The TMG conducted a Quick Count as part of its overall observation of the 2015 presidential elections. The Quick Count is an advanced observation methodology that employs well established statistical principles and sophisticated information technology. Quick Counts, also known as Parallel Vote Tabulations (PVTs), provide the most timely and accurate information on the conduct of voting and counting and is the only observation methodology that can independently verify the accuracy of official election results.
TMG undertook the Quick Count to provide voters, candidates, political parties, and INEC with independent information about whether the official results for the presidential election truly reflect the ballots cast at polling units. If INEC’s official results fall within TMG’s estimated range then the public, political parties and candidates should have confidence that the official results reflect the ballots cast at polling units. If the official results don’t reflect the ballots cast, TMG will expose it.
2015 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS: THE QUICK COUNT METHODOLOGY
The Quick Count for the 2015 Presidential Election involved deploying citizen observers to a representative random sample of 1,507 polling units at which there are 849,460 registered voters. There are sampled polling units in every geopolitical zone, every state and 774 Local Government Area (LGA) of the Country. The sample is carefully constructed by a trained statistician to ensure every geopolitical zone, state and LGA of the Country is included proportionally in the sample. The number of sampled polling units and registered voters in that geopolitical zone, state or LGA. For example, South west geopolitical zone has 20.6% of all polling units in the Country (24,683 of 119,979) and 20.6% of polling units in the Quick Count sample (310 of 1,5070) are in South West. Similarly North West has 25.6% of all registered voters (17,620,728 of 68,845,062) and 25.5% of the registered voters in the Quick Count sample (217,011 of 849,460) are in North West.
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
Ladies and Gentlemen, TMG’s Quick Count estimates and INEC’s official results clearly show that MUhammadu Buhari of the All Progressive Congress (APC) received the most votes and Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) received the second most votes and that all other candidates only received a very small number of votes. TMG’s Quick Count also confirms that the APC and PDP presidential candidates attained “not less than one-quarter of the votes cast… in each of at least two-thirds of all the States in the federation and Federal Capital Territory” as required by the Nigerian Constitution.
According to INEC, APC received 53.9% of the vote while TMG’s Quick Count estimates that APC received 59.4% (+/-2.3%) of the presidential vote. Similarly, INEC’s figures show PDP received 45.0% of the vote while TMG’s Count estimates that PDP received 39.2% (+/-2.2%) of the presidential vote. Therefore TMG confidently verifies the accuracy of the official results for the presidential election based on the independent collection of official results from sampled polling units.
INEC’s official result for APC and PDP do not fall within the margin of error of the TMG’s Quick Count estimates. This does not invalidate the official results as announced by INEC as both INEC and TMG’s Quick Count show the same national voting pattern and both clearly show APC receiving the largest number of votes. In addition, for 31 of the 36 states and the FCT INEC’s official results are consistent with TMG’s Quick Count estimates.
However, TMG’s Quick Count estimates strongly suggest that turnout was inflated during the collation process in the South-South. The official turnout figures for five geopolitical zones are consistent with TMG’s estimated turnout for South-South is 40.6% (+/-4.5%). Thus official turnout in South-South was likely inflated during the collation process by at least 10.8%.
TMG’s Quick Count shows that in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, and Rivers states the official turnout figures were inflated. For Cross Rivers and Edo the INEC official turnout figures are consistent with TMG’s Quick Count estimates.
At over 95% of polling units voters were able to cast their ballots. However, TMG citizen observers also reported a limited number of places, predominantly in the South-South, where the election started, but were never completed due to problems such as card reader malfunction and violence. While it is regrettable that some Nigerians were unable to vote, the votes from these polling units would not have affected the outcome of the presidential election given the margin of victory. As a result, all candidates and parties should accept the presidential results.
TMG calls on the winning candidate and party as well as their supporters to be magnanimous in victory. For those candidates who did not win, we urge them to accept the results because they reflect the votes cast. TMG calls upon all candidates, all parties and all Nigerians to show political maturity and to maintain the peace during the political transition as committed to by both leading presidential candidates in the two recently signed Abuja Peace Accords. According TMG commends President Goodluck Jonathan for taking the bold initiative of congratulating Muhammadu Buhari on his victory.
Steps should be taken to ensure a smooth and peaceful transition of power. This will be Nigeria’s first democratic transition from an incumbent president to an opposition political party candidate. This is an important milestone in the democratization of our country. All Nigerians, regardless of the party they support, should be proud of this accomplishment. In the absence of any legal translational provisions of this nature, TMG recommends that Nigeria draws from best practices around the world to initiate a smooth and peaceful transition and ensure the handover of power on May 29, 2015.
At the same time, the election cycle is not yet over. TMG calls INEC to immediately investigate the inflation of turnout figures during the collation process from Akwa-ibom, Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers. If this was a deliberate attempt to subvert the vote of the Nigerian people, then those responsible must be held accountable.
TMG urges INEC to take all necessary steps to address the logistical challenges that once again plagued the delivery of materials and deployment of staff to polling units as well as to resolve the issues with the ability of the card readers to reliably verify voter fingerprints in a reasonable amount of time.