YIAGA’s Report on the Ekiti Governorship Election

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Without any contradiction to Ekiti 2018, gubernatorial election results as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), this covers the accuracy of the official results.

The WTV project is “Driven by Data – For All Nigerians – Beholden to None!” WTV employed the parallel vote tabulation (PVT) methodology on Election Day – the gold standard for citizen observation. WTV deployed 500 stationary observers in pairs to a representative statistical sample of 250 polling units and 25 mobile observers located in all 16 local government areas (LGAs) of Ekiti state. WTV also deployed 16 collation centre observers to each of the LGA Collation Centres. This deployment strategy enabled YIAGA AFRICA to provide timely and accurate information on the conduct of accreditation, voting, and counting as well as to independently verify the official results and turnout for the Ekiti gubernatorial election as announced by INEC. The verification statement is based on reports from 246 of 250 (98%) sampled polling units. YIAGA AFRICA  received reports from its observers on ground.

On the eve of election day, YIAGA AFRICA raised awareness of five critical issues: (1) INEC Form EC.60E polling unit results being posted at the polling unit; (2) observers’ access to collation centres; (3) conduct of deployed security officials; (4) hate speech and inciting statements by key political actors; and (5) voter inducement and vote buying.

Over the weekend,  the people of Ekiti state went to the polls to elect a governor that will lead the state for the next four years. Same day evening, YIAGA AFRICA issued a detailed PRELIMINARY statement on the conduct of accreditation, voting, and counting. This statement noted that most elements of the electoral process at polling units were generally conducted according to regulations, but highlighted concerns about: secrecy of the ballot and vote buying and bribery.

During the Preliminary Statement Press Conference on Saturday evening, YIAGA AFRICA also highlighted that turnout for the Ekiti gubernatorial election will be between 42% and 48% based on official turnout figures collected from the PVT’s representative statistical sample of polling units across the 16 LGAs in the state.

Finally, YIAGA AFRICA highlighted having a stable estimated range for the election outcome; it was INEC’s mandate to announce results. However, based on the reports received, that is, observer reports, YIAGA AFRICA’s PVT showed that no candidate would receive more than 56% of the vote share.

YIAGA AFRICA undertook WTV to provide the general public, governorship candidates, political parties, and INEC with independent information on the conduct of the election and to help ensure the official results for the Ekiti gubernatorial election truly reflect the ballots cast at polling units. YIAGA AFRICA is committed to confirming the official results if they reflect the ballots cast at polling units and exposing manipulation if the results are changed during the collation process.

#WatchingTheVote Election Day Observation
YIAGA AFRICA’s WTV initiative employed the parallel vote tabulation (PVT) methodology for Election Day observation. This is the gold standard for citizen observation and provides accurate and timely information on the conduct of the accreditation, voting, and counting at polling units and is able to independently verify the accuracy of official election results. For the PVT, YIAGA AFRICA deployed 500 trained and accredited stationary observers in teams of two to a representative statistical sample of 250 polling units across Ekiti.

The sampled polling units were determined by established statistical principles to ensure the resulting information is representative of the state and unbiased. The sample includes polling units in every one of the 16 LGAs in Ekiti. The number of sampled polling units in each LGA is based on the percentage of polling units and registered voters in the LGA. For example, Efon LGA has 5.4% of all the polling units in Ekiti (119 of 2,195) and 5.2% (13 of 250) of WTV’s sampled polling units in Efon LGA. While not identical the percentage of every LGA is very close, clearly demonstrating that the PVT sample is representative of the entire state.

All observers were carefully recruited according to established criteria to ensure that they are independent and non-partisan. All observers had to attend a thorough training on how to observe the process and send in observation reports via coded text messages using their mobile phones. All observers had to sign a pledge of neutrality and were given a code of conduct to which they must adhere when observing. Finally, all observers had to participate in two simulation exercises before Election Day to demonstrate that they were fully prepared to observe.

YIAGA AFRICA’s WTV observers witnessed the entire process on Election Day. They deployed to polling units at 7:00am and observed setup, accreditation and voting, and counting. Every stationary observer sent in coded text messages containing their reports to YIAGA AFRICA’s data centre located at Eleventh House Hotel, Ado-Ekiti. Throughout the day ,they sent in a total of eleven text messages on the conduct of the election – including sending the official results for their assigned polling station as announced by the INEC officials.

For turnout, the vote for each candidate/political party and rejected votes, the PVT produces an estimated range based on the untainted polling unit results. The PVT produces an estimated range rather than a specific percentage because results are collected from a representative statistical sample of polling unit. This range is calculated using long established statistical formula. However, because the PVT is based on the untainted results from polling units, the official results must fall within the PVT’s estimated range for them to reflect the ballots cast at polling unit. Thus, if the official results fall within the PVT’s estimated ranges, then the official results accurately reflect the ballots cast at polling units. However, if the official results fall outside the PVT’s estimated ranges, then the official results were changed. YIAGA AFRICA is committed to confirming the official results if they reflect the ballots cast at polling units and exposing manipulation if the results are changed during the collation process.

It is important to note that a PVT is not an exit poll. An exit poll involves asking voters for whom they voted. For the PVT no voters were asked how they voted. YIAGA AFRICA WTV observed witnessed the entire election day processes of accreditation and voting, counting through the announcement and posting of official results of the polling unit. The figures they reported were the untainted official results for the polling unit as announced by the polling officials.

Results Verification

Based on reports from 98% (246 of 250) sampled polling units YIAGA AFRICA’s statistical analysis shows that All Progressives Congress (APC) should receive between 49.1% and 54.7% of the vote; Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should receive between 43.1% and 48.7% of the vote; no other party should receive more than 1% of the vote share

Comparison of INEC Official Results with YIAGA AFRICA WTV Estimates for Select Political Parties for the Ekiti 2018 Gubernatorial Election
Party INEC YIAGA AFRICA WTV Match
Official Result Estimate Margin of Error Estimated Range
Lower Limit Upper Limit
APC 51.3% 51.9% ±2.8% 49.1% 54.7% ü
PDP 46.3% 45.9% ±2.8% 43.1% 48.7% ü
Note: No other party received more than 1% of the vote share
Source: YIAGA AFRICA WTV Ekiti 2018
The INEC official result is for the 2018 Ekiti State gubernatorial election consistent with the YIAGA AFRICA WTV estimate. Had the official results been changed at the ward, LGA or state collation centres, the official results would not have fallen within the YIAGA AFRICA WTV estimated ranges. Because the official results fall within the estimated ranges, governorship contestants, parties, and voters should have confidence that INEC’s official results for the Ekiti 2018 gubernatorial election reflect the ballots cast at polling units.

It is important to highlight the counting process at polling units was transparent and included representatives from the two political parties that received the most votes.

At 85% of polling units counting had concluded by 4:00 pm.
Incidents of intimidation, harassment or violence were reported in 5% of polling units during counting.
On average, three party agents were present during the counting process.

Further, at 94% of polling units APC party agents received a copy of the EC.8A results form and at 95% of polling units PDP party agents received a copy of the EC.8A results form. At 38% of polling units part agents from other parties received a copy of the EC.8A results form.
INEC’s official results for turnout and rejected ballots are also consistent with YIAGA AFRICA WTV estimates. YIAGA AFRICA is able to estimate that turnout is 44.5% with a margin of error of ±3.1% (between 41.4% and 47.6%) while INEC’s official result is 44.4%. Similarly, YIAGA AFRICA estimates rejected ballots are 4.3% with a margin of error of ±1.1% (between 3.2% and 5.4%) while INEC’s official result is 4.7%. These results are consistent.

Observations
At 97% of polling units the card reader was used throughout the accreditation and voting process. In 3% of polling units located in Ekiti West LGA, Gbonyin LGA, Ido/Osi LGA, Ilejemeje LGA and Moba LGA, the card reader malfunctioned but was not replaced.
At 8% of polling units incidents of vote buying or bribery were recorded at some point throughout the day.
Critical Incidents

At two polling units in Emure, thugs disrupted Local Government Area the voting process; at one of these sites the YIAGA WTV observer was also carried away but later released.
In one polling unit in Moba and one polling unit in Ise/Orun observers reported critical incidents of card reader malfunction.
In one polling unit in Irepodun/Ifelodu voters showed how their ballot papers were marked before putting them in the ballot box.

Preliminary Recommendations

In view of the consistency between INEC official results and our WTV estimates, we confirm that the official results reflect the ballot cast at the polling unit. To this end, we urge all stakeholders to accept the outcome of the election or seek redress using legal means of electoral dispute resolution.
The incidence of vote buying and voter inducement during elections undermines political legitimacy and makes a mockery of our democracy. This growing trend needs to be abated ahead of subsequent elections. INEC should take intentional steps to protect the secrecy of the ballot to enforcing her electoral guidelines. The Security agencies should devise new strategies for detecting and apprehending individuals or groups involved in vote buying and selling during elections.

Stakeholders like INEC, NOA and CSOs should engage in robust advocacy against vote buying. Political parties and candidates should be encouraged to promote issued-based participation at elections.

There is need for openness and transparency in the deployment of security personnel for elections. This will boost confidence in electoral stakeholders and citizens. The membership of the Inter agency Committee on Election Security (ICCES) needs to be reviewed to mainstream other stakeholders like civil society.

YIAGA AFRICA notes the new innovations introduced by INEC to the electoral process. We recommend that the commission and other stakeholders should undertake robust voter education to enlighten voters and stakeholders on the new innovations. Specifically, we recommend increased voter education on the voting process as it relates to folding of ballot papers.
Conclusion
YIAGA AFRICA calls on Dr. Kayode Fayemi and all APC supporters to be magnanimous in victory. For those candidates who did not win, we urge them to accept the results because they reflect the votes cast. YIAGA AFRICA calls upon all candidates, all parties and all Nigerians to show political maturity and to maintain the peace.

YIAGA AFRICA commends INEC on the timely opening of polls with essential materials present as well as the timely announcement of results.  However, YIAGA AFRICA also recommends that INEC take all necessary steps to address those challenges seen in Ekiti’s poll, including instances of card reader malfunction that were not addressed in some polling units. YIAGA AFRICA further recommends, as WTV had during the Ondo 2016 polls and Anambra 2017 polls, to improve the ability of the card readers to reliably verify voter fingerprints and ensure voter accreditation procedures are adhered to.

YIAGA AFRICA would like to thanks many Nigerians across the state who volunteered to serve as non-partisan election observers on behalf of all the people of Ekiti. YIAGA AFRICA commends the dedication of the permanent INEC staff in Abuja and Ekiti state who organized the election; the commitment of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members who served as poll officials, and the professionalism of the security agents who worked to keep the peace on Election Day. YIAGA AFRICA also appreciates the collaboration of our development partners and their commitment to Nigerian initiatives to ensure credible elections in our country.

Through the WTV initiative, YIAGA AFRICA is committed to promoting more credible elections by providing independent information on the conduct of elections and independently verifying the accuracy of election results. #WatchingTheVote is For All Nigerians, Beholden to No One, and Driven By Data.

YIAGA AFRICA is a non-governmental organization promoting democracy, constitutionalism and youth participation in Africa. YIAGA AFRICA achieves its goal through research, capacity development and policy advocacy. YIAGA AFRICA operates as a citizens’ movement poised with the onerous mandate of enhancing the quality of democratic governance, public accountability and civic participation. YIAGA AFRICA has been involved in election observation since 2007 and it is one of the leading organizations working on elections in Nigeria.

The YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote (WTV) is a citizen-led election observation initiative aimed at enhancing the integrity of elections in Nigeria using technological tools like SMS and evidence-based research methodology tools for election observation. The initiative is designed to promote credible elections and boost citizens’ confidence in the electoral process through citizens observation of electoral activities in the electoral cycle. YIAGA AFRICA is enhancing the quality of democracy in Nigeria using Watching The Vote as a platform for promoting cutting-edge electoral policies, credible elections, civic participation and democratic consolidation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




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