The Independent National Electoral Commission, on Friday, revealed how its result viewing portal got several attacks from hackers across the world, including Asia, during the governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun States.
The commission, however, expressed optimism that the days of manipulation of results were over having blocked all avenues for such irregularities.
The chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, stated these while delivering a keynote address at a conference of stakeholders on election result management, organised by Yiaga Africa, to launch the Election Result Analysis Dashboard report agenda.
At the event, the Executive Director of Yiaga Africa, Samson Itodo, while presenting the ERAD findings on electronic transmission of election results in the 2022 Ekiti and Osun governorship elections, said there were four key roles of ERAD.
According to him, ERAD promotes transparency of election results management and supports INEC by providing the public with access to election results from the polling unit in relative real-time.
He said it provides an independent audit and integrity test of INEC’s election results management system by tracking results from the polling units based on commission’s own published results among others.
Itodo said, “INEC should invest in the training of polling unit officials, with a special focus on result transmission, ballot paper accounting as well as the capturing of polling unit results using the BVAS. It will address the capacity deficits resulting to upload of incorrect or incomplete forms and blurry images.
“In addition to the transmission of polling unit level results, INEC should electronically transmit and publish the number of accredited voters on the IReV. This is in accordance with the Section 64(4) (5)(6) of the Electoral Act 2022.
“INEC should deepen the transparency of the collation process, the Form EC8B, Ward collation result sheet should be uploaded on the IReV portal at the close of collation at the ward level. It will facilitate monitoring and tracking of the results collation process.”
Yakubu said the commission had recorded several attempts to hack the cyber security system of the IReV portal.
He said, “Another technical concern for us is the repeated attempts to break through our cyber security system for the portal. Our Engineers reported several cyberattacks on the portal during the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections, some of them from as far as Asia. I am glad to note that all of them failed.
“However, while we are confident in the security solutions that we have deployed for IReV and all our web presence, we must remain vigilant and continue to strengthen our defences. We have tasked our engineers to do everything possible to fully protect the IReV and all our web resources.”
Yakubu also stated that INEC was working to address other administrative challenges.
“For example, we found out that some of the low-quality uploads that occurred in the field, which some of the observers have also noted, were due to the unavailability or substitution of presiding officers that were trained prior to the elections.
“We shall administratively deal with this challenge and ensure that only adequately trained Presiding Officers are deployed for elections.
“Also, more hands-on training may be required to ensure that all those involved throughout the value chain of the IReV are fully ready for what is bound to be a major outing during the 2023 general election”, he said.
The INEC chairman also announced the introduction of new legal provisions, administrative procedures and technological innovations to improve election conduct in 2023.
Yakubu said INEC was convinced that the application of technology to both accreditation and results management would improve transparency and trust in the electoral process.
He said the breakthrough came with the new Electoral Act 2022, which empowered the commission to adopt electronic means for both accreditation and results management.
According to him, the most critical technological tools introduced by the commission in recent times were the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System and IReV portal, adding that while the former was a device, the latter was a web portal.
He said the BVAS was used for two principal purposes, first, to identify and accredit voters using two biometric modes: fingerprint and facial recognition, and secondly, it for capturing and uploading the image of the Polling Unit result Form (Form EC8A), to the IReV portal.
Yakubu said, “Indeed, using the law, administrative measures and technology, the commission has drastically tackled major problems in result management in Nigerian elections.
“Among the top ten of such problems are falsification of scores at Polling Units, falsification of number of accredited voters, collation of false results, mutilation of results and computational errors.
“Others are swapping of result sheets, forging result sheets, snatching and destruction of result sheets, obtaining declaration and return involuntarily, making declaration and return while result collation is still in progress and poor recordkeeping.
“It is clear that armed with an improved electoral act, administrative procedures and requisite technology, the Commission has increased the transparency and confidence of the public in its election result management processes. I can confidently say that the days of wanton manipulation of elections results are over; yet, the commission is not resting on its oars.”
Gridlock as Akwa Ibom youths rally support for Peter Obi
There was heavy traffic gridlock on major Streets of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital as supporters of the Presidential candidate of Labour Party, LP, Mr Peter Obi embarked on a 2 million- man on Saturday, October 1.
The supporters, mostly youths who took off from the Water fountain, at Nwaniba, Uyo by 11 am and walked round the major Streets of Uyo metropolis before they converged at the Discovery Park, Udoma Avenue about 2 pm.
Addressing the supporters, State Chairman of LP, Comrade Lincoln Charles said, “This 2 million match will avail all ‘Obedients’ the opportunity to familiarize, synergize and reignite their support base for the presidential flagbearer Mr Peter Obi, for a possible and better Nigeria.
“This is a reawakening of our consciousness in politics, leadership and governance. Our message is direct, clear and simple. It is all about Hope for Nigerians and all believers of good governance.
“It is about strong grassroots mobilisation to encourage eligible voters to vote for Peter Obi come 2023. Let us all know our PVCs are intact because Peter Obi’s movement is real.
” The time is now for all Obedients to stand bold and say enough is enough by marching words with action , spread the message across the units, villages, wards and LGAs that a vote for Peter Obi signifies hope, and victory for all Nigerians”
On his part, the Spokesperson of Peter Obi in Akwa Ibom Mr Aniekan Udofia urged the residents to join the Obedient movement for a better Nigeria from 2023.
He said:;” When we started they said we are making noise, that we are not serious. When we started they said the Labour party does not have a structure. You came out and you gave us structure. Never in history have Nigerians come out to choose their President. In 2023 Nigerians will choose their President, Peter Obi”
Also speaking, the Campaign Director, Peter Obi Integrity Network for Transformation, (POINT) Engr Okon expressed confidence that their Principal would emerge victorious in 2023 given the massive support he is receiving from all parts of the country.
“Today is the independence day of Nigeria, and I can say that today is the day Nigeria is completely free and independent. As you can see, the revolution is going on and nothing can stop it. Look at the type of people that are coming out to express their love and passion for our principal.
“Everything about today is just dedicated to Peter Obi. We see a divine hand in it, this movement is not ordinary, it started like a joke and it’s growing like a wildfire we are talking of 2m man match and you can see the crowd and these two million people cannot be wrong” Okon said.
A female youth who identified herself as Mercy Anny decided to join the rally because of her readiness to vote for Obi.
Her words” I came out today to for this rally because I am for Peter Obi. And I can assure you unlike other parties this is not a paid or borrowed crowd. I am here because I want a better Nigeria. I came out today because I want my unborn children to have a better life. And I know Peter Obi has what it takes to give us that better life”,
Prepare To Accept Outcome Of 2023 Election, UN Peace Commission Tells Atiku, Obi, Tinubu, Others
As Nigeria celebrates its 62 Independence anniversary, major contenders vying to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari, in 2023 have been advised to embrace peace ahead of the presidential elections, even as they are asked to prepare for the outcome in good faith.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, former Lagos State Governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former Kano State Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and former Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi are the top presidential candidates.
In a goodwill message to mark 62nd Independence Anniversary of Nigeria, released on Saturday in Abuja, Acting Head of Mission and Country Representative, International Peace Commission of the the United Nations, Amb. Hussaini H. Coomassie, said the presidential candidates should prioritise message of peace, unity of Nigeria and her development during this campaign period.
Dr. Coomassie, who is double as the global vice chairman, Advocacy for Good Governance & Social Justice Network (AGGSJN) also warned supporters of the major presidential candidates against thuggery, hate speeches and fake news during the electioneering campaign.
While congratulating Nigerians home and abroad for the 62nd Independence Anniversary, the UN Representative expressed hope that the country will overcome all the challenges confronting her presently.
The statement reads: “From the International Peace Commission of the the United Nations we felicitate with Nigerians home and abroad for celebrating the country’s 62nd Anniversary of Independence from the colonial rule. It is our firm believe that Nigeria shall overcome all her challenges and emerge a great Nation that is destined to be.
“As the Nigerians getting ready to elect another leader to succeed the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari next year, it is our hope, however, that the major contenders will prepare their minds and that of their supporters to gladly accept whatever the outcome will be in the sportsmanship spirit.
“This I emphasise should be registered in their minds that only one of them will emerge victorious at the poll as Nigerian voters will decide.
Therefore, I urge the political gladiators and their supporters to embrace peace, preach peace and practice peace during and after this forthcoming exercise.
“Nigeria should be seen as a collective project and not a personal project. This Nation is greater than anyone and history will not forget in a hurry whatever said and done either in the country’s favour or against her,” Dr. Coomassie said.
According to Dr. Coomassie, something is now clear that no administration will ever take the country and her youths for granted again based on the current politicial consciousness of Nigerians.
He also called on the Nigerian youths to actively and peacefully participate in the ongoing process and elect a leader that will protect their future and the generations yet unborn.
“I believe that God in His mercy has magnanimously blessed Nigeria with enormous resources. This nation is only yearning for a right leadership to creatively tap into these resources and turn around her fortune. The forthcoming national election is another opportunity to right the wrong,” Dr. Coomassie stated.
PDP Crisis: Again, Atiku Breaks Silence, Says ‘We’ve Realised Our Mistakes’
Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, says Peoples Democratic Party, has realised its mistakes from the past and is working assiduously towards getting its lost glory.
Atiku, who was in Gombe for a wedding ceremony, briefly opened a campaign office dedicated to the realisation of his 2023 aspiration of becoming the number one citizen.
The PUNCH reports that the office was donated by Jamilu Ishaku, the first runner-up in the 2023 PDP gubernatorial election.
Also, donated were about 10 space wagon campaign vehicles provided by Ishaku.
Explaining the chances of the PDP in an interview he granted journalists at the Sani Abacha International Airport Gombe, Abubakar described the party’s chances as high due to its impeccable record.
He acknowledged that the party lost in 2015, following what he termed as mistakes, which the PDP had recovered from.
Abubakar said, “PDP is a very popular party and it is the oldest party in Nigeria. We have realised that we made mistakes.”
Speaking on the chances of the party in 2023 election amidst the growing internal wranglings in the main opposition party, Abubakar added that talks were still on.
“I’m still talking to aggrieved members of the party and I believe at the end of the day we will work together,” he added.
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