By G9ija

Yiaga Africa, a civil society organization, has issued a statement urging the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to take proactive measures to prevent post-election violence.

The organization emphasized the importance of eliminating favouritism, nepotism, and mediocrity in the electoral process to restore the trust of Nigerians and ensure a fair and credible election across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

Yiaga Africa emphasized the need for INEC to act quickly in the next 23 days. The group called for INEC to collaborate with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria in the various districts across the states and the Federal Capital Territory.

The goal of this collaboration is to train INEC’s temporary staff in completing the results sheets at polling stations and ward collation centers to minimize bureaucracy. The organization suggested that this collaboration could take place between the districts and the Resident Electoral Commissioners in each state.

Yiaga Africa pointed out that this collaboration would allow ICAN to mobilize its members across its districts.

The objective is to simplify the recording of results on Form EC8A so that the temporary staff, particularly the presiding officers, can fully understand how to accurately calculate the eight essential elements on the form.

These elements include: the number of registered voters, the number of accredited voters, the number of ballot papers distributed at the polling station, the number of unused ballot papers, the number of spoiled ballot papers, the number of rejected ballots, the total number of votes, and the total number of used ballot papers.

Additionally, Yiaga Africa stated that the outcome of the election tribunal in Osun should serve as a demonstration to INEC of what could be expected in the election results from the 176,846 polling stations throughout the country.

According to a pre-election report by the Administrative and Finance Officer, Daniel Mkpume, titled “2023: Exploring Professional Training on Election Results Collation,” obtained by a correspondent in Abuja, noted that since the launch of the INEC Result Viewing Portal, a total of 128,994 accounts have been opened by IReV users.

The report predicted that these numbers will continue to grow in 2023 as more Nigerians show interest in the election results from each polling station. The report highlights the importance of ensuring accuracy and fairness in the collation of election results.

It partly read, “There is no doubt that election is basically a game of numbers determined by eligible citizens who turn out to vote on election day and thus any act either by omission or commission that leads to the slightest mistake in collation of election results could potentially jeopardise the process.

“As a matter of fact, even an honourable mistake by electoral officials especially in the imputing and collation of election results could have an impact on the overall outcome of the elections.

“In this vein, any effort to ensure effective training of electoral officers on a simplified and accurate collation process will go a long way in boosting citizens’ confidence and promoting accountability in the process.

“Public trust is essential for any successful deployment of electoral technologies. The introduction of the IREV into the framework for election result management has transformed public perception of the accuracy and credibility of election results.

“INEC must try to achieve 100% or nothing in the quality of results that will be uploaded from the 176,846 polling units across the federation.” He added.