Yiaga Africa advocates legal timelines for testing new electoral technologies
Yiaga Africa, a Civil Society Organisation (CSO), has recommended legal timelines for testing new electoral technologies in Nigeria’s electoral legal framework.
The CSO made this suggestion in Abuja on Wednesday in its post-election statement signed by Dr Aisha Abdullahi, the Board Chair, and Mr Samson Itodo, the Executive Director, Yiaga Africa.
According to the group, the testing timeline will equip the commission to use its adopted technology effectively during elections.
It said that for the Feb. 25 presidential election, Yiaga Africa employed the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology.
The CSO explained said that the organisation deployed 3,014 observers in pairs to a representative random sample of 1,507 polling units, 822 mobile observers in all 774 local government areas (LGAs), 36 states and the FCT.
“This deployment strategy enabled Yiaga Africa to provide timely and accurate information on the election day process commencing from the set-up, voter accreditation, voting, counting and to independently assess the official results of the presidential election as announced by INEC.
“This statement is based on reports from 1,454 to 1,507 (97 per cent ) sampled polling units in Nigeria.
“The PVT statistical analysis was based on the number of registered voters and not on the number of PVCs collected.”
It said that Yiaga Africa’s findings on the election included: late arrival of INEC officials at the polling unit, challenges with locating polling units and insufficient election materials.
“Yiaga Africa expressed concerns about the delay in uploading polling unit results for the presidential election on the INEC Election Results Viewing Portal (IReV).
“Undoubtedly, the delay in uploading the polling unit-level results cast doubts on the credibility of the results management process resulting in broken public trust in electoral technology.
“Yiaga Africa notes that the delayed upload of the results on the IReV is a flagrant disregard of INEC’s Regulations and Guidelines, and it failed to meet citizens’ expectations.”
It said that Yiaga Africa also condemned the cases of violence and disruption of the voting and results collation process by thugs and hoodlums, especially the violence targeted at National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members and INEC staff.
The group said that the creation of additional polling units was a positive and long-needed step by INEC, however, the implementation failed to address overcrowding.
As a result, there were polling units with fewer than 10 registered voters and others with over 10,000. Some voters who were migrated to new polling units experienced difficulties locating their respective polling units.”
Yiaga Africa also recommended a comprehensive audit and investigation to unravel the factors that led to the delay in the upload of election results on the online portal as critical.
It said that persons found complicit in sabotaging the critical aspect of the election should be sanctioned.
The CSO also advised INEC to provide clarifications on its interpretation of key aspects of the legal framework on issues like results collation and transmission process.
It said that there should also be clarity on the threshold for determining the winner in an election and the commission’s power to review election results declared under duress or in contravention of the Electoral Act, INEC Guidelines and Manual.
Besides, Yiaga Africa urged INEC to sustain the uploads of polling unit results form EC 8A on its IReV portal.