Off-cycle election: Does INEC’s iReV show an over-voting of 174,183 votes in Adavi, Okehi and Okene LGAs of Kogi state?

Share

An image showing the analysis of over-voting in three local government areas of Kogi state has circulated on social media following the conclusion of the off-cycle governorship election held on November 11, 2023 in the state.

According to the viral image retrieved from a WhatsApp group, there was an over-voting of 174,183 votes in Adavi, Okehi, and Okene LGAs.

Part of the caption shared alongside the image read: “Don’t be panic, INEC has asked them to go and balance the result from the central as over voting was discovered.”

The WhatsApp broadcast message added, “See the analysis below from iREV: Total accredited voters 94,233. Over voting 174,183. The difference 79,950.”

Screenshot of the viral image retrieved from a WhatsApp group. INSERT: Mostly False verdict.

The image appears to have originated from members of the opposition parties, giving the impression that the data on INEC’s iReV indicates such an amount of over-voting in the three local government areas. The same image was shared on Facebook as can be seen here.

The INEC Result Viewing portal (IReV) is a platform created by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Nigeria to provide real-time transmission of election results from polling units to the central collation centre. It was designed to enhance the transparency of the electoral process and reduce the incidence of vote rigging and election manipulation.

Adavi, Okehi, and Okene LGAs are under Kogi Central, one of the three senatorial districts in Kogi State, where the governorship election was held on Saturday, November 11, 2023.

Hours after polling units were opened for voting across the state, reports emerged online that the election result sheets brought to some of the polling units were found to have been pre-filled. That sparked controversies with the electorate calling for the election umpire’s immediate action.

READ : Online misinformation trails Bayelsa, Imo, Kogi governorship polls

At 8 pm on the Election Day, INEC released a press statement where it disclosed the suspension of election in the “nine wards in Ogori/Magongo LGA (Eni, Okibo, Okesi, Ileteju, Aiyeromi, Ugugu, Obinoyin, Obatgben and Oturu).”

The Commission added that the other local government areas where related incidents were reported were being “thoroughly investigated, and the outcome, including the way forward, will be announced in the next 24 hours.”

“The Commission has received reports from our officials in Kogi State on incidences of electoral malpractices, particularly the incident of result sheets completed before voting.

“Reports indicate that the incidents occurred in Adavi, Ajaokuta, Ogori/Magongo, Okehi and Okene Local Government Areas. The most serious incidents occurred in Ogori/Magongo, affecting nine of 10 Registration Areas,” parts of the statement read.

However, results from across the polling units where the election was not suspended, were collated at the Kogi State collation centre on Sunday, November 12.

The candidate of the All Progress Congress (APC), Usman Ododo, was declared winner and returned elected with 446,237 votes. His closest rival was the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Murtala Ajaka, who polled 259,052 votes. Dino Melaye of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) came third with 46,362 votes.

 

CLAIM

iReV shows over-voting of 174,183 votes  in Adavi, Okehi, and Okene LGAs of Kogi state.

 

THE FINDINGS

Checks by this researcher show that the claim is MOSTLY FALSE.

Over-voting in an election is a situation whereby the total number of valid votes declared for a polling unit is higher than the number of accredited voters for that polling unit. This is captured in Section 51 of the Electoral Act 2022. Sub-sections 1 and 2 of the section state accordingly,  “No voter shall vote for more than one candidate or record more than one vote in favour of any candidate at any one election.

“Where the number of votes cast at an election in any polling unit exceeds the number of accredited voters in that polling unit, the Presiding officer shall cancel the result of the election in that polling unit.”

To confirm the veracity of the claim, this researcher checked the INEC’s result viewing portal, iReV, and assessed the uploaded results from the polling units across the three local government areas.

Form EC8A is the result sheet expected to be filled and uploaded to iReV by the Presiding Officer at the Polling Unit. While the form is already pre-filled with the details about the unit, ward, local government, and parties, the PO is required to manually fill in the figures of registered voters, accredited voters, ballot papers issued to the unit, unused ballot papers, spoiled ballot papers, total valid votes, and unused ballot papers. Also, there is a part of the sheet where the votes scored by each party are to be entered with the total of the valid votes.

On the iReV, the uploaded results are categorized by the polling units, wards, and local governments, with the number of accredited voters for each polling unit.

 

Voters’ Accreditation Data on iReV vs the figures on Form EC8As

The first observation made by this researcher was a notice below the voters’ accreditation figures on the iReV portal, which reads, “Please note that accreditation figures may not be final until synchronization is completed from the devices used in this location.”

This indicates that the number of accredited voters on iReV might not represent the actual figures for some polling units. Subsequent checks by this researcher proved that to be the case for numerous polling units in Adavi, Okehi, and Okene LGAs.

Adavi LGA comprises 11 wards/Registration Areas (RAs) with a total of 217 polling units (PUs). According to the portal, results for all the PUs have been uploaded. However, there were no accredited voters listed for five of the PUs on iReV. The number of accredited voters on iReV aligned with the figures on form EC8As for 22 PUs.

READ ALSO: Online misinformation trails Bayelsa, Imo, Kogi governorship polls

As for Okehi LGA, there are 11 wards and a total of 188 PUs. The portal shows that the results for 187 out of the 188 PUs have been uploaded. Nonetheless, there were no accredited voters for one PU on iReV. The number of accredited voters on iReV matched the figures on form EC8As for about 92 PUs.

Okene LGA has 11 wards with a total of 284 PUs. The portal indicates that the results for 274 out of the 284 PUs have been uploaded. However, there were no accredited voters listed for three PUs on iReV. The number of accredited voters on iReV corresponded with the figures on form EC8As for 6 PUs.

 

Accreditation Data on iReV Cleared 

While assessing the uploaded results on iReV, this researcher observed changes in the accreditation figures on the portal.

Meanwhile, INEC had explained in a statement issued to address the alleged manipulation of accreditation data for Kogi election on iReV, that “the most accurate and up-to-date Voters’ Accreditation Data is available in the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), which is used for the authentication and accreditation of registered voters at various polling units on Election Day. It automatically retains the accreditation data of all voters.”

According to the Commission, the BVAS was designed to work offline without Internet connectivity to aid a seamless accreditation experience for voters. The BVAS is said to automatically export the accreditation data to the Accreditation Backend System (ABS) when its application is in use or active, depending on the strength of its connection to the Internet.

To further justify the changes in the accreditation figures, the Commission explained, “This exportation of data does not happen when the device’s application is inactive or when the internet connectivity is poor. The same experience applies to a situation where more than one BVAS gadget is used at a polling unit with 1,250 registered voters.

Screenshot of Form EC8A for PU 002, Ward 3, Adavi LGA on IReV before the Voters’ accreditation data were cleared.
Screenshot of Form EC8A for PU 002, Ward 3, Adavi LGA on IReV before the Voters’ accreditation data were cleared.

“At the close of poll, Presiding Officers are expected to press the data exportation button on the BVAS to ensure that all the accreditation data are exported to the ABS. This process, referred to as synchronization and which is ongoing, could lead to changes in the accreditation figures as more data flow in to update the existing figures. This is the basis for the caveat provided on the iReV portal, regarding the accreditation figures. The accreditation data cannot be changed on the BVAS after the close of poll.”

However, at the time of filing this report, this researcher observed that the accreditation figures on iReV have been cleared.

Screenshot of Form EC8A for PU 002, Ward 3, Adavi LGA on IReV after the Voters’ accreditation data were cleared.
Screenshot of Form EC8A for PU 002, Ward 3, Adavi LGA on IReV after the Voters’ accreditation data were cleared.

Discrepancies in Voting Figures, Blank and Blurry Result Sheets, Other Notable Issues

This researcher observed that the total valid votes for all parties were wrongly calculated on Form EC8As for some polling units. Similarly, while some of the Form EC8As uploaded to the iReV portal were marked with cancellation, some were wrongly captured making them blurry and not visible.

Screenshot of a blurry Form EC8A uploaded to the iReV.
Screenshot of a blurry Form EC8A uploaded to the iReV.

Form EC60(E) was uploaded for three polling units. While an empty Form EC60(E) was uploaded for one of the PUs, the two others had filled sheets without voters’ accreditation figures even though the total valid votes on the sheets matched the accreditation figure on iReV.

Screenshot of Blank result sheet uploaded for PU 20, Ward 8, Okene LGA
Screenshot of Blank result sheet uploaded for PU 20, Ward 8, Okene LGA.

In Ward 2, Adavi LGA, the same Form EC8A was uploaded for PU 1 and PU 2. Also, for a polling unit in Ward 10, the number of accredited voters on the result sheet was higher than the number of registered voters for that unit.

Similarly, in PU 16, Ward 1, Okene LGA, the accreditation figure was higher than the number of registered voters on Form EC8A. 

 

Cases of Over-Voting

This researcher analyzed the information provided on the uploaded result sheets and found that there were some cases of over-voting in some polling units across the three local government areas.

Adavi LGA:

In PU 7, Ward 10, Adavi LGA, the Form EC8A uploaded indicates that the number of total valid votes was higher than the number of accredited voters for the unit.

OKEHI LGA:

The Form EC8As for PU 10, Ward 7, Okehi LGA, indicate that the number of total valid votes was higher than the number of accredited voters for the unit.

OKENE LGA:

In PU 4, Ward 1; PU 8, Ward 5; PU 11 and 19, Ward 7; and PU 3, Ward 8; the Form EC8As indicate that the number of total valid votes was higher than the number of accredited voters for the five units.

Polling Unit Ward/RA LGA No. of Accredited Voters on Form EC8A No. of Valid Votes on Form EC8A Difference
PU 007 Ward 10 Adavi 800 809 9
PU 010 Ward 7 Okehi 430 439 9
PU 004 Ward 1 Okene 370 380 10
PU 008 Ward 5 Okene 543 640 97
PU 011 Ward 7 Okene 363 840 477
PU 019 Ward 7 Okene 251 271 20
PU 003 Ward 8 Okene 1 600 599
Total 2758 3979 1,221

 

The above table shows the breakdown of some over-voting recorded in 7 polling units across Adavi, Okehi and Okene local government areas, according to the available information on the INEC’s iReV portal.

 

THE VERDICT

The claim that iReV shows over-voting of 174,183 votes in Adavi, Okehi, and Okene LGAs in Kogi state is MOSTLY FALSE; the assessment of available data on the result viewing portal revealed that the cases of over-voting recorded across the three LGAs were significantly below 2,000 votes.

 

 

* This fact-check was written by Raji Olatunji, a fellow of the ICIR’s Countering Misinformation and Promoting Media Literacy project, supported by the German Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria.

Website | + posts

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Most Read

Recent Checks