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YIAGA Africa endorses 2019 presidential election results

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A staff member of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) marks the thumb of a voter at a polling unit in Lagos on February 23, 2019. STEFAN HEUNIS / AFP

…Seeks International Sanctions Against Anti-Democratic Forces
YIAGA-Africa, a Civil Society Organisation (CSO) that observed the 2019 presidential election has said that the result as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was consistent with its parallel vote tabulation results estimates.

The Chairman of the Board of YIAGA-Africa, Dr Hussaini Abdu, disclosed this while presenting the organisation’s report on the election on Friday in Abuja.

The group, however, called on the U.S. government to make public the list of individuals it placed on visa ban for undermining Nigeria’s democracy and instigating electoral violence during the 2019 general elections.

“For the 2019 presidential elections, the official results announced by INEC were consistent with YIAGA Africa’s Parallel Vote Tabulation results estimates. In other words, the results reflect the votes cast at the polling units.

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“Similarly, the INEC official turnout rate and rejected ballots figure were consistent with YIAGA Africa estimated turn out rate and rejected ballots based on reports from 1,491 98.4 per cent of sampled polling units,” Abdu said.

He, however, said the group’s findings revealed certain lapses and reports of malfeasance that impacted on the quality of the process in some polling units and states.

He said that the report also revealed possible incidents of vote suppression as reflected in the percentage of cancelled ballots in some states such as Rivers, Nasarawa, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Plateau, Kogi, Benue and Kaduna State.

He said that Nigeria’s 20 years democracy was tested with the conduct of the 2019 general elections, noting that the elections presented an opportunity for Nigeria to consolidate on the gains of the 2015 elections and deepen its democratic transition.

According to him, although INEC introduced reforms to deepen electoral integrity and citizen’s participation, the elections were characterised by many of the same shortcomings that marred previous national elections in Nigeria.

“The 2019 elections were not the elections Nigerians wanted; they were not the elections Nigerians expected and most importantly, they were not the elections Nigerians deserved.

“Nigeria needs a national conversation on a new electoral design or framework that responds to prevailing socio-political and economic realities.

“INEC must improve its capacity to deliver credible elections and political parties must play according to the rules as failure to do so could imperil Nigeria’s democracy,” he said.

He stressed the need for the international Community and development partners to impose sanctions on individuals and institutions who undermined Nigeria’s democracy and instigated electoral violence during the 2019 general elections.

Commending the United States for the imposition of visa ban on persons who undermined the 2019 elections, the Chairman called for sustained support for democratic reforms in Nigeria through timely and strategic advocacy and support to civil society.

He further urged the international community to hold the Nigerian government accountable to her commitment to international norms and standards like human rights, rule of law and constitutionalism.


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