By Suleiman Umaru
Those who think that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, would dump the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, VASA, for the 2023, general elections would be disappointed. Mahmood Yakubu, a Professor, and Chairman, INEC had told those that cares to listen that ‘’there was no plans ‘’to discard the use of the BVASA technology and the electronic transmission of results in the upcoming 2023, general elections’’, describing it as the handwork of mischief makers who wants to truncate the elections.
The INEC, Chairman, who could not hide his feelings at the training of master trainers workshop on the BVASA technology for the 2023, general elections on Friday, January 27, 2023, at Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT was said to have repeatedly said that there was no going back on the deployment of the BVAS technology ‘’ to ensure the conduct of a free, fair, credible and transparent elections’’.
The Electoral umpire boss may have gladdened the heart of Nigerians when he corroborated the views of Festus Okoye, one of the Commission’s National Commissioners and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, that the Commission had received the last flight at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, to take delivery of the last batch of the required number of the BVAS , for all polling units in the 36 states of the Federation , and the FCT, including extra Machines in line with its Constituency provisions for all critical election materials.
As a prelude to facilitate the delivery of the BVAS To the 36 states of the Federation and the FCT, the Commission was said to have created four hubs in Abuja, Lagos, PortHarcourt and Kano, amidst tight security. The Value News learnt that over the Last four months, several flights had delivered the BVAS, to the four designated International airports in Abuja, Lagos, PortHarcourt and Kano respectively, for movement to the states and the FCT, ahead of the 2023, general elections.
Okoye, a National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education, had said that the Commission will’’ deploy all the imported 200,000 BVAS Machines in the 2023 general elections which have already arrived the country and distributed to the states in readiness for the Presidential and National Assembly elections on February 25, 2023.
He had said that the imported BVAS, machines would be deployed in the 176,000, polling units across the country. In spite of the fact that the Commission had procured adequate BVAS for the elections, the Commission was said to have imported additional 8,809 BVAS, that will deployed nationwide in all the polling units for the 2023, general elections.
Given that the Presidential and National Assembly elections had been slated , on February 25, 2023, may have informed why the House of Representatives , under the close watch of Femi Gbajabiamila, had requested the government ‘’to close all tertiary Institutions so that students who have their Permanent Voter’s Card, PVC, can effectively participate in the elections and vote for the Candidates of their choice’’.
The House was said to have also asked INEC, to make special arrangement for the students who have not collected their PVCs to do so in order to exercise their Civic responsibility on the February 25, 2023, elections and subsequent elections.
The House may have adopted the resolution because tertiary students alone, constitute over 40% of the newly registered voters, and have their polling units sited outside their campuses. This may have informed why the House had said that there is need for their travelling outside their respective institutions ‘’to vote in the upcoming 2023, general elections’’.
Appearing at the Chattan House , in London, United Kingdom, recently, Prof, yakubu, the INEC Chairman, had said that ‘’records on ground showed that ‘’ the 2023, general elections would be dominated by Nigerian Youths’’.
He had said hat out of the 93 million that had registered for the elections, 37 million or about 40 percent are young people, between the ages of 18 and 34. He noted that even the majority of the PVCs that had been made available by the Commission were collected by the young people, meaning that they are fully prepared for the elections.
Atiku Abubakar, a former Nigerian Vice President during Olusegun Obasanjo’s Administration may have read the handwriting on the wall that Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra state and Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, LP, who has promised to have more Youths and women in his government have penetrated the Nigerian Youths the Nigerian Youths are that he has promised a ‘’youth and women inclusive government ’’, if elected the next Nigerian President after the February 25, 2023, general elections.
He was said to have also promised the Nigerian Youths, ‘’to establish students loans if elected President in the 2023, general elections’’ as a way to win the heart of the students. In preparation for the 2023, general elections to forestall failure, INEC, had set February 4, barely three weeks to the Presidential and National Assembly elections ‘’to conduct mock accreditation exercise , to test the efficacy of the BVAS’’. The INEC Chairman, may have prepared the mind of the 37 Resident Electoral Commissioners in the country about the mock accreditation exercise at a recent meeting in Abuja.