COALITION in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution, DNDC, has warned the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, not to use e-collation of results in the forthcoming governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States. The group, in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja by its co-convener, Mr Ariyo-Dare Atoye, said the planned use of the new platform is capable of being manipulated to undermine the integrity of elections. According to the group, “We wish to urgently alert Nigerians and all stakeholders in our electoral process to the fact that the planned application of e-collation of results is not backed by the Electoral Act, and that it has not been tested in smaller elections to ascertain its effectiveness. “Consequently, we fear that it may be hijacked, manipulated and used to undermine the credibility of results in the forthcoming Edo and Ondo States governorship elections.” The group recalled how the INEC had, against genuine concerns, informed suspicions
and well-known global best practices, deployed an untested Smart Card Readers, SCR, technology on a large scale for the conduct of the 2015 general elections. “It was an innovation never before tested in any local or smaller election to ascertain its efficiency and reliability. It was hurriedly deployed against the rule of science and technology and the end result for voters’ accreditation was a monumental failure. “Although INEC has continued to conceal the data (performance of the card readers) from the public, we have it on good authority, including some information at our disposal, that the failure rate of the SCR accreditation was well over 60 percent. “We sincerely urge the commission to publish the correct figures should it consider our assertion to be wrong. For instance, we are aware that the SCR achieved less than 16 percent success rate in Kano State for the 2015 governorship election. “This proposed e-platform is even the most sensitive aspect of any election and it is the stage at which elections are seriously manipulated. It
is therefore curious that INEC intends to introduce another ‘technological-expansion’ without considering the laws guiding this process.” CDNDC referred to the relevant sections of the Electoral Act on collation and transmission, to wit: 63 (I), which says that “The presiding officer shall, after counting the votes at the polling unit, enter the votes scored by each candidate in a form to be prescribed by the Commission as the case may be. “(2) The form shall be signed and stamped by the presiding officer and counter signed by the candidates or their polling agents where available at the polling unit. (3) The presiding officer shall give to the polling agents and the police officer where available a copy each of the completed forms after it has been duly signed as provided in subsection (2) of this section. (4)The presiding officer shall count and announce the result at the polling unit. “Section 64. A candidate or polling agent may, where present at a polling unit when counting of votes is completed by the presiding officer, demand to have the votes recounted provided
that the presiding officer shall cause the votes to be so recounted only once. “Section 65. After the recording of the result of the election, the presiding officer shall announce the result and deliver same and election materials under security to such persons as may be prescribed by the commission. According to the group, “As registered voters and concerned Nigerians, we are therefore compelled to ask INEC if it is logical, reasonable and acceptable to contemplate the introduction of another electronic platform at this juncture when it is yet to: “I. Perfect the strict use of the SCR, both in law (Electoral Act) and as a sole instrument for accreditation to become a standard practice; “II. Come clean and give account of performance of the SCR in the last general election.” The same INEC had, in the last one year, conducted over 130 other elections without considering it necessary to test- run the use of e-collation and e-transmission to determine their efficiency and suitability. “We strongly disagree with INEC that Edo and Ondo States governorship polls should be used to test this new expansion.”

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