INEC Slams Tinubu Over Comment On E-transmission, BVAS

By Damilare Adeleye

Nigerian electoral umpire has tackled the presidential flag-bearer of the rulling All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, for expressing doubts and being apprehensive over the credibility of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System and Results Viewing Portal which will be deployed for the 2023 general elections.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) expressed shock that the APC candidate could question the efficiency of the technology which had been used in several polls, including the off-season governorship elections in Ekiti, Osun, and Anambra states.

The Nigerian Voice had exclusivity reported that the former Lagos State governor, while speaking on Monday at the Chatham House in London, United Kingdom, said the electoral body have yet to assure Nigerians of the workability of the BVAS and e-transmission of poll results.

Mr 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.”

Responding to Tinubu’s uncertainty, the Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman of INEC, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, pointed out that the commission has been talking about the features, strengths and advantages of BVAS since 2020.

He stated, ‘’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?’’

In response to those who circulated rumours that the commission had compromised with the BVAS, Oyekanmi explained that the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has reiterated severally that there is no going 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.