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Watch out for fraud, opposition warns INEC, APC recants

On the head of the 2023 common elections, the opposition events on Thursday suggested the Unbiased Nationwide Electoral Fee to not succumb to forces pushing towards the deployment of the Biometric Voter Accreditation System and digital transmission of outcomes.

The Peoples Democratic Get together, Labor Get together, the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Social Democratic Get together, the New Nigeria Peoples Events and the Coalition of United Political Events in separate interviews with The PUNCH insisted that jettisoning the BVAS would compromise the polls.

The events spoke in response to a press release credited to the Nationwide Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Abdullahi Adamu, through which he expressed doubts about INEC’s capability to ship a reputable election utilizing the BVAS.

Adamu had expressed reservation over the deployment of digital transmission of outcomes when a Commonwealth delegation on the 2023 common elections paid a courtesy go to to him on the occasion secretariat in Abuja on Wednesday.

Adamu’s concern was echoed by the occasion’s Nationwide Organizing Secretary, Suleiman Argungu, who recognized a secure energy provide as one of many obstacles dealing with the innovation.

Argungu additionally cited his dwelling state of Kebbi for instance of an space the place such expertise might expertise some hitches.

However barely 24 hours after their statements, the APC Nationwide Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka, introduced that the occasion chairman was quoted out of context.

Morka said that a lot as Adamu had tasked the INEC on its readiness to deploy the expertise, the occasion stays dedicated to the best ranges of electoral transparency.

The assertion learn, “A bit of the media is awash with feedback credited to the Nationwide Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Senator Abdullahi Adamu on the deployment of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System and the Outcomes Viewing Portal, in any other case often called digital transmission of election outcomes, for the 2023 common elections.

“Media reviews that chairman Adamu kicked towards INEC’s choice to deploy BVAS and digital transmission of outcomes is patently false, and constitutes an unfair misrepresentation of the nationwide chairman’s feedback.

“At a gathering with the Commonwealth pre-election delegation, yesterday, Wednesday, November 23, 2022, in response to a query relating to the nation’s preparations for subsequent yr’s election, the nationwide chairman famous that whereas preparations had been in prime gear, he tasked INEC to take efficient steps to bridge any gaps which may be created by electrical energy and telecommunications community challenges in sure outlying voting districts within the nation so as to guarantee a easy and profitable deployment of BVAS and different applied sciences to make sure free and clear elections.”

However dismissing Abdullahi’s volte-face, the Nationwide Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba, mentioned expertise had come to remain within the nation’s electoral course of, warning these mounting stress on INEC to desist.

“We all know the place the stress is coming from however we should inform them that expertise has come to remain; BVAS has come to remain. The entire world desires to witness free, truthful and credible elections in Nigeria in 2023. Credible polls are not possible with out the usage of expertise. INEC should not hear to those enemies of democracy. They have to resist their antics as Nigerians are solidly behind the fee,” he admonished.

The Director of Strategic Communications, PDP Presidential Marketing campaign Council, Dele Momodu, fingered the APC because the power behind the stress being mounted on INEC to dump the BVAS.

“APC is jittery and so they do not wish to undergo the technological course of. Whether or not they admit it or not, they’re scared, figuring out they can’t win elections anyplace in Nigeria. Expertise will expose their rigging plans. Each different occasion is fascinated about credible elections besides the ruling occasion. INEC should, subsequently, not yield to stress from any quarters,” he suggested.

The Nationwide Publicity Secretary of Labor Get together, Abayomi Arabambi, argued that Adamu’s earlier place was a delicate technique aimed toward placing stress on the electoral umpire to discard the BVAS.

He mentioned, “It’s apparent that the APC is jittery. It is a technique to put stress on INEC however it isn’t going to work. The APC is just not the one occasion contesting within the 2023 election. For the truth that they claimed the person recanted is sufficient to point out that they’re afraid they are going to lose the election.

“I count on that the person was in his proper senses earlier than he complained in regards to the BVAS, which is the one answer to election rigging. Even INEC has affirmed that there isn’t a going again.

“Is it solely the APC that desires to run for election in Nigeria? They don’t seem to be the proprietor of the nation and the electoral system. They got here in by the electoral system and might be booted out by the identical course of. So far as we’re involved, whether or not Adamu recanted or not is an afterthought.”

In his half, the Nationwide Publicity Secretary of the Social Democratic Get together, Rufus Aiyenigba, referred to as on INEC to be signed, saying the Ekiti state governorship election confirmed how related the BVAS is to the electoral system.

“INEC has demonstrated its non-partisanship prior to now few years and the SDP will proceed to help the fee, notably its use of expertise to enhance the conduct of our elections. As a celebration, we’re ready for the elections. Any particular person or group mounting stress on INEC is an enemy of our democracy,” he declared.

Equally, the Nationwide Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Tex Okechukwu, backed the electoral fee to proceed to enhance on its data, noting that “any plan to drop BVAS now won’t work; it won’t occur.”

Talking in the identical tone, the spokesman of the New Nigeria Peoples Get together Presidential Marketing campaign Council, Ladipo Johnson, additionally insisted that the digital transmission of outcomes had come to remain.

Johnson additional knocked out the management of the ruling occasion, which he mentioned was nonetheless being haunted by the lack of Osun state governorship polls to the effectivity of BVAS.

He said, ”We’re not stunned that they do not like BVAS after the outcome from the Osun election. Even when there’s any downside with the community, should not the ruling occasion be taking a look at fixing the problem as an alternative of taking us backward when it comes to electoral reform? That’s what a forward-looking individual ought to do.

“All of us need BVAS to remain. Actually, all of us hope that regularly, INEC will transfer to an automatic system, whereby will probably be tough for people to govern the method of election. The NNPP is pleased with it.”

Calling on the electoral physique to withstand stress from any quarters, Johnson additional said, “We wish to encourage INEC to not be intimidated by any occasion and be sure that elections are performed effectively. BVAS has come to remain. In the long term, will probably be cheaper and cut back the necessity for manpower.”

Additionally reacting to the event, the spokesperson of the Coalition of United Political Events, Ikenga Ugochinyere, mentioned his group has been vindicated by the APC chairman’s earlier stance on the BVAS.

He mentioned, “The reviews of the rejection of the BVAS machine and digital transmission of outcomes by the nationwide chairman of APC has confirmed that the intelligence by the CUPP was spot on and the opposition coalition is but once more vindicated.

“Now, the APC nationwide chairman has come out within the open with the place of the APC on rejecting the BVAS and digital transmission of outcomes as a result of we’ve uncovered their rigging plans. They’ve now resolved for a full onslaught on the INEC chairman and to not spare any useful resource in making certain he’s faraway from workplace.”

Ugochinyere claimed that the ruling occasion’s solely hope of successful the forthcoming election was to rig the train, therefore its opposition to the BVAS and IREV.

He added, ”Their solely hope of successful the election is by massively rigging the method and so they know with the BVAS, digital transmission of outcomes and the INEC Election Outcome Viewing Portal, they stand no likelihood as Nigerians have rejected the occasion fully. Their focus now could be the elimination of the INEC chairman by any means needed.

“Transferring from the poor efficiency of President Muhammadu Buhari to the more severe efficiency promised by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu might be like leaping from a frying pan into hearth and Nigeria and Nigerians can not afford that in any respect.”

INEC’s place

INEC had disclosed that it will deploy a complete of 176, 846 of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System for the February 2023 common elections.

The INEC Nationwide Commissioner and Chairman, Info and Voter Schooling Committee, Festus Okoye, revealed this on the Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Alumni Affiliation Annual Seminar 2022 in Abuja on Monday

He additional mentioned that the fee would offer 17,618 BVAS machines for back-up, with two units per registration space.

Okoye additionally mentioned that INEC’s information restoration facilities can be upgraded and all its platforms enhanced earlier than the elections so as to forestall the fixed assaults the platform had obtained from hackers and political actors, including that the fee was decided to conduct free and truthful elections in 2023 .

He mentioned, “The fee is agency and stuck on its resolve to conduct free, truthful, clear and inclusive elections.

“The fee will proceed to be open and clear in its technological improvements as a result of election enterprise is public enterprise and the general public has a proper to know what the fee is doing.

“INEC will proceed to regularly infuse expertise within the electoral course of to reinforce transparency and verifiability in voter authentication and outcome administration. The extent of technological growth within the nation and the state of infrastructure will invariably affect on the expertise the fee can deploy.

“On this regard, the fee will proceed to make haste slowly as accuracy in outcome administration is extra necessary than the velocity at which expertise is launched.

“We’re assured that the BVAS and IReV will kind an necessary pillar and element within the march in direction of an electoral course of pushed by expertise to obviate malicious human interference within the electoral course of,” he added.

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