2023: INEC Reveals Plans Should BVAS Fail During Electioneering Process

Ahead of the 2023 general elections, Nigeria’s electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has revealed its plans should the Bimodal Voter Registration System (BVAS) fail.

The INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, who spoke on Channels Television’s ‘Sunday Politics’, noted that the BVAS will be used for the accreditation and authentication of voters come 2023 and  will reject biometric data of persons who are not original owners of the traded PVCs.

Speculations about the possibility of server failures in the course of the transmission of election results through BVAS, especially by some politicians have been going round.

However, Okoye on Sunday noted that the electoral body had already made provision for the use of the BVAS in the over 176,000 polling units in the country. He, however, noted that INEC also made provision for spare BVAS machines in the case of any failure.

READ ALSO: 2023 Election: “No Going Back On Use Of BVAS, IReV” – INEC Insists

“For each electoral ward, we are going to have some spare BVAS to be deployed speedily if there is any issue or any challenge in any of our polling units. We have also trained technical support staff that can also intervene if there any challenge with the BVAS.

“But if there is sustained malfunction of the BVAS up to the time of the closing of the poll, the Electoral Act demands that we should undermine voting in that particular polling unit and repeat voting within 24 hours,” Okoye stated.

Two non-governmental organisations, the Northern Elders Forum and the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project had alleged that politicians are buying PVCs from poor voters to manipulate the next elections.

However, Okoye on Sunday, described as “an impossibility”, the plan by the desperate politicians who are already harvesting PVCs to rig the next election.

“In terms of any politician, bypassing the BVAS, I want to tell you that will not happen, that is an impossibility,” Okoye said.

He insisted that it is an electoral offence to be found with a PVC that doesn’t belong to one, noting that security agencies have the responsibility to go after such individuals and prosecute them.

READ ALSO: Politicians Are Trying To Manufacture BVAS, Hack Into Our Servers – INEC

“Some politicians are very optimistic, they normally plan for the rainy day; they are still thinking that there is a possibility that they can beat the BVAS that we are going to use for voter accreditation and authentication but their exercise will be an exercise in futility.

“Anybody who is purchasing a permanent voters card is just engaging in an exercise in futility. The only thing any person can do is to make sure the voter does not vote on election day but for you to come to the polling unit on election day with voter’s card belonging to someone else, and you attempt to vote with it, that is an impossibility, the BVAS will not capture your fingerprint,” Okoye said.

The INEC commissioner also said polling units have been removed from shrines, churches, mosques, and homes of powerful politicians to ensure electoral integrity.

He tasked voters to support the commission’s efforts through shared responsibility and mandate protection to ensure free and fair elections in 2023.

“We removed polling units from the palaces of traditional rulers, we removed polling units that are near the homes of politicians, we removed polling units that are in shrines, we also removed polling units from places we consider not conducive for electoral business,” he said.