Presidential Election: Manual Upload OF Result Casts Doubt On Polls Integrity – Radio Discussants

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been urged to learn the essential lessons from their failure to conduct a “seamless and transparent” 2023 presidential election as outcry by Nigerians persist over the manual upload of results.

INEC had failed to transmit results electronically from polling units nationwide in the February 25 presidential election despite assuring electorates before the election day. Logistics glitches, violence, intimidation of voters, ballot box-snatching, and insecurity dominated reports from observers and civil society groups.

Speaking during PUBLIC CONSCIENCE, an anti-corruption radio programme produced by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, PRIMORG, Wednesday in Abuja, Data Analyst at Dataphyte Dennis Amata called on INEC to prevent a repeat of logistics and technology glitches, as well as other forms of electoral malpractice ahead of March 11, state elections.

Amata asked the Prof. Mahmood Yakubu-led commission to adhere to its guidelines and ensure the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and INEC Result Viewing Portal (IREV) works. Noting that the failure of the electoral body to transmit election results from polling units cast doubt on the credibility of the process.

The candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was declared the winner of the February 25 presidential poll, sparking outrage and dissatisfaction from some political parties, some local and foreign observers, and some electorates over the manual transmission of results.

Dennis Amata

He said: “INEC must take a big lesson from what we experienced in the general election, which are issues of logistics, the IREV particularly is the major thing.

“INEC must ensure that things work. You (INEC) made a promise. They must keep to that promise. You have regulations and guidelines. Follow the guideline, ensure that the BVAS work properly, and transmit and scan the result uploaded on the IREV so that people at every level can track the result from each level to the final point.

“INEC must also boost security, especially in Lagos state where we had violence in the election. In Rivers also, there were issues of rigging and all of that. Those are comments we have seen. This must also stop. INEC must play its part. Citizens also have their role when voting, counting and ensuring the result is uploaded.

“Some of the issues we observed cast doubt on the election’s credibility. One of them would be the INEC Result Viewing (IREV) portal, where everybody who has access to the platform is supposed to know the result of polling units down to the state collation center and the national collation center. Unfortunately, we didn’t see that play out where for some reason, several hours after voting, there was no result on the IREV portal, and that for me was a big red flag,” Amata stated.

Similarly, speaking on the integrity and transparency of the 2023 presidential election, Chief Facilitator at Equity Advocate, Ene Ede stressed that “many things went wrong” while blaming INEC and the National Assembly for the failure of the commission to conduct credible elections.

Her words: “We (Civil society organizations) and Nigerians didn’t do enough to hold all stakeholders accountable, media CSOs, faith organizations, we didn’t do enough.

Presenters interacting with guest during the radio program.

“Let me give you an example. When there was a problem with whether INEC had gotten money, we were not even pushy enough; we were not holding the national assembly accountable enough. The national assembly has to bring so much light to each responsibility of holding all stakeholders accountable; they failed in all their functions, even in the appropriation; we are not sure what transpired or how much money was released because we know what the Electoral Act states, so generally, the preparation was not good enough. The failure rests more squarely on the National Assembly, then INEC.”

Ede hailed Nigerians for their enthusiasm to participate in the 2023 elections, describing ordinary Nigerians as “the heroes and heroines of democracy” in the 2023 presidential election, adding that young people showed patriotism, leadership, and followership qualities which we have never seen before.

She called on CSOs to rise and hold politicians and everybody accountable.

Nigerians who called into the radio programme expressed their dissatisfaction with the election process and faulted INEC for failure to upload election results in real-time.

On her part, PRIMORG’s Program Manager, Adaobi Obiabunmuo, appealed to the Nigerians to remain calm, remain peaceful and eschew any act that can lead to a breakdown of law and order. She urged politicians to seek redress in court and abstain from inciting their followers.

From left: Data Analyst at Dataphyte, Dennis Amata; PRIMORG’s Program Manager and Media & Communications Officer, Adaobi Obiabunmuo and Chidozie Ogbonnaya.

Public Conscience is a syndicated weekly anti-corruption radio program used by PRIMORG to draw government and citizens’ attention to corruption and integrity issues in Nigeria.

The program has the support of the MacArthur Foundation.

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