A pro-citizens and accountability watchdog, Connected Development, CODE, has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to transmit the results of the forthcoming governorship and state assembly elections electronically.
Hamzat Lawal, the CODE’s Founder/Chief Executive Officer, made the call on Thursday while addressing newsmen before the March 18 governorship and the State Assembly elections.
According to him, the credibility of the elections depends on the electronic transmission of results from the polling unit as stipulated by the Electoral Act 2022 and INEC 2023 Election guidelines for the conduct of the election.
He said: “As Nigerians prepare to go to the polls for the Governorship and State House of Assembly elections, Connected Development and her partners appeal to INEC to ensure that the many challenges that marred the credibility of the Presidential election should be handled.
“INEC should also ensure a swift deployment and early opening of polls is put in place, professional conduct of security personnel.
“INEC’s strict adherence to the use of BVAS for biometric accreditation, and electronic transmission of results from polling unit as stipulated by the Electoral Act 2022 and INEC 2023 Election guidelines for the conduct of the election.”
The non-profit organisation noted that with the deployment of Uzabe technology for election observation, many cases of widespread irregularities were recorded during the Presidential and National Assembly elections.
“We hope that these issues have been tackled by INEC and come March 18th, citizens will be allowed to exercise their civic duty without unnecessary hitches and glitches,” Mr Lawal added.
While stressing that the BVAS and IREV technologies had put a lot of faith in the electorate, Mr Lawal described the forthcoming election as another opportunity for INEC to redeem its image and ensure that its technology is functional in order to restore the citizens’ confidence in our democracy.
“Another crucial point to address is the percentage of voters recorded for Presidential and National elections. At 27%, Nigeria recorded its lowest voter turnout despite recording the 87.2m PVC’s collected.
“From our reports, there were many cases of technical disenfranchisement where materials were not deployed to many Polling units across the country, and many other cases, INEC officials arrived late to polling stations while in some cases, the BVAS machine failed, with no replacement provided.
“And for these reasons, thousands or perhaps millions of Nigerians were not able to cast their ballot,” the organisation noted.
While calling on the electoral umpire to address these hitches experienced in the February 26 elections, CODE said that the general outcome of the 2023 elections will determine citizen’s engagement and participation in our democratic processes in the future.
“So, it is pertinent that INEC led by Chairman Yakubu Mahmood step up and ensure a seamless gubernatorial and state assembly election.
“It’s the first step towards rebuilding trust in the electorate and it’s important to save our democracy,” Mr Lawal added.