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PDP, CUPP, others slam Adamu over deployment of BVAS

By Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Adamu Abuh, Ernest Nzor (Abuja) and Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi (Jos)
25 November 2022   |   4:23 am
Following outrage and condemnation that trailed his comments on the deployment of technology for the 2023 general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abdullahi Adamu, has disclaimed reports that he is opposed to the deployment...

Abdullahi Adamu

• APC not opposed to new electoral technologies, Adamu recants
• INEC: We can transmit election results electronically
• PDP: APC is blackmailing INEC
• APC’s attack on BVAS confirms plan to oust INEC Chairman, CUPP alleges
• Inihebe: Without BVAS, Nigerians can kiss free, fair elections in 2023 goodbye
• Don’t truncate democracy, Ohanaeze warns INEC, APC
• HURIWA: Election riggers afraid of BVAS
• Ensure smooth transition even if ruling party loses election, SGF tells SSGs

Following outrage and condemnation that trailed his comments on the deployment of technology for the 2023 general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abdullahi Adamu, has disclaimed reports that he is opposed to the deployment of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and INEC Results Viewing Portal (IReV) for next year’s polls.

At a news conference in Abuja, yesterday, Adamu said he was only concerned about the challenges of electricity supply and irregular telecommunication signals in remote voting districts of the country.

The APC helmsman had earlier, on Wednesday, said he was worried that the country is not ripe for the usage of electoral technologies, saying network issues could hamper its smooth running.

He had said: “To transmit results in every part of the nation, I’m not sure that the network covers it. I know that even in parts of Abuja, there is no network and we have from now till February when in substantial parts of the country there is no electricity.”

Also, APC National Organising Secretary, Suleiman Argungu, had said some BVAS machines’ batteries might not be recharged due to epileptic power supply.

But a statement by APC National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka, said the reports about Adamu were false and an unfair misrepresentation of his opinion.

He maintained that the APC-led administration remained committed to the highest levels of electoral transparency and democratic consolidation in the country.

He said: “To be clear, Adamu did not kick against the deployment of BVAS or electronic transmission of results.

“At a meeting with the Commonwealth pre-election delegation, in response to a question regarding the country’s preparations for the election, the National Chairman noted that while preparations were in top gear, he tasked INEC to take effective steps to bridge any gaps that may be created by electricity and telecommunications network challenges in certain outlying voting districts in the country.

“The APC administration of President Muhammadu Buhari midwifed the successful reform of the Electoral Act, introduction of BVAS and superintended the conduct of credible and transparent elections in Edo, Anambra, Ekiti and Osun states.”

HOWEVER, INEC has said it can transmit election results from all corners of the country in the 2023 election given the available technological devices at its disposal. Deputy Director of Information Communication Technology (ICT) at INEC, Dr. Olugbenga Lawrence Bayomi, said this on Thursday at a two-day training in Abuja.

The workshop in collaboration with the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), INEC and the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) was on conflict reporting by the media.

Abayomi said Nigerians must be rest assured that INEC has several Servers but was not in custody of the specific Server claimed to be in its custody in 2019.

He said Nigerians must play their part in invoking the Electoral Act 2022 for a successful 2023 election as the Commission was limited in invoking such laws on non-staff.

Condemning Adamu’s fears over the use of BVAS, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused APC of seeking to bring back the era of rigging elections.

Director of Strategic Communication in the PDP presidential campaign council, Dele Momodu, told journalists in Abuja, yesterday, that it was shocking that “at this time and age, APC will still want us to operate analog elections.

“The world has gone digital and anything that will eliminate political thuggery, cheating and rigging, I will expect any reasonable political party to support it. It’s like sending us back 50 years into antiquity. At PDP, we will support transparent elections only,” he stated.

According to him, “INEC is being blackmailed by APC. They’ve done that in the past, like when they extended their party primaries. INEC was not supposed to extend the dates. The date was supposed to be sacrosanct, but APC made sure they bullied INEC into submission.

“I pray and hope that it will not be bullied into accepting what would be so dangerous for Nigeria, because this election is so crucial. When a party has been in power for eight solid years and citizens are tired of that party, but you want to rig elections, of course, the country will go up in flames and that is what we must avoid,” Momodu stressed.

Also condemning the position of APC, spokesperson of Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the rejection of BVAS confirms that APC and its presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, do not have genuine followership among Nigerians ahead of the elections.

THE Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), on Thursday, said the concerns raised by Adamu over the planned deployment of BVAS, has confirmed its intelligence that the ruling party was allegedly behind the move to sack the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.

Yakubu, last week, assured Nigerians that there is no going back on the use of BVAS and IReV for the forthcoming elections.

In a statement by the spokesman of CUPP, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, the opposition political parties said the development, which is coming barely 90 days to the presidential election, has also confirmed the Coalition’s intelligence report that APC allegedly wanted to carry out digital vote buying in the 2023 elections.

The statement reads: “Technology keeps making it increasingly possible to reduce the contentious menace of electoral fraud and other forms of manipulation that has characterised our electoral system in times past. With the emergence of BVAS, which is replacing the Smart Card Readers used in previous elections, polls in Nigeria will now be better in credibility.”

A human rights lawyer, Effiong Inihebe, has said BVAS, an electronic means of reading Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and accreditation of voters, would guarantee free and fair elections in 2023.

Reacting to Adamu’s comment, Inihebe said: “The enemies of democracy and credible elections are unveiling themselves in the most shameful way. Adamu is telling us that they are scared of BVAS. Clearly, election riggers are terrified. If INEC succumbs to this evil agenda, we can kiss free and fair elections in 2023 goodbye.”

THE apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide (OYC), in its reaction, has said Adamu should be placed on watch-list by security agencies and the international community for allegedly toeing a path capable of destroying Nigeria.

A statement by the National President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide, Mazi Okwu Nnabuike, accused APC of trying to truncate Nigeria’s democracy.

Nnabuike said: “We are in deep shock over the unpopular statement made by the APC National Chairman. It is even more unpardonable considering that it is coming from the chairman of the ruling party.

“In countries of the world, a ruling party is expected to be in the vanguard of advancing democracy, but that is no longer the case with APC. It is now confirmed that the Adamu-led APC is behind the rumoured plot to oust the INEC boss from office.”

THE Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has also slammed Adamu for giving flimsy and irrational excuses as reasons INEC should not deploy BVAS and IReV for the elections.

HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, said only corrupt politicians, whose skewed victories are achieved through rigging and manipulation of the system, are afraid of the electronic transmission of results for next year’s polls.

“BVAS stipulation in the Electoral Act of 2022 means it has come to stay and Adamu and his co-travellers should understand that quickly. It’s game over for election riggers because BVAS guarantees the accreditation of voters through biometrics capturing, uploading of results, among others. INEC must remain unwavering in its resolve to deploy this technology. INEC should not cower to the inconsequential veiled pressure of Adamu,” HURIWA said.

MEANWHILE, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, has charged all secretaries to state governments to ensure smooth transition process no matter how the 2023 elections go.

Mustapha further pointed out the SGF and Secretaries to State Governments (SSGs) need to play a more visible role in ensuring effective coordination and harmonious working relationship between all stakeholders before, during and after elections.

He spoke yesterday at the new Government House, Little Rayfield in Jos at the third quarter meeting of Forum of the SGF with SSGs.

According to the SGF, SSGs should entrench performance contract among bureaucrats and political office holders, adding that there is no doubt that the state secretaries assist their respective principals to achieve their development agenda and ensure orderly governance, transition and effective handover of governments.

Mustapha stressed that the Federal Government, in its bid to strengthen performance management culture, enacted the Executive Order 012 to institutionalise the Central Delivery Coordination Unit, which has recorded significant mileage at the federal level in the area of tracking, reviewing and analysing projects and other activities of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

In his speech, Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, said the meeting was not only apt, but very important because for too long, the public had focused on building governance around strong personalities rather than strong systems.