In November 2022, Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), gave assurances during a press briefing in Abuja that election results from polling units across the country would be uploaded in real time to the commission’s portal.
During the briefing, Yakubu also stated that the 2023 general election would be better than every election before it.
“On this note, let me seize this opportunity to respond to a story emanating from a section of the media that the commission has decided to jettison the uploading of polling unit level results in real-time on election day,” Yakubu said.
“It should please be disregarded as fake news. The commission will upload polling unit level results and citizens will have access to those results in real-time as we upload your polling units.
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“This innovation was introduced by the commission and the commission can not turn around and undermine itself. So, this technology has come to stay. We will upload polling unit level results from the polling units and citizens would have the right to view these results.
“After all, who are we serving? The citizens. How can we deprive the citizens from having access to the results of the process conducted by them at the level of polling units.
“So, I welcome you to the commission and I want to assure you and reassure you that the 2023 general election is going to be our best ever elections.
“We are committed and that the votes cast by Nigerians will determine the outcome of the election [sic]. Nothing more, nothing less.”
The commission, however, failed to make good its promise, as results from polling units were not uploaded to its portal in real time.
This led to agents representing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Labour Party (LP) and other parties staging a walkout at the national collation centre on Monday.
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Before the walkout, the agents accused the commission of not keeping to its promise, alleging that the entire result collation process had been compromised. In addition to these agitations, the agents also called for the cancellation of the entire exercise.
In its own defence, the commission, through its chairman, asked the aggrieved parties to present facts showing that the results that were being read by the commission were different from the results collated.
He, however, failed to give reasons results were not uploaded to the commission’s portal as promised.
Meanwhile, Olusegun Obasanjo, a former president of Nigeria, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to cancel elections where freedom and fairness were threatened on February 25.
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The International Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI) Joint Election Observation Mission (IEOM), led by Joyce Banda, a former President of Malawi, has also stated that a lack of transparency and inadequate communication by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) during the elections created confusion and eroded voters’ trust in the electoral process.
In its own report, the European Union Election Observation Mission to Nigeria (EU EOM) revealed that a lack of transparency in the 2023 general election deflated public trust in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
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