There were high expectations. The assurances kept ringing in the ears of everyone who were excited that Nigeria was going to get it right after all. Mahmood Yakubu, professor of History and chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, boasted of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS and, wait for this, real-time electronic transmission of results from the poling units. Nigerians were waiting to do the arithmetic of the votes as we voted. The world converged on our soil to see how Nigeria would do it. Then on Election Day, the challenge came. While results for the National Assembly elections were updated, electoral officers met a dumb portal when they tried to upload results for the presidential election. What happened? Why was INEC unable to deliver on the IReV pledge with the huge amount of money sunk into the technology that was supposed to give us that transparency we were promised and for which we were all thirsty? The excuse INEC gave us is that the server had problems and so could not be put to use. Opposition parties didn’t buy that. Dino Melaye, senator and agent of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP at the collation centre insisted that the exercise must be frozen until the IReV had been done. INEC chairman would not take orders from Melaye, thus the remaining exercise was done after he and agents of Labour Party walked out on the professor. What does this say about the election and the credibility of INEC? Adekunbi Ero, executive editor, delved into this in the lead story titled INEC’s Coup Against Nigeria. It is the season of elections, particularly at a time when Nigerians are eager to see the back of a government that has fallen short of the hope invested in it. It should therefore not be a surprise that the Special Report is also on the elections. So, with it we tried to look at the reactions of the opposition and Nigerians in general to the conduct of that election. Anayochukwu Agbo, general editor and head of Abuja bureau took up the challenge. His story is titled The Storm After the Votes. Next is the avowed determination to stop politicians from buying votes at that election. For that reason, President Muhammadu Buhari gave Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN the authorisation to redesign three of the Naira notes. Citizens were compelled to return old notes to the bank and the deadline for those notes to cease from being legal tender was before the elections. The government refused to believe that Nigerians, rather than the politicians who are the targets, were the ones negatively affected. Even then, those who bought the argument of the government said vote buying had been buried for good. Not quite. The lens of Lateef Olayinka, our correspondent, was beamed at the polling units to measure the success or otherwise of the policy. His verdict: it failed. The trade went on as ever before, mostly under the nose of the security. That is what he presents in When Conscience Is an Essential Commodity. Do have a blessed week.
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