The Whistler newspapers, one of Nigeria’s online independent news platforms, has written to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to explain how it intends to collate and transmit results of this Saturday’s governorship/state assembly elections.
The request from the news platform followed the controversy that continues to trail last Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly election as a result of the failure of the Commission to transmit the results electronically as it had promised. This many analysts believed gave undue advantage to the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressive Congress, Bola Tinubu, who was declared winner.
In a Freedom of Information Act request addressed to the Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, the media house cited, “the Commission’s refusal to deploy electronic transmission of results in the February 25 Presidential/National Assembly election contrary to the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 as reason for seeking the clarification.”
The letter which was signed by The Editor of the Newspaper, Tajudeen Suleiman, added: “The Whistler will make INEC’s response on the request available to the public as soon as it is received. We wish INEC and Nigerians a successful governorship/state assembly.”
Already, some analysts are raising questions over the integrity of the Commission following its decision to approach the Court of Appeal in Abuja, for an order varying the permission the court had previously granted the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP) to inspect materials used by the commission in the conduct of the February 25 presidential election.
INEC said the request was predicated on the need to reconfigure the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) used in the presidential election before deploying them for the March 11 governorship and state Houses of Assembly polls.
However, some experts believe that granting the order would allow the electoral body to tamper with the evidence and compromise the pending litigations on the controversial poll and further worsen the credibility of the entire process.
The presidential candidates of PDP, Atiku Abubakar, and LP, Peter Obi, had in their challenge of the outcome of the presidential election, recently, obtained the order of the court to inspect materials used in the conduct of the poll, including the BVAS.
INEC had declared candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, winner of the presidential election, which was marred by technical challenges.
The controversial poll has been rejected by the two leading opposition parties and had been criticised by international observers and civil society organisations.
Tinubu, a former Lagos State governor, was said to have polled a total of 8,794,726 votes to defeat his closest rival and presidential candidate of PDP, Atiku, who scored 6,984,520 votes, and Peter Obi of LP, who polled 6,101,533 votes, in an election that INEC failed to ensure instantaneous transmission of results to its IReV at the conclusion of voting at polling units as originally planned for the 2023 general election. Both Tinubu and Atiku won 12 states each, while Obi won 11 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).