The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday, August 6 announced the introduction of its Election Result Viewing Portal in a press statement by its National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye. The portal allows citizens to view copies of election results as compiled and recorded at polling units upon the conclusion of voting at an election. A newly introduced form, EC60E, which is a poster version of the primary result sheet, EC8A is pasted at polling units after results are counted and announced. In addition to this, a copy of the form will also be uploaded to the portal. However, INEC noted that the launch of its public portal, INEC Result Viewing (IReV) does not constitute electronic collation of results. The Commission commenced the use of the portal at the Nasarawa Central State Constituency bye-election, which held on Saturday, August 8, 2020 and is expected to extend it to the Edo and Ondo governorship elections, as well as future elections. The election in Nasarawa was also the first to be held since the outbreak of COVID-19 and therefore served as a test for the application of INEC’s COVID-19 guidelines for elections. Reports from the election indicate that INEC staff and voters adhered to the guidelines, some of which involved compulsory wearing of face masks, social distancing and disinfection of the Smart Card Readers.
Observers have lauded the introduction of the IReV as a step in the right direction in improving Nigeria’s elections. However, the urgent need for the review of Nigeria’s electoral system through the amendment of the Electoral Act and other relevant laws, remains, as this will serve to foster more transparency and credibility in the process. There have been indications that the National Assembly will embark on the Electoral Act amendment upon resumption from its annual recess. It is hoped that this process will be concluded well before the 2023 general elections.