The Election Analysis Centre has released its interim report of Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections.
See full report below.
Election Analysis Centre (EAC) Preliminary Report, 23rd February 2019
The Election Analysis Centre is pleased to note that elections are going on across the country, and there is a significant turnout of voters all over the country. We make the following observations about how the elections are going on so far:
1. Opening of Polls
Across the country, we have received reports from our field observers that polling officials arrived as early as 7 am in many places and began to set up for voting. Nevertheless, many polling units did not begin voting till past 9 am, and some were not open yet, even as late as 10.30am. One of the reasons for this was found to be that INEC officials were missing one or the other material needed to commence voting.
As was expected there remains questions about INEC’s preparedness for the elections in spite the additional week they took to tie up loose ends logistically and operationally. Reports reaching us are that logistical issues are still widespread. Ballot papers are not sufficient in some polling units, while in others there is lack of other materials such as the indelible ink, ballots or result sheets.
On procedural matters, our observers have reported that in certain places, the secrecy of the ballot was not protected, and voters voted in full public view. In addition, it appears that some voters were able to take their phones into the polling booth, as we have received pictures of thumb-printed ballot papers. Additionally, the polling both is not cordoned off and voting not secret in many places. In Mandawa ward in Gwale Local Government in Kano State for example PU009,010,011,012 for example voting was done openly.
3. Smart Card Readers
Whereas the smart card readers (SCR) remain one of the most vital aspects of the elections in Nigeria, we have reports that many of the issues bedevilling the smart card readers from previous elections have persisted in some of the locations visited by our observers. There are quite a lot of reports that the SCRs are failing to authenticate a significant number of voters who have presented themselves for voting. It is yet unclear whether their PVCs were authenticated first, before their biometrics failed to be recognised. What is certain as at this moment is that in a few places, Supervising Officer have directed that manual voting should be allowed. In Birnin Kudu LGA, Bamaina Ward, Voting Point 009, card reader reading did not function until midday so no accreditation or voting until this report was prepared. Also, in PU 014 of Dakata ward in Nassarawa LGA of Kano Central, voting had not commenced at noon because the card reader has not worked at all. Voters are there stranded. There are also issues with the adhoc staff being confused and not knowing how to operate the SCRs correctly due to insufficient training. Example:
- IDEO: 10:07am Tshohowar,Magina, Shiyar, Galadima, Ilella 3, Sokoto East
- The INEC officials and electorate at the above local government have lamented the shoddiness of election card readers.
- The presiding officer who identified explained that the card reader was identifying the details of the electorates but it failed to recognize the finger print of the electorates.
- The card reader has rejected the finger print of over 20 voters and up till now effort by the officials to solve the problem proved abortive.
4. Security Issues
The nation awoke to news that there had been bomb blasts in Maiduguri early this morning, as well as in Yobe. The intimidating presence of security on the streets was also noted by many observers going to their polling units early this morning. Many polling units have adequate security personnel, but there are lots of reports on the absence of security personal at many polling units in Enugu, Kano, and other states of the federation. In Epe, security personnel showed up in a show of force, and scared voters who reported the incident, and said voting could not start until the security agents retired to their designated positions. Party loyalists at one of the PUs in Kwara State are also reported to have started jeering and cheering at one another, creating an fearsome environment for voters. Boko Haram posed a real challenge in Yobe State where an attack took place on Friday night and many people ran away. Security was however restored and voting started subsequently.
5. Vote Buying
Unfortunately, there were many areas where vote buying was observed. As at 12:32pm in ijadu1 ward 3 PU 002 Ife east Modakeke, Osun East senatorial district, it was observed that some group of persons were putting their names down after voting so that money can be later given to them. At this point, money is not being instantly shared, but voters are putting down their names for the collection of their money. The group of persons were identified as APC members.
In Ward 2, unit 20, Brass LGA of Bayelsa State, vote buying pattern was unravelled. Party agents call voters and help them locate their names (they have a copy of the voter register as well as the one pasted on the wall). Once their name is seen, they start talking to them. The voter submits phone number to the highest bidder and then proceeds to get accredited to vote. They promise to contact voter later.
At Eke Otu Primary School Amaechi, Enugu south LGA, ENUGU EAST SENATORIAL DISTRICT some men are collecting money outside the RAC centre after they’ve voted.
6. Disruption and Violence
The Election has recorded some political violence. Two Persons have been killed with three others injured in Amagu ward one in Ikwo Local Government Area of the Ebonyi State. The death occurred following a clash between supporters of two political parties in the state.
In Rivers States, five people have so far been killed with four killed in Andoni Local government area and another one in Asaru Toro Local government of Rivers States. Our observers reported killings also in Dekina, Kogi, sapele Oba, two people are allegedly killed as we are filing this report our observers are reporting ongoing thug invasion in Oru West LGA in Imo State.
In part of the country, there were disruption of votes. For example, in Ajetachi PU 006, Anyangba ward, Dekina LGA of Kogi State, party agents arrived the PU with INEC Election materials and asked observers to leave, they specifically asked voters who are not APC supporters to leave. Our observer reported gun violence. Also, in Bonny LGA, Rivers State, voting was disallowed by a political leader.