IMPROVEMENTS IN ELECTION RESULT MANAGEMENT IN NIGERIA
I want to thank Yiaga Africa for inviting me to give the Keynote Address on this occasion of the release of its report on the Election Result Analysis Dashboard (ERAD). This is the first of its kind in Nigeria and Yiaga Africa and Channels Television have once more confirmed that they are leading organizations in the spheres of election and public information. The coming together of the two in this novel project demonstrates their innovativeness, ingenuity and commitment to the public interest and social responsibility. Your creativity has taken what was an averagely visited web portal established by the Commission, into the living rooms of millions of Nigerians in a matter of weeks. The visibility that ERAD has given to the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal has been momentous and it is deeply appreciated by the Commission. I hope that you will sustain the Dashboard and the Commission remains ready to work with you to improve on it. Watching Seun Okinbaloye, Samson Itodo, Cynthia Mbamalu, Ezenwa Nwagwu, Hussaini Abdu and other presenters of the ERAD during the Ekiti and Osun Governorship elections indicated the great things that the Commission could achieve working with important stakeholders like you.
Apart from voting, results management is easily the most critical aspect of election administration. Indeed, for most politicians, it is perhaps more important than voting. The reason for this is not farfetched. While voting is an open and public activity, results management is usually run by a few election officials, mostly outside the glare of the public. Consequently, politicians, and indeed citizens, are often apprehensive that results could be simulated and may not reflect the votes cast. This feeling is deepened by past experiences in our system where actually massive doctoring and falsification of election results have occurred.
Accordingly, it could be said that an election is as successful as its results management.
Over the years, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has realized that efficient and transparent result management is at the heart of public trust, peaceful elections and the growth and consolidation of our democracy. The Commission has been resolute about this and invested enormous time, thinking and resources to improving the results management system. Working with other agencies and organizations, the Commission has strived to use legal enactments to improve the handling of results, invested in technology and introduced several transparency- enhancement procedures. It is therefore germane to say that tenacity, technology and transparency (the three Ts) have been at the heart of INEC’s steady improvement of results management.