Among the many sub-ethnic groups of the Yoruba of South-West Nigeria, the Ekiti are famous for their fondness for Western education and common lore among the Yoruba has it that it is impossible to find an Ekiti household without a university graduate or even a professor.
Well, Ekiti State lived up to the billing of “the intellectual capital of the Yoruba Race” on Sunday 26 February, 2023 as it became the first and only state thus far to return the result of the Presidential election conducted nationwide on Saturday 25 February, 2023, a feat the state achieved at the National Situation Room and Collation Centre of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) domiciled at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
On hand to render the poll’s results for Ekiti was the State Collation Officer, Prof Akeem Lasisi, who is also Vice Chancellor Federal University of Health Sciences, Ila Orangun, Osun State, supported by the state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. Ayobami Salami.
According to the return, the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Standard Bearer, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, polled 201,494 to win Ekiti state ahead of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who polled 89,554 votes.
The Labour Party Candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, who scored 11,397 votes in Ekiti, where 6,301 ballots were returned as invalid. Other political parties who participated in the presidential election in Ekiti only garnered hundreds of votes. For instance, New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) only got 264 votes, APGA 268, ADP 737 and NRM, 131.
The Ekiti result was the only one ready for rendition on Sunday. Consequently, INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, adjourned the situation room session till 11a.m. on Monday 27 February, 2023 when results from the remaining 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory are expected to arrive in batches.
Meanwhile, INEC has admitted that it was aware of the challenges citizens were facing accessing its online results viewing portal, i-rev, and working to clear up the issue.
Thhe electoral commission stated this in a statement issued on Sunday by the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye.
Okoye wrote: “The Commission is aware of challenges with the INEC Results Viewing Portal. Unlike in off-season elections where the portal was used, it has been relatively slow and unsteady. The Commission regrets this setback, especially because of the importance of IReV in our results management process.
“The problem is totally due to technical hitches related to scaling up the IReV from a platform for managing off-season, State elections, to one for managing nationwide general elections. It is indeed not unusual for glitches to occur and be corrected in such situations.
“Consequently, the Commission wishes to assure Nigerians that the challenges are not due to any intrusion or sabotage of our systems and that the IReV remains well-secured.
“Our technical team is working assiduously to solve all the outstanding problems, and users of the IReV would have noticed improvements since last night.
“We also wish to assure Nigerians that results from the Polling Units, copies of which were issued to political parties, are safe on both the BVAS and the IReV portal. These results cannot be tampered with and any discrepancy between them and the physical results used in collation will be thoroughly investigated and remediated, in line with Section 65 of the Electoral Act 2022.
“While we fully appreciate the concerns of the public on this situation and welcome various suggestions that we have received from concerned Nigerians, it is important to avoid statements and actions that can heat up the polity at this time or promote disaffection towards the Commission.
“We take full responsibility for the problems and regret the distress that they have caused the candidates, political parties, and the electorate.”