Yiaga Predicts Low Voter Turnout, Gives Reason

FCT, Abuja – Low voter turnout has been predicted for the off-cycle gubernatorial polls in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi state.

This forecast was revealed in Abuja on Friday, November 10, by Nigeria’s foremost election observation group, Yiaga Africa.

The gubernatorial election in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi states will commence on Saturday, November 11. Photo Credit: @YIAGASource: Twitter

Yiaga Africa revealed that despite the high collection rate of permanent voter cards (PVC), the elections in these three states would be greeted with low voter turnout due to the state’s reoccurring pattern of pre-election violence.

In a statement jointly signed by the group’s board chairman, Dr Hussaini Abdu and its executive director, Samson Itodo, Yiaga Africa said:

“According to INEC, the number of Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) collected in Bayelsa is 1,017,613, Imo, 2,318,919 and 1,833,160 in Kogi state.

“Despite these high collection rates, Yiaga Africa projects low voter turnout in the respective states owing to the spate of pre-election violence, a deep sense of citizens’ distrust, apparent fear of intimidation, voter fatigue and loss of faith in elections as a means to achieving democratic leadership.”

Imminent security challenge and voter inducement

The election observer group also predicted that insecurity might also impact the election as there are already reported violent cases in several local governments in Imo and Kogi states.

It also forecasted that there would be an incessant pattern of voter inducement as seen in the just concluded general elections.

The statement reads:

“Yiaga Africa received reports of voter inducement through the distribution of gift items and wire (money) transfers by the political actors.

“Specifically, Yiaga Africa received reports of money and food items distribution by party supporters Ezinihitte and Onuimo LGAs in Imo State.”

Recommendation to INEC, security agencies and other stakeholders

Yiaga Africa has advised the INEC to rectify operational deficiencies from past elections, particularly by ensuring the timely distribution of election materials to all polling stations.

The group has also emphasized the importance of effective communication between INEC and stakeholders on election day, including transparently addressing challenges and outlining immediate plans to instil confidence in the electoral process.

Furthermore, the organization has called on political parties, candidates, and their supporters to engage in peaceful campaigns leading up to and on election day.

It urges them to avoid activities such as vote-buying and compromising the secrecy of the ballot.

Deployment of observers

Meanwhile, Yiaga Africa disclosed the deployment of 659 duly trained and accredited stationary and roving observers to oversee the Governorship election in three states.

In its pre-election report, Yiaga Africa said:

“This will involve deploying 600 stationary observers to a representative randomly selected sample of 300 polling units for each of these 2 states.

“In addition to the PRVT methodology, Yiaga Africa will deploy 9 observers in Bayelsa State to observe the process and LGA results collation.”

Bayelsa, Imo, Kogi guber polls: Nigerian women still chasing 35% affirmative action

Meanwhile, the upcoming gubernatorial elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi states have again missed an opportunity to produce women with leadership roles.

This pattern echoes the discouraging trends observed in the previous general election and the composition of President Bola Tinubu’s cabinet.

The Nigeria Women Trust Fund (NWTF) is urging the government to actively prioritise and embrace the inclusion of women in key decision-making positions.