ü
AAC 0.1% 0.1% 0.1% 0.0% 0.2% ü
ADC 0.4% 0.5% 0.1% 0.4% 0.6% ü
ADP 0.6% 0.6% 0.1% 0.5% 0.7% ü
APC 51.1% 51.5% 2.6% 48.9% 54.1% ü
APGA 0.0% 0.0% 0.1% 0.0% 0.1% ü
APM 0.0% 0.0% 0.1% 0.0% 0.1% ü
APP 0.1% 0.1% 0.1% 0.0% 0.2% ü
LP 0.4% 0.4% 0.1% 0.3% 0.5% ü
NNPP 0.0% 0.1% 0.1% 0.0% 0.2% ü
NRM 0.1% 0.1% 0.1% 0.0% 0.2% ü
PDP 34.2% 33.9% 2.7% 31.2% 36.6% ü
PRP 0.1% 0.1% 0.1% 0.0% 0.2% ü
SDP 0.5% 0.6% 0.1% 0.5% 0.7% ü
YPP 0.1% 0.1% 0.1% 0.0% 0.2% ü
ZLP 12.1% 11.9% 1.4% 10.5% 13.3% ü
Source: Yiaga Africa WTV Ondo 2020

Read More
10 Oct
0

Yiaga Africa Watching The Vote, Situational Statement on the 2020 Ondo Governorship Election

Introduction

Yiaga Afric Watching The Vote

On Saturday, October 10, 2020, Yiaga Africa Watching The Vote deployed 600 carefully trained stationary observers and 28 mobile observers in all 18 local government areas (LGAs) of Ondo state to observe the voting process and share reports on the conduct of the election at the polling units’ level. Yiaga Africa WTV is leveraging the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology for the Ondo election. As noted in our pre-election statement, this is the second governorship election to be conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yiaga Africa recognizes the patience and resilience of the people of Ondo to cast their vote despite the rainfall that occasioned delays in some polling units. The security agencies, especially the police, displayed professionalism and civility during the setup and opening of polls. Yiaga Africa hopes that this conduct will be maintained throughout the counting, collation, transmission, and announcement of election results.

This election day situational report provides information and data on the commencement of polls, availability of election materials and critical incidents that may impact on the quality of the election.  These are preliminary findings as of 3:00 pm on election day. It is based on reports from 278 of 300 sampled polling units across the 18 LGAs.

Dr Aisha Abdullahi, Yiaga Africa Co-chair

Preliminary Findings

  1. Improvement in the Management of Election Logistics: Yiaga Africa notes the improvement in the arrival time and set up of polling units. As at 7:30 am, Yiaga Africa reported that INEC officials had arrived in 77% of polling units. This is a significant improvement compared to the September 19 Edo governorship election, where officials arrived at 7:30 am in 38% of polling units. Although polling officials arrived early in most polling stations, only 3% of polling units had commenced voting, and accreditation at 8:30 am. However, the numbers increased to 89% by 9:30 am and 94% at 10:30 am. The early arrival may not be unconnected with the new policy introduced by INEC requiring all National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) drivers to deploy their cars to the Registration Area Camps (RAC) 24hrs before the commencement of polls. This policy aligns with Yiaga Africa and other civil society groups’ recommendations on transparent and efficient management of election logistics for the election.
  1. Deployment of Election Materials and Personnel: Effective deployment of election materials and personnel remains crucial to the conduct of elections. Yiaga Africa’s WTV observers reported an average of four (4) polling officials in the polling units. Sensitive materials like the Smart Card Readers and Register of Voters were observed in 100% of polling units. In addition, voting cubicles were present in 96% of polling units, and ink pads (in voting cubicles) in all the polling units observed. However, in Atijaye community in Ilaje LGA with five polling units, INEC officials deployed to two polling units. This led to the late commencement of polls as community members insisted that voting would not commence until the materials and personnel for the outstanding three polling units were deployed. Yiaga Africa escalated this incident to INEC, and the issue was resolved. Voting began at 12:15 pm in the affected community. Yiaga Africa expects that INEC will extend the voting time in that community to enable the voters to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed right.
  1. Election Security: As predicted in the Yiaga Africa Pre-Election Observation reports (PREO), armed political thugs made attempts to disrupt elections in some polling units. Yiaga Africa received and verified a critical incident in Ijomu Ward 4, Polling Unit 7 in Akure at St. Stephen’s Anglican Primary School where another rival thug stabbed a suspected thug attempting to disrupt the election. Sporadic gunshots by unknown armed men also occurred in Oba-Ile, Ward 9, Unit 007, Akure North, LGA.

 

  1. Voting buying and Secrecy of the Ballot: Yiaga Africa received reports of voting buying from Akure South LGA, Ose, Ondo West, Ilaje, and Akure North. Across several polling units, the secrecy of the ballot was severely compromised despite attempts by polling officials to prevent voters and party agents from showing how ballot papers were marked. These electoral offenses occurred in the presence of security personnel who made no attempt in some cases to reprimand the culprits.

 

  1. Compliance with COVID-19 Protocol: At the commencement of polls, Yiaga Africa observed compliance with INEC COVID-19 protocol on the 2-tier queuing system in 88% of polling units, the presence of infrared thermometer and disinfectant/sanitizers in 74% of polling units. However, there was a minimal observance of social distancing across all the polling units observed.

 

  1. Participation of Persons with Disabilities: In assessing the electoral process’s responsiveness to the needs of persons with disabilities, Yiaga Africa tracked the presence of disability-sensitive election materials. Yiaga Africa observers reported the presence of the Braille ballot guide in 59% of polling units, magnifying glasses in 27% of polling units, forms EC 40H (PWD Voter information and statistics) in 93% of polling units and the PWD posters Form EC 30E in 90% of polling units.

 

  1. Presence of Party Agents: As indicated in the Yiaga Africa PREO reports, the Ondo governorship election will be a keen contest between three political parties. This is supported by the Yiaga Africa findings on the presence of party agents with reports showing that the All Progressives Congress (APC) party agents were seen at 100% of polling units, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) party agents at 100% of polling units, Social Democratic Party (SDP) party agents at 10% of polling units, and Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) party agents at 89% of polling units.

 Details of Critical Incidents

As of 3:00 pm, Yiaga Africa has received a total of 13 verified incident reports. They include the following;

  1. Late Commencement of Accreditation and Voting in Atijere Community: WTV Observers reported that voting commenced late in Atijere Community in Mahin IV ward of Ilaje LGA because community members protested the non-deployment of essential voting materials. Two (2) ballot boxes were deployed to the community instead of five (5). The community members refused to allow INEC polling officials to set up polling units until all five ballots boxes were available. Voting in the community commenced at 12:15 pm.
  2. Vote Buying and Interference by Party Agents: In St. Paul’s Primary School, Oluwu, Arewa III, Code 015, of Lodasa Iparuku/Likoja  Ward in Ondo West, votes were traded for money as voters showed how they voted to party agents before casting their ballots. In St. Paul’s Anglican Primary School, 001 of Ifon 1 ward in Ose LGA, party agents accompanied voters to the voting cubicle to see how they marked their ballots. In Ajegunle Erumana LA School 012 of Aheri Ward, Ilaje, voters showed how they marked their ballots to polling agents that were stationed at the polling unit. Vote buying was also reported in Polling Unit 007, Ward 9 in Oba-Ile, Akure North LGA.
  3. Voting Suspended: In open space polling unit 021 of Olufemisoro Street of Okelisa Okedoko / Ogbodo Ward – Code 11 of Ondo West LGA, voting was suspended because the Smart Card Reader malfunctioned and was not replaced.
  4. Disruption of the Voting Process & Stuffing of Ballot Box: Party thugs stormed Odoewu/Onipanu, Open Space Polling Unit  (PU 009) of Idale-Logbosere Ward (04) in Idanre LGA with Machetes’, Axes and Guns, voters ran for safety as the thugs thumb printed ballot papers and stuff them into the ballot box. Ballot box stuffing was also reported in Surulere PU (003) in Oke-Igbo II ward of Ileoluji / Okeibo LGA

 

Preliminary Recommendations

INEC

  1. INEC should extend the voting period in polling units where election commenced late due to late deployment of election materials and personnel and in the location where elections were delayed due to rainfall.
  2. As the voting process comes to an end, INEC should ensure that the ballots are counted openly, and the Form EC60E containing polling units’ results are posted at the polling unit for the public.
  3. To ensure that the polling unit result sheet; form EC8A for each polling is uploaded on the INEC Result Viewing Portal and also post information on polling units where elections did not hold or results were canceled on the results viewing portal.
  4. We urge INEC to ensure transparency and openness in the management of cancellation of votes and determination of the margin of lead in line with extant electoral laws. Uniformity of processes and consistency in applying its guidelines should be maintained across all polling units and LGAs.
  5. INEC should ensure due diligence and oversight on the result collation process in blind spots in the riverine communities of Ilaje and EseOdo LGA.

Security Agencies

  1. Ensure adequate security is provided as collation commences across the state. Accredited observers and media reporters should be granted access to observe the collation process.
  2. Security personnel should remain professional and non-partisan throughout the election.
  3. Investigate cases of election malfeasance and ensure the prosecution of electoral offenders.

Yiaga Africa commends the good people of Ondo State for their peaceful conduct during the voting process and pleads they remain patient and peaceful through the voting and counting process. Yiaga Africa will provide updates as the process comes to an end, and collation commences. Yiaga Africa restates our commitment to sharing accurate data and information on the election and results based on its deployment of the Parallel Vote Tabulation methodology.

If INEC’s official results fall within Yiaga Africa’s estimated rate, then the public, political parties, and candidates should have confidence that the official results reflect the ballots cast at the polling units; however, if the announced results have been manipulated and do not match the polling units’ results, Yiaga Africa will expose it.

“Driven by Data – For All Nigerians – Beholden to None!”

— End —

Dr. Aisha Abdullahi

Co-chair, Yiaga Africa 2020 Ondo Election Observation Mission

Ezenwa Nwagwu

Co-chair, Yiaga Africa 2020 Ondo Election Observation Mission

______________________________

For media inquiries please contact:

Moshood Isah

Communication Officer

Yiaga Africa

Tel. +234 (0) 703 666 9339

Email: misah@yiaga.org

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

Read More
08 Oct
0

Pre-election Press Statement on the 2020 Ondo Governorship Election

Introduction
On October 10, 2020, the people of Ondo state will go to the polls to elect a governor in what promises to be a keenly contested election and the second governorship election conducted by INEC amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Seventeen (17) political parties are on the ballot having fulfilled all conditions for candidates’ nomination. One million four hundred seventy-eight thousand four hundred sixty, representing 81% of registered voters have collected their PermanentVoters Cards (PVCs), are expected to participate in the election. As indicated in Yiaga Africa’s first pre-election observation report, three political parties dominated the political campaigns in the build-up. They are the All Progressives Congress (APC), People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and Zenith Labour Party (ZLP).

Yiaga Africa’s pre-election observation findings revealed a consistent trend of violence and arms stockpiling across some local government areas in the state. More worrisome is the attack on some female party supporters in Oba-Akoko who were allegedly beaten and stripped naked for wearing politically branded t-shirts and fez caps of one of the candidates. Notable LGAs where violence and arms gathering incidents were observed include Akoko South West, Akure South, Akure North, Akoko South-East, Akoko North-West, Irele, Idanre, Ese-Odo, Okitipupa, Ilaje, and Owo. Yiaga Africa considers these LGAs as potential hotspots for violence in this election. The organization is further concerned that election-day violence may occur in these locations if the security threats are not neutralized. The organization is further concerned with the security agencies’ seeming failure to curb acts of lawlessness and impunity perpetrated by armed political thugs and political actors during campaigns. Given the background of pre-election violence and gangster politics, the state may witness a further decline in voter turnout. The low turnout may further enhance chances for electoral manipulation in the strongholds of the major political parties,
particularly in rural areas where election rigging usually takes place.

Yiaga Africa notes that INEC has demonstrated commitment and readiness for the election. The level of preparations increased in all 18 LGAs based on reports from Yiaga Africa’s Long-Term Observers deployed in the LGAs. Yiaga Africa commends INEC for its resilience and determination to proceed with the election despite the 5000 smart card readers destroyed under a questionable fire incident at the INEC office in Akure, which appears like an attempt to scuttle the Commission’s preparations and undermine its ability to conduct the polls. Yiaga Africa is however, concerned with INEC’s reliance on members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) for deploying sensitive election materials on election day. Given the partisan background of some members of the Union, they could be used by politicians to undermine the election by deliberately causing late commencement of polls due to delay/refusal to convey election officials and materials to the polling units. Yiaga Africa observed this in the recent Edo election, where members of the NURTV refused to deploy early to the registration area camps
citing reasons such as inability to fuel their cars and renegotiate on the contract sum on the day of the election.

DOWNLOAD FULL STATEMENT 

Read More
06 Oct
0

What Data Tells Us about 2020 Ondo Governorship Election

The 2020 Ondo Governorship election is scheduled to hold on October 10, 2020 in all 18 Local Government Areas
(LGAs) across the three senatorial districts of the state.

What data tells us about the 2020 Ondo Governorship Election shows:

– Kingmakers
– Voting Pattern
– Hotspots
– Citizens Perception

DOWNLOAD HERE 

Read More