The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has stated that the law does not require it to transmit presidential election results electronically in 2023. INEC made the submission in response to the Action Peoples Party’s (APP) petition before the Presidential Election Petitions Court (PEPC) in Abuja, which challenged the outcome of the 2023 presidential election.
The APP had approached the tribunal to challenge the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubuvictory ,’s in the February 25 election, as declared by INEC, on the grounds that the electoral umpire failed to transmit results electronically, which violated the law.
The APP had alleged that INEC breached its own laws and guidelines.
But INEC, through one of its lawyers, Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN), insisted that the 2023 presidential polls were free and fair, adding that the Electoral Act does not mandate the electronic transmission of results.
“The election was free, fair, credible and in compliance with the constitution and the Electoral Act, 2022 and other relevant laws and guidelines,” INEC stated in one of the documents before the tribunal.
The commission added that “There was no collation system of the 3rd respondent (INEC) to which polling unit results were required to be transmitted by the presiding officers…the prescribed mode of collation was manual collation of the various forms EC8A, EC8B, EC8C,EC8D and EC8E in the presidential election.”
INEC also dismissed allegations that its officials doctored results to favour a particular political party’s candidate or that there was over-voting.
The commission explained that the online result viewing portal had some challenges on election day and became erratic at the point of collation which forced its Information and Communications Technology (ICT) team to adopt an alternative while working to rectify the problem.
“It was observed that while the result sheets were being successfully uploaded through the e-transmission system to the iRev portal in respect of the Senatorial and House of Representatives elections to their respective modules, the e-transmission was not processing and uploading the result sheets to the iRev portal in respect of the presidential election. The system was encountering glitches and was extremely slow.
“ The 3rd respondent’s (INEC) technical team took every step to restore the application to functionality…five application/patches updates were created and deployed immediately with the aim of fixing the error,” INEC said in its court filing.
Meanwhile, the dates for the hearing of the five petitions so far received from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Labour Party (LP), the APP, Action Alliance (AA), and the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) is yet to be fixed by the PEPC.