Yiaga Africa on Sunday said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Result Viewing portal (IReV) functioned optimally during the Governorship and State Assembly elections.
Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, Board Member, Yiaga Africa, said this at a news conference in Abuja on the Governorship and State Assembly elections, supported by the European Union through its Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN).
Nwagwu said Yiaga Africa commended INEC for the significant improvement in the management of election logistics, especially the early commencement of polls due to the prompt arrival of election officials in a majority of polling units.
“Unlike the Feb. 25 presidential election, the INEC Election Results Viewing (IReV) portal functioned optimally in this election, enabling citizens to download polling unit-level results.
“Electronic accreditation using the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) was successfully implemented in a significant number of polling units observed by Yiaga Africa.
“Yiaga Africa calls on INEC to ensure proper oversight of the results collation process and ensure that results declared under duress or in breach of the Electoral Act, INEC Guidelines or Manual, are reviewed in line with Section 65 of the Electoral Act.”
Nwagwu said as INEC continued to collate results, citizens, candidates and supporters are encouraged to remain calm and peaceful, and reject any call for violence.
He said that only INEC has the legal mandate to announce the election results and return a candidate as a winner.
“We urge all stakeholders to respect the commission’s constitutional power and refrain from declaring election results.”
Nwagwu said that Yiaga Africa observers noted that the Governorship and State Assembly elections were signposted with voter suppression, electoral violence, electoral impunity, vote buying and capture of the results management by political thugs.
This, he said, were in Delta, Lagos, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Kano, and Taraba states.
He said that Yiaga Africa was saddened by the cases of attacks on voters, INEC officials, journalists, election observers and personnel of the EFCC by political thugs.
“Reports also indicate that at least eight fatalities were recorded within the last 24 hrs.
“These election-related deaths are unacceptable and highly condemnable. It is important for security agencies to hold the political thugs and their sponsors accountable for these deaths and attacks.”
He said that Yiaga Africa condemned, in unequivocal terms, acts of voter suppression fuelled by ethnic profiling, political thuggery and desperation to secure electoral victory at all costs.
He said that in flagrant abuse of the constitution and the 2022 Electoral Act, registered voters and fellow citizens were denied the right to vote in some states.
“On Professional Conduct, Yiaga Africa received reports that security personnel were unprofessional and partisan in 26 polling units observed.
“Yiaga Africa received reports that polling officials were unprofessional and partisan in 21 polling units observed.”
Nwagwu said that over the course of Saturday, March 18 Election Day, Yiaga Africa verified 216 critical incidents witnessed by WatchingTheVote citizen observers, a number higher than that witnessed in the Feb. 25 elections.
He said there were cases of violent disruption, ballot box snatching and destruction, results manipulation during collation, obstruction of election observation, intimidation and harassment at polling units.
Nwagwu said that Yiaga Africa received 44 reports of vote buying through cash inducement and distribution of food items.
He said, therefore, that Yiaga Africa called on the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) agents to ensure effective and adequate deployment of security personnel to the collation centres.
He added that Yiaga Africa called on political parties, their supporters and voters across the states to remain calm and peaceful as the results collation process is still ongoing.