FCT Area Council Elections: 6 Key Preliminary Findings of Yiaga Africa on Election Day

FCT Area Council Elections: 6 Key Preliminary Findings of Yiaga Africa on Election Day

  • Yiaga Africa deployed trained and accredited roving observers to observe the FCT area council elections held across Abuja
  • The observer group described the elections as an exercise defined by operational deficiencies, security challenges, and abysmal voter turnout
  • However, Yiaga Africa did not deploy the Parallel Vote Tabulation for the election as it did in previous polls

FCT, Abuja - The Yiaga Africa’s Watching the Vote Midday situational statement based on reports received from its Watching The Vote (WTV) observers during the FCT area council elections have been released.

The preliminary findings were released as of 1:00 pm on election day with reports received from WTV observers roving in the 6 area councils.

FCT Area Council Elections
Yiaga Africa held sensitization walks across the FCT days before the elections. Photo credit: Yiaga Africa
Source: Twitter

They include

1. Late opening of polling stations due to poor logistics and election security problems:

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While polling officials arrived early in some polling stations, Yiaga Africa observers reported late commencement of polls in several polling stations due to logistics issues. Polling officials encountered difficulty in locating assigned polling units. The logistics hiccups were exacerbated with the late arrival of police officers at the Registration Area Centers.

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For instance, several polling units in Abuja Municipal Area Council especially Gwarinpa and Orozo ward opened late as polling officials couldn’t deploy without security protection. On average, accreditation and voting commenced at 10:00 am in most polling units observed.

2. Substitution of trained adhoc officials:

Yiaga Africa notes that some trained adhoc staff were substituted on election day, just before deployment to the polling units. This implies that adhoc officials who were not trained were deployed to administer the elections. Yiaga Africa notes the late hour substitution could likely affect the quality of election administration.

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3. The functionality of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System

In line with election guidelines, the BVAS was deployed to all polling units observed. In some polling units observed, INEC deployed two BVAS to polling units with high number of registered voters. However, Yiaga Africa observed that in some polling units with over 1000 registered voters, INEC deployed only one BVAS, indicating inconsistency in the guidelines for the BVAS deployment.

Despite assurances from INEC on the improvement of the BVAS technology, Yiaga Africa observed technological glitches with the BVAS. The BVAS failed to authenticate both the fingerprints and facial biometrics of voters in most polling units visited. The failure of the BVAS caused delay in the accreditation process in some polling units.

4. Voter disenfranchisement:

Yiaga Africa observers reported disenfranchisement of voters as a result of missing names on the voter register deployed to the polling unit. In the centres where the disenfranchisement occurred, the voters were holders of valid Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) assigned to those polling units. For such voters, INEC’s online voter verification portal also verified their registration status.

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5. Imbalance in the Distribution of Voters to new polling units:

Yiaga Africa observed that the imbalance in the distribution of voters to new polling units affected the effective management of polling units with over 1000 registered voters. This led to overcrowding in some polling units.

The observation revealed that some polling units had as many as 2,500 registered voters while others had less than 5 voters within the same location. Yiaga Africa notes that these inconsistencies question the reliability and accuracy of the Commission’s framework for the expansion of polling units.

6. Inconsistent communication on election security:

Yiaga Africa notes with dismay the confusion created by the irregularity in the information from the security agencies on the restriction of movement. We note that inconsistent communication from security agencies may undermine public confidence in the transparency and objectivity of security agencies during elections.

Yiaga Africa issues 10 key recommendations before polls

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FCT area council polls: Yiaga Africa issues 10 key recommendations ahead of polls

Yiaga Africa’s WTV had issued 10 recommendations for all the active participants in the forthcoming FCT area council elections on Saturday, February 12.

The active citizens include the Independent National Electoral Commission, security agencies, Civil Society Organisations, and citizens.

The recommendations were signed by Yiaga Africa's Executive Director, Samson Itodo, and board member, Ezenwa Nwagwu.

FCT elections: Yiaga Africa tasks Abuja residents on voting, electoral participation

Recall that Yiaga Africa on Monday, February 7 visited the popular Dutse market in Abuja, reaching out to residents on the importance of civic and electoral participation.

Led by Itodo, a team from Yiaga Africa visited the nook and crannies of the market, urging buyers and sellers to actively participate in the upcoming FCT area council elections.

Citizens without their Permanent Voters' Cards were also guided on how to collect them in their various areas.

Source: Legit.ng

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