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How politicians still threaten credible polls — INEC source

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Complementing the efforts of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in its drive to hand to Nigerians free, fair and credible elections in 2023, Vanguard can authoritatively provide Nigerians a step-by-step process of how to assist the commission and, indeed, the nation, to deliver elections worthy of their calling.

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Last week, the National Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, re-committed the commission to its avowed determination to deliver on the promise of free, fair and credible elections.

He insisted that the Bimodal Verification Voting System, BVAS, and the uploading of results real time had come to stay.

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The nagging question is whether Nigerians will have access to view polling units results as they are uploaded on the INEC Server and its result-viewing portal, INEC Election Result Viewing, IREV, portal simultaneously.

The National Chairman, Professor Yakubu and Festus Okoye, National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, avoided making a commitment to Nigerians that as polling units results are being uploaded to the INEC server, the same results would be uploaded simultaneously to INEC Election Result Viewing, IREV, portal for the viewing confirmation of Nigerians.

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Vanguard was authoritatively informed by INEC sources at its headquarters in Abuja that there is a difference between real time upload of results to the INEC Server and real time upload of results to the IREV portal.

Whereas the INEC Server used for the election is the warehouse for documentation and storage of election results, which only a specific and designated number of senior staff of the commission have access, the IREV Portal is the window opened to members of the public to access results of elections.

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Vanguard learned that there is a difference between realtime upload of polling units results to the INEC Server and real time release of results on the IREV portal.

The INEC source disclosed that the intendment of the commission at the time of piloting the system “is to first upload the polling units results to the INEC Server, clean up whatever errors that may have occurred using its Registration Area Technicians, RATECHs, who also have access to the Server, before uploading the same polling units results onto the IREV portal where Nigerians can then have access.”

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Role of RATECHS

But there are indications, and some senior officials of INEC are aware, that politicians will attempt to compromise the process at the ward level by Registration Area Technicians, RATECHS, given that they have access to the Server and are expected to validate same before upload to the IREV portal.

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Vanguard was informed that whereas the inviolability of BVAS remained, some politicians had already devised their own means of accommodating same.

It was discovered that when voting is completed at the polling unit and results declared, signed by the candidates’ agents and the presiding officer and pasted on the wall for voters to see, and simultaneously uploadrd to the INEC server, the surest guarantee for all political parties would be an equally simultaneous upload of the same result to the IREV portal for all Nigerians to see as it is uploaded to the server.

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“That way”, the INEC source continued, “it will be difficult for any form of compromise by RATECHs to upload pre-written form EC8A results to the IREV public portal different from original results from polling units.

“But a situation where results are uploaded in realtime to the INEC server, but would then be validated by Registration Area Technicians, RATECHs, at the Ward level, could give rise to interception and compromise as was discovered in Anambra governorship election where several wards of a number of LGAs where RATECHs uploaded pre-written new form EC8A result to the portal was almost sealed, but for the refusal of some collation officers, which led to its failure – but it would have been doable if the other INEC officials had cooperated.

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“What has been discovered – and which was attempted during the Anambra 2021 governorship election and even in Cross River State – is that some politicians attempted to compromise the process and almost succeeded by using RATECHs at ward level to upload totally different results.

”Had those people also gone ahead with the plan, the outcome of Anambra election wouldn’t have been what it turned out to be.”

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The source in INEC further said “if polling units results are not sent simultaneously to both server and IREV public portal for Nigerians to have access to view the same result, real time, starting from polling units, the window of validation by RATECHs may be used to compromise the outcome of original results from polling units.

”This was the case in Anambra (Abatete) and several other wards by RATECHs who are our lCT staff. RATECHs validation should be stopped and all polling units’ scanned Form EC8A result with total accredited voters and scanned ward level result form EC8B should be uploaded to the results view portal at the same time for Nigerians to view contemporaneously.”

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Another plot
Vanguard gathered that when the BVAS captures and records, for instance, a total of 250 accredited voters, that figure is left undeleted because its operations are secure.

It was learned, however, that politicians are already perfecting plans to compromise officials and that if that fails, they would use security agents to hijack materials after voting, destroy original ballot papers numbering 250 as recorded by BVAS for example, and then thumb print a fresh set of the total 250 ballot papers not exceeding what is on the BVAS as total accredited number of voters at the time of kidnap of the poll officials.

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It was gathered that they would then allocate votes for the political party of choice but strangely, the new thumb printed ballot serial numbers will not start from figure 1 to 250, but from 251 as the serial number of the ballot papers that start from 1 to 250 would have all been destroyed.

”Because there is no perfect crime, and except fake ballot papers are used, ballot papers numbering from 251 to 500 to make-up for the exact 250 accredited voters captured by BVAS, would be an automatic red flag.

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”This is the plot and may happen in between the intervening period when polling units results are uploaded to the INEC server and when the same polling units results would be uploaded on the IREV at the ward level,” a source said. (Check images and recommendations to curb electoral fraud, below).

Vanguard learned that something similar happened during the Anambra election but there was no community compromise because of some INEC staff who refused to play along.

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Community compromise is when there is a consensus among election officials at any or all levels of the process to engage a partisan mode, thereby favouring one party against others.

Rigging prevention
In the search to correct systemic electoral fraud (manipulation of polling UNITS results at WARD level – from where it would go live on INEC portal), Vanguard arrived at recommendations that can help Nigerians checkmate rigging by navigating the sphere.

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The recommendations were reached, following a step-by-step registration process to access election results on https://www.inecelectionresults.ng/ and a further analysis of common patterns of rigging that may arise, citing the 2021 governorship election in Anambra State, a case study of Abetete ward, Idemili North Local Government Area.

From the survey of the results, apart from being pre-written results, there were alterations on the result sheets – specifically on result outcomes, as well as clear discrepancies between the vote scores written in words and numbers. There is need to pay attention to words, if numbers can be easily manipulated.

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Accessing The Portal:

To reveal an example of the intended fraud, interested Nigerians can access the site by logging-in to https://www.inecelectionresults.com

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Or https://www.inecelectionresults.com/login

*1. The link will take an applicant to a sign-up or sign-in page.

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*2. Thereafter an applicant is expected to “Click on “Create new Account?”, fill in his or her details in the form provided and click on “Sign in”

*3. Such is also expected to provide a state of origin and click on “Continue”.

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*4. An account activation email is sent to the email address provided in the form.

*5. An individual should copy the activation code which will be entered into the text box provided on the portal to activate the account.

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*6. This logs applicants into the portal and they can select the election whose polling unit (PU) results they are interested in viewing.

*7. There are also filter buttons to make the search easier.

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*8. In the portal bearing “INEC-Result console”, there is a Disclaimer bearing “This platform provides information for research purposes. It is NOT for Election result collation. By continuing to the result section, you agree to the Terms of Use as defined by INEC. Please visit https://www.inecnigeria.org”.

*9. Applicants are also given the opportunity to select the election type to view results in either Presidential, Governorship, Senatorial, House of Representatives, House of Assembly, Chairmanship, and Councillor elections. (In this instance, 2021 Anambra State governorship election)

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*10. A click on this shows the recent results on ward basis and clicking on ‘view result’ will reveal the computed result sheet saved in PDF (Portable Document Format) as supposedly presented at the Polling Units but viewed afterwards when it had gotten to the Wards.

That is why the alterations on the Forms EC8A were altered and would have been thus uploaded as original polling units results at the Abatete Ward collation level. (Vanguard)

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Politics

Doyin Okupe was broke when he joined Obi’s campaign; stole N100 million party funds: Ogun LP

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The Labour Party in Ogun State insists that expelled member Doyin Okupe was financially handicapped before joining the Peter Obi Presidential Campaign Council (PCC).

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Party executives, Michael Ashade and Abayomi Arambambi, claimed on Saturday that Mr Okupe went on to steal N100 million campaign funds after joining the PCC.

Mr Ashade, state party chairman, said they were levelling charges of “financial impropriety” against Mr Okupe who until his expulsion served as the PCC’s director general.

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Mr Arambabi said Mr Okupe initially lobbied to be made the state party chairman on the basis of using the position to raise money for Mr Obi’s presidential campaign.

“He came to ask us at the initial stage that we should give him state chairman so that he would be able to mobilise funds for the party,” asserted Mr Arambabi, Ogun state’s Labour Party spokesperson, on Arise TV Saturday morning.

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In response to questions about whether Mr Okupe had actually given the Labour Party four million naira, Mr Arambabi revealed that the expelled member – who always complained about Mr Obi’s tightfisted nature – said he also had no money to contribute to the party.

“Let’s be very categorical here: Dr Okupe does not have any N4 million to spend on Labour Party,” said the Ogun state party spokesperson.

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He challenged Mr Okupe to “come here to tell us how much he gave to the 24 members of the state executive. He complained about Mr Obi, it was on the record, that he doesn’t give him money, so he has no money to give.”

The state’s spokesperson further disclosed that Mr Okupe had not given the party a “kobo” in the past seven months.

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“He has not committed his kobo to that party for seven months. It was when he started campaigning for Peter Obi that he came to us to say that he has some money to spend into the Labour Party,” the spokesperson said.

Mr Okupe did not immediately respond to calls and messages of enquiry seeking comments on the matter.

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Tinubu Accuses Arise TV Of Blackmail Over Townhall Meeting

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Kayode Sanni Arewa

The presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, has again said he would not attend the Arise News Town Hall meeting slated for Sunday.

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Tinubu said Arise News has consistently shown a pattern of bias against him, stressing that he doesn’t consider the medium as credible and impartial.

The APC presidential flag-bearer vowed not to participate at the town hall meeting slated for Sunday, and any other Arise News may plan before the February 2023 presidential election.

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The two-term former governor of Lagos State said this via a statement issued on Saturday by the Director, Media and Publicity, APC Presidential Campaign Council, Bayo Onanuga.

Onanuga said Tinubu has his own schedule of campaign activities and other engagements within and outside Nigeria, noting that the APC presidential candidate has already departed Nigeria and would be at Chatham House in London on Monday, where he will speak on Security, Economy, and Foreign Policy.

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He stated: “We find it shocking and downright anomalous that Arise News continues to broadcast the participation of All Progressives Congress Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in its Presidential Town Hall meeting scheduled to hold on 4 December, 2022 despite our earlier statement that our candidate will not be available.

“We noticed that Arise News has also been running a campaign on the so-called constitutional duty of the presidential candidates to participate in its debate by dubiously citing section 22 of the Constitution of Nigeria on the obligation of the Mass Media.

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“While it is trite that the media has clear constitutional duty to hold public office holders accountable to the citizens and its role as the watchdog of the society, there is no part of the Constitution and the section 22 that says a presidential candidate of any political party and least of all, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu must participate in Arise News Town Hall event or any media organised event at all.

“The same Constitution grants all citizens of Nigeria including, Asiwaju Tinubu the right and freedom of choice and association. The APC Presidential candidate has a right to decide where he goes and events to participate in as he seeks the mandate of Nigerians to be elected as the next President of our country.

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“We want to make it abundantly clear again that Asiwaju Tinubu will not participate and will not attend the Arise News Town Hall meeting slated for Sunday, 4 December, 2022 and any other ones it may plan before the February 2023 presidential election. We want to equally stress that Arise News has consistently shown a pattern of bias against Asiwaju Tinubu and we don’t consider the medium as credible and impartial.

“The APC Presidential candidate has his own schedule of campaign activities and other engagements within and outside Nigeria. One of such events is his scheduled event for Monday , December 5, 2022 at Chatham House in London where he will speak on Security, Economy and Foreign Policy.

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“Asiwaju Tinubu travelled to United Kingdom early today (Saturday) for this earlier scheduled engagement. We want to reiterate for the umpteenth time that no amount of blackmail, intimidation and media bully and innuendos by the owner and management of Arise News will change the position our campaign has taken on this matter.

“We seize this opportunity to warn our spokesmen and supporters to steer clear of this station over its consistent unprofessionalism and bias against our candidate and party,” the statement read.

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Gov Yahaya Bello visits Wike in Rivers

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By Francesca Iwambe

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Governor Yahaya Bello, of Kogi State has paid a visit to his Rivers State counterpart, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, at his private residence in Port Harcourt, the state capital, on Friday night.

Bello, a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), is the most recent high-ranking politician to pay a visit to Governor Wike’s Rumuepriokom home.

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The purpose or outcome of the visit, however, was not disclosed to journalists after both governors concluded their closed-door meeting.

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