Barrister Mike Igini, the former Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Akwa Ibom State, had On Monday disclosed that some influential politicians were actively attempting to thwart the implementation of the 2022 Electoral Act.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, the former REC praised President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the new Electoral Act Amendments Bill into law and the National Assembly for enacting the measure.
Igini, who retired from the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as REC in August after serving for ten years, also urged anyone plotting to rig the general elections of 2023 to abandon their plans, stating that the outcome of the vote will be decided at the voting places.
By giving INEC unrestricted authority to use technology in the elections, he claimed that the 2022 Electoral Act had transformed polling places into the “Center of the Universe.”
He said introducing the Bimodal Voting Accreditation System, BVAS, and iREV would make it highly impossible to rig the elections at the polling units level anymore.
He states, “The 2022 Electoral Act has made Polling Units the Center of the Universe. This means that elections will now be determined in the Polling Units. The era of fraudulent Electoral Officers changing election results may have gone because the results harvested in the Polling Units must be declared and transmitted to the INEC elections viewing portal.”
He further asserted that the usage of Form EC8A, in which the Presiding Officer will fill in the results and submit or transmit the form to INEC iREV, has changed the game because it prevents results from being altered at Collation Centers.
Igini said, “In line with Section 60 of the 2022 Electoral Act, the POs must transmit and also physically take Form EC8A where the results harvested in the Polling Units have been entered to the Collation Centers. Woe betides anyone who will alter the results already transmitted to the INEC election results viewing portal.”
The former INEC REC and CSO head, who was at the vanguard of the commission’s reforms, observed with dismay that some sections in Nigeria that prefer the status quo are uneasy with the 2022 Electoral Act and are determined to undermine it.
He said, “It has to be said that there are those who are not comfortable with the 2022 Electoral Act and are hell-bent on sabotaging it. In any system, there are those who want to sabotage it, the Electoral Act is not spared.”
While praising the current National Assembly members for their efforts in passing the new Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law and President Buhari for his approval of it to give Nigerians the 2022 Electoral Act, which has granted INEC more powers to continue to provide Nigerians with free, fair, and credible elections, he also stated that with the reforms put in place, no one would tamper with the voter’s register.
He applauded the Coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP, for raising the alarm about the sudden uploading of dubious names to the register, and he assured that the additional measures put in place by the commission would help to uncover such anomalies if any existed.
The voter’s registration must be made available to all political parties before the election, according to the Electoral Act, he claimed, and it must be posted in polling places.