By Suleiman Umaru
In spite of the technical hitches that was said to have Been encountered the deployment of the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System System, BVAS, machines, for the conduct of the February 25, 2023, presidential and National Assembly Elections, as results could not be uploaded from the pooling units to the its ReV, Prof. Mahmood yakubu, led Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, is at it again.
Appearing on Channels Television recently, Festus Okoye, INEC, National Commissioner, Information and Voters Education, had said that the Commission has the ability to transmit polling units results directly to its ReV and that the BVAS, will be functional during the March 18, 2023, governorship and state Assembly elections.
The ReV and BVAS,, according to Okoye, the INEC , spokesperson, are new technologies that was introduced by the electoral body for ‘’the accreditation and electronic transmission of votes from the polling units , deployed for use in the 2023, general elections’’.
Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra state and the Labour Party, LP, Presidential Candidate who had been granted an order by the Court of Appeal to inspect the sensitive materials and BVAS, deployed in the just concluded Presidential and National Assembly but was frustrated by the electoral body, may have returned to the Court to seek an order, restraining the Commission from reconfiguring the BVAS machines until the due inspection is conducted and certified true copies , CTC, of them issued but that was how far the and the party could go.
A three-man Panel of the Court Appeal led Justice Joseph Ikegh was said to have granted the Commission’s request ‘’ to reconfigure the BVAS, machines on the ground that that the information on them would be uploaded to the back-end server which cannot be tampered with’’. The Commission may have been encouraged to head to an Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Court of Appeal, to seek an order to reconfigure the BVAS to avoid a repeat of the February 25, 2023, Presidential and National Assembly elections which problem is still hanging on its neck.
A s a prelude to reconfiguring of the BVAS machines, the electoral body was forced to postpone the governorship and state Assembly elections from March 11, 2023, to March 18, 2023 .Okoye, the INEC spokesperson had said that the reconfiguration of the BVAS ,would be completed by Tuesday, March14, 2023, in preparation for the March 18, 2023, elections.
He may have sent a message to Obi , the LP Candidate , Atiku Abubakar, Presidential Candidate of the Opposition ,People’s Democratic Party, PDP, and Tinubu, the APC, Candidate, who were said to have also got a Court of Appeal order to inspect the sensitive materials and the BVAS, deployed during the last Presidential and National Assembly elections that ‘’the reconfiguring of the BVAS machines for the purposes of the March 18, 2023, governorship and state Assembly elections and any BVAS that was used for the just concluded Presidential and National Assembly elections that do not push to the accreditation backend , the data relating to the conduct of the elections will not be reconfigured’’.
There are indications that ‘’the BVAS will not allow itself to be reconfigured or reset if the entire data is not pushed to the accreditation backend’’.
Many believe that the Commission had failed to effectively use the BVAS, to transmit polling units to the ReV, viewing portal because of the transfer of Chidi Nwafor, who have the technical expertise and who was the Commission’s Director, Information, Communication and Technology, ICT. He was said to have been transferred out a few months before the 203, general elections.
But the INEC spokesperson would not agree that it performed below expectation with the use of the BVAS , to transmit results from the polling units to its Rev, stating that the Commission is built in such a way that ‘’no Department is wrapped around an individual’’. He noted Nwafor, the ex-while Director of the Commmission ICT, who was redeployed had ‘’built a Department that can stand on its own whether he is there or t.
This may have informed while Prof. Yakubu, the INEC , boss could boldly announce Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinu, popular, Jagan, a former governor of Lagos state and the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, Presidential Candidate, who polled 8, 794, 793 votes during the February 25, 2023, Presidential election as he President –elect.
Okoye, the INEC spokesperson, may have shocked Nigerians when he disclosed that none of the 18 political parties registered by the Commission to contest the 2023, general elections have any justification to complain about the conduct of the Presidential election because they had deployed more polling units agents than the number of officials deployed by the Commission , meaning that their had agents monitored their results per polling units.
The INEC spokesperson had said that every registered Political party in conjunction with their Flag bearers have the right to send agents to every polling nits, across the 36 states of the Federation and the FCT, without limit.
Giving a breakdown of the number of polling agents deployed by the four major political parties during the elections, Okoye, had said that the PDP, deployed a total of 176, 588 polling units agents, the ruling APC, 176, 223 , polling agents, while the New Nigeria People’s Party, NNPP, in Conjunction with Rabiu Kwankwanso, a former governor of Kano state and its Presidential Candidate deployed 176,200 polling agents , across the country.
He noted, that the LP and its Presidential Candidate, who had dragged the electoral body to Court, claiming to have won the election and insisting on inspection the electoral materials deployed and BVAS, deployed during the elections had deployed 134,874 agents, across the 36 states of the Federation and the FCT.. Giving an insider information , he disclosed that the Commission deployed 176,766 BVAS to these number of polling units across the country, noting that each political party was given a copy of the Form EC8 which is the polling unit result sheet which is the result sheet that is uploaded into the ReV portal.
An aggrieved Okoye, who could not hide his feelings, had said there was no basis for Obi of the LP and Atiku, his Counterpart in the PDP, to drag the name of the Commission in the mud when as at the last time, over 170,000 of those results from the polling units across the country have been uploaded, to its ReV, leaving out only six that yet to be uploaded.
He has made it clear to those that cares to listen that INEC as the regulator of political parties, won’t abdicate its core responsibility to aggrieved political parties. He may have alluded to the LP, PDP and eight other Political Parties, that may not have dragged it to Court.
Nigerians are waiting to see how the legal battle between the LP, and its Presidential Candidate, who has vowed to reclaim his mandat , freely given to him by the people and the Commission will end between now and May 29, 2023, when the Katsina state born Nigerian President will vacate the Aso Rok Vila for the next President.