A civil society organisation, the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA) on Wednesday validated the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari as winner of Saturday’s presidential election.
It said the results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were consistent with the findings of its observers as part of its Watching the Vote (WTV) project.
YIAGA Africa has as its technical partners the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the US-based National Democratic Institute.
It deployed the parallel vote tabulation (PVT), described a gold standard citizen observation methodology that employs statistics and information communication technologies.
Its estimates were based on observations from 3,030 observers deployed in pairs to a random statistical sample of 1,515 polling units.
YIAGA Africa said INEC’s official results fell within its estimated ranges.
It, therefore, urged the public, political parties and candidates to have confidence in the ballots cast at the polling units.
The group said in its post-election statement: “Based on reports from 1,491 or 98.4 per cent of sampled polling units, YIAGA Africa’s findings show that for the presidential election, the All Progressive Congress (APC) should receive between 50.0 per cent and 55.8 per cent of the vote; and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should receive between 41.2 per cent and 47.0 per cent of the vote.
“These figures are consistent with the official results as announced by INEC. For both APC and PDP the official results fall within the PVT estimated ranges.”
YIAGA Africa’s WTV chair Dr. Hussaini Abdu added: “YIAGA Africa urges Nigerian voters, political parties, candidates and international stakeholders to have confidence in the just-concluded electoral process and the officially announced results.”
The civil society group called on INEC to provide clarity around two issues which it said were of pressing concern to the Nigerians although they did not affect the overall outcome of the elections.
“First, the overall, percentage of cancelled ballots announced by INEC was 3.3 per cent of all registered voters.
“This figure was four times higher than the rate from 2015 when registered voters in cancelled polling units were less than 1 per cent of all registered votes.
“Second, YIAGA Africa noted discrepancies between the number of registered voters announced prior to the election and the numbers announced during collation and called on INEC to provide an in-depth explanation, including of whether these differences indicated that collation did not conclude in all parts of the country.
“However, YIAGA Africa noted that the PVT data, which projected its estimated vote shares on the basis of the numbers announced at the polling units before any cancelation of results could take place, showed that neither of these issues impacted the outcome of the election,” it said.
The group, in the statement issued by its Communication Officer Moshood Isah, urged all political parties, candidates and Nigerians to show political maturity and maintain peace in the post-election period.
It pleaded with losing candidates and parties to adhere to legal provisions for filing electoral claims and disputes.
“YIAGA Africa noted that the challenges experienced during the elections call for a detailed and systematic post-election review to include an inquiry into the cancellation of ballots, an audit of the voter register and a review of the elections operation management systems,” the group said.
YIAGA Africa is a nonpartisan and independent civil society organisation without affiliation to any political party, candidate or state agency.
“YIAGA Africa carries out research, capacity development and policy advocacy. YIAGA AFRICA has been involved in election observation since 2007 and it is one of the leading organisations working on elections in Nigeria,” the group said.