Yiaga Africa, the observers at the ongoing Anambra gubernatorial election, has commended voters over their enthusiasm and resilience by coming out in large numbers to exercise their franchise despite security concerns.
This was part of Yiaga Africa’s ‘Situational Statement on 2021 Anambra Gubernatorial Election’ signed by Executive Director, Yiaga Africa, Samson Itodo, and Board Member, Yiaga Africa, Ezenwa Nwagwu.
The statement reads in part, “Yiaga Africa commends the people of Anambra for the enthusiasm and resilience demonstrated with the turnout for the elections.
INEC owes the people of Anambra a duty to take necessary steps to ensure registered voters are not disenfranchised based on technological failures or logistics challenges.
“Yiaga Africa urges INEC to provide periodic updates on the status of elections in polling units where the BVAS consistently malfunctioned or where elections did not hold.
However, according to the statement the commencement of polls, availability of election materials and critical incidents may affect the quality of the election.
Yiaga received verified reports from 229 to 248 sampled polling units at 4 pm on Election Day of November 6; 66 critical incident reports were also received and processed at 4:00 pm.
“These incidents might undermine the integrity of the election if unaddressed.
Preliminary findings showed delayed opening of polling units: Yiaga Africa WTV observed the late arrival of polling officials and materials at polling units across the State.
By 7:30 am, polling officials were present in only 17% of polling units.
Poor logistics management caused the delays.
Yiaga Africa expected these challenges based on our pre-election observation; Late start of Polls: As expected, the late arrival of polling officials delayed the commencement of accreditation and voting across several polling units.
Reports from the WTV observers revealed that by 9:30 am only 28% of polling units began accreditation and voting; Deployment of Polling Officials: Yiaga Africa WTV observed that an average of 2 polling officials were deployed in those polling units where INEC officials and materials arrived.
This is lower than the required number of four polling officials per polling unit.
At least one female polling official was present in the polling units.
Deployment and non-functionality of Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS): Yiaga Africa WTV observed the deployment of the BVAS to the polling units.
However, Yiaga Africa received reports of the BVAS failure to authenticate voters’ fingerprints and photos even where voter details were confirmed on the voter register; Critical Incidents: Non-opening of Polling Units by 12 noon: Based on verified reports from Yiaga Africa observers, 19% of polling units failed to open by 12noon.
INEC officials didn’t deploy to those polling units.
These incidents are mostly concentrated in Anambra South Senatorial District (23.
5%), Anambra Central (17%), and Anambra North Senatorial districts (13%).
Yiaga Africa is concerned that the non-opening of these polling stations disenfranchises registered voters in those polling units.
The statement concluded that, “Yiaga Africa restates her commitment to sharing accurate data and information on the conduct of the election and results based on its deployment of the Parallel Vote Tabulation method.
“If INEC’s official results fall within Yiaga Africa’s estimated rate, then the public, political parties and candidates should have confidence that the official results reflect the ballots cast at the polling units; however, if the announced results have been manipulated and do not match the polling units’ results, Yiaga Africa will expose it.
AnambraDecides 2021: Election observers applaud voters resilience