The FCT Area Council rerun elections were conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on April 13, 2016, following the cancellation of elections in 32 polling units spread across 5 Area Councils of Abaji, AMAC, Bwari, Gwagwalada, and Kuje, in the Federal Capital Territory. The April 9th election was declared inconclusive due to over- voting, non-use of the Smart Card Reader and violence.
The Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA) observed the election in the Area Councils where the rerun election is ongoing. To this end, we make the following preliminary observations;
- YIAGA observed an impressive level of voter turnout in the polling stations covered by our observers;
- YIAGA commends the security agencies especially the Nigerian police for their early arrival at the polling stations. In almost all the polling stations observed, the security personnel arrived the polling stations ahead of the election officials;
- The election was bedeviled by logistical challenges such as late arrival of polling officials and non-authentication of PVCs and fingerprints by the card reader machines. For instance, the card reader deployed to PU 016, Ungwan Gade, Jikwoyi didn’t verify the PVC and fingerprints of all the registered voters in the polling unit. It was quite alarming when in PU 001, Chibiri Primary School, the card reader failed to verify the PVC of a voter whose name was on the voter register;
- As stated in our report on the 9th April elections, we again reiterate that the some Smart Card Readers were not properly re-configured ahead of the rerun elections. This led to a delay in the accreditation of voters. Voting was delayed in Ibwa Sarki/Pri School PU 001A, Ibwa Ward, Gwagwalada because the date on the card reader was not reconfigured after the April 9th elections;
- The re-run election witnessed several disruptions and violence in spite of the heavy deployment security personnel particularly in Karu, Abaji and Kuje Area councils. This was accompanied by wanton intimidation and harassment by thugs, gun-shots and pelting of security agents with stones. In PU 014, Jikwoyi Primary School, the ballot box was snatched;
- YIAGA observed that some security officials deployed to the polling stations had arms and ammunitions at the polling unit.
- There were widespread cases of vote buying and cases of party agents providing refreshment for INEC officials and security agencies;
- We also observed that candidates in the elections moved around polling units with a retinue of aides. This heightened tension and occasioned disruptions in some polling units.
- Adequate security should be intensified ahead of the results collation process especially in Gwagwalada, Abaji, Kuje area council and Karu ward collation centre. INEC officials especially collation and returning officers should be properly secured.
- The supervision and oversight of collation and returning officers should be intensified;
- Electoral offenders and suspects arrested during the election should be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted accordingly;
Head of Research, Policy & Advocacy
The Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA) is an accredited observer of FCT area council elections. YIAGA has been observing elections since 2007 both locally and internationally.