Two civic tech organisations, PROMAD and Policy Shapers, have asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to publish the comprehensive report of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) across the country alongside the results of the presidential polls.
In a joint statement signed by Daisi Omokungbe and Ebenezar Wikina, founders of the organisations, Saturday’s presidential poll showed the promise of our democracy becoming citizen-driven, participatory, and energetic.
However, having keenly watched and read the reports of events in the election, it appears that INEC has not effectively lived up to its obligations and mandate to Nigerians as defined in her 2023 Electoral Guidelines and the 2022 Electoral Act.
For instance, there are indications of contraventions observed in the processes of the poll across the country, such as late arrival and commencement of voting procedures, relocation of collation centres and failure of the IReV platform.
According to Connected Development, which deployed 20,000 observers, “we have several reports indicating that states like Ekiti, Cross River, Imo, and Rivers State have had their Local Government Area (LGA) collation centres relocated without adequate information to stakeholders.
“In Ekiti precisely, we have it on good authority that all LGA collation centres were relocated. In most cases, accredited observers were outrightly denied access, and new locations were shrouded in secrecy”.
INEC itself issued a statement on the challenges they were facing with the Election Results Viewing portal (IReV), a platform they promised to use to aid election transparency and integrity in line with the Electoral Act, 2022.
According to Section 47 of the Act “(1) A person intending to vote in an election shall present himself with his voter’s card to a Presiding officer for accreditation at the polling unit in the constituency in which his name is registered.
“(2) To vote, the presiding officer shall use a smart card reader or any other technological device that may be prescribed by the Commission, for the accreditation of voters, to verify, confirm, or authenticate the particulars of the intending voter in the manner prescribed by the Commission.
“(3) Where a smart card reader or any other technological device deployed for accreditation of voters fails to function in any unit and a fresh card reader or technological device is not deployed, the election in that unit shall be cancelled and another election shall be scheduled within 24 hours if the Commission is satisfied that the result of the election in that polling unit will substantially affect the final result of the whole election and declaration of a winner in the constituency concerned”.
Also in Section 51.—“(2) Where the number of votes cast at an election in any polling unit exceeds the number of accredited voters in that polling unit, the Presiding officer shall cancel the result of the election in that polling unit.
“(3) Where the result of an election is cancelled in accordance with subsection (2), there shall be no return for the election until another poll has taken place in the affected polling unit.
“(4) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (2) and (3) the Commission may, if satisfied that the result of the election will not substantially be affected by voting in the area where the elections .