The Independent National Electoral Commission, or INEC, yesterday received both praise and condemnation for its decision to postpone the March 11 gubernatorial and state assembly elections to March 18.
The reconfiguration of the BVAS machines, or Bimodal Voters Accreditation System, was unable to begin on time, thus the electoral umpire decided to postpone the state voting late on Wednesday night.
The Court of Appeal granted the commission authority on Wednesday to alter the BVAS used for the presidential and national assembly elections on February 25 in order to get ready for the state elections.
The INEC administration met after the court gave its authority and decided to postpone the governorship elections so that it could reconfigure the more than 176,000 BVAS machines, which would take five days to complete.
Conflicting responses were brought about by the delay in the political system.
The Labour Party, LP, asserted that it could no longer have confidence in INEC as a result of the way that body handled the presidential election.
The nation’s major parties, united under the Inter-Party Advisory Council, or IPAC, backed the postponement but expressed concern that voters wouldn’t put up with weak reasons for poor performance any longer.
Abiodun Fadeyi, the deputy speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, and Dr. Yemi Farounbi, a former Nigerian ambassador to the Philippines, asserted that the requirement to reconfigure the BVAS for the elections made the postponement of the elections inevitable.
This INEC is no longer reliable, LP
The Labour Party asserted that INEC’s recent actions had irreversibly destroyed Nigerians’ earlier faith in the commission’s promise to allow the people’s votes to count.
The party’s national chairman, Comrade Julius Abure, said this in an interview yesterday in Abuja.
He said that as a result of his repeated assurances that the commission will strictly adhere to its rules and the tamper-proof BVAS technology, he was one of those who expressed implicit confidence in the ability of the Prof. Mahmood Yakubu-led INEC to deliver at various fora.
In addition to failing to provide, according to Abure, INEC also showed its dependability by taking the following measures.
The March 11, 2023, primary and general elections for the state’s governor and state assembly have been postponed. Regarding INEC’s multiple court filings, petitions for relief, and postponements, the LP Chairman underlined his worries.
According to Abure, the part of the Appellate Court ruling that gave INEC the ability to refuse to allow us view the BVAS is our main point of contention. The major reason for our concern is INEC’s current lack of credibility. INEC would promise from one side of their mouth before gulping down their own vomit from the other.
Keep in mind how INEC claimed to have a server in 2019 only for those servers to be down when litigants tried to access the server they claimed to have.
“INEC had gone out of its way to assure Nigerians time and time again that election results would be uploaded from polling units to their server and that people would view these results from their server, but you could see that when it came time for people to start uploading the results, INEC claimed it had a technical glitch despite explaining to Nigerians that they had a backup that would roll off into work immediately when the main server had a technical issue.
These factors all point to the fact that, despite INEC’s assurances to us and the courts in their counter affidavits that the records in the BVAS will be saved on their backend server, we have our doubts. After all, this isn’t the first time INEC has assured us that they have a server, that they’ll upload to their server, and so on and so forth.
As you can see, though, they changed the elections as soon as they learned of that ruling. The Court had awarded them privilege because of their wisdom.
“If they knew they were going to postpone the governorship election for a week, why would they go to court to change the order given to us to review documents?
It was unnecessary because, among other things, they argued in court that enabling us to examine the BVAS would cause the election to be delayed. Strangely, though, they changed the election as soon as the court granted their motion to modify the BVAS.
“One had many concerns about the INEC’s honesty, ethics, patriotism, and commitment to upholding the law.
“The strategy and manner in which INEC conducted the previous election completely undermined the confidence I had in them. We’ll have to wait and see what stories they tell tomorrow.
“Tomorrow is quickly approaching. INEC has refused since the court mandated that it permit us to study the papers.
Our lawyers and technical experts have been coming there on a regular basis, but we haven’t been permitted access, they claimed.
“There are times when you start to wonder if the INEC is serving Nigerians or another party.
If INEC says they are heading to Lagos, I would go look for them in Sokoto, he declared.
We respect INEC’s decision. — APC
The gubernatorial and state house of assembly elections will now take place on March 18 instead of March 11, 2023, per the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, has urged INEC to resolve every issue raised during the previous elections and has said it respects the decision.
It explicitly asked the commission to ensure the security of the data on its BVAS, or Bimodal Voter Accreditation System. This request will be supported, as the electoral umpire has pledged.
Party Spokesman Felix Morka said in a statement on Thursday that INEC should “do everything within its power to preserve and protect the integrity of the extracted data from BVAS as it has committed to do before court,” noting its assurance that data from the Presidential and National Assembly elections will be properly backed up on its cloud facilities.
Also, we kindly request INEC to use the poll’s postponement to address any errors or issues discovered during the presidential election in order to avoid a recurrence on March 18th.
We must keep in mind the overriding responsibility we bear to abstain from behavior and action that could jeopardize the peace of our nation or put the ability of INEC to conduct the upcoming gubernatorial and state assembly elections in jeopardy.
This is true even as Presidential Candidates and their political parties explore and exercise their constitutional freedom to contest or defend the results of the Presidential and National Assembly elections.
“Our Candidate, now President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu emerged as the overwhelming choice of Nigerians” in the free, fair, and mostly in compliance with the Electoral Act and INEC Guidelines for the 2023 General Elections election, the party declared.
Excuses are no longer accepted, IPAC cautions INEC
After an emergency General Assembly meeting at the Council’s Secretariat in Abuja, IPAC’s National Chairman, Engr. Yabagi Sani, spoke to the media and warned the INEC that justifications that seemed to undermine trustworthy polls were no longer acceptable.
But, he did make it clear that the political parties support INEC’s decision to move the governorship and State Assembly elections to March 11–18 since the electoral umpire can guarantee the fairness, legitimacy, and transparency of the elections with enough advance planning.
As the destiny of more than 200 million Nigerians are at risk, enough time must be given to ensure that everything is done correctly, continued Sani.
IPAC has consistently urged the electoral umpire to ensure that it starts early preparation for elections and ask for more time, if necessary, to ensure that it conducts trouble-free, credible, inclusive, and generally acceptable polls.
IPAC is a significant player in the political process. The failure to upload results from polling units to the INEC Results Viewing Portal (IReV) in real time is an example of how Nigerians will not accept any excuse for poor performance, the IPAC has advised.
The IPAC Chairman advised people to support INEC as much as they could, though, in both the political and social realms.
In order to prepare for the March 18, 2023 Governorship and State House of Assembly elections, he urged all electoral participants to have patience.
“The people of Nigeria and the international community demand free, fair, credible, transparent, inclusive, and peaceful gubernatorial and legislative elections with the assurance that BVAS will function properly and that results will be immediately uploaded to the INEC Results Viewing Portal (IReV).
The Commission should improve its performance in the controversial Presidential and National Assembly elections this time to justify the trust Nigerians place in it.
The Council also instructed security professionals to understand their constitutional obligation to safeguard people and property prior to, during, and after elections.
It said that doing this will prevent the carnage and other security failures that were witnessed during the presidential election.
Sani further asked Nigerians to vote in big numbers for their preferred political parties on March 18 to ensure that their votes were included in the final results.
A political party’s mandate and will of the people, which they willingly granted, must be respected. Voting is sacrosanct. Elections and representative government are appealing because of this.
“Any attempts to manipulate the future elections must be resisted. He made a point of stating that the period of vote buying and other irregularities that stained prior elections was over.
Oyo will speak at the postponed welcome devt.
Deputy Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Abiodun Fadeyi, commented on the postponement, saying: “It’s a welcome development. I had anticipated it the moment INEC said it needed time to reconfigure the BVAS machines before they can be used for the governorship and House of Assembly elections.
Despite the fact that I am not a computer specialist, I am confident that this will happen. This postponement will enable the Commission to repair damaged devices and prepare them for the election.
“All the obvious faults experienced during the last presidential election will be remedied,” the BVAS machines will run more effectively.
Do what needs to be done, Gbadebo
As long as the BVAS machines were not compromised, Mr. Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, the LP’s candidate for governor of Lagos State, had no issues with the postponement.
To make sure that we can provide the strongest case possible about the presidential election that was robbed, I believe it is crucial to take the necessary steps with regard to data collection and data gathering for the presidential election.
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