By Chimezie Godfrey
YIAGA Africa has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to as a matter of urgency conduct an inclusive, transparent and accountable audit of the Bayelsa gubernatorial results that involves political parties and civil society.
The Chairman, YIAGA Africa Watching the Vote-Bayelsa Observation Mission, Dr. Aisha Abdullahi who stated this on Monday in Abuja disclosed that the collation process for the Bayelsa governorship election was manipulated.
Abdullahi explained that the PVT data shows there were no elections in approximately 25% of polling units and that it suggests that the collation for the Bayelsa elections was manipulated, particularly for Southern Ijaw LGA.
“This calls into question the official results announced by INEC and credibility of this election.
“While the PVT cannot determine who has won the governorship election for Bayelsa, regardless of the outcome, the PVT estimates suggests that the official results were manipulated during the collation process.
“YIAGA Africa urgently calls upon INEC to conduct an inclusive, transparent, and accountable audit of the Bayelsa gubernatorial results that involves political parties and civil society.
“The audit must include two elements. First, it must identify all polling units that had no election on November 16 so that new elections can be held for those polling units.
“Second, it must re-collate the results for those polling units that did hold elections on November 16 so that the correct partial results can be determined.
“YIAGA Africa stands ready to work with INEC on this audit so that the people of Bayelsa can have confidence in their elections and the results for the 2019 governorship results,” she said.
According to her, the Bayelsa and Kogi elections were an opportunity for stakeholders to change Nigeria’s electoral trajectory, a chance which was not utilized.
She said the National Assembly should prioritize the electoral reform in their legislative agenda to ensure that there is improvement in subsequent elections.
“The National Assembly must as a matter of urgency prioritize electoral reform in their legislative agenda.
“This is a call to President Buhari to prove to Nigerians that he is committed to electoral reform and leave a legacy of reforms that ends electoral impunity, strengthens democratic institutions and deepen the culture of democratic responsibility,” she stressed.
She further called on INEC to provide a detailed account of all polling for which no election was held and to ensure elections are held for all polling units, adding that any decision short of this would undermine the inclusiveness of the process and would call into question the credibility of the election.