43 DAYS TO GO: Elections Sacrosanct, INEC Affirms

43 DAYS TO GO: Elections Sacrosanct, INEC Affirms
  • Displays voter registers to political parties
  • Says era of identity theft over
  • IPAC optimistic of uninterrupted process

By Caleb Ishaya, Abuja

Notwithstanding diverse opinions on the likelihood of shifting the general elections billed to commence on February 25, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, affirmed that the process would go ahead as planned.  

He made the position known yesterday in a meeting with the leadership of the 18 political parties at the Commission’s headquarter in Abuja.

The meeting, the first this year, was to present the 2023 voter register to the parties ahead of the elections as required by the 2022 Electoral Act.

In attendance at the meeting were leaders of the All Progressives Congress,APC, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, the Labour Party,LP and the New Nigeria People’s Party, NNPP, among others.

Meanwhile, INEC has noted that with the introduction of the Bimodal Voter Authentication System, BVAS, the issue of identity theft and other election frauds would be addressed during the forthcoming general elections starting with the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

Alhaji Umar Ibrahim, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, for Gombe State, stated this during a stakeholders’ meeting on the preparations for the 2023 general elections held in Gombe yesterday.

Ibrahim said the credibility of the 2023 general elections remained a top priority for the Commission, hence the introduction of improved technology in recent elections to enhance the electoral processes.

According to him, with BVAS only voters will determine who wins elections in the country.

“I assure the good people of Gombe State that the days of identity theft during elections are over and only voters can determine the winner of elections in this country.

“There is no doubt the deployment of technology has greatly improved the conduct of elections in this country over the years.

“During the 2023 general elections, the Commission will be deploying the BVAS for accreditation of voters and transmission of results”, said Ibrahim.

The REC said Gombe State had received the full complement of BVAS required for the conduct of the 2023 general elections in the state.

Ibrahim assured residents of Gombe State that the commission was ready to conduct credible elections in the state, adding that 10 out of the 14 outlined activities had been carried out.

He appealed to all stakeholders to play their roles towards ensuring the smooth conduct of the 2023 elections.

“The conduct of credible elections is not the responsibility of INEC alone; free, fair, credible, peaceful, all-inclusive and accountable elections are a product of concerted efforts by all stakeholders.

“I urge you to join us in discouraging PVC selling/buying and vote selling/buying in the strongest terms as it stands against democratic norms and principles”, he said.

Speaking further on BVAS, Mr Bitson Simon, Head of Department, Information and Communications Technology, ICT, and Voter Registry, Gombe State office, INEC, said the BVAS device had been described as a “game changer” in recent elections.

Simon said the device was introduced by the INEC as a solution to the inadequacies of the Card Readers, which were used in precious elections.

He said with BVAS, frauds being perpetuated on Election Day in previous elections would no longer be possible, adding, “election by proxy will not be possible with BVAS”.

According to him, BVAS will be used to accredit voters, transmit accredited data to the INEC server and transmit election results into INEC review portal.

Simon said the BVAS machine would improve the transparency of the 2023 elections.

Inter Party Advisory Council, IPAC has expressed confidence in the ability of INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu to conduct a free, fair and credible election using Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS and INEC Result Viewing Portal, IREV for the general elections.

The IPAC Chairman, Alhaji Yagbagi Sani, stated this in Abuja after an Emergency General Council Meeting of leaders of the  eighteen registered political parties organised to evaluate emerging threats to the 2023 general elections.

Alhaji Sani, said despite attacks on the commission’s offices in some parts of the country which destroyed sensitive, non-sensitive electoral materials and other properties, including Zamfara, Imo, Ebonyi, Ogun, Osun, Anambra, Akwa Ibom, Jigawa, FCT, Ondo, Abia States.

He also noted that the huge costs in replacing them immediately, INEC had remained resolute, and courageous in deploying technology in the conduct of the general election.

He said the entire political chairmen under IPAC, at the meeting reaffirmed their confidence in the INEC to conduct the 2023 elections and that the commission’s position on deployment of technology in the conduct of the 2023 general election was in tandem with the stance of IPAC.

‘’IPAC is satisfied with the preparations, arrangements and measures taken so far by the commission to conduct free, fair, credible and transparent, inclusive, peaceful and generally acceptable elections, particularly its decision to deploy the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System ,BVAS and to the INEC Result Viewing Portals ,IReV for uploading the polling unit results in real-time on Election Day”.

Alhaji Sani said IPAC would resist any attempt to jeopardize the ongoing electoral process that would deepen and strengthen the nation’s democracy.

He called on Nigerians to take steps to protect and defend the hard earned democracy since May 29, 1999 by doing away with  election malpractices.

Represented by the IPAC’s National Secretary, Alhaji Yusuf Dantalle, said IPAC was concerned about the level of insecurity in the country.

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