YIAGA Africa, a public policy think-tank, has said the result of the Bayelsa governorship election was manipulated at the collation process.
This, the group said, is because INEC's result does not fall within the estimates of its Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT).
The PVT, according to the group, is a proven and advanced observation methodology that employs well-established statistical principles and utilises sophisticated information technologies.
YIAGA adopted the PVT methodology for election day observation at the polling units - which provided timely and accurate information on the conduct of accreditation, voting, and counting as well as independently verified the official governorship results as announced by the INEC.
INEC had announced David Lyon of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship as the winner of the election.
Mr Lyon polled 352,552 votes to defeat Duoye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who polled 143, 172 votes.
YIAGA, however, said the results announced by INEC are not consistent with the PVT estimates.
"INEC announced 352,552 votes or 71% for APC and 143,172 or 29% votes for PDP. These results are not consistent with the PVT estimates of between 62% and 46% for APC and 52% and 37% for PDP.
"This suggests that the results were manipulated during the collation process. If the tabulation process had been conducted properly then INEC's official results would fall within the PVT estimates," part of its statement read.
High Percentage of Polling Units with no Election.
YIAGA said its data shows that election was not conducted in 24 per cent (61 of 250) of its sampled polling units.
This incident was more prevalent in 28 polling units in Southern Ijaw LGA, 11 polling units in Ogbia LGA, nine polling units in Ekeremor LGA, seven polling units in Nembe LGA, five in Sagbama LGA and one in Yenagoa LGA of the PVT sampled polling units. Statewide, this data suggests that elections may not have been held in several hundred polling units, thereby seriously compromising the rights of people of Bayelsa to freely determine for themselves their elected governor, the group said.
Table 1: Distribution of Bayelsa Polling Units that Did Not Conduct Elections
LGA PVT Sample PVT Sample with No Elections Percent PVT Sample with No Elections
Polling Units Registered Voters Polling Units Registered Voters Percent Polling Units Percent Registered Voters
Brass 22 9,975 0 0 0% 0%
Ekeremor 27 14,812 9 5,798 33% 39%
Kolokuma/Opokuma 20 7,926 0 0 0% 0%
Nembe 28 11,744 7 2,716 25% 23%
Ogbia 36 12,922 11 3,572 18% 28%
Sagbama 28 16,568 5 2,632 18% 16%
Southern Ijaw 59 22,347 28 10,342 47% 46%
Yenagoa 30 30,205 1 550 3% 2%
Total 250 126,499 61 25,610 24% 20%
Source: YIAGA AFRICA
INEC Official Results
Despite the announcement of results by INEC, YIAGA said the PVT is not able to independently verify, regardless of the outcome, who won the Bayelsa gubernatorial election because elections did not occur in 61 of 250, or approximately 24 per cent, of sampled polling units.
"However, the PVT is still able to determine if the collation process was conducted properly and expose manipulation during the collation process. If the official results as announced fall outside of the PVT estimated range, then the results have been manipulated during the collation process."
The group further said the most significant manipulation of the collation process was for Southern Ijaw local government.
According to YIAGA, INEC's official result for APC is 124,803 votes or 96 per cent while the PVT estimates the maximum vote share possible is 80 per cent. At the same time, INEC's official result for PDP is 4,989 or 4 per cent while the PVT estimates the minimum vote share possible is 16 per cent.
"As noted above, 46 per cent of PVT sampled polling units in Southern Ijaw held no election, suggesting that up to half of all polling units in the LGA did not open. However, INEC announced that a total of 130,121 votes were cast in Southern Ijaw out of 165,449 registered voters for a turnout of 79 per cent. This is not possible given the widespread failure of polling units to hold elections across the LGA," it stated.
The group, therefore, questioned the credibility of the results announced by INEC. It maintained that while the PVT cannot determine who has won the governorship election for Bayelsa, the PVT estimates suggests that the official results were manipulated during the collation process.
YIAGA called on 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 identifying all polling units that had no election on November 16 so that new elections can be held for those polling units and 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," it said.
"Those found responsible, from INEC, political parties, security agencies, or any other body, for either preventing a polling unit from opening or manipulating the results during the collation process must be held accountable and brought to book. The culture of impunity in Nigeria must end.
"Further, Nigeria needs to retool her legal framework to address the duality of jurisdiction of courts and timeline for the determination of pre-election cases.
"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 accountability."