Nigerians have taken to various social media platforms to call out INEC for abandoning BVAS for manual collation of election results.
NewsOnline reports that mixed reactions have continued to trail the manual collation of votes for the presidential election, an action some say is in contravention of the provisions of the 2022 electoral act.
Recall that in the run-up to the presidential election, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC chairman, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, had assured Nigerians that election results would be uploaded realtime using the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, at the various polling units across the country.
Similarly, the INEC National Commissioner for voter education, Festus Okoye, made a similar pledge while featuring on different public and media platforms.
However, following the failure of the INEC to deploy the BVAS for the presidential election, former president Olusegun Obasanjo tackled the electoral body alleging that its officials were compromised, and that results were doctored.
Obasanjo spoke on Monday while the presidential and National Assembly election results were still being collated.
He asked Buhari to order the cancellation of altered results and ensure that the commission embarks on fresh polls on Saturday, March 4, 2023.
According to Obasanjo, the commission spent a lot of money introducing the BVAS and the Server to transmit results from polling units immediately.
“It is no secret that INEC officials, at operational level, have been allegedly compromised to make what should have worked not to work and to revert to manual transmission of results which is manipulated and the results doctored,” Obasanjo said.
But in a swift response to Obasanjo’s call to cancel some of the polls, the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate (APC), Bola Tinubu, called on Buhari not to allow Obasanjo lure him into staining his democratic credentials.
Tinubu, in a statement by Special Adviser, Media, Communications and Public Affairs, APC Presidential Campaign Council (APC PCC), Dele Alake, urged Nigerians to reject Obasanjo’s dubious and hypocritical advice and stay strictly and firmly on the path of constitutionalism and democratic due process.
While further noting that the results that were brought outside BVAS and Server appear not to be a true reflection of the will of Nigerians, the former President appealed to the Chairman of INEC to save Nigeria from the looming danger and disaster waiting to happen by cancelling the election.
Also, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Labour Party (LP) and African Democratic Congress (ADC) demanded a fresh election, saying the February 25 presidential election had been “irretrievably compromised”.
The PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, and their LP and ADC counterparts, Julius Abure and Ralph Nwosu, made this known at a joint press conference in Abuja on Tuesday.
They alleged that officials of the INEC manipulated Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections at polling units by failing to upload results electronically on the commission’s Results Viewing Portal (IReV).
They also declared a vote of no confidence in INEC chairman Mahmood Yakubu, asking him to immediately step aside for an unbiased person to take over and conduct a fresh election.
Earlier, before the joint statement, the agents of the PDP, Dino Melaye and Emeka Ihedioha, an agent of the Labour Party, amongst others, had staged a walkout on the INEC chairman over dissatisfaction with the process of the collation of results from state collation officers for the presidential election, starting with Ekiti.
Melaye, Ihedioha, the Labour Party’s agents, and others complained that the results presented by INEC SCOPs weren’t uploaded on IReV as repeatedly promised by the electoral umpire before the February 25 presidential poll.
Melaye argued strongly that without the upload of results electronically on IReV, this year’s election is not in any way different from the manual transmission of results done in 2015.
However, the INEC chairman maintained that there was no over-voting in Ekiti and that the results presented by the SCOPs stand. Yakubu also said the process must continue.
In a related development, former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, has asked INEC to take note of the allegations of misconduct trailing the presidential election.
Abdulsalami, who also heads the National Peace Committee (NPC), stated that there were genuine cases of concern regarding how the presidential election was conducted in several parts of the country.
He also said INEC should take all the time required to ensure that it delivered results that would inspire the people’s confidence and meet time-tested international standards.
Some Nigerians who spoke to NewsOnline Nigeria expressed disappointment that INEC did not deploy the BVAS as promised.
One of the individuals, Itang Bassey, a resident of the FCT Abuja, said he had lost confidence in the electoral body and doubted participation in future elections.
”I am yet to recover from the trauma INEC put me into. I must tell you that I am greatly disappointed, not just only me but every Nigerian who wants the country to make progress.
“Sincerely speaking, I don’t think I will make myself available for any other future election. It is finished for me,” he lamented.
Also speaking, Amos Shaibu said, “It is right that Nigerians demand that INEC refund over N400bn the government gave to them. There is no justification to demand such a huge amount to get equipment and fail simultaneously to use it. I smell a serious conspiracy to favour a particular candidate.”
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has already congratulated Bola Ahmed Tinibu after he was declared President-elect.