The Nigerian Federal Government has declared that President Muhammadu Buhari has fulfilled his commitment to leave a legacy of free, fair, and credible elections during the 2023 polls. Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, announced this during his official engagements with international media organizations in Washington DC.
In keeping with the President’s vow to restore order to the electoral process, the minister stated that the President was determined not to give any political party, including the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), an unfair advantage during the elections.
According to the minister, the President ensured a level playing field for the elections to take place, saying, “Proof of this resolution is that the President’s party lost the presidential election in Katsina, his home state. Equally, the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, lost in his state, Lagos, while the Chairman of the Party, Abdullahi Adamu, lost in Nasarawa state to the Labour Party.”
The Minister added that the APC lost in the four states with the highest number of votes in the elections – Katsina, Kano, Kaduna, and Lagos – even when they were controlled by the ruling party. The minister debunked the allegations of fraud being made by the opposition, saying that the controversy arose because of the inability of INEC to upload the results of the Presidential election in real time.
According to the Minister, “What happened on the 25th of February was that INEC observed that the results of the Presidential elections were not being viewed. INEC, suspecting a cyber attack, withheld the uploading of the results to preserve the integrity of the data.”
The Minister explained that the controversy was unnecessary, as IREV, the platform used for uploading election results at the polling level, was not a tool for the collation or electronic transmission of election results. He further stated that the management of election results in Nigeria today is manual and that INEC has the exclusive right to determine the mode of election, its collation, and transmission.
The Minister also addressed the issue of delay in delivering election materials to certain areas, stating that it would be difficult for the materials to arrive at the same time in a country as diverse and complex as Nigeria. In some areas, they needed to use donkeys, human portals, and boats to access some of these difficult areas.
Regarding electoral violence, the Minister noted that the police report identified pockets of violence scattered all over the country but they were not significant enough to discredit the polls. According to the Police report, there were 489 cases of electoral infractions during the election, and 781 electoral offenders would be charged in court. In his analysis of the report, the Minister said it was a ratio of one infraction in over 300 polling units, which was not enough to void the elections.