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INEC chides Tinubu over comments at Chatham House

INEC chides Tinubu over comments at Chatham House

Posted: December 8, 2022 at 2:40 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress’ presidential candidate, has come under fire from the Independent National Electoral Commission for questioning the validity of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System and Results Viewing Portal that will be used in the 2023 election.

The APC candidate’s comments about the effectiveness of the technology employed in various elections, notably the off-season governorship elections in the states of Ekiti, Osun, and Anambra, shocked the commission.

The former governor of Lagos State stated on Monday at the Chatham House in London, United Kingdom, that Nigerians had not yet received assurances from the electoral authority regarding the viability of the BVAS and e-transmission of election results.

He commented a few weeks after Senator Abdullahi Adamu, the national chairman of the APC, and Suleiman Argungu, the national organizing secretary, voiced their concerns about the deployment of BVAS for the general elections scheduled for next year.

At Chatham House, Tinubu said, “We are still building confidence in our democratic and voting system. INEC is yet to assure us (that) during this election that electronic transmission, the technology being used for accreditation and the total vote count, is reliable, dependable and assuring in our democratic process before we introduce a complicated element of ballot counting.”

In response to Tinubu’s ambiguity, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman of INEC, said that the commission has been discussing the benefits, advantages, and features of BVAS since 2020.

Oyekanmi said, ‘’The Independent National Electoral Commission has been talking about the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, its features, strengths and advantages since 2020 when it was introduced to replace our beloved Smart Card Reader.

“At every quarterly meeting that the commission held with leaders of political parties since this BVAS was introduced, and I am talking about more than five meetings, it has always been on the agenda and discussed. My presumption is that both the national chairman and secretary of all the political parties that attend our meetings also brief their presidential candidates about the issues discussed.

‘’More importantly, we have conducted off-season governorship elections in Ekiti, Osun and Anambra states using the BVAS and all of these elections have generally been described and accepted as free, fair, credible, and inclusive by all and sundry. The governors elected have quietly been enjoying their respective tenures. Don’t forget that we also deployed it for the Federal Capital Territory area council election and it was a huge success.

‘’The BVAS has been trending on social media platforms and even foreigners visiting Nigeria for the first are asking: ‘What is this BVAS thing?’’

Oyekanmi responded to rumor-mongers who spread false information by saying that the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has repeatedly stated that there is no turning back on the deployment of BVAS for the 2023 general election.

‘’Therefore, if at this moment in 2022, we still have a presidential candidate of one of the 18 registered political parties, saying he needs assurances on the BVAS or he doesn’t know or appreciate its relevance to the 2023 general election, then something is terribly wrong somewhere,’’ he stated.

However, the APC defended the concerns Tinubu and Adamu had with the BVAS, claiming that their remarks had probably been misinterpreted.

Bala Ibrahim, the APC’s director of publicity, emphasized that both men were merely trying to make sure INEC is completely confident in its election readiness.

“I think we are misinterpreting or refusing to understand the broader meaning of concerns in this context. The concern raised by both the party chairman and presidential candidate is that justice should not just be done but be seen to be done holistically.

“What they are doing is to ensure that the right things are done to avoid giving room for complaints to be raised after the 2023 elections. The process should not just be left at 99 per cent; it must meet up with the acceptable 100 per cent standard.

“If there is an iota of doubt or anything that can compromise the integrity of the election, it must be looked into. The right thing has to be done,” Ibrahim said.

The director responded that the party has nothing to worry when asked if it was concerned that using the technology may hurt its chances in the polls.

This is true even as he reaffirmed their belief that, provided the proper steps are taken, the commission can conduct the polls properly.

“No, we are not intimidated. In fact, our imminent victory is more pronounced with what is happening now. If you look at the ongoing rancour, chaos and divisive situation in the camp of the opposition PDP, you will discover that our chances are getting brighter every day,’’ he stated.

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