The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria has observed with dismay some seeming infractions and non-adherence to laid down rules that characterized the just conducted presidential election.
Election processes all over the world are governed by laws and laid down rules that are pre-defined before the process commences. The credibility of any election process is based on how much such rules, and laid down procedures as defined by the umpire and relevant institutions are adhered to when concluding the election. Congress took copious note that in preparing for the 2023 general elections, INEC defined in its guidelines that election results will be uploaded from the pulling units directly to the IReV using the Bi-Modal Voters Accreditation System (BIVAS) machine.
This was in line with the section of the electoral act that dictate that election results should be transmitted electronically. Further to this, the INEC chairman and its national officers in several fora and media briefings assured
Nigerians that they will adhere to their own rules and extant laws.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) repeatedly gave assurances of their preparedness to conduct a free, fair, credible and transparent elections. Nigerians were equally buoyed by the passage into law of the Electoral Act 2022 as amended which legislated on the electronic transmission of results It is worrisome that in the just concluded presidential election, this was not done and no concrete explanation was giving by the commission until almost 48hours after the election was conducted when a press statement was issued.
This is totally not acceptable as it has dented the credibility of the results being announced in different parts of the country as the citizens and stakeholders cannot independently authenticate them.
The Nigerian populace hailed the introduction of the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) and the Result Viewing Portal (IReV) as the game changer! Despite all the sacrifice made by ordinary Nigerians to go out and wait in long queues to obtain their PVCs, strenuously cast their votes and the billions of taxpayers’ money budgeted for the conduct of this election, INEC failed in meeting the expectations of Nigerians.
This failure on the part of INEC to upload results from polling units to IReV portal, climaxed an election that was challenged by late arrival of INEC personnel and materials in some areas, by-pass of BIVAS in some cases, suppression of results and outright voters’ intimidation and coercion in many instances. Congress believes in democratic electoral process which has been proven to be far better than autocracy, dictatorship, totalitarianism, and all other extreme forms of governance in societies. We hereby call on the National Chairman of INEC to immediately direct all original polling unit results to be uploaded through the BVAS to IReV Portal. We also task the chairman to thoroughly investigate all other concerns raised by political parties and be more vigilant, listen and dispense with all complaints arising from the collation of election result from such identified centers, make amends where necessary as this is the only way to reinstate the credibility of the process, remove the perception of collusion and manipulation; and satisfy the yearnings of millions of Nigerians.
Congress wish to commend the presidential candidate of Labor Party, His Excellency Mr. Peter Obi for the well-crafted and well thought out press release that was just issued; where he urged his supporters to remain calm and be peaceful despite the numerous irregularities observed in the process and that the party will follow due process and use constitutional means in addressing the grievances. There is nothing that will further demonstrate statesmanship than this. Even in the face of provocation, he chose to put the nation over self. This is why he will continuously be the shining armor and a unique breed in the self-centered and insect infested Nigerian political landscape. The working people and progressive Nigerians fought for this democracy, we are determined and shall together defend it to the end.