2023: ‘Power of ballot has been restored to Nigerians’ – ex-INEC Commissioner

A former Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Barrister Mike Igini, has advised those planning to rig the 2023 general election to bury the thought, saying the elections would be won or lost at the polling units.

Igini, who recently retired as the Akwa-Ibom State REC, spoke on television programme, in Abuja yesterday, applauded the current National Assembly for passing the new Electoral Act amendment Bills, which President Muhammadu Buhari gave his assent to become the 2022 Electoral Act.

According to him, the 2022 Electoral Act has made polling units the ‘Centre of the Universe’, pointing out that the new Electoral Act has given INEC unfettered powers to deploy technology in the conduct of the elections, the introduction of the Bi-modal Voting Accreditation System (BVAS) adding that its sister (iREV) would make it highly impossible to rig the elections at the polling units level anymore.

Igini further posited that the use of Form EC8A, where the Presiding Officer would fill-in the results into the form and transfer or transmit same to INEC, iREV has become a game-changer, as the results could no longer be manipulated at collation centers.

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 betide anyone, who will alter the results already transmitted to the INEC election results viewing portal”, Igini stated.

Igini, a chieftain of Civil Society Organisations (CSO), however, said that there were elements in Nigeria that were not comfortable with the 2022 Electoral Act and were hell-bent to sabotage it.

He, however, poured encomiums on the current National Assembly members for working hard to pass the new Electoral Act Amendments Bill into law, and President Buhari assenting to it, giving Nigerians the 2022 Electoral Act, which has granted INEC more powers to give Nigerians free, fair and credible elections going forward.

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