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Why IReV failed during presidential poll, INEC finally opens up on IReV failure

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About one year after the 2023 general election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has finally released a comprehensive post-mortem on the election.

 

The report, released on the first anniversary of the election, documents the failure of the result viewing portal (IReV) during the presidential poll.

 

The commission, according to a report by TheCable, said the server returned “HTTP error” because of a configuration bug which was discovered after the presiding officers at the polling units could only upload the results of the national assembly elections.

 

“In configuring and mapping the election results for the presidential and NASS elections,” the report reads, “the Commission created Four Hundred and Seventy (470) election types consisting of one presidential constituency covering the entire country, 109 Senatorial Districts and 360 Federal Constituencies.

 

“Each Senatorial District and Federal Constituency election on the database was mapped to their respective States. However, the presidential election result is a single, countrywide constituency and therefore, does not belong to any one State.

 

“Consequently, while the uploads for the NASS elections succeeded as the application was able to identify the respective State and build the folder hierarchy for the results organization process for the election, attempts to upload the presidential election results sheets, which does not belong to or mapped to any State on the database, failed.

 

“Instead, it returned a HTTP server error response. This failure is attributable to the inability of the application to create and build a folder structure to organize the uploaded images of the result sheets of the presidential election.”

 

THE IREV CONUNDRUM

It took weeks for the presidential results to be uploaded to IReV

 

IReV, which was first used by INEC during the Nasarawa central constituency bye-election in August 2020, was designed for the uploading of result sheets from polling units on election day so that the public could view them in real-time.

 

This, according to the commission, is to promote transparency — a development that also allows members of the public to tally the scores themselves while awaiting the official results.

 

However, while most of the results of the legislative elections held on February 25, 2023 were uploaded to IReV, those of the presidential poll held the same day were not on the portal until late at night and only a few were available.

 

It took nearly a week for a substantial number of the presidential election result sheets from the 176,849 polling units to be uploaded, by which time opposition figures had started alleging manipulation of the votes.

 

Also, the results eventually posted on IReV were analysed by several media and civil society organisations with a conclusion that the votes for Bola Tinubu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), were inflated in Rivers state while those of Peter Obi, candidate of the Labour Party (LP), were reduced.

READ  Soludo extends lead in Ihiala, PDP condemns late poll

 

Tinubu was credited with 231,591 votes while Obi had 175,071 votes in the official results.

 

However, the results posted on IReV appeared to show that Obi won Rivers with about 100,000 votes — although not significant enough to upturn the national gap of over two million votes between him and Tinubu, the overall winner.

There was no other state where major discrepancies were spotted on IReV.

‘PROBLEM WAS SOLVED SAME DAY’

Rivers results on IReV appear to show Obi’s votes were understated in the official tally announced. There were no major discrepancies recorded elsewhere

 

In its report, INEC narrated how the problem was first reported at 4pm on election day and how it was partially resolved in four hours.

 

The commission admitted that it was a key challenge that “impacted on the public perception” of the election and elicited “widespread commentary across the country”.

 

“To begin with, it is important to note that the IReV portal is one of the most significant innovations introduced by the Commission prior to the 2023 General Election to promote the integrity and transparency of the electoral process. As a public-facing website, the IReV portal shows the images of the original Polling Unit result sheets as recorded in Form EC8A,” INEC said.

 

“The operational methodology and the concept behind the upload of results to the IReV for public viewing is quite simple. At the end of polls, Polling Unit results (Form EC8As) are scanned and uploaded to the IReV by the Presiding Officer(s). These results are then available for viewing to the public and all stakeholders.

 

“The system, which was first deployed during Nasarawa Central State Constituency bye-election in August 2020 and tested in 105 subsequent elections, including three (3) off-cycle governorship elections, has tremendously improved public confidence in the integrity and transparency of the Commission’s result management process.

 

“The challenge of uploading the PU presidential election results on the IReV after the presidential and NASS elections on 25th February 2023 was unique. As voting ended across the country and POs began the process of uploading the images of the PU result sheets of the elections for the various constituencies around 4:00pm, the Commission began to receive reports that attempts to upload presidential election result sheets was failing.

 

“Following these reports, the Commission immediately engaged with its field officials for details in order to understand, and trace the origin, source, scale and magnitude of the problem across the result management ecosystem to devise appropriate solutions.

READ  Gunmen set ablaze INEC office in Enugu

 

“In the troubleshooting process, it was established that there was no issue in uploading the PU result sheets of the Senate and House of Representatives elections through the Election Result Modules. However, there was a problem with uploading the presidential election results to the system.

 

“Attempts to upload the results were generating internal server errors, which refer to a significant impairment that usually originate from within an application due to problems relating to configuration, permissions, or failure to create or access application resources correctly.

 

“Further interrogation of the Election Result Modules indicated that the system is encountering an unexpected configuration problem in mapping the presidential election results uploaded into the system to the participating Polling Units.

 

“Due to the complex, sensitive and critical nature of the systems and the real potential for malicious cyberattacks, the Commission immediately put in place several strict security and audit control measures to prevent any unfettered or elevated access to the Result Upload System.”

 

The commission said after identifying the source of the problem, it quickly created and deployed “hotfixes” — software updates for fixing a bug or any vulnerabilities in a system.

 

The deployed hotfixes eventually resolved the HTTP error on the system “and the first presidential election result sheet was successfully uploaded at 8.55pm on the 25th of February 2023,” it said.

 

MORE PROBLEMS AFTER HOTFIXES DEPLOYMENT

INEC says additional quality assurance checks are now done “to complement the end-to-end testing of the entire result upload ecosystem before the conduct of any election”

 

After the deployment of hotfixes to rectify the upload challenges, the commission said it “noticed a high volume of uploads on the queue”.

 

“All results that scanned but could not be uploaded due to the error were queued waiting to be automatically processed,” the report states.

 

“Due to the large volume and high traffic from the queue, the system was running slower, even though it tried to scale up automatically to handle the unanticipated heavy traffic. The density of the traffic that slowed the uploads was one issue.

 

“Another was that the offline queue requires the BVAS devices to be switched-on and connected to the internet for the upload. However, some of the POs had at the time left their PUs, and the devices had either been switched-off, or were out of internet coverage. Switched-off devices could not connect and upload the results sheets.

 

“The Commission had to reach out to the POs of affected areas to switch-on their systems and ensure internet connectivity for the uploads to continue. This accounted for the delay, with some of the results coming in the next day.

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“By and large, the glitch experienced in uploading the scanned images of PU presidential election result sheets on 25th February 2023 was due to the inherent complexity within the System, which was difficult to anticipate and mitigate.”

 

The electoral commission said it has made improvements to the IReV and “taken additional steps to build more resilience and undertook additional checks to ensure the stability and optimal operation and performance of the IReV portal”.

 

According to the report, “quality assurance checks are now done to complement the end-to-end testing of the entire result upload ecosystem before the conduct of any election”.

 

‘RESULTS SHOWED DIVERSE OUTCOME’

Tinubu was inaugurated on May 29, 2023 while cases challenging his election went on in the courts. INEC maintains that the results represented voters’ sentiments.

 

The challenges notwithstanding, INEC scored itself high on its performance, maintaining that “there is no perfect election anywhere in the world”.

 

“Public commentaries have dwelled largely on the challenges of the election,” the report further reads. “Yet, the 2023 General Election produced the most diverse outcome in recent Nigerian electoral history in terms of party representation in executive and legislative elections nationwide. Thus, four (4) political parties produced State Governors, seven (7) secured Senatorial seats, eight (8) won federal constituencies and nine (9) in State seats,” the report said.

 

“A granular analysis of the results and performance of the leading parties across the country affirms this diversity. The performance of the four (4) leading political parties – APC, LP, PDP and NNPP – in the presidential election across the 6 geopolitical zones in respect of the required 25% threshold to win a state in a presidential election.

 

“Clearly, across the zones, the performance of the four (4) leading parties shows the diversity and subtlety in the results, attesting to the integrity of both the process and outcome.

 

“Thus, in the North Central Zone, the APC won 38.58% of the presidential vote, followed by LP with 31.01% and PDP with 25.46%. In the North-East, the PDP won 50.67% of the presidential vote, followed by the APC with 29.16%, and LP with 6.09%.

 

“In the North-West, the APC won 39.54, followed by the PDP with 34.87%, and LP with 4.08%. In the South-East, LP led with 87.79%, with the APC having 5.71% and the PDP 4.08%.

 

“Similarly, LP led in the South-South with 42.37%, followed by the APC with 27.99% and the PDP with 26.12%. In the South-West, the APC led with 53.59% followed by the PDP with 22.14% and the LP with 19.97%.”

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Politics

Nigeria’s problems bigger than crises in Labour Party, says Peter Obi 

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The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 elections, Peter Obi, says Nigeria’s problems are far bigger than the crises in his party.

 

The LP has been embroiled in crises — ranging from allegations of misappropriation of funds, and leadership tussle, to calls for the resignation of the party’s national chairman.

 

On March 27, the LP conducted a national convention in Anambra state where Julius Abure was re-elected as its national chairman.

 

Obi did not attend the convention, fuelling speculations that he may be mulling over ditching the LP for another platform.

Speaking during an appearance on HaveYourSay247, an interactive online session hosted by Rudolf Okonkwo over the weekend, Obi said he is confident that the crises rocking the LP will soon be resolved amicably.

 

“Whatever is happening in the Labour Party is so minute compared to what is happening in the country,” Obi said.

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“So, for me, it is something we will resolve amicably, and it is not anything to worry about. Let us worry about the country.

 

“Let us worry about how the average Nigerian would be able to have a means of livelihood to be able to eat, that should be our worry.”

Obi said he has no interest in being the party’s leader but only to make sure things are done properly.

 

“I don’t see what I do in politics as being the leader of any place or not. My position is that just like I always say, I am not desperate to be president of Nigeria, I am desperate to see Nigeria work because I know it can work,” he added.

 

“We have a more desperate situation. Parties are just a means to be able to contest elections. What is important is that being a leader of a party does not reduce the price of food.

READ  Sanwo-Olu raises Lagos sweepers’ salary by 20%

 

“What I want to see is that the average Nigerian lives in a society where things are moving properly, with access to education, access to healthcare and a means of livelihood.”

 

The former Anambra governor further said he has moved on from the final decision of the supreme court on last year’s presidential election, even though he does not agree with the decision of the apex court.

 

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Kano APC annuls Ganduje’s suspension, sanctions ward excos

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The state working committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kano has nullified the suspension of Abdullahi Ganduje, national chairman of the party.

 

The APC executives in Dawakin ward under Tofa LGA of Kano had on Monday suspended Ganduje over the allegations of corruption leveled against him.

 

Halliru Gwanzo, legal adviser of the ward, said the suspension would subsist until the former governor is cleared of the allegations.

 

However, Abdullahi Abbas, chairman of the APC in Kano, alleged that the ward executives who suspended Ganduje were working with the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).

 

Abbas said the ward executives have now been suspended for six months.

 

“We have evidence of meetings between the state government officials and those that suspended the national chairman, and the state working committee has agreed to sanction them for six months and they stand suspended,” the chairman told journalists.

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Last week, the Kano high court ruled that Ganduje should appear before it on April 17 on charges bordering on bribery, diversion, and misappropriation of public funds.

 

The former governor of Kano is to be arraigned alongside his wife and son.

 

In 2018, Daily Nigerian, an online newspaper, published a video of Ganduje allegedly receiving bundles of dollars from contractors, which he stuffed into his “babanriga”, a traditional outfit.

 

The newspaper said Ganduje requested $5 million as bribe from the contractors who recorded the video.

 

In 2023, the Kano state Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission (PCACC) invited Ganduje for questioning over the video.

 

Ganduje did not honour the invitation and instead instituted a suit against the agency.

 

In March, a federal high court in Kano stopped the agency from inviting or questioning Ganduje over the bribery allegations.

 

The court held that the agency lacks power to probe the former governor over the allegation.

READ  Gunmen set ablaze INEC office in Enugu

 

 

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‘Those with integrity are with us’: Fubara salutes Odili for declaring him Rivers political leader

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Rivers state governor, Siminalayi Fubara, has described Peter Odili, ex-governor of the state, as someone with integrity.

 

On April 11, Odili publicly announced his support for Fubara and declared the governor as the political leader of the state.

 

“Our people said I should tell you to stand with the president and align with his positive policies and link the people of Rivers state with the centre,” Odili said.

 

“They have asked me to tell you that you are the political leader of Rivers state. Rivers people say where you go, they will go with you.”

 

While speqking at the inauguration of a healthcare facility in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni LGA, Odili’s hometown, Fubara said he is happy to have the support of the former governor.

 

Fubara said Odili’s backing has triggered “people high blood pressure”, adding that his detractors are now “restless, granting all sorts of media interviews.”

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“I’ve said it before, and I’m saying it again. It doesn’t matter the number of people that stand with you. Even if you’re standing alone, no matter the side you’re standing on, provided you are standing on the right side, maintain your stand. We are happy to stand with him (Odili),” Fubara said.

 

“We are also happy that he is standing with us. Even his person alone is giving people high blood pressure. They are restless, granting all sorts of media interviews. Why are they doing it? It is because the people that matter, the people that have what they claimed they have; integrity, are with us. That is the truth.

 

“So, if we have one person who has integrity and character, is it not better than having 1,000 persons with questionable character? So, we are happy to identify with him.”

 

Since taking office in May 2023, Fubara has been locked in a struggle for control of Rivers political structure with Nyesom Wike, his successor and minister of the federal capital territory (FCT).

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Earlier this month, Wike criticised some leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers for lacking integrity and declaring support for Fubara.

 

He described them as “expired politicians” who are not worthy of being called “elder statesmen”.

 

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