- Worries over delay to upload results on IReV
BY BENEDICT NWACHUKWU, ABUJA
YIAGA Africa has threatened to expose the Independent National Electoral Commission if the official results of the 2023 presidential election is altered or manipulated at any point or from any state.
The threat came on Sunday as the INEC National Collation centre in Abuja is expected to start announcing results from the 36 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory, from today.
While elections were held peacefully in most places, there were reports of voter disenfranchisement in Lagos and some states due to violence and late arrival of voting materials.
INEC acknowledged the development and eventually directed suspension or fresh elections be held in the affected areas on Sunday.
But the major concern for a number of Nigerians, including some political parties, is the electoral commission’s delay in immediately uploading polling unit, PU, results for the presidential election on the INEC Election Results Viewing Portal (IReV), after voting ended.
Yiaga Africa in its press statement “Watching The Vote PVT 2023 Presidential Election” expressed concerns about what it called “the unexplained delay in uploading polling unit results for the presidential election on the INEC Election Results Viewing Portal (IReV).”
YIAGA contended that such unacceptable development could adversely affect the credibility of the polls.
“As of 10 pm on election day, results for the Presidential election were not uploaded on the INEC portal after voting and counting ended in several polling units.
“At 9:00 am on 26th February, INEC uploaded only 25,503 results for the Presidential elections on the INEC portal.
“The delay in uploading the results undermines public confidence in the results transmission process as it deviates from the guidelines for the elections and it failed to meet citizens expectations,” YIAGA stated.
Meanwhile, the group claimed to possess “accurate data” on the election results due to the team and intelligence it deployed during the ongoing polls.
It maintained that with its data, it could expose any alleged manipulation, but maintained it was the duty of INEC to officially announce election results.
YIAGA promised to hold a press conference revealing its data after INEC has announced the results, but it urged the Commission to stand on the side of the law as enshrined in the Electoral Act 2022.
The YIAGA report reads in part, ”On 25 February, Yiaga Africa deployed 3,836 observers across the country including 3,014 parallel vote tabulation (PVT) observers who deployed early in the morning in pairs to a random, representative statistical sample of 1,507 polling units where they remained throughout the day.
“This methodology enables Yiaga Africa to independently assess the quality of the process and verify the accuracy of the official presidential election results announced by INEC.
“At this time, Yiaga Africa is able to provide preliminary statistically accurate data on the conduct of the election as of 25 February 2023 – from the opening of polling units through accreditation, voting and counting until the posting of results – in addition, we have independent projections of the vote shares that each candidate should receive based on the ballots cast at polling units.
“If INEC’s results fall within Yiaga Africa’s estimated ranges, then the public, political parties and candidates should have confidence the official results reflect the ballots cast at the polling units.
“However, if the official results are manipulated at any point in the process we will be able to expose it.
“Only INEC has the legal mandate to announce the election results.
“ As soon as INEC announces the official results, Yiaga Africa will convene a press conference to share its own statement on the accuracy of the election results and will publicize these projections.”
Yiaga Africa also accused INEC of falling “short of expectations” due to significant logistics challenges which delayed opening of polls. It then called on INEC to publicise the BVAS accreditation data for transparency sake.
It recommended that “As with the official results, Yiaga Africa will independently verify the official turnout once announced by INEC.
“In view of the foregoing, Yiaga Africa further made the following additional preliminary recommendations:
“Yiaga Africa calls on the commission to provide clear communication on locations where the election did not hold and ensure the process is concluded in those location before returns are made.
“INEC should be transparent and communicate the challenges faced during the deployment of the IReV.
“INEC should publicly make available all BVAS accreditation data by polling unit, including the number of voters accredited by finger vs facial recognition.
“Protect the transparency of the result collation process by ensuring accredited observers and party agents are granted access to the collation centres.
“Strict adherence to the provisions of the 2022 Electoral Act and INEC regulations and guidelines on the collation of results. As provided in Section 64 of the Act, collation officers and returning officers are required to compare the number of accredited voters and election results recorded on the hardcopy result sheet and scanned images on the BVAS.
“Yiaga Africa calls on INEC and security to ensure proper security for citizens especially the polling officials and collation officials especially as results collation progresses and as INEC commences the announcement of results to ensure that no life is further lost in these elections.
“Yiaga Africa reminds all Nigerians that the process is not yet over. They should remain peaceful while waiting on INEC to announce the official results and refrain from any acts that could incite violence. Political leaders should urge their supporters in particular to cclmlylmly await the official results and take appropriate actions against any party members whplo engage in violence or incitement to violence.”