The late arrival of electoral officials, materials, accreditation, and voting denied many people the chance to vote in the Anambra governorship election, according to Yiaga Africa, an independent election observation organization.
This was stated by Yiaga Africa in an interim statement regarding the 2021 Anambra Gubernatorial Election, which took place on Saturday.
According to the group, the inadequacy of the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVA) or card readers to verify people promptly caused many voters to vote late.
The Statement was signed by Yiaga Africa Executive Director Samson Itodo and YIAGA Africa board member Dr. Ezenwa Nwagwu.
The Watching the Vote (WTV) method was used to verify information from 229 of 248 sampled polling units, according to the group.
According to the report, two polling officials were deployed on average to polling units where INEC officials and materials arrived.
” At least one female polling official was present in the polling units, which is less than the required number of four polling officials per polling unit.
” The deployment of the BVAS to the polling units was observed by Yiaga Africa WTV. Even when voter data were confirmed on the voter register, the BVAS failed to authenticate registrants’ fingerprints and pictures, according to reports.
” Yiaga Africa is concerned that the non- opening of these polling stations may result in the disenfranchisement of registered voters in certain voting units, ” it said.
The absence of efficient communication between INEC and transportation companies, as well as the lack of contingency preparations to deal with any failure, according to the observer group, is to blame for the poor deployment of manpower and materials to polling centers.
According to reports from WTV observers, only 28% of polling units had started accreditation and voting by 9: 30 a. m. , and only 50% had started accreditation and voting by 10: 30 a. m. , according to Yiaga Africa.
” Yiaga Africa anticipated these challenges based on our pre- election observations, hence our call in our pre- election statement urging INEC to make contingency plans in situations where respective transport unions/companies failed to fulfill their contractual obligations to deploy.
” If these incidents are not addressed, the election’ s integrity may be jeopardized.
” Yiaga Africa applauds the people of Anambra for their passion and perseverance in voting in the elections.
” INEC owes the people of Anambra a duty to ensure that registered voters are not disenfranchised as a result of technical failures or logistical challenges.
” Yiaga Africa calls on INEC to provide regular updates on the progress of elections in polling units where the BVAS has frequently failed or where elections have been canceled.
” Yiaga Africa applauds the professionalism demonstrated by security agencies since the polls began, ” they said.
The group urged security agencies to respect human rights and maintain a nonpartisan attitude throughout the election process, as well as to investigate reports of election material theft and prosecute the perpetrators.
” Yiaga Africa commends the good people of Anambra State for their peaceful conduct during the voting process and urges them to remain patient and peaceful throughout the voting and counting process, ” the statement read.