The INEC’s honesty is being questioned due to the use of a manual voting system

As Nigeria prepares for the off-season elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi States, several citizens have voiced concerns about the legitimacy of the voting in those states.

This comes after INEC announced recently that it will be manually transmitting results from the upcoming governorship election in Bayelsa on November 11.

State INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner Mr. Obo Effanga reportedly informed religious leaders and faith-based organizations in Yenagoa of the commission’s decision during an interactive meeting, as reported by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) and cited by DAILY POST.

During the open forum, REC Effanga affirmed that INEC was prepared to hold free, fair, and credible elections and that only voters who had been accredited by BVAS would be permitted to cast ballots.

As soon as you’re handed a ballot, you can cast your vote.

The PVC collection period has entered its fourth week and will conclude on October 11th. He advised those voters who still haven’t picked up their IDs visit the INEC office in their respective county.

Many Nigerians have voiced their disapproval of the Commission’s decision and called it a major setback for the country.

DAILY POST recalls that INEC has already embraced electronic transmission of election results and successfully deployed the BVAS in Ekiti, Osun, and Anambra States. The Electoral Act of 2023 owes a great deal to the success of using technology in previous elections.

The Nigerian electoral commission has guaranteed the public that it will use electronic transmission of election results beginning with the 2023 general election. However, this did not occur throughout the presidential campaign.

However, recent judicial rulings have established that the commission has the authority to determine the method of transmitting election results.

According to the DAILY POST, the Federal High Court ruling requiring INEC to electronically upload results of governorship and State Assembly elections from the polling units straight to the Results Viewing Portal (IReV) has been overturned by the Court of Appeal, Lagos division.

Justices Abubakar Umar, Olukayode Bada, and Onyekachi Otisi, sitting on a three-person panel, ruled that INEC has broad discretion in deciding how to transfer or transmit election results.

Nonetheless, the Supreme Court is currently hearing petitions from Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP) presidential candidates Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, respectively, regarding the electronic transmission of election results.

Atiku and Obi claim that the INEC broke the law by not electronically transmitting the results of the election, despite having over N355 billion for the conduct of the 2023 presidential elections.

Both candidates found fault with INEC’s explanation that technological difficulties prevented results from being posted to the INEC Result Viewing, IReV, portal.

The INEC’s intention to manually transmit the results of the Guber election on November 11 has been criticized by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center (CSLAC).

The group claimed it was a last-ditch effort by politicians to influence voters’ choices.

In addition, they claimed that they thought an election’s honesty and legitimacy relied on how open and fast the results were transmitted.

Executive Director of CSLAC Auwal Rafsanjan expressed his deep concern over the situation in an interview with Arise Television’s News show on Monday.

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”Whoever is behind this attempt to return us to analogue voting, it’s simply apparent they didn’t wish for us to have transparent, free, fair, and trustworthy elections,” Rafsanjani said.

He stressed that the electoral body and the administration should rise to the occasion in light of widespread public and international concern over a small number of power-hungry individuals.

He claims that the Nigerian government invested billions of naira towards integrating technology into the country’s electoral process, and that the public has come to appreciate the benefits of doing so.

According to him, this is a major worry for everyone who wants democracy to thrive in the United States. Free and fair elections are crucial to maintaining Nigeria’s democratic system.

The use of state power to prevent free, fair, and honest elections in Nigeria is an attack on democracy.

Many Nigerians are still struggling to make ends meet, and they haven’t seen the dividend of democracy yet because it’s been “hijacked” by people who don’t want credible elections in their nation.

Therefore, they are actively working against any effort at transparency that may give the Nigerian people faith in their election system.

For instance, the Nigerian government invested billions of naira towards using technology in the country’s voting system. The use of technology in our voting process has also proven its worth.

”All of a sudden, those people who are anxious to take power start making desperate efforts that all the billions of naira we have spent to install technology are squandered,” the president said.

I think it sends a very clear message that those people didn’t want Nigerians to have a solid democracy; didn’t want Nigerians to have a free, fair, and credible election; and didn’t want Nigerians to participate in the electoral process in the country if someone is now trying to draw us back after a huge success that we have made to ensure that we minimise rigging and double voting and want us to come back and do manual election.

We do not have the necessary democracy or stabilization in the electoral process because of fraudulent elections and electoral violence caused by these manipulations by some desperate politicians and their collaborators in other government institutions.

To assure Nigerians that INEC will deliver on its promise of holding free, fair, and credible elections using technology to eliminate multiple voting and ensure electronic transmission of results, it took civil society organizations, particularly transition monitoring groups, to mobilize the population.

To paraphrase one politician: “At the end of the day, we are now seeing what desperate politicians, desperate government officials are doing, wasting public tax payers’ money to get back to an analogue process which is easy for them to influence and hijack the process.

Whoever is driving the push to bring back paper ballots clearly doesn’t want us to have free, fair, and legitimate elections, in my opinion.

And it means a lot of people in Nigeria would be turned off from voting because they already feel that the country isn’t doing what it said it would to ensure free, fair, and credible elections.

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Concern from Nigerians and the world community has prompted calls for action from the electoral authority and the administration. A minority of power-hungry individuals who seek it just for their own ends cannot force us to abandon our digital advancements and revert to analogue methods.

Equally unpopular among Nigeria’s pro-democracy civil society groups is the idea of manually compiling election results.

The groups urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to guarantee fast and accurate election results and transparency in the conduct of the governorship election in Bayelsa State on November 11.

After a meeting in Abuja, the Campaign for Democracy (CD) National Secretary Olufemi Lawson and Atani John of the Niger Delta Democratic Vanguard made their position clear in a communique they both signed.

The transparency of the electoral process, including the correct and timely transmission of results, is crucial to the integrity and credibility of any election, say civil groups.

The coalition issued the following statement: “Recall that Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had on Wednesday announced it intended to send results of the November 11 Bayelsa governorship election manually. This information was released by the State’s REC, Mr. Obo Effanga.

Abolishing electronic transmission of results would damage voters’ confidence in the electoral process, as well as that of Nigerians and the world community.

Electoral fraud is minimized, accountability is increased, and the public receives more accurate and timely results because to technological advancements in the transmission of election data. It improves the openness of the voting procedure and lessens the chances of tampering with the results at different points.

We call on INEC to preserve the ideals of openness and accountability in the upcoming Bayelsa State Governorship Election and ask them to rethink their proposal.

We urge INEC to keep up and improve electronic transmission of results for the sake of the electoral process’s legitimacy.

Good Governance Advocacy Group (GGAG), another civil organization, shared similar worries.

In a statement released by GGAG’s Coordinator Godwin Ebiware, the group expressed surprise at the lack of an explanation from INEC’s Commissioner for the decision to manually compile results.

“The Federal Government spent billions of naira to secure the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV), but out of a hidden agenda by the political parties in Bayelsa, in connivance with the Independent National Electoral Commission, it has decided to abandon the electronic transmission of the November 11 election results in real-time,” Ebiware said.

In an interview with DAILY POST, Dada Olayinka Olabode, spokesman for the Forum of State Chairmen of the NNPP, characterized the INEC’s decision as an attempt to mislead Nigerians.

Olabode claimed that INEC under Prof. Mahmood Yakubu had no plausible explanation for the failure to implement a component of the election system that had been pushed for by the people and legislated for by the National Assembly.

The governorship election in Bayelsa and other staggered elections in Imo and Kogi should be transmitted in real time, he asked Nigerians to advocate.

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He remarked, “The credibility of the process is the most important thing in any election, anywhere in the world.”

The processes, protocols, logistics, personnel, and final tallying of any election’s results all come first.

Without the voters, there would be no election. People choose their leaders based on their own preferences. Therefore, the people’s interest should be the primary concern.

When INEC spends a lot of money on equipment that can transmit the results of an election in real time, and then discards it in favor of the same manual process that was plagued by irregularities, complaints, and litigations in the past, it can be expected to dampen the spirits of the people.

Why did we have to squander public money on acquiring these technology that would have prevented allegations of irregularities and also litigations that cost so much money and bring bad blood into our communities and society as a result of the non credible conduct of elections?

“INEC under Prof Mahmood Yakubu cannot be blamed for the credibility of our electoral system’s preparations, which cost tens of billions of naira.”

You may remember that the failure to transfer election results was a major source of frustration for Nigerians after the previous general election in 2023. What exactly was the INEC’s justification for this? INEC admitted there were problems.

We’re about to have stargard elections in the United States; have those problems been fixed? This is quite discouraging.

Since elections are held at polling places, “I will advise that whatever makes the INEC not to be able to transmit electronic election results in real time so that citizens will monitor results as it leaves their polling unit” has undermined the integrity of the election.

According to Labour Party Presidential Campaign Council (LP-PCC) spokesperson Yunusa Tanko, the LP will uphold the law and do what is best for the people if elected.

According to Tanko, there may be yet another problem with the process because the INEC has resorted to the old approach, which is unacceptable.

Because the Electoral Act does away with this particular manual transmission in order to legitimize the election, we may have to fight that stance.

The INEC’s return to the old method suggests there may be another problem with this procedure, which is unacceptable.

You are aware that we are still appealing that decision at the Supreme Court level.

When we feel our rights have been violated, we typically file lawsuits in court to stop what we know to be illegal practices.

And while the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had told Nigerians that they would be just and fair in all that they did, some of the issues we had with them stemmed from the processes or methods by which the election was conducted. They failed to deliver on their commitment, unfortunately.

So, as far as we, the democratic majority, are concerned, we will adhere to the rule of law and order. The proper procedures will be followed, and the right thing will be done for the people.

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