In performing its role as the watchdog of the society, THE WHISTLER, a frontline Nigerian newspaper, has written to the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, seeking clarification on how the umpire plans to collate and transmit results of the governorship and state assembly elections taking place on Saturday.
The newspaper’s Editor, Tajudeen Suleiman, made the inquiry in a Freedom of Information Act letter acknowledged by INEC on Tuesday.
According to Suleiman, the FoI request was necessitated by the controversy that trailed INEC’s failure to transmit results of the February 25, 2023 presidential election to its dedicated result viewing portal accessible to the public, as mandated in its “Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections, 2022” released in June 2022.
Section 38 of the 37-page document instructs that INEC shall “Use the BVAS (Bimodal Voter Accreditation System machine) to upload a scanned copy of the EC8A (signed result sheets) to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV), as prescribed by the Commission.”
But INEC failed to comply with this provision, thereby resulting in several protests against the commission over the outcome of the presidential election.
In the FoI, THE WHISTLER noted that “As stakeholders in the Nigerian project, we hereby request for INEC’s exact stand and protocol for the collation and transmission of election results during the March 11, 2023 Governorship and State Assembly elections.”
The newspaper added, “Pursuant to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 together with decisions of superior courts of record that are binding on INEC, we respectfully request the following specific information:
“1. What is the procedure for voting and collation of results?
“2. What MODE would INEC adopt for the transmission of results on March 11, 2023 from the PUs to the collation centers.
“It will be immensely appreciated if we receive your response and the information requested made available to us as soon as possible.”
THE WHISTLER recalls that during his meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) a few days ago, Yakubu did not speak specifically on why INEC failed to transmit results of the presidential election to the portal known as the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV).
He also didn’t speak emphatically on what the commission has done to prevent a repeat of the challenges experienced with the presidential election during the governorship and state assembly elections.
“On Election Day technology, the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) will once again be deployed for voter accreditation and result management. The deployment of BVAS has gone a long way to sanitise voter accreditation as can be seen from the result of recent elections. Since last week, the Commission has intensified the review of the technology to ensure that glitches experienced, particularly with the upload of results are rectified. We are confident that going forward the system will run optimally,” the INEC boss told the RECs.