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Confusion over upcoming 2023 general election

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By Mercy Kelani

INEC assured Nigerians of an electronic transmission of election results.

Over the last three electoral cycles, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has consistently adopted the use of Technology to enhance and promote the credibility and safety of the electoral process in Nigeria. This method of electronic transmission of results was further intensified as a result of the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to public safety, necessitating an inevitable quantum rise in remote and indirect, rather than direct and physical interactions during the electoral process.

On August 21, 2022, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) assured Nigerians of the electronic transmission of the results of the 2023 general elections, clarifying that it has not discarded it for the manual process. The National Commissioner and Chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, affirmed that the process for result transmission for the upcoming general elections does not change and would be similar with that of the recent Governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun States.

A report quoted INEC as transmitting general election results manually.

The statement of the Chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee was a reaction to a report that quoted the commission as saying that the transmission of results of the 2023 general elections will be done manually notwithstanding the adoption of the electronic transmission of results. The report birthed diverse negative reactions from the public; the former Vice President and current Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, also reacted to the report.

Atiku, through his spokesman, Daniel Bwala, claimed that the Independent National Electoral Commission is establishing a setting that supports the rigging of the 2023 general election through the manual process of the collation of results. In response to the allegation, Okoye asserted that there would be no difference in all future elections, and the 2023 general election would not be an exception. He also clarified that the commission’s explanation on the procedure of result management was only misinterpreted.

Electronic transmission of results will breed transparency.

He further added that the electronic transmission of results contributes to the transparency and credibility of the electoral process given that citizens follow polling unit-level results on the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal in real time on the day of the election. Subsequent elections would also remain the same. Sections 60, 62 and 64 of the Electoral Act 2022, that was signed into law by the President on February 2, 2022, also provides the entire gamut of result management.

In addition, the commission, in April 2022, released a detailed clarification of the procedure for transmission, collation and declaration of results, in accordance with the provision of the law; the detailed clarification was shared with all stakeholders and was also uploaded to the commission’s website. All Nigerians are therefore urged by Okoye to get accustomed to the provisions of the Electoral Act and the detailed explanation of the commission concerning the procedure before reaching a conclusion.

The 2022 Electoral Act permits electronic transmission of election results.

The newly signed 2022 Electoral Act repeals the former Electoral Act No. 6, 2010 and is intended to bring innovations to the Regulation of Federal, State and Area Council elections in Nigeria. It also accepts the use of electronic devices such as smart card readers, electronic voting machines and other technological devices in the accreditation process for voters and in the general conduct of elections. It likewise permits the provision for electronic transmission of election results, in line with the procedure determined by the commission.


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