The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has pledged to thoroughly review the results of Saturday’s Governorship and States Assembly Elections, following allegations of voter harassment, inducement and manipulation of results in several places.
INEC also explained why it has not uploaded all the results of the February 25 Presidential election to its results viewing portal IReV.
As of Sunday night, presidential election results from 166, 656 polling units, translating to 94.24 per cent had been uploaded to the portal, out of 176,606 polling units where elections were scheduled to take place.
At a news conference Sunday evening in Abuja, INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu disclosed the readiness of the commission to review the allegations.
Yakubu who was represented by a National Commissioner and Chairman of INEC’s Information and Voter Education Committee, Barr. Festus Okoye however said there was a substantial improvement in the performances of INEC ad-hoc personnel and its equipment.
He said; “The commission did not deploy to 176,846 polling units during the Presidential and National Assembly Elections. We explained to Nigerians that there were polling units that had zero registered voters and consequently, the Commission deployed to a total of 176,606 polling units.
“Not only that, there were places where elections did not take place and there were places where the deployment did not take place. So in those areas, you do not expect any results to be uploaded to the INEC Results Viewing Portal for such areas.
“So, the commission, before we reconfigured the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System BVAS for the Governorship and State Assembly Elections, we made sure that data that were left behind in the BVAS relating to the Presidential and National Assembly Elections were pushed to the backend for purposes of giving those who want to go to court or giving litigants the opportunity of having the data from the backend of the commission relating to those who were accredited during the Presidential and National Assembly Elections.
“Political parties and candidates have been applying for this particular data and the commission has been making the accreditation data available to all those who are interested.
“With the governorship election, you can see that there has been improved performance of the IReV In terms of uploading of polling units results in real time. You can also notice that there was improved performance in terms of voter identification and authentication. Now, what that means is that the commission is making progress and also making efforts to overcome whatever challenges were recorded during the presidential and National Assembly elections.
“We have left no stone unturned as far as the processes and procedures under the control of the Commission were concerned. However, for difficult and unforeseen circumstances outside the Commission’s control, we did our best to respond, especially where processes were disrupted by actors over whom we have little or no control.
“Such diabolical behaviour did not only affect citizens but also impacted on the Commission’s officials and processes. INEC staff, both regular and ad hoc were victims of violence. Some of our staff were abducted, harassed, intimidated, hospitalized and in one case killed.
“Nevertheless, where we could not deploy to enable citizens to vote, the Commission took the decision to remobilize to such places to enable citizens to exercise their franchise. Unfortunately, we could not extend the same to areas where voting was disrupted, and election materials destroyed. We are keeping our eyes on those areas and would not hesitate to remobilize where the outcome of the election is affected.
“At the moment, the collation of results and declaration of winners for the 28 Governorship and 993 State Assembly elections are ongoing nationwide. We are committed to the sanctity of the process and will not hesitate to take drastic measures against proven irregularities. Allegations of voter inducement, harassment and manipulation of results will be reviewed and addressed”.
He said the commission is still collating figures relating to the number of staff abducted.
“Some have been released and some are still facing various degrees of threats in various states of the Federation. At the end of the exercise, we will have full details about the incidents”, he stated.
On the invasion of INEC’s Obingwa Local Government Area office in Abia State by thugs during the collation of results for the Governorship and State Assembly elections, Yakubu said the results from the area would be thoroughly reviewed.
He said; “In contention was the collated result from the Registration Areas for the Governorship election in that Local Government Area. The intention was to force the collation of these contentious results. The behaviour of these thugs is unacceptable and there will be a thorough review of the results.
“The Commission does not take the patience of citizens for granted and will continue to take steps to protect the integrity of the vote and consolidate the progress made so far in the electoral process”.