The conduct of the recently concluded 2023 Presidential and National Assembly elections in Nigeria, has continued to generate angry reactions among many Nigerians.
The declaration of results of the Presidential poll in favour of Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, APC, after the independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, reportedly failed to upload the results from the various polling units on the commission’s IRev portal in line with the INEC Guidelines for the 2023 general elections, precipitated tension, criticisms and discontent among millions of Nigerians who had hitherto put so much hope in the four-year-old preparation and arrangements put together by the commission.
Prominent citizens and civil society organizations including former president, Okusegun Obasanjo, who issued a statement expressing dismay at the performance of INEC. Obasanjo is not the only prominent Nigerian who carpeted INEC’s performance. A former governor of Anambra State, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, and Ex-Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, faulted the commission’s manual transmission of results as opposed to electronic transmission using the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, provided for the purpose.
According to a coalition of Civil Society Organizations, “More significantly, and with grave worry, we observe INEC’s inability to quickly update the iRev Portal for citizens to monitor poll results, despite the huge expectations raised by INEC in that regard.
Many Nigerians insist that it was this obvious dereliction of duty in not quickly updating the iREV Portal by INEC, significantly affected the result of the last Saturday’s polls.
This sad development appears to be faith of Nigerians every four years that the commission conducts elections.
In 2015, INEC introduced the card reader device that it said, would eliminate electoral fraud. At the end of the day, that particular election ended as anything but credible.
The 2019 general elections ended up like the previous ones. A major controversy over the use of a Server in the collation of results propped up, with INEC officially denying ever using the server in the transmission of results. What happened in the courts after, are now history.
The widespread condemnation of the conduct of last Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections seem to have derived from the prevailing socio-economic challenges starring the citizens in the face and the earnest yeaning of the masses of Nigeria for a new order in the leadership of the country.
The questions remain: when will elections conducted by INEC reflect the will of the Nigerian electorates? How long will billions of naira invested in the nation’s quadrennial elections end up without meeting the expectations of the people?
We are persuaded that going forward, there should be a thorough overhaul of the commission and the Electorate Act 2022.as Amended, to make for the deployment of sophisticated technology and complete electronic voting that produces accurate results in real time during subsequent elections. The continues practice or resort to manual collation after voting by INEC, should be completely outlawed.
The statements credited to the commission’s chairman, Mamood Yakubu, and some ruling party officials asking aggrieved candidates and political parties to go to court rather than condemn the process, is at best unpatriotic and self-serving. Truth remains that continues flawed polls invariably portend backlashes for the nation’s socio-economic and political stability.