Thursday, February 22, 2024

2023 ELECTIONS: APC expresses worry over BVAS, IReV

  • Says technology will disenfranchise Nigerians
  • No going back on BVAS – INEC
  • To release legal framework guiding rallies, processions, campaigns today

BY BENEDICT NWACHUKWU, ABUJA

Ahead of the 2023 general elections due to take place in less than 95 days, the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Abdullahi Adamu, has expressed concern over the use of Bimodal Voters Accreditation System and INEC Results Viewing Portal, saying the party is not comfortable with the technology.

Speaking during a courtesy visit to the party’s national headquarters in Abuja by the Commonwealth Pre-Election Team from the Commonwealth secretariat in Abuja to assess the level of preparation, Adamu said he is not comfortable with the use of BVAS and IReV because of the poor quality of electricity and telecommunication network in the country.

Adamu lamented the lack of electricity even in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja saying that to transmit results, from every part of Nigeria, the network has to cover it.

“First, I was privileged to serve as a senator. Our concern is how ready are we to deploy some of these technologies as regards transmission because we are taking a major step in transmitting election results in real-time.

“To transmit results, every part of the nation Nigeria, I’m not sure that the network covers it, I know that even in parts of Abuja there is no network and we have from now till February when in substantial parts of the country there is no electricity.

“INEC must assure us 100 percent that as and when due in transmitting results they are ready because they spoke about recharging batteries but we heard in previous elections when it says it can’t recharge.”

Corroborating, the national organizing secretary of the APC, Suleiman Argungu, said the use of technology would disenfranchise eligible voters, particularly in the north where networks are not available.

He claimed that some communities in Kebbi State have no network to even make calls they have to trek some distance and wondered how feasible for elections to be conducted in such areas with the use of technology.

Earlier, the leader of the team, Abiola Summonu told the APC national chairman that the team was on a mission to find out the political parties’ areas of concern as the 2023 general election draws closer.

Summonu said Nigeria has a vital position in both the commonwealth and continental politics adding that if the country gets it right it will rub off on the entire commonwealth countries and the continent of Africa.

Summonu, Adviser and Head, African section political team, was accompanied by Lindiwe Maleleka, Political Adviser, Electoral Support Section, Zippy Ojago, Executive Officer, Electoral Support Section, and Matthew Wesley, Security Consultant.

Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission has maintained that there was no going back on the deployment of BVAS and the IReV for the 2023 polls and beyond.

INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, said, BVAS and IReV had been introduced for the purpose of guaranteeing transparent accreditation and uploading of polling unit results for citizens to view in real-time on Election Day.

The INEC chairman, who made this known during the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room Stakeholders forum in Abuja, also explained that the commission had cleaned up the voters’ register and the number of eligible voters is now standing at 93,522,272.

“As you are aware, the election is just 93 days away, I wish to reassure Nigerians that the BVAS has come to stay as the only means of voter accreditation. Results from polling units will be uploaded to the IReV portal in real-time. Nigerians will view the results as they are uploaded.”

“The Commission will tomorrow Thursday 24th November 2022 publish a summary of the guidelines on finances and election expenses of parties and candidates. Beyond that, we are mobilising every national institution with the responsibility for tracking and combating the illicit flow of funds”

“We wish to assure Nigerians that the Commission will soon release the procedure for the collection of PVCs.

“The Commission considered it appropriate to conclude the process so that the cards will not be in the hands of ineligible registrants who may attempt to use them during the election,” Yakubu said.

Convener of the CSOs Situation Room, Ms Ene Obi, who decried the rate of election malpractices in the past, suggested the protection of the secrecy of the ballot as a means to curb vote trading during election.

“Nigeria is currently grappling with multiple security challenges across the country. We also witnessed the most monetized political primaries ever in the just concluded political party primaries for the 2023 general elections. What do these all portend for the 2023 general election?

“We are calling on citizens, INEC and other electoral umpires to stand upright for Nigeria in the coming election, no vote trading, we all must decide on having a better Nigeria we all dream of,” Ms Obi stressed.

Speaking on election security, ACP Onaghise Osayande, representing the IGP Usman Baba, said the Nigeria Police force had commenced training of officers selected from the 36 States to ensure hitch-free polls in the country.

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