hackers attempted to alter the outcome of the Osun Governorship Election – INEC

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During the most recent elections in Ekiti and Osun, fraudulent individuals attempted to hack into the Independent National Electoral Commission's () Results Viewing iRev Portal in an effort to alter the results at the polling unit level, but they were unsuccessful. This was revealed by INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.

The head of INEC, who was speaking at a seminar in Abuja, informed attendees that the commission had taken steps to improve its digital assets in order to guarantee the complete security of all of its web-based resources. The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has refuted reports that one of the political parties in the Osun election actually succeeded in hacking the portal and obtaining information that it meant to bring before the tribunal.

“Our engineers reported numerous cyberattacks on the portal during the governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun, some of which originated as far away as Asia. I'm relieved to see that they all fell short.

“Despite our confidence in the security measures we have implemented for IReV and the entirety of our web presence, we must continue to bolster our defenses and be cautious. At a seminar in Abuja, Yakubu stated, “We have given our engineers the duty of doing everything possible to totally defend the IReV and all our digital resources.

Speaking with Saturday Vanguard, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, also stated that the commission dealt with the threats successfully. He promised that the engineers at INEC will keep foreseeing such threats and persistently developing security precautions for its dog talk assets.

Websites and other online resources are all vulnerable to attacks and hacking. It happens frequently. The attempt by some rogues to tamper with the reliability of our INEC Result Viewing Portal was what the INEC Chairman of the Board of Directors discussed. However, the Commission successfully addressed the threats, according to Oyekanmi.

As of Friday afternoon, Mr. Oyekanmi stated that the commission had not yet gotten a copy of the Federal High decision ordering it to accept Senator Godswill Akpabio as the All Progressives Congress, APC candidate for Akwa Ibom Northwest.

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“Like everyone else, we have read the media accounts on the aforementioned court decision. We cannot respond to news reports since we have not yet received the certified accurate copy of the court proceedings.

“However, we will thoroughly examine it when we eventually receive it. The Commission has the right to take additional action if the court's ruling conflicts with what we consider to be just and just. But the Commission would have to make that choice,” he said.

INEC has revealed that it will hire 1.4 million ad hoc workers to help with the upcoming elections in 2023. Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the commission's national chairman, said this while answering questions from the Nigerian Guild of Editors yesterday in Lagos.

Yakubu, who had earlier spoken at a conference about the most recent governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun, described the difficulties in conducting elections in Nigeria.

He declared, “We will hire and train staff for the 2023 General Elections in numbers several times more than the whole Nigerian armed forces. We will hire at least 1.4 million Ad hoc workers, and these workers will work with returning officers, collation, and polling stations. More people than the Nigerian Armed Forces, at 1.4 million. We will use that twice: once for the national election on February 25 and once for the state elections, which include those for governor and state assembly.

The President and Vice President, 28 governors, 28 Deputy Governors, 109 senators, 360 members of the House of Representatives, and 993 State Constituencies for which elections will be held are among the 21,520 posts we would handle in 2023. It is a significant undertaking. 18 political parties are present.

“West Africa is made up of 15, including Nigeria. With Nigeria excluded, there were 73 million voters in the other 14 nations as of last year. There were 84 million registered voters in Nigeria as of 2019. Therefore, there are 11 million more voters than there are in the other 14 nations put together.

“Each time Nigeria holds elections, it's like all of West Africa is casting a ballot. This would give you a sense of the scale of the problem we are dealing with. For the most recent Osun governorship election, 1.9 million registered voters cast ballots. That number exceeded the combined populations of the Republic of the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, and Cape Verde. By the time Lagos comes up, you have already covered a number of nations. As we get closer to the 2023 General Election, which starts on February 25, INEC must manage and regulate the accumulation of these complications.

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Prof. Yakubu responded that the Commission is moving closer to using electronic voting in future elections when asked why it won't be used in the upcoming elections.

Process improvements have been made. There were instances where winners were announced while voters were still in the voting line in 1999 and 2003, if you think back to those years. It won't occur once more.

We're using technology specifically to make things incredibly difficult, if not impossible. Although there are still difficulties, improvements can be seen with time. You don't build a house overnight; rather, you build it brick by brick.

Our goal is to hold the best elections ever held in Nigeria in 2023, ones that are free, fair, credible, transparent, inclusive, and verifiable. The outcome of their voting units can be viewed online by anybody, he said.

steps to prevent vote-buying
Earlier According to Professor Yakubu, the Commission is developing strategies to prevent vote buying in the general elections of 2023. He emphasized that the creation of the Electoral Offenses Commission and Tribunal will stop vote buying in the country, promising that the upcoming elections would be better than the recent governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun.

He discussed the takeaways from the most recent off-cycle governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun at the Commission's Retreat in Lagos.

When questioned about the commission's efforts to prevent vote-buying, he responded, “Vote-buying is against the Electoral Act. This country's laws prohibit it. We'll keep doing everything we can to promote voter education. To stop that, we'll keep collaborating with anti-corruption organizations like the and the ICPC. To discourage it, we'll also cooperate with the security services.

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“The truth is that the old rigging approach is less and less popular as we make improvements to the democratic process. Our election is just as valid as any other legitimate election as long as we uphold the integrity of the procedure at the polling unit level.

The other thing we can do—and have been doing—is modify the layout of our polling places so that vote buys would find it challenging to determine which party the electorate had chosen.

We prohibited the use of smartphones and other cameras inside polling places in past elections. These are all safeguards to ensure that the process is protected.

In the end, it is our duty as citizens to act as a whole. The level of support the Commission receives to stop this unpleasant trend determines how well our elections turn out.

“However, the creation of an electoral offences tribunal is the ultimate defense against this approach. We have repeatedly stated this. The Commission has been given a role under the Electoral Act that it will probably struggle to carry out. Infractions that INEC is unable to arrest must be prosecuted. There are no police at INEC.

“Secondly, we lack the ability to conduct thorough investigations that would result in solid evidence for a successful prosecution. I've mentioned numerous times that some of the violators might genuinely be INEC employees. We find it challenging to defend ourselves in court.

Therefore, create the Electoral Offences Commission and Tribunal to which all offenders of electoral laws, whether they are participants in the voting process or INEC employees, will be subject.

But more crucially, it's unlikely that the real sponsors, the guy who steals the ballot box at the polls, or the person who fudges the results, will run for office. Therefore, as long as we don't catch the sponsors, vote-buying shenanigans will persist, and the Electoral Offences Commission and Tribunal is the best remedy for them.

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