From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned political parties and politicians that the era of tampering and theft of ballot boxes during elections is over.
Likewise, he assured Nigerians that they harbor fears against any form of planned attack on their system during the 2023 general election to destroy such thinking as it has hardened their system against hackers.
INEC President Mahmood Yakubu expressed his optimism at a capacity-building workshop organized for members of the INEC press corps in Abuja, saying that next year’s elections will be free, fair, credible and without manipulation.
Yakubu further revealed that the commission’s system, especially the results display portal (IReV), was well protected against hackers.
It was in response to whether Nigerians should be concerned about the recent revelation of hackers’ attempts to attack the commission’s results viewing portal’s cyber security system during the Ekiti and Osun gubernatorial elections.
Represented by the National Commissioner, Moddibo Alkali, the chief electoral arbitrator said that more than 100 attempts were made in the commission system during the Ekiti and Osun gubernatorial election, but none were successful.
“We didn’t say our instruments were hacked. But there were more than 100 attempts to hack our system. It didn’t work. At the rear, we are still improving. When you work with an enemy, it’s like a battle.
“The way you prepare is the same way your enemy would prepare as well. As they continue to come up with new ways to penetrate, we’ll be twice ahead of them and before they know it, we’ll be done making elections,” he assured.
Assuring that the Bimodal Voter Registration System (BVAS) has come to light, he said that the system has eliminated voting by proxy, identity theft and all forms of bad electoral practices.
According to him, politicians should be more concerned with selling themselves to the electorate, instead of creating plans to manipulate the elections, warning that; “The era of ballot box theft and tampering is over.”
He also assured Nigerians and all candidates of a level playing field during the elections, adding that “INEC will never be biased. We are going to offer credible, free, fair and inclusive elections.”
“Technology evolves and improves, but with BVAS we cover almost everything. What you see now is technology everywhere. BVAS eliminated voting by proxy, identity theft. He is one man, one vote. We hope it will educate politicians that the days of manipulation are over and that the issue of advocacy is buried…”