Abuja, Nigeria —Tension is palpably high across the country as Nigerians await results of the presidential and the national assembly elections, over 24 hours after time was called in on the exercise.
But the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has assured the Nigerian people that the process of collation and announcement would be transparent, even as INEC has explained that the challenges the commission was encountering with the transmission of results was not due to sabotage of its system.
This, nonetheless, INEC has conducted election into the remaining 141 polling units in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State the presidential and national assembly elections were rescheduled, just as more and more results in the presidential and legislative elections had started to come in.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has weighed in on the controversies trailing weekend’s presidential and national assembly elections in some states, cautioning the INEC and security agencies against colluding to subvert people’s will.
Yakubu, who allayed fears of manipulation, said during one of his briefings yesterday, that everything concerning the collation of the results and announcement would be done that in the open at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
However, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, in a statement said the Commission was aware of challenges with the INEC Results Viewing Portal (IReV).
The commission noted that unlike in the off-season elections, where the portal was used, it has been relatively slow and unsteady, stressing that the Commission regretted the setback, especially, because of the importance of IReV in its results management process.
“The problem is totally due to technical hitches related to scaling up the IReV from a platform for managing off-season, state elections, to one for managing nationwide general election. It is indeed not unusual for glitches to occur and be corrected in such situations.
“Consequently, the Commission wishes to assure Nigerians that the challenges are not due to any intrusion or sabotage of our systems, and that the IReV remains well-secured,” he said.
While further assuring the people that its technical team was working assiduously to solve all the outstanding problems, he added that the users of the IReV would have noticed improvements since last night.
His words: “We also wish to assure Nigerians that results from the Polling Units, copies of which were issued to political parties, are safe on both the BVAS and the IReV portal.
“These results cannot be tampered with and any discrepancy between them and the physical results used in collation will be thoroughly investigated and remediated, in line with Section 65 of the Electoral Act 2022.”
The commission said while it fully appreciated the concerns of the public on this situation and welcomed various suggestions that it had received from concerned Nigerians, it was important to avoid statements and actions that could heat up the polity at this time or promote disaffection towards the Commission.
The commission, therefore, accepted full responsibility for the problems and regretted the distress they might have caused the candidates, political parties and the electorate.
Meanwhile the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has weighed in on the controversies trailing the presidential and National Assembly elections in some states, and cautioned INEC and security agencies against colluding to subvert the people’s will.
Addressing alleged complicity by INEC officials to scuttle the election and unleash violence, NLC urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately call the leadership of the commission to order.
In a statement by the NLC President, Comrade Joe Ajaero, the labour movement asked INEC to reject election results from Lagos State following reluctance by the Resident Electoral Officer in charge to transmit the BVAS reports for the presidential election to the official INEC Servers.
NLC said the commission should not only reject the result but ensure that those responsible be prosecuted.
“This is completely unacceptable and we want INEC to ensure that any cooked result from any REC is not only rejected but the offenders be made to face the full weight of the law.
“INEC must understand that not uploading the results to its Server expeditiously as expected creates avoidable crisis of confidence and imperils the entire process. We continue to express our deep concerns over the apparent manipulation of results in Lagos and Rivers States and demand that the real results as captured by the BVAS be uploaded without fail,” Labour stated.
In the statement titled: “Is INEC subverting Nigeria?”, NLC said it, “feels compelled to warn INEC and the Security agencies of the dangers of subverting the sovereign will. We warn INEC and others not to allow this election to degenerate into a national security crisis.
“This is avoidable and it is only by allowing the sovereign will prevail that we can guarantee national peace. The belief that it is going to be business as usual should be discountenanced as the tension since after the casting of votes should be enough signal to anybody planning a heist of the vote,” it said.
NLC said the commission must be seen as above board and acting within the ambits of the law and its guidelines.