FCT Area Council Elections: Yiaga Africa Watching the Vote Releases 6 Key Findings

FCT Area Council Elections: Yiaga Africa Watching the Vote Releases 6 Key Findings

  • 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 (WTV) key findings during the FCT area council elections have been released.

The findings were released on Monday, February 14 during a press briefing by Yiaga Africa's officials and board members.

Journalists were briefed by Yiaga Africa's Executive Director; Samson Itodo, Director of Programmes; Cynthia Mbamalu, Board Member Ezenwa Nwagwu, Executive Director, Inclusive Friends, Grace Jerry and Jake Epelle of The Albinism Foundation.

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Yiaga Africa Watching the Vote
Yiaga Africa commends the people of the FCT and security agencies for the peaceful conduct of the elections. Photo credit: @YIAGA
Source: Twitter

Legit.ng lists Yiaga Africa Watching the Vote Findings

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1. Late Deployment of Election Materials & Delayed Commencement of Polls:

Late opening and commencement of polls was observed across most of the polling units visited. Yiaga Africa observers reported that no polling officials had arrived in some of the polling units visited at 9:30 am. Yiaga Africa also observed polling officials encountered difficulty in locating some newly created polling units. These logistics hiccups were exacerbated with the late arrival of police officers at the Registration Area Centers.

For instance, a visit to the Super RAC in Wuse 3 primary school revealed that as of 10:25 am, the vehicles conveying materials and officials to a polling unit in Wuse was yet to depart the premises as the officials complained about confusion in identifying the location of the polling unit.

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2. Technological glitches with the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS):

Yiaga Africa observers reported that the BVAS machine was deployed across all the polling units visited. However, the usage of the BVAS was fraught with challenges, ranging from the wrong configuration of BVAS to respective polling units, BVAS failing to accredit voters, delays in RATECHs response to BVAS complaints in some polling units as well as delays in authenticating voters within processing time. Unfortunately, these challenges delayed the process and caused a major burden on voters who waited patiently to be accredited to vote.

In some polling units observed, INEC deployed two BVAS to polling units with a 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 an inconsistency in the guidelines for the BVAS deployment.

3. Functionality of the INEC Election Results Viewing Portal:

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Yiaga Africa monitored the posting of election results on the online portal. While we note that the first polling unit result was uploaded at 3:45 pm (1:30 mins after the close of voting) on election day, we observed delays in uploading results on the platform. In some LGAs, the Returning officers declared final results while the results were being uploaded on the platform.

At 2:30 pm on Sunday, Feb 13, 2022, Chairmanship results from only 1,757 of 2,229 polling units were uploaded on the portal. Whereas, Councilorship results from 2,065 polling units out of 2,229 polling units were uploaded on the platform. Yiaga Africa will issue a comprehensive report on the result portal in our subsequent report.

4. Violation of electoral guidelines:

Observers in 8% of polling units observed reported that the voting cubicles were not set up in locations that guarantee the secrecy of the ballots. Some of the voting cubicles were not set up in locations that permit access for persons with disabilities.

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In 5% of the observed polling units, voters’ fingerprints were not checked using the BVAS. Indelible ink was not applied to the cuticle of voters during Yiaga Africa’s observation in 10% of the observed polling units.

5. 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. Upon further investigation by Yiaga Africa, we discovered that INEC allocated voters to new polling units without informing voters of the changes to their polling units. This created confusion and prevented some voters from casting their ballot.

6. Uneven Distribution of Voters to new polling units:

Yiaga Africa observed imbalance in the distribution of voters to new polling units. This imbalance created challenges with the management of polling units with over 1000 registered voters. While some polling units have as many as 2,500 registered voters 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.

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

Recommendations by Yiaga Africa

The President

1. Yiaga Africa calls on the president to, without further delay, give assent to the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2022.


2. INEC should urgently undertake an audit of the BVAS and ensure all the technological glitches with the devices are resolved, ahead of Ekiti and Osun 2022 off-cycle gubernatorial elections to prevent possible disenfranchisement of voters, but also inspire public confidence in electoral technologies being deployed INEC for elections.

3. To avert possible voter disenfranchisement in subsequent elections INEC should synchronize all voter registration information with the newly created polling units on its online and offline databases.

4. Timely upload of polling unit results on the INEC online portal will boost public trust and confidence in election results declared by INEC. Yiaga Africa calls on INEC to continue to maintain the highest level of transparency in the results collation process by ensuring polling units results are uploaded in timeously.

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Political Parties

5. Yiaga Africa calls on political parties and contestants to show maturity and respect for laid down rules and guidelines for the conduct of elections.

Yiaga Africa issues 10 key recommendations before 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 Itodo and 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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