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Nigeria's electoral body denies claims that former Lagos commissioner was head of tech

IN SHORT: Allegations continue to swirl around the manner in which Nigeria's presidential election on 25 February 2023 was conducted. The latest claim is that the ruling party had a helper embedded in the electoral body – but Inec has denied this.

Nigeria's 2023 presidential election remains mired in controversy. The country's electoral body failed to effectively implement the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the electronic transmission of results.

The Independent National Electoral Commission or Inec is responsible for conducting elections in Nigeria.

Inec declared Bola Tinubu of the governing All Progressives Congress the winner of the race for president, but his rivals have gone to court over this. 

As the fallout continued, prominent politician Bode George claimed in a television interview that Femi Odubiyi, who he said was Inec's head of information technology, was behind the shutdown of BVAS servers during the election.

George said Odubiyi was a former commissioner for science and technology in Tinubu’s administration. This would have been when Tinubu was governor of Lagos state from 1999 to 2007

The same claim appeared on Facebook here, here, here and here.

One of the posts begins: “BOOM! INEC Head of ICT Femi Odubiyi Behind Shutdown of BVAS Servers on Election Day is Former Lagos Commissioner Under Tinubu.”

But is this true? We checked. 


Inec refutes claim

Femi Odubiyi was the state’s commissioner of science and technology – but under the administration of Akinwunmi Ambode, who was governor from 2015 to 2018.

And on 14 March 2023 Inec denied claims that it had appointed the former commissioner as its head of information and communication technology, or ICT. 

In a statement shared on its verified Twitter handle, Inec said: “To set the record straight, the name ‘Femi Odubiyi’ does not even exist within our ICT Department at the INEC headquarters in Abuja or any State office of the Commission.”

Inec said none of its staff had ever held any political position in the country and urged the public to disregard the claim.

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