Observers Want INEC To Explain 1m Void Votes

An elections observer group, the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to explain why over one million votes were cancelled in the recently conducted Presidential and National Assembly elections.

INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, has declared President Muhammadu Buhari winner of Saturday’s presidential election with 15,191,847 votes. However, the Situation Room in a statement on Wednesday expressed concern over the number of void votes.

“There is a lack of clarity in the rationale for cancellation of polls. We have recorded 1,084,358 cancelled votes across 1175 polling units in 18 States. The pattern of this cancellation requires some close interrogation to show fairness and objectivity. Situation Room demands that INEC provide clarification on rationale and compliance with its guidelines regarding cancellation of polls.

“A careful look at some of the figures of accredited voters and the total number of votes show discrepancies. As at 6:47 pm Tuesday 26th February, the discrepancy was a total of 513,214, in 27 states including Nasarawa, Kogi, Adamawa, Edo States and the FCT. Situation Room calls on INEC to transparently address this confusion before the completion of result tabulation.

“Situation Room calls on INEC to address the discrepancies in the vote tally and provide cogent explanations for the rejected votes and clearly clarify what amounts to cancelled votes.

“Our observers were denied access to 10 Ward collation centres in Abia State, 7 in Lagos State and 5 in Akwa Ibom and Ogun States respectively. Other reports received indicate that there was no collation in some Wards; rather, polling unit results were directly collated at Local Government level, raising questions about violation of the collation process,” the statement read. In 2015, 844, 519 were rejected out of the 29,432,083 votes cast.

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