The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has stated that President Muhammadu Buhari has delivered on his pledge to leave behind a legacy of free, fair and credible elections through the conduct of 2023 polls.
He mentioned this during his official engagements with some international media organizations in Washington DC.
The minister was reported to have traveled to Washington to engage with international media organizations and think tanks on the just-concluded 2023 polls.
Lai Mohammed said during the past elections, the President ensured that nobody used the security agencies to rig the election in his favour but created a level-playing ground for the elections to take place.
“Proof of this resolution is that the President’s party lost the presidential election in Katsina, his home state.
“Equally, the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, lost in his state, Lagos, while the Chairman of the Party, Abdullahi Adamu, lost in Nasarawa state to the Labour Party.
“The Director-General of the Campaign Organisation of our party also lost to PDP in Plateau State.
“Nothing gives this election more credence than those facts because there was no rigging in states where our bigwigs come from,” he said.
Mohammed said the allegations of fraud being bandied by the opposition and naysayers did not add up.
According to Lai Mohammed, the controversy was generated because of the inability of INEC to upload the results of the presidential election in real-time.
He said the controversy was absolutely unnecessary though it had been the fulcrum of the argument of the naysayers that elections were flawed.
Mohammed, however, said the conclusion by the opposition and naysayers was based on ignorance of the role and functions of IReV.
He said IReV, a platform whereby election results at the polling level are uploaded, was not a tool for the collation of elections or to transmit results electronically.
“Under our laws today, management of election results is manual and the court has ruled that INEC has the exclusive right to determine the mode of election, its collation, and transmission.
“What happened on the 25th of February was that INEC observed that the results of the presidential elections were not being viewed.
“INEC, suspecting a cyber attack, withheld the uploading of the results in order to preserve the integrity of the data. It immediately proceeded to float an alternative platform while asking its technicians to investigate what happened to its original portal.”
Speaking on delay in delivering election materials to certain areas, Lai Mohammed said it was difficult in a country as diverse and complex as Nigeria for election materials to arrive at the same time everywhere.
He said with 176,846 polling units scattered all over the country with different topography, it would be difficult to deliver the materials simultaneously.
“In some areas, you need to use donkeys, human portals, and boats to access some of these difficult areas. We also know the challenge of an unanticipated cash crunch that slowed down logistic movements.
“The redesigning of the naira did not help matters because some of the people who transported the materials insisted on a cash payment which was not available,” he said.
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