Yiaga Africa has encouraged citizens to hold their elected leaders accountable.
The election observer group, in a process and results verification report on the 2022 Ekiti State governorship election, commended the electorate in Ekiti State, southwest Nigeria, for their resilience and commitment to a non-violent election.
In the report, Yiaga Africa said that the official results released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the June 18 election reflect the votes cast at the polling units.
INEC declared the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abiodun Abayomi Oyebanji, winner of the election that was marred by vote buying.
Oyebanji won 15 out of the 16 local government areas that make up the state, polling a total of 187,057 votes to defeat his two closest challengers – Segun Oni of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Bisi Kolawole of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
The SDP candidate polled 82,211 votes while the PDP candidate finished third with 67,457 votes.
Yiaga Africa said its observers used the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) observation methodology for the election.
‘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’, the Samson Itodo-led organisation said in the report.
‘Because the official results fall within the estimated ranges, candidates, parties, and voters should have confidence the official results for the Ekiti 2022 gubernatorial election reflect the ballots cast at polling units on Saturday, June 18.
‘It is important to highlight that the counting process at polling units was transparent and included representatives from the four political parties that received the most votes’.
Yiaga Africa also said INEC’s turnout result and rejected ballots for the 16 LGAs released are consistent with its estimates.
‘Yiaga Africa is able to estimate that turnout is between 35.7 percent and 38.7 percent (37.2 percent ± 1.5 percent), while INEC’s official result is 36.47 percent’, the report read.
‘Similarly, Yiaga Africa estimates rejected ballots are between 1.8 percent and 2.6 percent (2.2 percent ± 0.4 percent) while INEC’s official result is 2.46 percent’.
Yiaga Africa called on INEC to uphold the principles of transparency by publishing the total number of PVCs collected in Ekiti on its website.
The civil society organisation (CSO) also called on the electoral umpire to audit the newly created polling units and ensure equitable distribution of voters to the polling units.
‘We commend the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for the arrest of mercenaries deployed by political parties to buy votes’, the report added.
The CSO urged the EFCC and security agencies to investigate and prosecute all citizens involved in electoral fraud, especially those involved in vote trading.
Photo source: Yiaga Africa