By Angela Atabo
Yiaga Africa on Monday said the results announced thus far by the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) reflected the ballots cast on Nov. 6, 2021 Anambra governorship election.
Executive Director, Yiaga Africa, Samson Itodo, made this known at a news conference on the preliminary statement on the Anambra election.
Itodo said that Yiaga Africa deployed 500 observers and 27 mobile observers to monitor the election adding that INEC had so far released results for 20 Local Government Areas (LGAs),remaining Ihiala LGA that was yet to hold.
He said that Yiaga Africa, through the Watching The Vote citizens movement, deployed the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology to verify the official governorship results as announced by INEC.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the PVT is an advanced election observation methodology that employs well-established statistical principles and sophisticated information technologies in elections.
This is in providing timely and accurate information on the conduct of accreditation, voting and counting, and it independently verifies the official governorship results as announced by the INEC.
“Yiaga Africa’s PVT can provide independent verification if the results announced thus far reflect the ballots cast.
“The release of these figures speaks only to the accuracy of the tabulation process for votes cast on Nov. 6 2021 and not the overall credibility of the Anambra gubernatorial election.
“As noted, the election is not yet over. Yiaga Africa will continue observing the voting and counting processes as well as the results announcement for Ihiala by deploying its observers to the sampled polling units of the LGA on Tuesday.’’
According to Itodo, of sampled polling units that opened Saturday, Yiaga Africa received reports from 96 per cent from its field observers.
He said that based on those reports, Yiaga Africa’s statistical analysis showed that for the votes cast ,All Progressives Congress (APC) should receive between 16.6 per cent and 21.1 per cent of the vote.
He said that All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) should receive between 41.0 per cent and 47.6 per cent of the vote while the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should receive between 19.2 per cent and 24.2per cent of the votes.
He added that the Young Progressive Party (YPP) should receive between 6.7 per cent and 11.1 per cent of the vote while no other political party should receive more than two per cent of the vote.
“For every one of the 18 political parties contesting the Anambra 2021 gubernatorial election, the INEC official result of the 20 LGAs released is consistent with Yiaga Africa’s WTV estimate specifically, it falls within the Yiaga Africa’s WTV estimated range.
“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 the official results for the 20 LGAs as announced by INEC reflect the ballots cast at polling units on Saturday, Nov. 6,’’ he said.
Itodo said that it was important to highlight the counting process at polling units was transparent and included representatives from the four political parties that received the most votes.
He said that at 86 per cent of polling units an APC party agent signed the EC.8A results form, while at 98 per cent of polling units an APGA party agent signed the EC.8A results form.
He added that at 96 per cent of polling units a PDP party agent signed the EC.8A results form, and at 79 per cent of polling units a YPP party agent signed the EC.8A results form.
He said that INEC’s turnout and rejected ballots for the 20 LGA released were also consistent with Yiaga Africa WTV PVT estimates.
Itodo said that Yiaga Africa was able to estimate that turnout was between 10.2 per cent and 12.8 per cent (11.5% ± 1.3% while INEC’s official result was 10.75 per cent.
He said that similarly, Yiaga Africa estimated rejected ballots are between 2.5 per cent and 3.7 per cent (3.1% ± 0.6%) while INEC’s official result was 3.3 per cent.
He urged INEC to work on its logistics to curb further hitches and technological failure at elections as well as distribute voters evenly at polling units.
This, he said, was to decongest the overcrowded ones while adding to other units with scanty voters to balance adding that this was because the newly created polling units had few voters while some units were over crowded .
Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, Board Member ,Yiaga Africa, said that the group noted some observations having monitored the election.
Nwagwu said that in spite of the establishment of Super Registration Area Centers (RACs) close to the polling units to avert logistical hiccups, late deployment of election materials and personnel delayed the opening of polling units.
He said that based on verified reports from Yiaga Africa observers, 21 per cent of polling units failed to open by 12noon adding that this might disenfranchise voters.
He said that the delays were occasioned by poor logistics management and transportation challenges as per INEC’s announcement.
He said that in five per cent of polling units, the BVAS malfunctioned but was not fixed or replaced.
He added that INEC’s framework for adopting new electoral technologies, as the BVAS, though a valuable tool for electoral integrity, fell short of expectations.
Nwagwu said that Yiaga Africa observers reported incidents of intimidation, harassment or violence towards women voters, polling officials, security, party agents or observers at some polling units observed.
He added that Yiaga Africa also noted that in 26 per cent of polling units observed, there were no female polling officials and female presiding officers were sighted in only 38 per cent of polling units.
He said Yiaga Africa implored INEC and security agencies to ensure safety for women voters and for INEC to ensure gender parity in its deployment of officials in electoral processes.
Director of Programmes ,Yiaga Africa ,Cynthia Mbamalu, said that to enhance the transparency of the supplementary election, INEC should publish the total number of Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) collected in Ihiala LGA and inform the public on the status of uncollected PVCs.
Mbamalu also said that Yiaga Africa urged INEC to undertake an audit of the BVAS and ensure all the technological glitches with the device were resolved ahead of the supplementary elections to prevent delays and possible disenfranchisement of voters.
She added that INEC needed to sanction all its staff accused of complicity and conspiracy with political actors and security agents to falsify election.
She said that Yiaga Africa urged INEC to terminate its contractual relationship with road transport unions, especially those notorious for breach of contractual obligations.
Mbamalu said that in addition to termination, INEC should seek legal remedies against transporters who were liable for breach of contract.
She urged security agencies to maintain nonpartisan and professional conduct in the Nov 9, 2021 supplementary election and investigate all its personnel involved in misconduct.
She called on the National Assembly to without further delay conclude the amendment to the Electoral Act and transmit the electoral bill to the President for assent.(NAN)