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2023: uploaded election results can’t be manipulated, says INEC

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Abuja—The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared that results uploaded from polling units during elections cannot be manipulated.

Leadership newspaper reports that the commission also lamented the ongoing political campaigns on social media but regretted that it was handicapped to take action because it’s beyond its jurisdiction.

This came as Yiaga Africa urged the commission to subject the Bi-modal Voters Accreditation System (BIVAS) to a stress test ahead of the 2023 general election.

INEC stated this during a workshop for political parties, civil society organisations, the media and other stakeholders titled: “The role and impact of digital technologies in facilitating peaceful elections in Nigeria.”

The two-day programme in Abuja was organised by the National Peace Committee (NPC) in collaboration with the Kofi Annan Foundation and the Kukah Centre.

Speaking as a panellist during one of the sessions, the special adviser to the INEC chairman, Prof Mohammad Kuna, who reacted to fears over the electronic transmission of results, said “editing of uploaded results by electoral officials is not possible,” adding “once the results are uploaded they cannot be edited.”

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He said results uploaded on the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IREV) cannot be breached, stressing that there has been less rancour as far as results are concerned because of the commission’s use of technology.

He added that the inability of politicians to manipulate the process has seen them resort to buying votes, adding that the electronic transmission of results has afforded political parties and candidates to compute election results in real time.

While he admitted failed attempts to attack INEC’s websites and electronic portals, he assured that the commission has adequate security to resist such attacks.

Corroborating, Prof Abdullahi Abdu Zuru, said party agents are required to sign the results from polling units, adding that they must ensure that what they signed is what is uploaded.

On breach of campaigns ahead of the elections, Kuna said those campaigning on social media are taking advantage of the loophole in the electoral laws which does not extend to social media.

While campaigns are expected to start on September 28, he said “I am not sure the new Electoral Act in terms of regulations extended the reach to social media and so the people exploited it.”

He however admitted that the loophole needs to be plugged, adding that the commission is constrained to hold people responsible for campaigning on social media before the September 28 deadline for the process.

On his part, Itodo urged the electoral commission to test-run the BVAS ahead of the 2023 general election, adding that the commission should be bold enough to check how hack-proof the machines are as a precaution for the elections.

“I urge INEC to conduct a stress test on the BVAS to gauge its vulnerability ahead of the 2023 polls.”

He further urged Nigerians to charge INEC to henceforth upload accredited voters list alongside results from the polling units.”

He said, “The BVAS has the capacity to upload results from the polling units and the wards as well as the registered voters in various polling units.”

Head of the secretariat of NPC, Revd Father Atta Barkindo, said they decided to embark on this workshop because they discovered the need to hold candidates and political parties to account on the issue of social media and fake news as part of the peace accord process.

Other panelists at the event decried the deliberate use of social media to spread fake news ahead of the 2023 general elections.

Head, Anglophone West Africa/Public Policy, Facebook, Adaora Ikenze, noted that the aim of the gathering is to fashion out a system of having a civil way of engagement during the election, adding that political actors should desist from sponsoring contents targeted at exploiting the weak and vulnerable through false news.

Director of CDD, West Africa, Idayat Hassan, warned against the digital interference in our electoral system by foreign countries. She however noted the need for increased sensitisation on the impact of fake news ahead of the 2023 elections.

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Buhari has reduced insecurity in Nigeria, says Tinubu

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England—The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, has said that the President Muhammadu Buhari, has reduced the insecurity challenge he met on the ground in 2015.

Punch reports that Tinubu said this during an interview with BBC, which was published on Tuesday.

Questioned about how he would tackle insecurity, considering it has persisted, Tinubu said, “It has reduced. I will defend him.

“Then, 17 local governments and about four states where we had flags of foreign jihadists in Nigeria. That is no more. That is long gone.

“To start chaos is easy. To bring normalcy and redecorate is more difficult. Here we are, Buhari has degraded but not completely eliminated ISWAP.

“They will talk briefly of lethal weapons and ammunitions and technology equipment that could have helped with the clean up of those.

“The West is yet to feel comfortable enough with a Buhari administration to sell us the arms and technology necessary.”

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People want to use me to make money—Tinubu explains why he snubs debates

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London—The presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has said those inviting him for debates are only trying to use him to make money because he’s a marketable individual.

Channels Television reports that the former governor of Lagos State said this at Chatham House in London on Monday, barely 24 hours after he snubbed a town hall meeting attended by three other candidates in the 2023 presidential race.

Fielding a question from the audience on why he snubbed debates, Tinubu said, “I see myself as a marketable individual. You want to use me to make money and I’m saying no.”

On controversies surrounding his age, school and time in the private sector, he said, “At the time of birth, I was dated March 29, 1952, in the family record. Then, I don’t think I had decided to be President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, not even that I would go into politics.

“I’ve had a very good record in life. My record is consistent in the university they questioned. They’ve now confessed that they wasted their money and their time. The record is there, and the transcript is there showing March 1952.

“I’m not claiming another father, I’m Tinubu and Tinubu proper. If they want a DNA, they could as well request for one.

“One of them was even accused of not being a Nigerian citizen, I didn’t touch that area.

“Equally, it remains the same. Chicago State University where I graduated has attested to that. Now, I can announce that I have received my original replacement degree certificate from them.

“Deloitte trained me as an accountant. Mobile Oil has attested to my outstanding record. I got to the pinnacle of my career in the private sector. Who among them can brag about that?

“Yes, you want to wrestle with the pig, you’ve got to live with the dirt. That’s what I’m doing. I got into politics knowing fully well that it is muddy water. Smog will come, and you will have to live with the dirt and make sure you are upright to finish the job.”

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Dogara joins PDP from APC after declaring support for Atiku

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Abuja —Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara has dumped the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Channels Television reports that Dogara was received into the party during the presidential campaign by the party’s presidential candidate and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar in the nation’s commercial capital, Lagos State.

This comes 48 hours after a group led by Dogara, the Northern Leaders Consultative Forum adopted Atiku as the preferred presidential candidate for the 2023 election.

On December 2, the group consisting of Christian and Muslim religious and political leaders in the north said after evaluation of all the presidential candidates, Abubakar is “the best”.

“It is evident that the All Progressives Congress (APC) is heading for implosion and extinction; hence, it cannot be the party for now and in the future, because of its rejection to embrace inclusiveness in a diverse country like Nigeria. After the 2023 elections, APC may be dead and buried as a political party,” the group said.

“While the duo (NNPP and LP) may emerge as strong contenders in the political arena in the future, from all indications, PDP appears to be the best option to adopt and support.

“All it takes is to sustain and tackle some of the problems and challenges this country faces.

“Certainly, with proper consultations and inclusive appointments, which is mindful of the federal character principle with a sincere consideration of diverse issues such as religious affiliation, geographical location, and ethnic identity, which many believe will enhance justice, fairness and equity, after a careful evaluation of all the issues highlighted above, we now recommend the adoption of the PDP to all lovers of democracy in Nigeria for the 2023 presidential election,” the group said.

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