The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, has expressed concern over the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System for the 2023 general elections.
Adamu expressed his reservation when a Commonwealth delegation to the 2023 General Election paid a courtesy visit to the party secretariat in Abuja on Wednesday.
The development is coming just 93 days to the presidential election.
They were there the political officer of the Commonwealth delegation, Lindiwe Maleleka; Communications Officer, Temitope Kalejaiye; Director, Zippy Ojago; Homeland Security, Nathan Westley and Head of Africa Section, Abiola Sumonu.
The APC chairman’s fear comes barely 48 hours after the Independent National Electoral Commission declared it “constitutionally and legally impossible” to resume the continued voter registration exercise.
INEC’s position was a consequence of the refusal of the High Court of the Federal Court in Abuja on July 31 to grant the prayer of four litigants who sued the commission over the suspension of the voter registration exercise.
But on Wednesday, Adamu disclosed that he doubted whether the implementation of BVAS to broadcast elections in real time would deliver a fair result for the nation in the 2023 elections.
According to him, Nigeria does not cut the image of a nation willing and ready to take the risk of deploying such technology for use in elections.
The former Nasarawa governor, however, disclosed that unless INEC was ready to assure the ruling party and Nigerians that they were 100 percent ready, the proposed use of the technology would be in doubt.
He said: “First of all, I had the privilege of serving as a senator. But our concern is how ready we are in terms of transmission of some of these technologies because we are taking a big step to transmit election results in real time.
“To transmit the results, in every part of the nation – Nigeria, I am not sure if the grid covers it, I know even in parts of Abuja there is no grid and we have from now until February in large parts of the country, there is no electricity.
“INEC must assure us 100 percent that they are ready at the moment of transmitting the results because they talked about charging the batteries. But in the last election we heard that it cannot be charged.”
Adamu’s fear was again echoed by the party’s National Organization Secretary, Suleiman Argungu, who identified stable power supply as one of the obstacles to innovation.
Argungu also used his hometown, Kebbi, as an example of an area where the technology could have some flaws.
“According to what the president of the nation has just said about the live transmission of results by INEC in the coming election. Apart from the issue of unstable electricity, many towns and communities border with other countries, for example my state, Kebbi was bordering two nations in the last election.
“You can’t get people easily on Nigeria, Glo, MTN, Airtel network. If you want to get them, you have to use the number of other countries to reach them. So, at election time, I don’t see how the transmission of the results will work. I see it coming,” he said.
Addressing journalists after the meeting, Maleleka explained their mission, that they were at the APC secretariat to carry out a “pre-election assessment”.
The political officer of the secretariat of the commonwealth also said that he had the opportunity to meet with all the main actors participating in the elections.
“We have also had relations with civil society organizations, political parties, high-ranking government officials and media representatives. It is an opportunity to understand the preparation for the elections regardless of the situation.
“From these points of view, we will present a report to the general secretary of the commonwealth, who will then decide to deploy observers for the elections on behalf of the commonwealth’s secretariat. That’s why we’re here to get in touch with you, get your point of view and prepare for the election.
“The reforms that have been presented in view of these elections, the 2022 Electoral Act, were presented in the Osun and Ekiti elections and I think the new technologies were tested.
“We want to get your views on the new reforms for the next general election, which we know will be rolled out in time for the February election.”