YIAGA Africa, Situation Room, Fault Credibility of Nigeria’s Presidential Election

YIAGA Africa, Situation Room, Fault Credibility of Nigeria’s Presidential Election

YIAGA Africa and the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room have joined other international Observer groups in picking faults in the conduct of the presidential election of February 25, 2023 thereby placing a question mark on its credibility. The Civil Society Organisations pointed out that the inconsistency of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) during the

YIAGA Africa and the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room have joined other international Observer groups in picking faults in the conduct of the presidential election of February 25, 2023 thereby placing a question mark on its credibility.

The Civil Society Organisations pointed out that the inconsistency of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) during the general elections marred the credibility of the poll, stating that the whole process was a missed opportunity for Nigeria to witness transparent elections. The two Civil Society Organisations established their claims in their separate reports on the event of the pre and elections day, focusing on the logistics, accreditation, voting, and other crucial parts of the electioneering process.

YIAGA Africa, in its reports signed by the Dr. Aisha Abdullahi the Chairperson of its Watching The Vote programme, and Samson Itodo, Executive Director, Yiaga Africa stated that it employed the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology and deployed 3,014 observers in pairs to a representative random sample of 1,507 polling units, 822 mobile observers in all 774 local government areas (LGAs), in the 36 states and the FCT.

The Civil society organisation stated that the essence of its activities was to provide timely and accurate information on the election day process commencing from the set-up, voter accreditation, voting, and counting and to independently assess the official results of the presidential election as announced by the electoral commission.

The Organisation noted that despite producing sensitive materials for the elections, the electoral umpire failed to meet the logistics expectations of Nigerians, as a result, many electorates were disenfranchised. “The election day process was fraught with widespread logistical challenges resulting in the late arrival of polling officials and late opening of polling units across the country particularly in South East and South-south geopolitical zones. Voting was extended to the late hours in some polling units affected by logistical hiccups. Yiaga Africa commends the voters who waited patiently to vote late into the night and to watch the counting of the ballots in the early hours of the morning.

“Due to logistical challenges, some polling units failed to open on election day. Yiaga Africa redeployed observers to 20 of its 1,507 sampled polling units affected by logistical hiccups on Saturday, February 25, 2023. Observers reported that INEC failed to redeploy and conduct elections in 13 (less than 1%) of sampled polling units. These polling units were distributed across Adamawa, Taraba, Jigawa, Katsina, Anambra, Imo, Cross River, and Delta states. INEC’s inability to conduct elections in those polling units denied voters the opportunity to exercise their right to vote”.

The think tank group also decried INEC’s delay in uploading the election results on its results viewing portal (IRev), adding that the commission faltered the expectations of the citizens.”Yiaga Africa expressed concerns about the delay in uploading polling unit results for the presidential election on the INEC Election Results Viewing Portal (IReV).

“As of today, only 73% of the polling unit-level results have been uploaded. Undoubtedly, the delay in uploading the polling unit-level results cast doubts on the credibility of the results management process resulting in broken public trust in electoral technology. Yiaga Africa notes that the delayed upload of the results on the IReV is a flagrant disregard of INEC’s Regulations and Guidelines, and it failed to meet citizens’ expectations.

YIAGA further highlighted some of its findings during the observation process, which include the arrival of voting materials and INEC officials, deployment of security agencies, the functionality of BVAS, and election results.

On Late Arrival of INEC officials and delayed commencement of polls:

“In the polling units observed, Yiaga Africa observers noted the late arrival of INEC officials at the polling unit. Our findings reveal INEC officials arrived at the polling units by 7:30 am in only 27% of polling units.

“The late opening of polling units resulted in the late commencement of accreditation and voting which varied across the geo-political zones. By 9:30 am only: 44% of sampled polling units had commenced accreditation and voting across the country. In the respective geo-political zones only, 46% of polling units in the North-Central zone, 46% of polling units in the North-East zone, 44% of polling units in the North West, and 63% of polling units in the South-West zone had commenced accreditation and voting. There were even more pronounced delays in the South-East and South-South
zones, where only 11% of polling units in the South-East zone and 32% of polling units in the South-South zone had commenced.

Challenges with locating polling units:

“As anticipated in Yiaga Africa’s pre-election report, voters encountered difficulties with locating polling units assigned to them by INEC following the migration of voters to polling units. Some voters didn’t receive the SMS notification was sent by INEC which created confusion in some polling units.

Deployment of security personnel

“Security forces were observed at 88% of polling units. In 84% of the polling units, they were professional and non-partisan. Insufficient election materials: Yiaga Africa received reports of shortfalls in sensitive and non-sensitive materials such as ballot papers, indelible ink, and result sheets.

Deployment of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS)

The Functionality of the BVAS:

“Yiaga Africa observed the deployment of the BVAS across the polling units observed. At 99% of polling units, the BVAS was used throughout the day for the accreditation of voters. In 89% of polling units, the BVAS functioned properly. However, in 8% of polling units, the BVAS malfunctioned, and it was fixed and in 2% of the polling units, it malfunctioned and was replaced.

Misconduct at the Polling Units

“At 6% of polling units, WTV observers reported that voters faced intimidation, harassment or assault. At 6% of polling units, WTV observers reported situations that were identified as likely voter inducement.


“At 98% of polling units, the polling officials obtained the number of accredited voters from the BVAS and recorded it on form EC.8A At 98% of polling units, the polling officials showed how every ballot paper was marked
to the party agents.

Polling Units Level Results Transmission

In 83% of polling units, the Presiding Officer used the BVAS to scan/take a snapshot of the results sheet (Form EC 8A).
In 69% of polling units, the Presiding Officer attempted to transmit/send the polling unit result image to the INEC’s online database (IReV).

Turnout projection
“Yiaga Africa estimates that national voter turnout for the 2023 Presidential election will be 29.4% ±1.0 based on registered voters and will be 31.3% ±1.0% based on the number of PVCs collected. Nationally, the percentage of rejected ballots is projected to be 3.6% ±0.3%. Yiaga Africa observed 8 instances (0.5% of polling units) of irregularities in voter turnout where turnout was over 100%.

Findings on results

“Based on reports from 97% (1,453 of 1507) of sampled polling units, Yiaga Africa’s statistical analysis shows that the All Progressives Congress (APC) should receive between 34.4% and 37.4% of the vote, Labour Party (LP) should receive between 24.2% and 28.4% of the votes, the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) should receive between 4.6% and 6.4% of the vote, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) should receive between 28.3% and 31.1% of the vote, while no other political party should receive more than 0.3% of the vote. The PVT statistical analysis is based on the number of registered voters and not on the number of PVCs collected. Yiaga Africa estimate rejected ballots are between 3.3% and 3.9% while INEC’s official rejected ballot is 3.8%.

“These numbers do not reflect voters who were denied access to vote either through delay in election logistics or cases of violence and voter intimidation. Realistically, we do not know how it affected result outcomes. Inconsistencies in election resultsThe state-level presidential results for Imo and Rivers are inconsistent with the Yiaga Africa
WTV projections for both states.

“For Rivers, INEC announced 231,591 votes for APC or 44.2%; 175,071 for LP or 33.4%; and 88,468 for PDP or 16.9%. This is in sharp contrast to the Yiaga Africa WTV estimates for Rivers which are: APC 21.7% ±5.0%; LP 50.8% ±10.6%; and for PDP 22.2% ±6.5%. For Imo, INEC announced 66,406 for APC or 14.2%; 360,495 for LP or 77.1%; and 30,234 for PDP or 6.5%. Again, this is at variance with the Yiaga Africa WTV estimates for Imo which are: APC 5.1 ±2.3%; LP 88.1% ±3.8%; and PDP 5.7% ±2.3%”.

Similarly, the Situation Room also noted that its observations indicated that the Independent National Electoral Commission fell short of the credibility threshold in its conduct and organization during the elections.

The Civil society said before the elections, it had outlined twelve parameters to judge the credibility of the recently concluded general elections with the hope that INEC as the umpire will meet the general expectation of Nigerians.

The observation report however noted that the presidential and the house of assembly elections were marred by “very poor organization, severe logistical and operational failure, lack of essential electoral transparency, substantial disruption of voting, and several incidents of violence. As a result, the process cannot be considered to have been credible”

“The Situation Room’s observation and analysis of the 2023 Presidential and National Assembly elections indicates that it fell short of the credibility threshold it set out as a basis for evaluating the elections. Ahead of the 2023 General Elections, the Situation Room launched its Credibility Threshold for the 2023 General Election, which was shared with Election Stakeholders, including the Independent National Electoral Commission.

“The Situation Room expected that the innovative reforms introduced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in furtherance of the new Electoral Act 2022, will lead to efficient and accountable election management, including improved access to polling units, hitch-free accreditation and voting, accurate and transparent results collation, and effective violence mitigation.

According to the report, the Situation Report further submitted that the lack of transparency in the results collation process has reduced the confidence Nigerians have in the electoral commission, urging INEC to audit results collated from the polling units where voting did not take place.

“Given the lack of transparency, particularly in the result collation process, there can be no confidence in the results of these elections. In addition, there was very poor communication from INEC on election day and on its challenges with its processes; its citizens contact numbers did not work and even when there were challenges with uploads to the INEC Results Viewing (iReV) Portal. This is all the more disappointing since the elections were held in an atmosphere in which the people showed remarkable commitment to democracy, eagerly engaging in the electoral process and waiting patiently to vote in very difficult circumstances.

“In the light of the shortcomings outlined in this interim statement, the Situation Room calls on INEC to provide details of the process leading up to the results it collated for the elections. Situation Room demands that INEC provides information on why its promise to improve the transparency of the collation process through the introduction of the iReV Portal performed below expectation.

“The Situation Room further demands that INEC conducts an audit of polling units where elections did not take place to establish the reasons for the failure. Situation Room also calls on INEC to note that public confidence in its capacity to run elections is gravely shaken, and that it would require extraordinary efforts for trust to be re-established.

“Situation Room calls on all political parties and aggrieved parties to pursue well established constitutional and legal remedies available to them and go through the democratic process of the courts. We call on Nigerians to remain calm and express their displeasure, if need be, through a peaceful and democratic way. Finally, Situation Room commends Nigerians for the increased turnout recorded during the voting and calls for restraints even in the light of INEC’s failings.

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  • Ikegbunam Peter Chierike
    April 20, 2023, 8:16 am

    Well, I agree with the report filed by Yiaga Africa but I beg to disagree with the percentage where LP was allowed 24-28% of the votes where Tinubu is getting 44 and Atiku 31. It never reflected the reality on ground. The reality here is that youths constitute the greater percent of the voting strength in this election and no youth in Nigeria wants a other APC or PDP having seen what they represent since 1999. Relying on this, I am very optimistic that this election was poorly and irredeemably conducted and intentionally announced bearing in mind that the same people imposing themselves on us are the the ones controlling the Court. At all time we have to fear God because even Abacha later died. I wish that Yiaga Africa should prevail on INEC by appearing in the court to tell Nigerians that this election is below standard and lack credibility in all standard. Allowing this to stay is to kill this country because many of us have hope in this election and killling the hope may make some.go wired


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