September 30, 2022

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmoud Yakubu has revealed that its result viewing portal experienced several attacks from hackers across the world, some of them from Asia, during the gubernatorial elections in Ekiti and Osun states.

The commission has however, warned that the days of manipulation of results were over having blocked all avenues for such irregularities.

This was made known by the Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, while delivering a keynote address at a conference of stakeholders on election result management, organised by Yiaga Africa, to launch the Election Result Analysis Dashboard report agenda.

Yakubu said INEC had recorded several attempts to hack the cyber security system of the IReV portal.

What the INEC Chairman is saying

Yakubu said, “Another technical concern for us is the repeated attempts to break through our cyber security system for the portal. Our Engineers reported several cyberattacks on the portal during the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections, some of them from as far as Asia. I am glad to note that all of them failed.

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“However, while we are confident in the security solutions that we have deployed for IReV and all our web presence, we must remain vigilant and continue to strengthen our defences. We have tasked our engineers to do everything possible to fully protect the IReV and all our web resources.”

Steps taken by INEC to address administrative challenges on its results portal

Yakubu stated it shall ensure adequate training of presiding officers as well as more hands-on training for those involved throughout the value chain of the IReV as part of measures to address the administrative challenges.

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The INEC boss said, “For example, we found out that some of the low-quality uploads that occurred in the field, which some of the observers have also noted, were due to the unavailability or substitution of presiding officers that were trained prior to the elections.

“We shall administratively deal with this challenge and ensure that only adequately trained Presiding Officers are deployed for elections.

“Also, more hands-on training may be required to ensure that all those involved throughout the value chain of the IReV are fully ready for what is bound to be a major outing during the 2023 general election.’’

The INEC chairman also announced the introduction of new legal provisions, administrative procedures and technological innovations to improve election conduct in 2023.

Yakubu said INEC was convinced that the application of technology to both accreditation and results management would improve transparency and trust in the electoral process.

He said the breakthrough came with the new Electoral Act 2022, which empowered the commission to adopt electronic means for both accreditation and results management.

Yakubu noted that the most critical technological tools introduced by the commission in recent times were the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and IReV portal, adding that while the former was a device, the latter was a web portal.

He said, “Indeed, using the law, administrative measures and technology, the commission has drastically tackled major problems in result management in Nigerian elections.

“Among the top ten of such problems are falsification of scores at Polling Units, falsification of number of accredited voters, collation of false results, mutilation of results and computational errors.

“Others are swapping of result sheets, forging result sheets, snatching and destruction of result sheets, obtaining declaration and return involuntarily, making declaration and return while result collation is still in progress and poor recordkeeping.’’

What you should know

  • Recall that earlier in February 2022, President Muhammadu Buhari finally signed the electoral amendment bill, which contained the critical component of the electronic transmission of results, into law.
  • The electronic transmission of results is expected to help eradicate the erstwhile cumbersome, tardy and vulnerable manual transmission and collation of election results which was subject to human interference and manipulations.
  • This will also help increase the transparency and confidence of the public in its election result management processes

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