By Angela Atabo
Youths Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA), Africa a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) on Monday insisted that announced result of Saturday’s governorship election in Ekiti was correct.
Executive Director of the group, Mr Samson Itodo, in a statement in Abuja, said that YIAGA Africa had over 500 observers spread in all the local government areas under its WatchingTheVote (WTV) project to monitor the election.
Itodo said that the group also recorded results according to each polling unit and that the group’s reports from 98 per cent of sampled polling units tallied with that of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He said that the organisation’s statistical analysis showed that the All Progressives Congress (APC) should receive between 49.1 per cent and 54.7 per cent the votes cast.
For the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he said that the party should receive between 43.1per cent and 48.7 per cent of the votes and that no other party should receive more than one per cent of the votes share.
Itodo said that the INEC official result for the election was consistent with YIAGA Africa WTV estimate.
“In view of the consistency between INEC official result and our WTV estimates, we confirm that the official results reflect the ballot cast at the polling unit.
“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.
“The official results fall within the estimated ranges and therefore, governorship contestants, parties and voters should have confidence that INEC’s official result for the Ekiti 2018 gubernatorial election reflect the ballots cast at polling units.
“To this end, we urge all stakeholders to accept the outcome of the election or seek redress, using legal means of electoral dispute resolution,’’ he said.
Itodo said that to buttress the consistency more, it was important to highlight that the counting process at polling units was transparent and included representatives from the two political parties that received the most votes.
He said that in 85 per cent of polling units, counting was concluded at 4 p.m., adding that incidents of intimidation, harassment or violence were reported in five per cent of polling units during counting.
According to him, on the average, three party agents were present during the counting process.
Itodo said that INEC’s official results for turnout and rejected ballots were also consistent with YIAGA Africa WTV estimates.
He said that the group was able to estimate that turnout was 44.5 per cent with error margin of 3.1 per cent between 41.4 and 47.6 per cent.
He said that INEC’s official result was 44.4 per cent, adding that similarly, YIAGA Africa estimated rejected ballots were 4.3 per cent with a margin of error of 1.1 per cent.
Itodo said that in 97 per cent of the polling units, the card reader was used throughout the accreditation and voting process.
He said that in three per cent of the polling units located in Ekiti West, Gbonyin, Ido/Osi, Ilejemeje and Moba local government areas, the card reader malfunctioned and was not replaced.
He also said that eight per cent of the polling units recorded incidents of vote-buying or bribery at some point during polling.
“The incidence of vote-buying and voter-inducement during elections undermines political legitimacy and makes a mockery of our democracy.
“This growing trend needs to be abated ahead of subsequent elections.’’
Itodo said that INEC should take intentional steps to protect the secrecy of the ballot to enforcing her electoral guidelines.
He also urged security agencies to devise new strategies for detecting and apprehending individuals or groups involved in vote-buying and selling during elections.
He said that there was need for openness and transparency in the deployment of security personnel for elections because it would boost confidence in the electoral process, stakeholders and citizens.
The CSO director added that membership of the Inter-Agency Committee on Election Security (ICCES) needed to be reviewed to mainstream stakeholders like the civil society organisations.
He urged the committee and other stakeholders to undertake robust voter education to enlighten voters and stakeholders on innovations in the electoral process.
Itodo also called on Ekiti governor-elect, Dr Kayode Fayemi and all APC 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 on all candidates, all parties and all Nigerians to show political maturity and to maintain the peace.’’