As hearings on the petitions before the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal over the controversial February 25 election get underway, revelations have emerged that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) cannot produce the results of more than 9000 polling units where results were manipulated.
A well placed source in INEC disclosed that the commission is finding it difficult to reconcile the figures it announced during the presidential election because the original results are no longer available.
The source noted that while INEC is in possession of the altered results, it cannot produce the original ones signed by the presiding officers at the polling units where results were manipulated.
The unfolding crisis, it was learnt, followed the controversial shutdown of the INEC server during the presidential election, which caused difficulty for the commission’s staff to upload results to the BiModal Accreditation Voter System (BVAS) which was subsequently formatted for the governorship election which held three weeks later.
The challenge INEC faces as it heads to Election Petition Tribunal is how to defend the results it announced during the election without showing evidence from the results given to them by the presiding officer, the source added.
During collation of the results, opposition parties, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP), rejected the figures announced by INEC, citing among other things, the manipulation of results in several states in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC) the presidential candidate Bola Tinubu.
The parties demanded a review of the collation process to address the anomalies among which was the failure to upload photos of polling station results to a central portal, IReV, created for the purpose.
Results were supposed to be electronically transmitted from each of the more than 176,000 polling stations to the commission’s collation system and also uploaded to its website.
While INEC apologised for the technical glitches” in uploading results on the IREV portal as planned, its chairman Prof Mahmood Yakubu, carried on with the process and declared Tinubu winner.
According to Yakubu, Tinubu scored a total of 8,794,726 votes, while the PDP candidate Atiku Abubakar came second with a total of 6,984,520 votes.
Labour Party candidate Peter Obi came third with a total of 6,101,533 votes while Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) came fourth with 1,496,687 votes.
The opposition parties have since rejected the outcome of the election and filed petitions at the Election Tribunal citing irregularities and INEC’s failure to abide by provisions of the law. The electoral commission and the APC have also filed counterclaims insisting the election was credible.
However, a senior INEC official who craves anonymity has revealed that, “Presidential Election results of more than nine thousand polling units across Nigeria have been missing.
“This is because the original results from the Presiding officer from which the manipulations were done, they do not have it anymore to reconcile how they arrived at the figures that were announced.
“The original results which they collected from the Presiding officer from which they did the manipulation is what they are looking for. They need that to show the results they announced,” the senior INEC source added.
“For instance in the manipulated results sheet where they have 187,000, they need the original to know if the actual votes were 187, 87 or 18. This is the biggest headache now because the numbers are not adding up,” the sour said.
The source noted that without the original results, the commission would not be able to figure out how they arrived at the numbers that were declared.
The INEC insider added that the situation is responsible for INEC’s inability to upload 100% of the presidential election results into their system, adding that the last time they uploaded results was March 25.
As of the time of filing this report, INEC had uploaded 94.68 percent of results from the Presidential election on its IREV portal.
The source added, “Problems started after the manipulation of the original results and the shutdown of the INEC server, INEC staffers were said to be using personal phone datas and hotspots to attempt to send the results to the BVAS. The process failed them and most could not snap or export results before formatting them.
“The results were said to have been snapped from the BVAS machine without exportation to INEC servers after Glo-Nigeria connived with INEC to shut down the server midway into the Presidential elections.
“The challenge INEC is having now is how they intend to go to the tribunal and show how they arrived at the results that were announced without showing evidence from the results given to them by the Presiding officer,” the source noted.
Recall that elections did not hold in 240 polling units because there were no registered voters there. As such, the total number of polling units in the country is now 176,606 as against 176,846.
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