The All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has come under fire from the Independent National Electoral Commission for questioning the validity of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System and Results Viewing Portal that will be used in the 2023 election.
The commission was shocked that the APC candidate would cast doubt on the reliability of the technology that had been employed in many elections, including the off-season governorship elections in the states of Ekiti, Osun, and Anambra.
Recall that the former governor of Lagos State had on Monday at the Chatham House in London, United Kingdom said the electoral body had yet to assure Nigerians of the workability of the BVAS and e-transmission of poll results.
Speaking at Chatham House, 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.”
His comment came weeks after the APC National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, and the National Organising Secretary, Suleiman Argungu, expressed concerns over the planned deployment of BVAS for the coming general election.
In response to Tinubu’s uncertainty, the Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman of INEC, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, stated that since 2020, the commission has been talking about the features, strengths and advantages of BVAS.
He said, ‘’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. I presume that 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, which 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?’’
Oyekanmi responded to rumour-mongers who spread false information that the commission had abandoned the BVAS by stating that INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has repeatedly stated that the deployment of BVAS for the 2023 general election cannot be changed.
‘’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.