Group criticises Bayelsa REC’s preference for mannual transmission of results

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Yenagoa, Bayelsa.

The Good Governance Advocacy Group (GGAG), an NGO, has criticised INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Bayelsa, Obo Effanga, for opting to transmit the Nov. 11 governorship election results manually.

GGAG, in a statement by its Coordinator, Godwin Ebiware, said that the mannual transmission of the results was not ideal.

The REC, at an interactive forum with religious leaders and Faith-Based organisations in Yenagoa on Wednesday, announced that results of the election would be transmitted manually.

He emphasised that the election was going to be won and lost at the polling units and the results would be manually transmitted to the collation centres.

The group, while reacting to that stance, said it was “surprising” that Effanga did not give reasons for reverting to the manual transmission of results.

“A lot of money was spent to acquire Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV).

“We believe that INEC should use these devices; abandoning the electronic transmission of the November 11 election results could raise suspicions.

“As it is now, the opposition parties at the federal level are still in court over the inability of INEC to transmit results of the February 23 presidential election electronically.”

The group also called on the Police Command in Bayelsa to be neutral in the handling of the governorship polls.

The GGAG also described as disturbing, a recent announcement by the Police Command that it could not guarantee the safety of members and supporters of a political party if they visited Nembe-Bassambiri to campaign.

The announcement had forced the political party to cancel its planned visit to Nembe-Basambri community on Thursday.

“Only some weeks ago, the same Police Command said that peace has returned to Nembe-Bassambiri after some disturbances that led to loss of lives.

“We are worried; if the opposition parties are not free to campaign in some local government areas, will there be elections there?”

Reacting, Mr Wilfred Ifogah, Head, Department of Voter Education and Publicity at INEC in Bayelsa, said that INEC would transfer the result sheets from the polling units to the collation centres manually.

He explained that while the tabulation, collation would be done manually, the BVAS would still be used to transmit the results to the results viewing portal.

Contacted for comments, Mr Asinim Butswat, a Superintendent of Police, pledged to revert with a response. 

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