Nigeria election: Allegations of fraud emerge amid delays in count

Nigeria’s electoral commission is facing criticism over delays and allegations of fraud in the country’s presidential election, with demands for transparency and cancellation of non-credible results.


Image : Patrick Meinhardt/AFP

No winner has yet been announced in Nigeria’s presidential election, which took place on Saturday.

Despite modern technology being deployed in many parts of the process, from voter registration to voter accreditation and results management, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) faces mounting criticism over delays in the counting of votes and discrepancies in the results of the polls, including allegations of manipulation and fraud.

Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) are currently leading the race, with approximately 4.9m and 3.37m votes respectively, while Peter Obi’s Labour Party lags behind on 1.67m votes.

In some places voters were forced to wait until late Saturday evening or even Sunday to cast ballots after INEC experienced problems with identification technology.

On Tuesday, results from only 83,598 polling units out of the 176,846 across the country were available on the Commission’s brand-new online portal, IReV.

Accusations of fraud

Yesterday, former senator and national collation agent for the PDP, Dino Melaye, walked out of the National Collation Centre in Abuja – where votes are being counted – saying that the election was rigged in favour of the ruling APC.

“We are not here to rubber-stamp the electoral fraud that has been prepared by INEC and the APC,” Melaye declared.

The European Union Election Observation Mission to Nigeria – which was invited by INEC to provide an independent and impartial assessment of the electoral process – issued a preliminary statement yesterday, saying that although the election had been held on schedule, INEC’s lack of “transparency and operational failures reduced trust in the process and challenged the right to vote”.

Former president calls for rectifications

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has called upon incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari to “let all elections that do not pass the credibility and transparency test be cancelled and be brought back with areas where elections were disrupted for next Saturday,” in a statement released yesterday evening.

He also called on the chairman of INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, to rectify INEC’s errors of the last two days. “No BVAS, no result to be acceptable, and no upload through Server, no result to be acceptable,” he said. BVAS is the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System being used in the election.

Yakubu has nonetheless given assurances that final results will come out on Tuesday evening. He says that all complaints from political parties will be assessed, and that INEC’s IT team is working hard to publish live results on the IReV portal, as promised before the elections.

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Leo Komminoth

Leo is tech reporter for African Business, based in Dakar, and also works on data visualisations.