Lai Mohammed Gives Reasons Why 2023 Election Was Credible
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has said there no greater proof that the 2023 general election than the president losing his home state, Katsina, while President-elect lost Lagos and even the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC lost their home states.
He said that President Muhammadu Buhari has fulfilled his promise to give Nigeria a legacy of free, fair and credible elections in the conduct of 2023 polls, while speaking during his official engagements with some international media organisations and Think tanks on the just-concluded 2023 general elections in Washington DC .
The minister has so far engaged respectively with the “Washington Post”, Voice of America, Associated Press and Foreign Policy Magazine, according to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN.
According to the minister, Buhari vow to restore sanity to the electoral process, has been fulfilled. He stated that Buhari had promised not to place any special advantage on any political party, including his party, which is the ruling APC, during the election.
“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 Director-General of the Campaign Organisation of our party also lost to PDP in Plateau state.
“Nothing gives this election more credence than those facts because there was no rigging in states where our bigwigs come from,” he said.
The minister added that APC lost in the four states with the highest number of votes in the elections – Katsina, Kano, Kaduna and Lagos even when they were the ruling party’s controlled states.
Mohammed said the allegations of fraud being bandied by the opposition and naysayers did not add up.
According to the minister, the controversy was generated because of the inability of INEC to upload the results of the Presidential election in real time.
He said the controversy was unnecessary though it had been the fulcrum of the argument of the naysayers that elections were flawed.
NAN recalled that INEC had come under fire over its inability to upload results immediately on its Result Viewing portal during the presidential and National Assembly elections. held on February 25.
Mohammed, however, said the conclusion by the opposition and naysayers was based on ignorance of the role and functions of IREV.
He said IREV, a platform whereby election results at the polling level are uploaded, was not a tool for the collation of elections or to transmit results electronically.
“Under our laws today, management of election results is manual and the court has ruled that INEC has the exclusive right to determine the mode of election, its collation and transmission.
“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.
“It immediately proceeded to float an alternative platform while asking its technicians to investigate what happened to its original portal.”
The minister explained further that it took about 9 pm for the alternative portal to start working.
He said as soon as the original portal started working, the results were viewed from the two platforms.
“It is unfortunate that this is what the opposition is relying on to say the elections were rigged.
“So far, none of the political parties has come out to say that what is on Form EC8A is different from what was uploaded on IREV,” he said.
Speaking on delay in delivering election materials to certain areas, the minister said it was difficult in a country as diverse and complex as Nigeria for election materials to arrive at the same time everywhere.
He said with 176,846 polling units scattered all over the country with different topography, it would be difficult to deliver the materials simultaneously.
“In some areas, you need to use donkeys, human portals, and boats to access some of these difficult areas.
“We also know the challenge of unanticipated cash crunch that slowed down logistic movements.
“The redesigning of the naira did not help matters because some of the people who transported the materials insisted on a cash payment which was not available,” he said.
Mohammed said the Police report identified pockets of violence scattered all over the country but they were not substantial enough to discredit the polls.
Quoting the Police report, the minister said there were 489 cases of electoral infractions during the election and 781 electoral offenders that would be charged in court.