By: Ade Adeleke
As the Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo state had been won and lost, a civil society organisation, Yiaga Africa, has on the APC Candidate, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and his supporters to be magnanimous in victory.
Addressing newsmen in Akure, the state capital, the Co-Chair of Yiaga Africa WTV Working Group, Dr Aisha Abdullahi and Ezenwa Nwagwu, urged the PDP candidate, Eyitayo Jegede and the ZLP flagbearer, Hon Agboola Ajayi to accept the results because the outcome of the poll reflects voters’ wishes.
“Yiaga Africa calls on the winning candidate and his 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.
According to Yiaga Africa, “Results Verification: Based on reports from 97% (291 of 300) of sampled polling units, Yiaga Africa’s statistical analysis shows that the APC should receive between 48.9% and 54.1% of the vote; the PDP should receive between 31.2% and 36.6% of the vote; ZLP should receive between 10.5% and 13.3% of the votes, while no other party will receive more than 1% of the vote share.
“As stated in our pre-election reports, Yiaga Africa undertook Watching the Vote to provide citizens, governorship candidates, political parties, and INEC with independent information on whether the official results truly reflect the ballots cast at polling units.
“If INEC’s official results fall within Yiaga Africa’s estimated range, then the public, political parties, and candidates should have confidence that the official results reflect the ballots cast in the polling units.
“Given the significant rate of procedural infractions around counting of spoilt and counterfoil ballot paper, Yiaga Africa recommends better training for election day INEC ad-hoc officials.
“While these infractions do not undermine the integrity of the process, they are a sign that election day officials’ training can be improved.
Yiaga Africa commends INEC for its efforts to improve on the election day process and efforts to comply with the COVID-19 protocol with respect to providing disinfectant/hand sanitizers in all polling units.
“Yiaga Africa however, believes that there are opportunities for improvement in our elections and calls on INEC to conduct a post-election audit on both the Edo and Ondo governorship elections in order to enable the Commission to assess its performance, identify operational areas for improvement and drive policy reforms to effectively plan for future elections.
“Additionally, the National Assembly should accelerate reforms to the Electoral Act to legalize the effective deployment of technological tools to promote citizen’s participation and enhance transparency in the electoral process.
“The INEC Result Viewing portal deployed for the election has demonstrated how citizens’ access to polling unit results increases the integrity of the electoral process and encourages acceptability of electoral outcomes.
“Yiaga Africa commends the National Peace Committee (NPC) for responding to the call by stakeholders on the threat of violence as indicated in Yiaga Africa’s Pre-election observation report. The interventions contributed in no small measure to the peaceful conduct of the election.
“Yiaga Africa would like to thank the many Nigerians across the state who volunteered to serve as non-partisan WTV citizen observers on behalf of all the people of Ondo.
“Yiaga Africa commends the dedication of the permanent INEC staff in Abuja and Ondo state who organized the election and the commitment of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members who served as poll officials. Yiaga Africa would like to thank sister election observer groups and the international community for their solidarity and support.
“Yiaga Africa, through the Watching The Vote initiative, is committed to promoting more credible elections by providing independent information on the conduct of elections and independently verifying the accuracy of election results.
“Whilst Yiaga Africa urges INEC to undertake reforms to protect the secrecy of the ballot, it is important to note that vote-buying is a governance challenge that diminishes human dignity and questions the legitimacy of electoral outcomes. Addressing this menace requires a multi-pronged approach that fosters improved public governance, abolishes do-or-die politics and strengthens mechanisms of accountability.”