An election observer, Yiaga Africa, has raised questions over the failure of some polling units to conduct governorship elections in Imo and Kogi states, two of the three states, including Bayelsa, where the exercise was held on Saturday.

The organisation, in a statement by the Chair, Yiaga Africa WTV Working Group, Dr. Hussaini Abdu, on Sunday, called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to explain the status of the elections in the locations identified.

Yiaga Africa is a non-profit organisation with an objective to promote participatory democracy, human rights and civic participation, according to its website.

See the full statement below:

Press Release on the Governorship
Elections in Imo & Kogi States
Sunday, November 12, 2023.

 Yiaga Africa calls on INEC to clarify the status of locations where elections did not hold, including the upload of results from polling units where elections did not hold.

According to reports from Yiaga Africa observers in polling units where elections were conducted, the voting process is concluded and the collation of results is underway in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi States. However, reports from some Yiaga Africa’s Watching The Vote (WTV) observers in Imo State indicate elections did not take place in 12% of Yiaga Africa sampled polling units. These cases were prevalent in Orsu, Okigwe, Oru East, and Orlu LGAs. Yiaga Africa also monitored the upload of results on the IReV, especially those from polling units where elections did not hold.

For Orsu LGA in Imo State, Yiaga Africa’s WTV observers reported that the election did not take place in nine (9) sampled polling units in the LGA. There were speculations that INEC may have relocated all polling units to the LGA headquarters on election day. Yiaga Africa notes that voters in Orsu LGA were not informed of the change in polling unit location and INEC failed to issue an official statement on the supposed temporary re-location of polling units. In Okigwe LGA in Imo State, Yiaga Africa observers also reported that elections did not occur in eight (8) sampled polling units. In Oru East LGA, the election was not held in eight (8) of Yiaga Africa’s sampled polling units. In addition, elections were not held in seven (7) of our sampled polling units in Orlu LGA and in one (1) of our sampled polling units each in Ideato North, Ikeduru, Oru West and Owerri West LGAs.

Yiaga Africa is deeply concerned with the upload of results form EC8A for some of the sampled polling units where elections were not conducted in Orsu, Oru East, Oru West, Ideato North, Ikeduru and Okigwe LGAs on the IReV. To ensure transparency and to protect the integrity of the process, Yiaga Africa calls on the INEC to clarify the status of voting across polling units in Orsu, Okigwe, Oru East and Orlu LGAs in Imo state. Additionally, INEC should investigate the report of likely election malpractices in these polling units, especially for locations where results have been uploaded on the IReV without the conduct of accreditation and voting.

Yiaga Africa, through its Watching The Vote initiative, is committed to promoting more credible elections by providing independent information on the conduct of elections and independently determining if the results announced reflect the votes cast. #WatchingTheVote is For All Nigerians, Beholden to None, and Driven By Data. Since the commencement of the Watching the Vote initiative, Yiaga Africa has consistently informed Nigerians that if election results are accurate, we will confirm them. Where manipulation occurs, we will expose it. We reaffirm our commitment to discharging this responsibility in the interest of our electoral democracy.

Dr. Hussaini Abdu
Chair, Yiaga Africa WTV Working Group