2023 polls: Why server failed to upload presidential results – INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has formally explained why the INEC result viewing portal (IREV) failed to upload the presidential results of the 25 February 2023 election despite the seamless working of the bimodal voter accreditation system (BVAS).

This is contained in parts of the official report of the 2023 elections, and expected to be formally released by soon by INEC ahead of the first anniversary of the election.

The elections were seen as controversial by mostly opposition party members, some Nigerians as well as domestic and international election observers.

It took weeks for the presidential results to be uploaded to IReV, leading to widespread protests by opposition parties and their supporters.

Also, the results eventually posted on IReV were analysed by several media and civil society organisations with a conclusion that the votes for Bola Ahmed 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.

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, which was however not significant enough to upturn the national gap of over two million votes between him and Tinubu on on hand and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who came second.

INEC has insisted that the results represented voters’ sentiments and rejected accusations of bias and manipulation.

The commission, in the report documented the failure of the result viewing portal (IReV) during the presidential poll.

According to the report, while the elections were generally peaceful and successful, however, a key challenge that impacted on the public perception of the election and elicited widespread commentary is the failure to upload Polling Unit (PU) results of the presidential election to the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal in real-time at the close of polls on Saturday 25th February 2023.

“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.

“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 report stated.

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

The report said that the challenge of uploading the PU presidential election results on the IReV after the presidential and National Assembly elections on 25th February 2023 was unique.

“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.”

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