Over 30 hours after voting ended in Nigeria, voters and candidates are frustrated and anxious as the election results portal is not showing results from several states.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has acknowledged the glitches in its results viewing platform (IReV), but it has been unable to quell fears that this could be stemming from cyber attacks or system sabotage.
INEC attributes the problem to “technical hitches attributed to scaling up the IReV from a platform of managing off-season, state elections, to one for managing nationwide general elections.”
This is raising the question of why the server was not upscaled to accommodate the uploading and live viewing of federal and state results in an election that had over 93 million registered voters. This is Nigeria’s most highly contested presidential election in history, pitting Labour Party’s Peter Obi against Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, and Bola Tinubu of Nigeria’s All Progressives Congress party.
Low trust in tech
Nigerians, like Kenyans, seem not to trust technology to run general elections. “While noting that the IReV is intact, you did not address the fact that there are chances results that were not uploaded at the polling units may become doctored before they are eventually uploaded,” one Nigerian tweeted.
After president William Ruto was declared winner of last August’s presidential poll in Kenya, opposition leaders filed petitions at the supreme court claiming hackers penetrated the voting IT system and rigged Ruto in.
Voting in some parts of Africa’s most powerful economy, as was the case in Kenya, was disrupted by malfunctioning biometric voting machines on Feb. 25. There were reports of stolen voting machines in several parts of the country and scattered scenes of violence.
The country has been experiencing a myriad of challenges - currency shortage, corruption, rampant inflation, and insecurity. All presidential candidates have promised to address these hurdles.
To be declared president in Nigeria, a candidate has to receive the highest number of votes cast across the country, as well as a quarter of the votes cast in 24 states.