Text of Post Anambra Gubernatorial Election presented by the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) at the Sheraton Hotels & Towers, Abuja on Monday, November 18, 2013
Distinguished guests, our respected partners, stakeholders, ladies and gentlemen of the media, on behalf of the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) Quick Count Working Group I am delighted to welcome you to this Press Conference on our preliminary observation findings for the Anambra Gubernatorial Election held on Saturday, 16 November 2013. Yesterday, TMG made public its preliminary observations. Today, and for the benefit of those of you who were not here yesterday, we shall respond to the latest developments which has also warranted INEC to declare the elections inconclusive and then the prospects fore a supplementary elections in Anambra State.
TMG Pre-Election Findings
Elections are more than just Election Day, and TMG has been observing the entire process for the Anambra Gubernatorial Election.
TMG’s main findings related to the pre-election period include:
1. The judiciary speedily resolved electoral petitions, but the spate of litigation over
Party Primaries is a worrying sign.
2. INEC’s decision to release the voter’s register to political parties in electronic
format was a very positive improvement. In the future, the voter’s register should
also be made available to civic organisations.
3. INEC should also publish the results of the election by polling unit.
4. An encouraging development was the holding of candidate debates as it served
as an opportunity to make the election more substantive and issue-based.
However, it did not appear that all 23 gubernatorial candidates engaged in
5. There were widespread allegations of the buying up of voter cards by politicians.
TMG Post-Election Findings
TMG wishes to state as regards the November 16, 2013 Anambra Governorship Polls, based on reports from our citizen observers, which they sent in via coded text message using mobile phones, that while many elements of the Election Day process were adequate, there were serious shortcomings, including:
- Late arrival of election materials at polling units – as of 7:30am, observers
reported that only 39% of polling units across the state had their election materials and by 9am only 43% of polling units were able to open; When materials finally arrived, at 58% of polling units observers reported two polling officials; at 38% of polling units three or more polling officials were present; while at just 4% of polling units there was only one polling official present.
- The widespread late delivery of election materials delayed the start of
accreditation of voters across the state.
- Simultaneous accreditation and voting (i.e. individuals being allowed to accredit and
vote after accreditation had closed) created the possibility of illegal voting – at 28% of polling units 50 or more people were accredited during voting.
- No elections in five wards of Idemili North LGA – Abatete, Nkpor I, Nkpor II,
Obosi and Ogidi I. Observers at all 14 sampled polling stations in these wards
reported no election;
- Individuals with voter’s cards were refused accreditation – at 19% of polling units,
between 6 and 25 people with voter’s cards were denied accreditation, for whatever reason and could not vote; Simultaneous accreditation and voting (i.e. individuals being allowed to accredit and vote after accreditation had closed) created the possibility of illegal voting – at 28% of polling units, 50 or more people were accredited during voting; and
- A significant number of voters who left polling units after accreditation did not
return to vote – at 31% of polling units, the number of accredited voters exceeded the number of actual voters by more than 10%.
- At 52% of polling units, observers reported four or more political party agents; at
39% of polling units, there were one to three political party agents present, while 9% of polling units had no agents from any party present.
TMG as a member of the Global Network of Domestic Election Monitors (GNDEM), as well as the West African of Election Observer Network (WAEON) conducts all of its citizen observation efforts in accordance with the “Declaration of Global Principles for Nonpartisan Election Observation and Monitoring by Citizen Organisations.”
TMG’s innovative Quick Count observation effort is intended to help promote credible elections in Nigeria that are conducted in accordance with international and regional standards as well as the laws of our country by providing real time independent non-partisan information on the conduct of Election Day processes – setup of polling units, accreditation of voters, voting and counting.
The Quick Count methodology involves deploying trained and accredited citizen observers in pairs to a representative random sample of polling units carefully selected by a trained statistician. Because reports are received from a representative sample of polling units, the findings can be extrapolated to all polling units (even those which TMG did not deploy observers) based on long-established statistical principles. Thus, the findings from the Quick Count hold for all 4,608 polling units in Anambra. The Quick Count methodology is the gold standard in citizen observation.
TMG’s Quick Count also takes advantage of the latest developments in information and communication technologies (ICTs). TMG has established a National Information Centre (NIC) in Abuja with a sophisticated database and text messaging system. To ensure real time information, TMG observers submit their reports via coded text messages using their mobile phones. Reports are received directly into a database and processed.
Deployment of Observers
TMG deployed a total of 633 observers for the Anambra Gubernatorial Election. Of these, 33 were mobile supervisors who moved around the state and 600 were stationary assigned to specific polling units. TMG stationary observers sent in more than 3,000 text messages with over 20,000 individual pieces of information about the conduct of the Election Day process. Stationary observers were deployed in pairs to a representative random sample of 300 polling units across all three senatorial districts and all 21 local government areas (LGAs). To ensure the representativeness of the sample, it was stratified by senatorial district and LGA. This means that the proportion of sampled polling units closely matches the proportion of all polling units in each senatorial district and in each LGA. For example Anambra North has 30.2% percent of all polling units (1,391 of 4,608) and 30.0% percent of the sampled polling stations are in Anambra North (180 of 300). Appendix 1 provides a detailed breakdown of the sampled polling stations by senatorial district and LGA.
TMG conducted two rounds of training workshops for LGA supervisors as well as 29 training workshops for observers. All observers were accredited with INEC. On the morning of Election Day, there were isolated incidents of TMG observers not being permitted to observe, but all of these issues were ultimately resolved.
In response to the INEC decision to extend a second day of voting in Obosi ward in Idemili North LGA, TMG deployed 28 citizen observers on Sunday to observe the process in the initially sampled polling units. According to reports from TMG citizen observers on Saturday, there were similar problems of no elections taking place in Abatete, Nkpor I, Nkpor II and Ogidi I wards, which are also in Idemili North LGA, as well two polling units in Ogbaru LGA.
TMG as the premier citizen observer network in the country comprising over 400 civic organizations has observed all elections since the end of military rule in 1998/99.
For the Anambra Gubernatorial Election TMG employed the advanced Quick Count methodology, the gold standard for election observation, TMG’s citizen observers were deployed to a representative random sample of 300 polling stations located across every senatorial district and all 21 local government areas (LGAs). Thus, TMG observers were in every corner of the state, from the capital Awka to the most remote riverine areas. On Sunday as we have noted earlier, TMG redeployed 28 observers for the second day of voting in Idemili North. Throughout the day TMG’s citizen observers sent their observation reports via coded text message using mobile phones directly into a computer database located at a National Information Centre (NIC) in Abuja. In total, they sent in more than 3,000 text messages containing more than 20,000 individual pieces of information about Election Day processes, as well as the official results as announced by INEC official at polling units.
INEC Declaration on Anambra Election
While the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) should be acknowledged for providing an opportunity for election to be conducted in Obosi Ward of Idemili North LGA on Sunday, November 17, 2013, TMG wonders why the remaining Wards of Abatete, Nkpor 1, Nkpor II, and Ogidi 1 Wards, as well as two polling units in Ogbaru LGA which have similar problems of no election were not taken into consideration. We must note that these shortcomings undermine public confidence in the electoral process – especially since many of these issues are not new and have plagued past elections.
TMG salutes INEC’s courage to accept responsibility for failure of their official, whom they claimed was working for outside interest; and whom they say has been handed over to the police for investigation. We challenge INEC, the Security Agencies and the Federal Government to expose the outside interest. But that is however not enough; INEC must be move beyond that; the identity of the alleged collaborators and those they are working with must be exposed. Anambrarians and indeed the Nigerian people deserve to know this.
The Anambra Gubernatorial Election is not yet over. As you are already aware, the election has been declared inconclusive following the cancellation of the votes in some areas. That cancellation according to INEC affected 113, 113 votes which also led to the inability of a clear winner to emerge. For that reason a supplementary election is to be held in all the said areas. As a result, TMG will continue to observe the unfolding process as INEC makes public the arrangement for the supplementary elections. TMG calls on all the people of Anambra State to remain calm as they await INEC’s announcement of results. TMG will continue to observe the process, and as appropriate issue additional statements and reports. As part of the Quick Count, TMG will provide independent verification of the official results as announced by INEC to enhance the transparency and accountability of the process.
TMG insists that for the 2015 elections to be credible INEC must work in partnership with political parties, civic organizations, and government bodies to find practical solutions to chronic problems plaguing our elections. To this end, TMG stands ready to work with INEC and other partners to help ensure the 2015 Elections meet the expectations of the Nigerian people”
Thank you for your attention; God bless Nigeria.
Comrade Zikirilluhi M. Ibrahim
For Media Enquiries, contact
Comrade Eneruvie Enakoko
TMG Media Centre