The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Sunday issued a statement to clarify the Commission’s position on the procedure of transmitting elections result in the 2023 elections.
The Commission feared that the statement made by one of her officials in an interview granted to a national newspaper on election management was misread by the public; and in the process set a condition of doubt about the Commision’s preparedness to delivering free and fair elections in the 2023.
Some section of the public believe that the electoral umpire may, afterall, not be as independent as it ought to be, or as it claims to be. They believe the electoral commission has set in place a veiled plan to support a specific candidate in the presidential election.
This observation was heightened by the recent postings in the Commission which saw the redeployment of a certain IT expert in the Commission to another department, and this consequently set the public antenna to an alert mode – based on this preconceived belief that the INEC may have a sinister plan to truncate the expected fairness of the elections. It is against this background that the statement from the INEC official on the manual collation of the election result process was frowned at by many who considered that the commissioned may have been compromised.
However, the statement by INEC to clarify the issue is a welcome development, said Mr. Samuel Agbabiaka, a political scientist. “INEC clarification is timely and necessary. The 2023 election, to Nigerians, is a great opportunity for Nigerians to give a score card of the parties and their candidates, especially the presidential candidates. It is going to be a watershed of an election; and Nigerians are fully alert. That is why every statement, and every move, by INEC and other government functionaries are interrogated, to ensure nobody plays a fast one on Nigerians. We are watching,” he said.
Meanwhile, in the official statement issued by Festus Okoye, INEC National Commission and Chairman on Information and Voter Education Committee, he assured Nigerians that the transmission process would be the same as used in the now applauded Ekiti state and Osun state elections. The use of technology, and the electronic transfer to the INEC server will still be upheld.
He assured Nigerians that the “electronic transmission of results has come to stay. It adds to the credibility and the transparency of the process when citizens follow polling unit level of results on the INEC Result viewing (iReV) portal on real-time on Election Day. There will be no change or deviation in subsequent elections,” he concluded.