Laolu Akande, former Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s aide believes the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) inability to electronically transmit results of the presidential and National Assembly polls has broken Nigerians’ trust in the agency.
While INEC had in the lead up to the February 2023 exercise repeatedly said it would transmit polling unit results to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV), that did not happen during the presidential and National Assembly elections.
Despite criticisms from Nigerians, the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT) ruled that the electoral umpire is at liberty to determine how to transmit election results.
In the wake of the development, Akande said INEC’s inability to e-transmit results has reduced the commission’s trust level among Nigerians.
“It is important to establish something we cannot basically run away from. INEC came out of this election as a damaged good. There is no doubt about that. INEC itself set up a standard. INEC determined the guidelines. INEC committed to the people of Nigeria that this is how we are going to declare the result of this election. In fact, the chairman of INEC went abroad and said, ‘What we are going to do is that this results, when we get it, we would put it on IReV in real-time’,” he said on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Friday.
According to him, the comment heightened people’s trust in the electoral umpire.
“But guess what? When it was time for INEC to fulfill its guidelines – for certain reasons we could talk about that- INEC failed to do what it said it would do. Now it is right that if you look at the law, and I think the judges also affirmed, INEC has not really broken the law. But INEC has broken the trust of the Nigerian people,” he added.
The development, he argued, not only affects INEC’s integrity, it raises legitimacy questions for those who won the elections.
“It is a problem for political legitimacy for people who came out of that system,” the former VP aide said.
“So, there is a lot of cynicism, there is a lot of distrust [about those declared winners]. INEC is responsible for that,” he noted.
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