Voter registration documents seen by Guardian in the United Kingdom on eve of election raise fears of mass rigging
The number of new voters registered in Nigeria since January 2018 has increased by almost exactly the same percentage in each of its states, according to documents seen and analysed by the Guardian, raising fears that the results of Saturday’s presidential election could be open to mass rigging.
Voters in the country will choose between the incumbent Muhammadu Buhari, and his main rival Atiku Abubakar, and more than 70 other candidates.
Since the last presidential election in 2015, many more people have become eligible to vote, and many others have registered to take part in the polls for the first time, according to a report by the UK Guardian.
About 10 million new voters signed up between January 2018 and early 2019 – according to data released by the Independent National Electoral Commission– twice the number that signed up in the first nine months of registration, between April 2017 and January 2018.
But analysis of the data for each of the country’s 36 states and its capital shows that INEC has increased the number of new registered voters by almost exactly the same percentage across all states. The correlation is a “statistical impossibility” and does not reflect Nigeria’s demographic changes, according to data analysts working with the Guardian. Additional data seen by the Guardian also shows irregularities in registration for the 2015 election, until now considered to have been free and fair.
On average, voter registration in each state increased by 2.2 per cent between April 2017 and January 2018, and by 7.7 per cent for the whole registration period ahead of Saturday’s election.
Plotted on a scatter line graph, there is a 0.99 correlation across all the states, without a single outlier. According to three separate data analysts, the parity cannot be a coincidence.
“Only God works that closely,” one analyst said. If some of the new voters registered are fake it would imply meddling at the electoral commission, though it is unclear whether it would be the ruling party or the opposition that would stand to benefit.
Saturday’s election is seen as a referendum on Buhari’s first term, which has been marred by his prolonged absence due to illness, a weak economy, and the government’s failure to effectively tackle corruption and insecurity.