The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has stated that the law does not require them to send the presidential election results electronically in 2023.
INEC filed the argument in response to the Action Peoples Party’s (APP) lawsuit before the Presidential Election Petitions Court (PEPC) in Abuja, which challenged the outcome of the 2023 presidential election.
The APP had petitioned the tribunal to challenge the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Bola Tinubu’s, victory in the February 25 election, as declared by INEC, on the grounds that the electoral umpire failed to transfer results electronically, which violated the law.
The APP said that INEC violated its own laws and procedures.
However, INEC, through one of its attorneys, Abubakar Mahmoud (SAN), argued that the presidential elections in 2023 would be free and fair, stressing that the Electoral Act does not need 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 denied allegations that its personnel tampered with results in order to favor a particular political party’s candidate or that there was excessive voting.
The commission noted that the online result viewing portal experienced some difficulties on election day and became inconsistent at the moment of collation, forcing its Information and Communications Technology (ICT) staff to implement a workaround while trying to resolve the issue.
“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 PEPC has yet to set the dates for hearing the five petitions received so far from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party (LP), APP, Action Alliance (AA), and Allied Peoples Movement (APM).
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