INEC broke Nigerians’ trust during presidential poll – Osinbajo’s aide

Akande said INEC’s failure to transmit election results electronically in real time has eroded the trust Nigerians reposed in the electoral umpire.

Laolu Akande, the spokesman for former Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, has argued that the failure of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to make good on its promise to transmit polling unit results of elections electronically in real-time has broken Nigerians’ trust in the agency.

In the lead-up to the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections, the electoral umpire had repeatedly assured Nigerians that it would transmit polling unit results to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) in real-time.

However, the commission backtracked on the promise on election day, resorting to manual transmission of results, especially for the presidential election.

This failure by INEC, coupled with the emergence of Bola Tinubu as the president, made some Nigerians agitated as they alleged that the process was compromised.

However, this outcry didn’t convince judges at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT) to undo INEC’s decision, as they ruled that the electoral umpire has the discretion to determine the mode of transmission of election results.

Reacting to the development, Akande, speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Friday, September 8, 2023, believed that INEC’s inability to electronically 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’,” Akande said.

He said the reassuring comments by INEC raised the people’s hope in the commission, adding that INEC didn’t only dent its integrity by the turn of events, but it also raised questions of legitimacy on those who won the elections.

But guess what? When it was time for INEC to fulfil 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.

“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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