Following the just concluded Presidential and the Senatorial election in Nigeria, the Asaba Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) recommended that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should introduce more technological advancement in the election process that will give room for online voting in line with the global trend. This was made known by the Chairman of the branch, Mr. Precious Nwadimuya in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Asaba on Thursday.
Mr. Nwadimuya adds that the eradication of thuggery, ballot box theft, and voter suppression would motivate more people to cast their ballots if technology were included into the voting process beyond accreditation. Notwithstanding the effect on the election, he said the Bi-Modal Voter Authentication System (BVAS) failed to operate to expectation, despite INEC’s adulation for its implementation. The BVAS was deployed primarily for voters accreditation (through thumbprint or face recognition) and for scanning and uploading election results from each polling location to the INEC portal.
With the BVAS in place the results could not be manipulated.
Majority has raises concern on the failure of BVAS to transmit results right from the polling unit alleging that the results were manually manipulated. This claim has been disputed by INEC, who said the glitch was just due to technical issues. Nwadimuya said that with the BVAS in place to keep track of the number of registered and accredited voters, the numbers could not be manipulated. He continued by adding that although turnout was high, it was still lower than the number of eligible voters.
Despite the huge amount of funds committed to the conduct of the election, Nwadimuya nonetheless voiced his displeasure with the commission’s logistics structure. According to the received information, he confirms that officials at polling units were unable to leave the INEC offices after being provided with election materials owing to a lack of organization transportation plan by INEC. Hence, voters had to organize transportation so that INEC officials could move to the voting units, he added.
INEC should make sure its site receive results from all polling units.
Pastor Edewor Egedegbe, state coordinator for the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), praised INEC for their work in the February 25 election. He also recognized the BVAS for its role in improving election administration. But he indicated the BVAS couldn’t provide the official results via INEC’s website, which is a drawback in his perspective. Egedegbe thus urges INEC to make sure that its site is always configured to receive results from all voting units throughout the nation.
Moreover, Pastor Egedegbe critiqued INEC’s security measures and urged the commission to improve them. As an observer traveling around the state, he claims to have seen that the vast majority of voting places lacked any kind of security personnel. The trend held true in the vast majority of voting precincts throughout the nation. Prior to the March 11 election, he recommended that the commission take steps to streamline the logistics and security of the voting process.
March 11th election presents an opportunity to rectify any problem.
NBA president Yakubu Maikyau addressed the media and remarked that despite difficulties, INEC did a good job of delivering the elections. Even so, he urged INEC to fix the problems that were uncovered after the 25th of February 2023 election. The upcoming elections on March 11th present a critical opportunity to rectify any problems that may have arisen willful misconduct. This is in the greatest interest of all Nigerians and ensuring it will lead to a free, fair, and credible election.