NewsINEC Report Explains Why IReV Failed To Upload 2023 Presidential Election Results

INEC Report Explains Why IReV Failed To Upload 2023 Presidential Election Results

GTBCO FOOD DRINL

February 25, (THEWILL) – One year after it conducted the February 25, 2023 general election which results were the subject of intense public debates and litigation until january 19, 2024 when the Supreme Court gave the last verdict on the series of election petitions brought before it, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Friday unveiled a 526-page 2023 general election report on the poll.

The reports showed a detailed explanation on a very sensitive area that called to question the integrity of the Commission: why it failed to fulfil its promise that Nigerians could view in real-time the result of the presidential elections on the INEC results viewing portal (IReV) during the 25 february, 2023 presidential elections.

Acknowledging in the post-election report that the failure to upload polling unit results of the presidential election to IReV in real-time at the close of polls on Saturday 25 February 2023 key impacted on the public perception of the election “and elicited widespread commentary”, the Commission, gave explanation on this shortcoming.

“By and large, the glitch experienced in uploading the scanned images of polling unit presidential election result sheets on 25th February 2023 was due to the inherent complexity within the system, which was difficult to anticipate and mitigate,” the report said.

IReV Challenge

Before the conduct of the elections, INEC officials were all over the media circuit promising Nigerians that it would upload the election results to the IReV portal in real-time for the public to watch in the comfort of their homes.

Informed ahead of time, Nigerians naturally felt disappointment that the Commission failed to upload results of the presidential poll onto the irev which accepted results of the national assembly elections held on the same day.

This failure caused a huge integrity problem for the Commission as this major setback was to form a basis for the presidential candidates of the major political parties of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and Labour Party, LP, Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, respectively, to challenge the victory of Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, APC.

Even so, INEC blamed the problem on a technical glitch while former Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed blamed cyberattack, during a visit to the United States of America.

Report Explains Why IReV Failed

In the report, the Commission underscored the pivotal role of technological advancement particularly the Bimodal Voter Accreditation system, BVAS in boosting electoral integrity and reducing fraud and explained that it only started receiving complaints from presiding officers at polling units at about 4 p.m. when voting ended that attempts to upload the result sheets of the presidential elections were failing.

In its response, the commission said it asked field officers for the details of the error in order to trace the origin, source, scale and magnitude.

It then engaged in a troubleshooting process, which led it to find out that the errors were caused by an application due to problems “relating to configuration, permissions, or failure to create or access application resources correctly.”

“Further interrogation of the election result modules indicated that the system is encountering an unexpected configuration problem in mapping the presidential election results uploaded into the system to the participating polling units,” the report said, adding that, “each senatorial district and Federal Constituency election on the database was mapped to their respective states.”

It further stated that, “while the uploads for the national assembly elections succeeded as the application was able to identify the respective state and build the folder hierarchy for the results organisation process for the election, attempts to upload the presidential election results sheets, which does not belong to or mapped to any state on the database, failed.”

“Instead, it returned a HTTP server error response. This failure is attributable to the inability of the application to create and build a folder structure to organise the uploaded images of the result sheets of the presidential election.”

According to the Commission, it eventually succeeded to make a headway by creating and using “Hotfixes” to resolve the HTTP error on the system “and the first presidential election result sheet was successfully uploaded at 8.55pm on the 25th of february 2023.”

Frustrated, many of the field officers who had worked late into the day started leaving their polling units and switched off the election monitoring devices, particularly the bvas machines having failed to successfully upload results.

On this, the report said, “the commission had to reach out to the POS of affected areas to switch on their systems and ensure internet connectivity for the uploads to continue. this accounted for the delay, with some of the results coming in the next day.”

Conclusion

In the light of these shortcomings, the commission reported that it has learnt its lessons and made the necessary corrections on the IReV.

It said it had,” taken additional steps to build more resilience and undertaken additional checks to ensure the stability and optimal operation and performance of the irev portal. Other measures are additional quality assurance checks that are now done to complement the end-to-end testing of the entire result upload ecosystem before the conduct of any election.”

After it acknowledged the foregoing shortcomings, the commission still insisted that the outcome of the 2023 presidential election was credible and there was no cause for alarm. It based this conclusion on the fact that the relevant stakeholders such as the political party agents, security personnel and election observers had access to the results from the polling units which significantly corroborated results that were subsequently uploaded on its IReV portal.

Reactions

The report has however attracted comments by players at the election. foremost among them is LP Presidential Campaign Organisation. Spokesperson for the group, Tanko Yinusa dismissed the report as “medicine after death.”

He said, “ here we are, the report of inec that the irev refused to function or results not uploaded is false. Considering the fact that there were three elections that happened on that day, the federal house of representatives, the senate, and the results were uploaded and there was no issue. Why must there be an issue with regards to the presidential election.? so, totally for us there is disdain for the people and (INEC) is trying to promote indecency.”

For the chairman of the Nigerian civil society situation room, a coalition of 70 Civil Society Organisations that monitored the general election, Clement Nwankwo, the commission’s report has not addressed the major issues with the 2023 election.

He said, “Looking at inec’s explanation, we still have a long way to go in conducting our elections. First, it took a long time for this explanation to come. What the civil society is calling for is an independent audit of what happened in the 2023 elections and unless we do that, the 2027 election will be marred by issues of general accountability that marred the 2023 polls.”

About the Author

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Amos Esele is the Deputy Editor of THEWILL Newspaper. He has over two decades of experience on the job.

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Amos Esele, THEWILLhttps://thewillnews.com
Amos Esele is the Deputy Editor of THEWILL Newspaper. He has over two decades of experience on the job.

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