The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said, on Sunday, that it would continue to adopt electronic transmission of results for the 2023 general elections.
The INEC’s spokesperson, Festus Okoye, said this in a statement clarifying an earlier report in which he was quoted saying the results of the forthcoming election would be collated manually.
“Section 60(5) of the Act makes it mandatory that the presiding officer shall transfer the results, including the total number of accredited voters and the results of the ballot in a manner prescribed by the commission. Thereafter, the presiding officer shall after recording and announcing the results deliver the same along with election materials under security and accompanied by the candidates or their polling agents, where available to such person as may be prescribed by the commission.
“The implication of this is that the collation process of results is still essentially manual, but the collation officer must collate subject to his verification and confirmation that the number of accredited voters stated on the collated result are correct and consistent with the number of accredited voters recorded and transmitted directly from polling units,” Mr Okoye had said.
Mr Okoye has been criticised by Nigerians across social media platforms over the comment.
But Mr Okoye said on Sunday that his comment was misinterpreted insisting that the electronic transmission of results adopted in the recent off-season governorship elections has come to stay.
He argued that the electronic transmission of election results has boosted the INEC’s credibility as seen in the recently concluded governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun States.
Mr Okoye said the commission has long concluded plans to use the same procedure for the 2023 elections.
“We wish to reassure Nigerians that the electronic transmission of results has come to stay. It adds to the credibility and transparency of the process when citizens follow polling unit-level results on the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal in real-time on Election Day. There will be no change or deviation in subsequent elections.
“The entire gamut of result management is provided for in Sections 60, 62 and 64 of the Electoral Act 2022. In line with the provision of the law, the Commission, in April this year, released a detailed clarification of the procedure for transmission, collation and declaration of result which was shared with all stakeholders and uploaded to our website,” he said.
The INEC spokesperson also cautioned Nigerians against reaching a “conclusion based on media headlines” rather than facts as enshrined in the Electoral Act.