“No one can successfully prove election rigging by relying on the same results announced by INEC or by minor infractions like pockets of outrage, and intimidation of some voters, among others,” —Ebuka Onyekwelu
The recent publication by The Economist Intelligence Unit, in which they emphatically predicted that the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, will not sack President Bola Tinubu, has sparked outrage in the camp of the opposition. Supporters of the PDP and LP have faulted that report. In any case, can a court award election victory based on claims by opposition political parties? If the opposition is unable to prove their victory, would they still be awarded victory?
This is how a political party can easily show that it won an election.
Every party in an election has approved party agents across all polling units where the election was held.
At the end of the election in each polling unit, the votes cast in the polling unit are counted publicly and announced publicly. The results are written publicly. Thereafter, every party agent present is issued with a copy of the signed and stamped polling unit result. Before the Polling Officer- PO goes to the collation center to submit the result.
Furthermore, a copy of the polling unit result is pasted in every polling unit. Security agents and accredited observers are equally issued with copies of the results of polling units where they worked.
For purposes of clarity, it is impossible for the INEC to know polling unit results ahead of time, to be able to manipulate results or control election outcomes in all polling units, during an election. The easiest way to break this down further is to remind us that polling unit results are not compiled at the same time or in a central place or by INEC per se or in an enclosure. Instead, polling unit results are compiled in the polling unit as openly as I have described above.
Moving on, the same polling unit results are submitted to collation centres in the ward or Registration Areas- RAs, Local Government Areas, States, and finally, National collation if it’s a presidential election. It is extremely imperative to remind us that this result is still the same polling unit results. The same polling unit results emanating from the election that was publicly declared in the polling units. So where does the problem arise?
Now, if the person who did not win was wrongly declared the winner, the easiest way to know this, is by the copy of the results party agents in all the polling units have. The results declared by the electoral umpire will not tally with the results from the polling units.
Therefore, the party or parties contesting the election result will go to court with computed results from the copies of the results they have collated from all their agents who manned all the polling units where the election was held, to show that the wrong person was declared winner. When results emanating from polling units are at variance with what INEC has declared, it is a fundamental dent in the entire process and would not stand.
No one can successfully prove election rigging by relying on the same results announced by INEC or by minor infractions like pockets of outrage, and intimidation of some voters, among others. Significantly, one cannot fault INEC with INEC’s own result. If the result was rigged, the results from the field will show this explicitly and the court will rely on that incontrovertible evidence to declare the actual winner.
Therefore, people must be vigilant, seek correct information, and not be carried away by assumptions that have no bearing on reality. As it is in Nigeria today, INEC cannot rig any election with IREV or BVAS. An election can only be rigged at the polling units. If any rigging failed at the polling unit, it will not succeed anywhere else. So the focus on IREV and BVAS will not make a good case because, both IREV and BVAS can only keep or process what has been keyed in, at the polling units. Therefore, if rigging did not happen at the polling units, it is impossible to show that there was rigging from anywhere else because the simplest and most compelling proof of rigging results from polling units, which all parties have a copy of, from their polling unit agents.
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