A coalition of pro-democracy civil society groups in Nigeria has rejected the proposal by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to adopt manual collation of results as against electronic transmission of results in the forthcoming Bayelsa State Governorship Election.
The groups noted that electronic transmission of election results is a vital component of ensuring the authenticity and fairness of elections, hence, it called on the INEC to ensure accurate and timely transmission of the election results and transparency in the conduct of the November 11 governorship election in Bayelsa State.
The groups made this known in a communique jointly signed by the National Secretary of the Campaign for Democracy (CD), Olufemi Lawson and Atani John of the Niger Delta Democratic Vanguard, after a meeting held in Abuja on Thursday.
According to the groups, the integrity and credibility of any election depend on the transparency of the electoral process, including the accurate and timely transmission of results.
The coalition said, “Recall, that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has on Wednesday stated it plans to transmit results of the Nov. 11 Bayelsa governorship election manually. This was made known through the State’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) Mr Obo Effanga
“Electronic transmission of results is a vital component of ensuring the authenticity and fairness of elections, and its abandonment would undermine the trust of the electorate, Nigerians and the international community in the electoral process.
“The use of technology in the transmission of election results has proven to be a valuable tool in reducing electoral fraud, promoting accountability, and delivering more accurate and timely results to the public. It enhances the transparency of the electoral process and minimizes the potential for manipulation or tampering with results at various stages.
“We urge the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reconsider its proposal and uphold the principles of transparency and accountability in the Bayelsa State Governorship Election.
“We call on INEC to ensure that the electronic transmission of results is not only maintained but also improved upon to guarantee the credibility of the electoral process.
“As critical Stakeholders in the Nigerian project, we are committed to monitoring the upcoming Bayelsa State Governorship Election closely, and we will continue to advocate for transparency, fairness, and the highest standards of integrity in the electoral process.
“We call on all stakeholders, including political parties, civil society organizations, and the international community, to join us in safeguarding the integrity of this critical election.
“Finally, we urge the people of Bayelsa to rise and safeguard democracy, and avoid the rape of our democracy.”
Similarly, Good Governance Advocacy Group expressed concern over remarks credited to the INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Bayelsa State, Obo Effanga, that the results of the November 11 governorship election in the state would be collated manually.
The REC, Effanga during an interactive meeting with religious leaders and faith-based organisations in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, on Wednesday said that the election results would be collated manually.
He was quoted as saying, “But just to clear all doubts, the election is going to be won and lost at the polling unit.”
Reacting to the REC’s remarks, GGAG in a statement signed by its Coordinator, Godwin Ebiware, said it was surprising that the INEC’s Commissioner did not give reasons why the commission would collate results manually.
Ebiware said, “The Federal Government spent billions of naira to secure Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) but out of a hidden agenda by the political parties in Bayelsa in connivance with the Independent National Electoral Commission, has decided to abandon the electronic transmission of the November 11 election results in real time.”
Also, GGAG called on the state police command to exercise neutrality ahead of the governorship poll.
The group described as disturbing the “partisan statement” credited to the police commissioner in the state that the safety of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members and supporters in the state could not be guaranteed if they visited Nembe-Bassambiri to campaign.
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