Situational Statement on the 2021 Anambra Gubernatorial Election

Situational Statement on the  2021 Anambra Gubernatorial Election

Situational Statement on the 2021 Anambra Gubernatorial Election

Introduction

On Saturday 6, November 2021, Yiaga Africa Watching the Vote (WTV) deployed 500 carefully trained stationary observers and 27 mobile observers to polling units across the 21 Local Government Areas of Anambra state. The observers were deployed to observe the election day process from the set-up of polling units to the counting and posting of results at the polling units. The WTV election day situational report provides information and data on the commencement of polls, availability of election materials and critical incidents that may impact the quality of the election. This report is based on verified reports received from 229 of 248 sampled polling units as at 4pm on election day. In addition, sixty-six critical incident reports were received and processed as at 4:00pm. These incidents could potentially undermine the integrity of the election if unaddressed.

Preliminary Findings

  1. Delayed opening of polling units: Yiaga Africa WTV observed the late arrival of polling officials and materials at polling units across the State. By 7:30 am, polling officials were present in only 17% of polling units. The delays were occasioned by poor logistics management. Yiaga Africa anticipated these challenges based on our pre-election observation, hence the call in our pre-election statement urging INEC to make contingency plans in situations where respective transport unions /companies reneged on their contractual obligation to deploy.
  2. Late start of Polls:  As expected, the late arrival of polling officials delayed the commencement of accreditation and voting across several polling units. Reports from the WTV observes revealed that by 9:30 am only 28% of polling units commenced accreditation and voting. By 10:30 am, 50% of the polling units had commenced accreditation and voting. This, however, increased by noon as accreditation and voting were reported in 81% of the polling units.

The geographical distribution indicates that 64.3% of polling units in Anambra Central Senatorial district commenced accreditation and voting by 10:30 am, 60.3% of polling units in Anambra North while in Anambra South senatorial district, only 28.9% of polling units commended accreditation and voting by 10:30 am.

  1. Deployment of Polling Officials: Yiaga Africa WTV observed that an average of 2 polling officials were deployed in those polling units where INEC officials and materials arrived. This is lower than the required number of four polling officials per polling unit. At least one female polling official was present in the polling units.
  2. Deployment and non-functionality of Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS): Yiaga Africa WTV observed the deployment of the BVAS to the polling units. However, Yiaga Africa received reports of the BVAS failure to authenticate voters’ fingerprints and photos even where voter details were confirmed on the voter register.
  3. Critical Incidents: Non-opening of Polling Units by 12 noon: Based on verified reports from Yiaga Africa observers, 19% of polling units failed to open by 12noon. In other words, INEC officials didn’t deploy to those polling units. These incidents are mostly concentrated in Anambra South Senatorial District (23.5%), Anambra Central (17%), and Anambra North Senatorial districts (13%). Yiaga Africa is concerned that the non-opening of these polling stations disenfranchises registered voters in those polling units.

Yiaga Africa commends the people of Anambra for the enthusiasm and resilience demonstrated with the turnout for the elections. INEC owes the people of Anambra a duty to take necessary steps to ensure registered voters are not disenfranchised on the basis of technological failures or logistics challenges. Yiaga Africa urges INEC to provide periodic updates on the status of elections in polling units where the BVAS consistently malfunctioned or where elections did not hold.

Yiaga Africa lauds the professionalism exhibited by security agencies since the commencement of polls. Yiaga Africa reiterates its call to security agencies to respect human rights and maintain non-partisan dispositions throughout the results collation process. Yiaga Africa further calls on the security agencies to investigate reports of hijack of election materials and prosecute the culprits.

Conclusion

Yiaga Africa commends the good people of Anambra State for their peaceful conduct during the voting process and plead that 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 her commitment to sharing accurate data and information on the conduct of 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!”

Samson Itodo                                                                            Ezenwa Nwagwu
Executive Director                                                                 
Board Member
Yiaga Africa                                                                                       Yiaga  Africa

For media inquiries, please contact: Moshood Isah Media 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.

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