Professor Mahmoud Yakubu
Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, yesterday declared that the commission has ended the era of election rigging in Nigeria.
He also vowed that henceforth, no eligible voter can vote more than once in any election in the country.The INEC chairman, who spoke at a seminar titled: ‘2023 and Beyond: Leadership, Politics, and Citizens Engagement,’ organised by the St. James Anglican Church in Asokoro, Abuja, also said that the commission has been legally empowered to review any election result declared under duress.
Yakubu who was represented by a deputy director, Voter Education, Chukwu Emeka Ogbuaja, said the votes of Nigerians would count in the 2023 general election.
He said: “We, in INEC, have a good message for all Nigerians. We have murdered and buried rigging in Nigeria. Apart from that, no voter can afford to vote more than once in any election in Nigeria.
“Also, there will be no case of over voting again in any polling station. Voting will be based on BVAS and other electronic devices by INEC.“At the polling stations, the number of votes must be based on the number of voters accredited at the time of polling and not based on the number of registered voters. The number of accreditation at the polling station must tally with the number of actual voting. If it exceeded by one vote, the entire process would be invalidated,” the INEC chairman explained.
According to him, “the BVAS will ensure that the fingerprints tally with the facial recorded. The processes are so transparently configured that your finger and facial records are contained in the BVAS and thereafter, the results are uploaded to anyone that keys into the INEC portal anywhere in the world.”Yakubu vowed that political parties that engage in rigging will face the same experience witnessed in Edo, Ondo, Anambra, Ekiti and Osun state governorship elections.
“Nobody can rig any election. INEC has fortified its portal; People will elect the leader they leader want,” he said.He also vowed that the commission would leave a legacy of a transparent election with the outcome of the 2023 general election.He said to avoid a situation where any politician will hold its staff at a gunpoint to declare false results, that the commission is now empowered by the new electoral law to review any election result by any of its staff.
According to the INEC chairman, “Section 65 of the Act gives the Commission the power within seven days to review a declaration and return made where the commission determines that the said declaration and return was not made voluntarily or was made contrary to the provisions of the law, regulations and guidelines, and manual for the election.
“The commission will exercise this power responsibly based on the provisions of the Constitution, the Electoral Act and its Regulations and Guidelines,” he explained.
The chairman of the occasion, Ambassador Godknows Igali explained that Nigerians as a sovereign state has citizens who have a major role in building the nation, adding that the Church must discuss politics and how it is governed.He urged Christians not to shy away from politics and good governance as that is where issues affecting all are discussed and policies implemented.