YIAGA-Africa, a Civil Society Organisation (CSO) that observed the 2019 presidential election said that the result as announced by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was consistent with its parallel vote tabulation results estimates.
The Chairman of the Board of YIAGA-Africa, Dr Hussaini Abdu made this known while presenting the organisation’s report on the election on Friday in Abuja.
“For the 2019 presidential elections, the official results announced by INEC were consistent with YIAGA AFRICA’s Parallel Vote Tabulation results estimates.
“In other words, the results reflect the votes cast at the polling units.
“Similarly, the INEC official turnout rate and rejected ballots figure were consistent with YIAGA AFRICA estimated to turn out rate and rejected ballots based on reports from 1,491 98.4 per cent of sampled polling units,” he said.
Abdu, however, said that YIAGA AFRICA’s findings revealed certain lapses and reports of malfeasance which impacted on the quality of the process in some polling units and states.
He said that the report also revealed possible incidents of vote suppression as reflected in the percentage of cancelled ballots in some states such as Rivers, Nasarawa, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Plateau, Kogi, Benue and Kaduna State.
He said that Nigeria’s 20 years democracy was tested with the conduct of the 2019 general elections.
Abdu said that the elections presented an opportunity for Nigeria to consolidate on the gains of the 2015 elections and deepen its democratic transition.
According to him, although INEC introduces reforms to deepen electoral integrity and citizen’s participation, the elections are characterised by many of the same shortcomings that have marred previous national elections in Nigeria.
The chairman said that as in past elections, INEC’s logistical challenges and misconduct by political parties undermined the integrity of the elections.
He also said that the inability of some citizens to vote undermined public confidence in the electoral process.
Abdu said that INEC overestimated its own capabilities and underrated the challenges with the management of logistics.
“This was worsened by undue interference with the electoral commission functions by state and non-state actors as well as the release of election funds six weeks to the presidential elections.
“This is in spite of its secured funding from the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
“The assault on basic rights and freedoms by state institutions especially security agencies coupled with the failure to conclude amendments to the electoral legal framework indicated a lack of commitment to electoral reform and electoral integrity,” he said.
Abdu said that the report contained evidence which made it clear that a lot was less than desired and that the overall outcome was not necessarily vindication of the process.
He observed that Nigeria missed an opportunity to improve the quality of its elections as compared to the 2015 national elections.
“The 2019 elections were not the elections Nigerians wanted, they were not the elections Nigerians expected and most importantly, they were not the elections Nigerians deserved.
“Nigeria needs a national conversation on a new electoral design or framework that responds to prevailing socio-political and economic realities.
“INEC must improve its capacity to deliver credible elections and political parties must play according to the rules as failure to do so could imperil Nigeria’s democracy,” he said.