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Friday, February 3, 2023

2023: Tinubu talks tough, says INEC not ready for electronic voting, transmission of results

The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu has expressed no confidence in the decision of the National Electoral Commission to deploy the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the INEC Results Viewing Portal (IReV) for the 2023 election. 

Tinubu stated this on Monday, December 5, 2022, during an appearance at Chatham House in London, United Kingdom.

Asked on his plans for diaspora voting, the former governor of Lagos State said, “If you make contributions to the economy with the remittances that you are making, your right to vote should not be abrogated but promoted.”

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“However, we are still building confidence in our democratic and voting system. INEC is still yet to assure us during this election that electronic transmission; the technology being used for accreditation, and the total votes count is reliable, dependable and assuring in our democratic process before we introduce a complicated element of ballot,” he stated.

Of late, there have been reports that politicians who are against the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and INEC Election Result Viewing Portal (IReV) attempt to use the court to stop INEC from deploying BVAS in the 2023 general elections but the electoral body has consistently restated its commitment and determination to deploy the system for the 2023 general elections.

BVAS is stipulated in the Electoral Act of 2022 and is a technological system which allows for accreditation of voters through biometrics capturing, uploading of results amongst others.

It has been described by many as an upgrade of the smartcard reader used in the last general elections which achieved some results in the country’s electoral process.

The former Lagos governor was at the world-leading policy institute and think-tank alongside the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai and his Jigawa State counterparty, Abubakar Badaru; former Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi; amongst others.

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Meanwhile, the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria has assured Nigerians that the deployment of the Biometric Voter Accreditation System and electronic transmission of results of the 2023 election are possible with the quality of telecoms architecture available in the country.

ATCON, the umbrella body for all the telecoms companies in Nigeria, including MTN, Airtel, 9Mobile, Glo and other operators,  said the nation’s telecommunication infrastructure had matured to the level it could transmit election results in 2023.

Speaking on the capacity of the telecoms to transmit election results without hiccups, the COO, the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, Olude, said the Nigerian Communications Commission has been pursuing rural telephony vigorously to ensure national coverage before the election.

Olude stated, “We are ready for electronic transmission of results. Our network has matured to the level that it can be used for result transmission. As regards the access gap, you can see that the NCC has been pursuing rural telephony vigorously.

He observed that areas that did not have Internet access could use Short Message Service technology to send results in real-time, stressing that there would not be a problem using the telecommunication network to transmit election results.

Olude stated, “We are ready for electronic transmission of results. Our network has matured to the level that it can be used for result transmission. As regards the access gap, you can see that the NCC has been pursuing rural telephony vigorously.

And I want to believe one of the reasons the NCC is saying everywhere must be covered is because of the elections.

“We have the technology, and our network is mature enough to be used for poll results transmission. Areas that do not have the Internet can use SMS technology to send results in real-time to probably the capital of the state to update the result. I don’t think there will be a problem using a telecommunication network to transmit election results.”

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