- Upload results that reflect peoples’ will – Nigerians in the Diaspora
Following the alleged irregularities which have continued to trail the Presidential and National Assembly elections that held February 25, Justice, Development and Peace Centre (JDPC), Lagos Archdiocese has charged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to make effective use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) device for timely uploading of the just held governorship and State House of Assembly elections results beyond accreditation of voters. Very Rev. Fr. Raymond Anoliefo, Director, Justice, Development and Peace Centre (JDPC), Archdiocese of Lagos and Church and Society, Lagos Ecclesiastical Province, in an exclusive chat with The Catholic Herald Weekly Newspaper urged INEC to adhere to critical provisions of the amended Electoral Act and address the challenges of BVAS. He advised INEC to ensure that all election results are timely uploaded through BVAS to INEC portal, to avoid repeat of manual collation of election results, as witnessed in the Presidential and National Assembly elections. The JDPC Director said, “INEC, as far as I’m concerned, had only one responsibility which they bungled at the first instance. I earnestly wish that INEC would restore the confidence Nigerians reposed in it. They must fulfill the promises made to Nigerians.
“The BVAS has to do what it was designed to do, which is, voter accreditation and transmission of results from the polling units in real-time.” He cited the Electoral Act 2022; “Section 60(5) of the Electoral Act 2022 provides that “The presiding officer shall transfer the results, including the total number of accredited voters and the results of the ballot in a manner prescribed by the Commission”. It is argued that the use of “shall” here, implies that the presiding officer must transmit the results as prescribed by the INEC Guidelines. “And subsection (6) says, “A presiding officer who willfully contravenes any provision of this section commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a fine not more than N500,000 or imprisonment for a term of at least six months.” “The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on June 3, 2022 released the Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections, 2022. The Regulations and Guidelines were issued according to Section 149 of the Electoral Act, 2022 and the Regulations and Guidelines supersede all previous regulations and/or guidelines on the conduct of elections, issued by the INEC. “Paragraph 38 of the Regulations and Guidelines, make electronic transmission of results and upload of results to IReV mandatory.
The paragraph requires that when voting and announcement of results have been completed at a polling unit, the Presiding Officer “(1) must Electronically transmit the result of the polling unit to INEC’s collation system; (2) Must use the BVAS to upload a scanned copy of the EC8A result sheet to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV); and (3) [must thereafter] Take the BVAS and the original copies of all forms in a tamper-evident envelope to the RA/Ward Collation officer in the company of security agents.” In a recent press conference held in Abuja, the Nigerians in Diaspora Organization (NIDO) advised INEC to ensure that the elections’ results in its portal reflect the will expressed by citizens. Dr. Kinsman Chikelu, Chairman, NIDO, said that members of the organisation came from different countries and continents to observe the election, based on the assurance that the election’s process would be credible. He lamented the inability of INEC to upload presidential election results from polling units to INEC Result View Portal (IReV) with Bimodal Voter Accreditation (BVAS) in real time, describing the incident as disappointing. “We as NIDO, in line with the communiqué issued few days after the elections on the stand of NIDO worldwide, we are here to reinforce our stand.
“We are saying categorically that the presidential election that was witnessed few days ago, organised by INEC was not free and fair to the standard that we expected. “Secondly, we are using this opportunity to call on INEC to upload the results and reflect the voting of Nigerians,” he said. Chikelu urged the judiciary to ensure that justice was served to all aggrieved parties before it, seeking redress on the election. “As the matter is already in court, we have said it clearly as civilised citizens of Nigeria living in the Diaspora, we have trust in our judicial system. “We are using this opportunity to extend our demand for the second time to the judiciary that they should not disappoint the entire Nigerians and say the law as it is. “The judiciary should do the needful and redeem the image of whatsoever transpired that day by bringing the common man to his rights.” In another vein, a Civil Society group, Elites for Good Society Initiatives (EGSI) lashed out at INEC over the outcome of February 25 Presidential and National Assembly elections. In a statement signed by the group’s president, King Evans, EGSI described the majority of declarations made by the Commission after the poll and its other actions as “nothing short of robbery on the Nigerian people,” as it also accused INEC of colluding with desperate politicians to subvert the will of Nigerian people. The statement reads in part: “The result announced by INEC is corrupted, flawed, and fraudulent, and we must not allow it stand. We also call on the International Community to intervene, and put pressure on INEC to do the right thing. “The potential fallout from this corrupt act is enormous and could lead to unnecessary chaos and loss of lives. We cannot afford to let this happen.
“We also urge the International Community to condemn the flagrant disregard for the rule of law and criminal behaviour displayed during Nigeria’s recent election. “We recommend that Chairman of INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, be barred from entering Europe, the United Kingdom, and United States. We expect that strict sanctions be imposed on Nigerian politicians, who were complicit in this heinous act of undermining our democracy. “Nigerians must stand up now and fight for what is right. We must not allow corrupt politicians and institutions destroy our democracy. It is time to take our destiny in our own hands and demand a better future for our children and ourselves. We either stand up now or we all perish together.” INEC, however, gave assurance that the governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections results would be transmitted on INEC’S result-viewing portal, noting that the glitches that delayed the uploading of the presidential poll results had been rectified.