The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has dismissed media reports that it has discarded the electronic transmission of election results.
An earlier report had quoted INEC’s National Commissioner and Chairman of its Information and Voter Education Committee, Barrister Festus Okoye as saying that the collation of results of the 2023 general elections would be done manually despite the adoption of electronic transmission of results
The report added Okoye stressed that the commission would transmit results from polling units to its result-viewing portal (IReV), as witnessed in recent offseason elections, but explained that the Electoral Act was clear on how collation should be done.
Okoye was quoted to have said: “There is a marked difference between the transfer/transmission of results and the collation of results. Section 50(2) of the Electoral Act, 2022 gives the commission the absolute discretion to determine the mode and procedure of voting in an election and the transmission of election results.
“Sections 60 and 62 of the Electoral Act govern post-election procedure and collation of election results. Section 60(1) of the Act provides that the presiding officer shall, after counting the votes at a polling unit, enter the votes scored by each candidate in a form to be prescribed by the commission”.
But in a statement on Sunday, Okoye said INEC was not contemplating a revert to the manual process of result transmission. He explained that the confusion regarding what method has been adopted stems from a recent short interview granted to a national newspaper on the procedure for result management during elections.
According to him, “some have interpreted the explanation on result management procedure to mean that the Commission has jettisoned the electronic transmission of result and reverted to the manual process. This is not correct”.
He added, “for clarity, the procedure for result transmission remains the same as in recent governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun States. There will be no change in all future elections, including the 2023 general election”.
The INEC Commissioner reassured Nigerians that the electronic transmission of result has come to stay, adding that the method further boosts the credibility and transparency of the electoral process when citizens follow polling unit level results on the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal on real-time on Election Day.
“There will be no change or deviation in subsequent elections”, Okoye assured.
“The entire gamut of result management is provided for in Sections 60, 62 and 64 of the Electoral Act 2022. In line with the provision of the law, the Commission, in April this year, released a detailed clarification of the procedure for transmission, collation and declaration of result which was shared with all stakeholders and uploaded to our website”.
On behalf of INEC, appealed to all Nigerians to avail themselves of the provisions of the Electoral Act and the Commission’s detailed explanation of the procedure and not reach a conclusion on the basis of media headlines.
The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar had earlier cautioned INEC against manual collation of 2023 election results.
Abubakar’s spokesman, Barrister Daniel Bwala, said anything short of a credible election, which the electronic collation of results guarantees, would be rejected.
According to him collating the results manually is a rigging plot by the electoral umpire.
In a tweet, Bwala said:” The whole world is looking to Nigeria to deliver a free, fair and transparent election in 2023 consistent with the electoral law as amended. Anything short of that will be unacceptable”.
He added: “How can INEC apply the same electronic upload of results onto the viewing portal in Anambra, Edo, Ekiti and Osun States, which all worked perfectly fine, suddenly try to place reliance more on manual collation over the electronic uploads? What in law we call ‘consulting notice”.