I can confidently say that the days of wanton manipulation of election results in Nigeria are over. Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu has said.
The INEC boss said the breakthrough came with the new Electoral Act 2022, which empowered the Commission to adopt electronic means for both accreditation and results management, explaining that the persistence of the commission on electoral issues, particularly in the management of results are now well-expressed in the extant legal framework, administrative procedures and technological innovations introduced in recent times by the commission.
Yakubu stated this Friday in Abuja while delivering a keynote address on the occasion of the release
of the Yiaga Africa report on the Election Result Analysis Dashboard [ERAD].
According to him, the commission
armed with an improved electoral act, administrative procedures and requisite technology have increased the transparency and confidence of the public in its election result management processes.
“Yet, the commission is not resting on its oars, knowing that it must remain several steps ahead of those who seek to undermine the system. The importance of IReV to the transparency of result management is obvious. I call on all stakeholders to support the commission to continue to work to improve IReV and the entire result management system towards the 2023 General Election, which will be far more extensive than what we have done so far.
“Over the years, INEC has realised that efficient and transparent result management is at the heart of public trust, peaceful elections and the growth and consolidation of our democracy.
“The commission has been resolute about this and invested enormous time, thinking and resources to improving the results management system. Working with other agencies and organizations, the commission has strived to use legal enactments to improve the handling of results, invested in technology and introduced several transparency enhancement procedures.
“It is, therefore, germane to say that tenacity, technology and transparency have been at the heart of INEC’s steady improvement of results management.
“I commend Yiaga Africa and Channels television for taking this bold step. But I hope that you know that this is only the beginning. However, be assured that the commission will remain your partner all the way.
“We also encourage other organisations to partner with INEC on this or other aspects of the electoral process and to assure you of our willingness to collaborate towards making our electoral process what we all aspire to make it, which are participatory, secure, transparent, credible and verifiable.”
Also Speaking, Yiaga Executive Director, Samson Itodo, explained that the ERAD was embedded within the election-day broadcast of Channels Television by tracking results from the polling units based on the commission’s own published results.
Itodo said the ERAD operates as an independent audit and integrity test assessment tool for INEC’s election results management.
He went on: “The ERAD was piloted in the governorship election in Ekiti and also used in Osun where all the results were downloaded from the iReV portal and 95 percent and 97 percent of the polling unit results were analysed and visualized respectively.
“Millions of Nigerians across the globe followed the Channels TV broadcast as the ERAD was the only platform that provided real-time visualised data of the election results.
“Secondly, INEC’s IReV recorded huge traffic due to the publicity it gained from the ERAD. The ERAD has been acknowledged by key election stakeholders like INEC, political parties and media houses as a unique innovation for promoting the credibility of the results management process.
“The implementation of ERAD also provided important feedback on how the transparency of election result management can be improved.
“Generally speaking, this will require an amendment and update of the regulations and guidelines for elections and manual for election officials, enhancement of the technological infrastructure for the IReV to improve its processing power and protect the portal against hybrid cyber threats and strategic and consistent stakeholders’ engagement.
“Specific recommendations include INEC increasing the capacity of polling unit officials on result transmission, ballot paper accounting as well as the capturing of polling unit results using the BVAS. This will specifically address the capacity deficits resulting to upload of incorrect or incomplete forms and blurry images.”