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Finally INEC opens up on why IReV failed during 2023 presidential election

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By Emmanuel Agaji

Nigeria’s electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has finally explained why the result viewing portal (IReV) failed during the February 2023 presidential election.

The election was won by Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party came second while Peter Obi of the Labour Party came third.

As reported by The Cable on Friday, the electoral umpire gave the explanation in a comprehensive post-mortem report on the 2023 general election released on the first anniversary of the election

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The INEC report said the “HTTP error” its server returned during the presidential election was because of a configuration bug which was discovered after the presiding officers at the polling units could only upload the results of the National Assembly elections.

“In configuring and mapping the election results for the presidential and NASS elections,” the report sighted by The Cable reads, “the Commission created Four Hundred and Seventy (470) election types consisting of one presidential constituency covering the entire country, 109 Senatorial Districts and 360 Federal Constituencies.”

The report further noted, “Each Senatorial District and Federal Constituency election on the database was mapped to their respective States.”

It, however, noted that the presidential election result “is a single, countrywide constituency and therefore, does not belong to any one State.

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“Consequently, while the uploads for the NASS elections succeeded as the application was able to identify the respective State and build the folder hierarchy for the results organization process for the election, attempts to upload the presidential election results sheets, which does not belong to or mapped to any State on the database, failed.

“Instead, it returned a HTTP server error response. This failure is attributable to the inability of the application to create and build a folder structure to organize the uploaded images of the result sheets of the presidential election.”

Narrating the IReV problem, the INEC in its report, said it was first reported at 4 pm on Election Day and was partially resolved in four hours.

The commission admitted that it was a key challenge that “impacted on the public perception” of the election and elicited “widespread commentary across the country”.

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INEC said, “To begin with, it is important to note that the IReV portal is one of the most significant innovations introduced by the Commission prior to the 2023 General Election to promote the integrity and transparency of the electoral process. As a public-facing website, the IReV portal shows the images of the original Polling Unit result sheets as recorded in Form EC8A.

“The operational methodology and the concept behind the upload of results to the IReV for public viewing is quite simple. At the end of polls, Polling Unit results (Form EC8As) are scanned and uploaded to the IReV by the Presiding Officer(s). These results are then available for viewing to the public and all stakeholders.

“The system, which was first deployed during Nasarawa Central State Constituency bye-election in August 2020 and tested in 105 subsequent elections, including three (3) off-cycle governorship elections, has tremendously improved public confidence in the integrity and transparency of the Commission’s result management process.

“The challenge of uploading the PU presidential election results on the IReV after the presidential and NASS elections on 25th February 2023 was unique. As voting ended across the country and POs began the process of uploading the images of the PU result sheets of the elections for the various constituencies around 4:00pm, the Commission began to receive reports that attempts to upload presidential election result sheets was failing.

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“Following these reports, the Commission immediately engaged with its field officials for details in order to understand, and trace the origin, source, scale and magnitude of the problem across the result management ecosystem to devise appropriate solutions.

“In the troubleshooting process, it was established that there was no issue in uploading the PU result sheets of the Senate and House of Representatives elections through the Election Result Modules. However, there was a problem with uploading the presidential election results to the system.

“Attempts to upload the results were generating internal server errors, which refer to a significant impairment that usually originate from within an application due to problems relating to configuration, permissions, or failure to create or access application resources correctly.

“Further interrogation of the Election Result Modules indicated that the system is encountering an unexpected configuration problem in mapping the presidential election results uploaded into the system to the participating Polling Units.

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“Due to the complex, sensitive and critical nature of the systems and the real potential for malicious cyberattacks, the Commission immediately put in place several strict security and audit control measures to prevent any unfettered or elevated access to the Result Upload System.”

The commission said after identifying the source of the problem, it quickly created and deployed “hotfixes” — software updates for fixing a bug or any vulnerabilities in a system.

The deployed hotfixes eventually resolved the HTTP error on the system “and the first presidential election result sheet was successfully uploaded at 8.55 pm on the 25th of February 2023,” it said.

While rating itself high, INEC stated in the report.

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“Yet, the 2023 General Election produced the most diverse outcome in recent Nigerian electoral history in terms of party representation in executive and legislative elections nationwide. Thus, four (4) political parties produced State Governors, seven (7) secured Senatorial seats, eight (8) won federal constituencies and nine (9) in State seats,” the report said.

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‘I Will Fight So That Governors Will Respect Their Deputies’ – Shaibu

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Reinstated Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu, has stated that his legal battle against impeachment was a fight to protect the dignity and office of deputy governors across Nigeria, which he believes has been ridiculed since the return of democracy in 1999.

Speaking after a thanksgiving service at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Benin on Sunday, Shaibu described his court victory as a win for democracy and an act of God.

He emphasized the need for the National Assembly to enact laws that would safeguard the office of deputy governors, ensuring they are treated with the respect and consideration they deserve.

Shaibu expressed dismay over the treatment of deputy governors by some state governors, highlighting the systemic disdain despite both offices running on the same electoral ticket.

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He stressed that his struggle was not just personal but aimed at setting a precedent that upholds the integrity of the office of the deputy governor.

The deputy governor also called for an investigation into the death of Police Inspector Onu Ako, who was killed on Thursday during Shaibu’s exit from Benin Airport alongside All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Senator Monday Okpebholo.

Shaibu’s reinstatement by the Federal High Court in Abuja presided over by Justice J. K. Omotosho, marked a significant turn in Edo State politics.

The court overturned his impeachment and ordered the payment of his salaries and allowances from April when he was impeached.

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Additionally, the court issued an injunction restraining the state government from preventing Shaibu from performing his official duties.

In his address, Shaibu reiterated his commitment to serving the people of Edo State and working towards improving governance and democratic principles in Nigeria.

Philip Shaibu’s legal battle began after his impeachment by the Edo State House of Assembly, a move that was met with widespread criticism and legal challenges.

He said, “My fight to be reinstated is for all the people occupying the office in the country. The office has been ridiculed since the return of democracy in 1999.

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“I will continue to fight to make sure that sanity and respect are brought back to that office. All I am doing is not to earn anything but to make sure that the sanity of the office of the deputy governor is restored in line with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“What other deputy governors cannot fight against, I will fight on their behalf so that governors will start respecting that office.”

On his victory in the court, he said, “I challenged God, and I told Him that I want him to prove His power in my life, that people that are anti-God and anti-democracy are at it again, and they want to use me as a scapegoat, I told God to show to the world that I am truly his son.

“They said they will impeach me, and I will go to court and that by the time judgment will come, the tenure will have been over, I now challenged God to prove to them that they have touched His anointed and that the judgment will come faster, more than expected. I said I will need the judgment to come before the election.

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“By the grace of God, democracy has come to stay, and we that fought for democracy will protect it; anti-democratic forces must be flushed out, and we will succeed.”

Shaibu also urged the youths in the state not to allow themselves to be used but should vote in the election to remove “anti-democratic people”.

He added, “This election is the time to change anti-democratic forces, and you must do it through the ballot. Don’t engage in violence, and I have been preaching this for the past year when the intimidation and harassment against me started.”

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BREAKING! Political permutations shifts gear in Edo as Deputy Gov pitches tenth with APC

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…dumps PDP finally

The reinstated Deputy Governor of Edo State, Comrade Phillip Shaibu, has officially dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The embattled Deputy Governor dumped that main opposition party at a campaign rally held on Saturday in the state.

Shaibu, at the rally, declared his official return to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

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He was received into the party by the APC’s governorship candidate, Senator Monday Okpebholo and his running mate, Dennis Idahosa.

The reinstated Deputy Governor also used the defection rally to reunite with his political godfather, a former Edo State Governor and APC National Chairman, Senator Adams Oshiomhole.

Recall that a Federal High Court in Abuja had nullified Shaibu’s impeachment on charges of gross misconduct by the Edo State House of Assembly.

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PDP Governors Declare Support For Organised Labour’s Push For Minimum Wage Increase

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The 13 governors of the PDP also supported the Nigerian government’s stance on granting autonomy to local governments.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum has thrown its weight behind the organised labour regarding its demand for a new minimum wage.

The 13 governors of the PDP also supported the Nigerian government’s stance on granting autonomy to local governments.

This was part of the resolutions from its meeting in Enugu on Wednesday, which lasted over four hours, with Bauchi State Governor and Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Bala Mohammed, addressing the press on behalf of his colleagues.

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He also called for a political solution to the ongoing crisis in Rivers State between Governor Sim Fubara and his predecessor, Nyesom Wike.

While reading out the communique before journalists, the PDP governors’ forum acknowledged that the minimum wage negotiations are becoming unduly protracted in the face of the unprecedented hardship and impoverishment of the people, saying the organised labour’s demand for a substantial salary raise is eminently justified.

They said the agreement must take into consideration the ability to pay by the subnational, federal and local governments, and appealed for restraint in both utterances and actions that could lead to the complete breakdown of law and order as well as the collapse of the economy.

Declaring their support for the autonomy of the local government as enshrined in the constitution, the forum said it believes in the efficacy of the local government system which ensures that governance will be brought closer to the people.

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While regretting the level of hardship faced by Nigerians under the All Progressives Congress-led federal government, the PDP governors’ forum promised to bring back the good old days of low inflation rate, affordable food, fuel and transportation among others.

The forum commended the governors of the PDP-governed states for their innovative approaches to governance in many areas, especially infrastructure, education, health as well as timely delivery of developmental projects across the country.

The governors further called on Nigerians to refrain from any anarchy as the PDP works towards its return to power in 2027.

The forum commended Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State for holding the party together not only in Enugu but in the entire South East.

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Aside from the PDP governors, others in attendance were the chairman of the party, chairman of the Board of Trustees, the chairman of the former PDP governors’ forum, and the chairman of the Senate caucus.

Others were the chairman of the former ministers’ forum, as well as PDP state chairmen in the 36 states of the federation.

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