—Says elections ‘ll be won or lost in Polling Units.
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, ABUJA
The former Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, for Akwa Ibom State, Barrister Mike Igini on Monday revealed that some powerful politicians were working hard to sabotage the implementation of the 2022 Electoral Act.
Igini, who bowed out from the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as REC in August after spending ten years, also advised those planning to rig the 2023 general elections to bury the thought, insisting that the elections would be won or lost at the polling units.
Speaking when he appeared on Channels Television breakfast programme Sunrise Daily which was monitored in Abuja, the former REC commended the National Assembly for passing the new Electoral Act Amendments Bill as well as President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the piece of legislation into law.
He contended that the 2022 Electoral Act has made
Polling Units the “Center of the Universe”, pointing out that the new Electoral Act has given INEC unfettered powers to deploy technology in the conduct of the elections.
He said the introduction of the Bimodal Voting Accreditation System, BVAS, and its sister iREV will make it highly impossible to rig the elections at the polling units level anymore.
According to him, “The 2022 Electoral Act has made Polling Units the Center of the Universe. This means that elections will now be determined in the Polling Units. The era of fraudulent
Electoral Officers changing election results may have gone because the results harvested in the Polling Units must be declared right there and results transmitted to the INEC elections viewing portal.”
He further posited that the use of Form EC8A where the Presiding Officer will fill in the results into the form and transfer or transmit same to INEC iREV has become a game changer as the results can no longer be manipulated at Collation Centers.
Igini said, “In line with Section 60 of the 2022 Electoral Act, the POs must transmit and also physically take Form EC8A where the results harvested in the Polling Units have been entered to the Collation Centers. Woe betides anyone who will alter the results already transmitted to the INEC election results viewing portal.”
The former INEC REC and Civil Society Organisations, CSO, chieftain, who was at forefront of the reforms in the commission noted with dismay that some elements in Nigeria who like the old order are not comfortable with the 2022 Electoral Act and are hell-bent to sabotage it.
He said, “It has to be said that there are those who are not comfortable with the 2022 Electoral Act and are hell-bent to sabotage it. In any system there are those who want to sabotage it, the Electoral Act is not spared.”
While pouring encomium on the current National Assembly members for working hard to pass the new Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law and President Buhari for his assent to it to give Nigerians the 2022 Electoral Act which has granted INEC more powers to give Nigerians free, fair and credible elections going forward, he also said that with the reforms put in place, nobody would temper with the voter’s register.
He commended the Coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP, for the alarm it raised over the sudden appearance of suspicious names uploaded on the register, assuring that the new measures put in place by the commission would help to detect such anomalies if at all they exist.
He said that the Electoral Act makes it mandatory that the voter’s register would be displayed in Polling Units and get to all political parties before the election.