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The Independent National Electoral Commission on Friday expressed optimism that the days of manipulation of results are over as it had fortified its result-viewing portal.
It also recalled how the portal came under several attacks from hackers across the world, including Asia, during the governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states.
The Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, stated these while delivering a keynote address at a conference of stakeholders on election result management organised by YIAGA Africa to launch the Election Result Analysis Dashboard report agenda.
Yakubu said, “Another technical concern for us is the repeated attempts to break through our cyber security system for the portal. Our engineers reported several cyberattacks on the portal during the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections, some of them from as far as Asia. I am glad to note that all of them failed.
“However, while we are confident in the security solutions that we have deployed for IReV and all our web presence, we must remain vigilant and continue to strengthen our defences. We have tasked our engineers to do everything possible to fully protect the IReV and all our web resources.”
The INEC chairman also announced the introduction of new legal provisions, administrative procedures and technological innovations to improve election conduct in 2023, adding that the commission was convinced that the application of technology to both accreditation and results management would improve transparency and trust in the electoral process.
According to him, the most critical technological tools introduced by the commission in recent times were the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System and IReV portal, adding that while the former was a device, the latter was a web portal.
He explained that the BVAS was used for two principal purposes: to identify and accredit voters using two biometric modes, fingerprint, and facial recognition; and for capturing and uploading the image of the polling unit result form (Form EC8A), to the IReV portal.
Yakubu said, “It is clear that armed with an improved Electoral Act, administrative procedures and requisite technology, the commission has increased the transparency and confidence of the public in its election result management processes. I can confidently say that the days of wanton manipulation of election results are over; yet, the commission is not resting on its laurels.”
At the event, the Executive Director of Yiaga Africa, Samson Itodo, while presenting the ERAD findings on electronic transmission of election results in the 2022 Ekiti and Osun governorship elections, said ERAD promoted transparency of election results management and supported INEC by providing the public with access to election results from the polling unit in relative real-time.
Itodo said that it provides an independent audit and integrity test of INEC’s election results management system by tracking results from the polling units based on the commission’s own published results among others.
He added, “INEC should invest in the training of polling unit officials, with a special focus on result transmission, ballot paper accounting as well as the capturing of polling unit results using the BVAS. It will address the capacity deficits resulting in the upload of incorrect or incomplete forms and blurry images.”