2023 Elections: ‘’We Won’t Abdicate Our Responsibility To Any Aggrieved Political Party’’- INEC

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.

INEC BVAS Being Reconfigured On The Orders Of The Appeal Court

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.  

Tinubu: President -Elect

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.

Obi: LP, presidential Candidate

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.  

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