Senator Abdullahi Adamu, National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, has denied reports that he was opposed to the deployment of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Results Viewing Portal, IReV, for the general elections next year.
At a news conference yesterday in Abuja, Adamu stated that he was just expressing misgivings about the issues of electricity supply and inconsistent communications signals in delineating the country’s voting districts.
Senator Adamu stated at a meeting with the Commonwealth Election Observation Mission’s pre-election mission on Wednesday in Abuja, “First, I was honored to serve as a Senator. Our concern is how ready are we to deploy some of these technologies as regards transmission because we are taking a major step in transmitting election results in real time.
“To transmit results, every part of the nation Nigeria, I am 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?
“INEC must assure us 100 percent that as and when due in transmitting results, they are ready because they spoke about recharging batteries but we had in previous elections when it said it could not recharge.”
At the same conference, the party’s National Organizing Secretary, Ambassador Suleiman Argungu, stated that the new technology might not operate in his home state of Kebbi.
I didn’t reject BVAS, IreV; I was just concerned about INEC’s readiness to use it.
Adamu, on the other hand, stated yesterday that he was badly misquoted.
Represented by the National Publicity Secretary, Mr Felix Morka, he said: “You would recall that on Wednesday, the National Chairman of our party and some members of the National Working Committee, NWC, hosted a delegation from the Commonwealth pre-election mission to discuss with the party regarding preparations that the country is making for next year’s general election.
“In the course of that meeting, the national chairman responded to a couple of questions asked by the delegation and one of them had to do with the state of preparedness of the country, the party and INEC to conduct next year’s election.
“In his response to one of those questions especially on the one regarding the preparedness for the election, the national chairman noted with respect to the deployment of new technologies that while INEC has taken these bold steps to put in place these technologies, he simply tasked INEC to ensure that they are able to bridge all of the gaps that may be created by both electricity and telecommunication challenges especially in outlying voting districts of the country. I was in the meeting and I heard the context in which he was speaking but unfortunately, this morning we read reports that the national chairman was averse to deployment of BVAS and IReV. That was a gross misstatement of what the national chairman said.”
In a follow up statement to back the position of the party, Morka said “media reports that Chairman Adamu kicked against INEC’s decision to deploy BVAS and electronic transmission of results is patently false, and constitutes an unfair misrepresentation of the National Chairman’s comments.
“To be clear, Chairman Adamu did not kick against the deployment of BVAS or electronic transmission of results as erroneously reported by sections of the media.
“The APC administration of President Muhammadu Buhari midwived the successful reform of the Electoral Act, the introduction of BVAS among other technological innovations, and has superintended the conduct of credible, free, fair and transparent elections in Edo, Anambra, Ekiti and Osun states.
“Our party and government remain committed to the highest levels of electoral transparency and democratic consolidation in our country.”
The APC Presidential Campaign Council, PCC, also expressed its readiness for the election, stating it is not frightened of the deployment of BVAS or any new technology.” Hon. According to Mike Msuaan, the APC has done so much mobilization that if elections were held today, it would give 70% of the total votes cast to its presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
On whether the APC was frightened of new technologies and electronic transmission of election results, he remarked, “Why should the APC be worried of BVAS and electronic transfer of results when the youths are strongly behind us?” Why should we be concerned? Why should we be concerned? I told you that if the election were held tomorrow, we would win. They are the ones that are chasing us. We’ve already given them a more than 30% lead, and if elections are held tomorrow, we’ll give them more than 50%.
“We are very comfortable with the arrangements made by INEC. We are going to win with that because that has taken care of the manipulation of those who want to do yahoo yahoo on Election Day.”
Meanwhile, INEC has stated that any news that it intends to halt the deployment of the BVAS and IReV should be regarded as fake news by Nigerians, stating that there is no going back on their use.
The Director of Voters Education and Publicity of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Mr Victor Aluko, said in his goodwill message yesterday in Abuja at the start of a 2-Day capacity building for journalists and CSOs on conflict-sensitive reporting during the 2023 general election and countering fake news for the North Central zone, that news that INEC would not use BVAS is fake news, adding that the commission is guided by the principles of one man, one vote.
According to him, any news concerning a threat to oust INEC Chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu or that there will be no electronic transmission of results is false.
He stated that the commission was prepared for no less than 70% turnout, as Ghana did, and that the 2023 polls would be the mother of all elections.
Aluko, who also noted that 2023 elections would be a watershed in the history of Nigeria, said: “Let me assure you that news that INEC will not use Bimodal Voters Accreditation System is fake news and that the commission is guided by the principles of one man one vote.
”Any news about threats to remove the INEC Chairman is fake news; 2023 elections will be a watershed in the history of Nigeria.”
The Centre for Democracy and Development, CDD, and the INEC, in collaboration with the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, organized the capacity building program.
Earlier, in his keynote address on the Role of Media in the Conduct of Peaceful Elections, NUJ National President Chris Isiguzo stated that the inability of other stakeholders in the media industry to agree with the NUJ on some aspects to be inserted in the country’s Code of Ethics for Journalism Practice had resulted in the document’s delay.
Isiguzo, who promised journalists that the amended version of the document would provide them with some protection, expressed optimism that the document would be released soon.
He said: “The NUJ, the Guild of Editors, Newspapers Proprietors of Nigeria, NPAN, and Guild of Corporate Online Publishers of Nigeria, GOCOP, and Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, BON, among others, all gathered and said there was need to design a framework for media practice in the country.
“Last week, we adopted a substantial part of this document; one, talks about having an ombudsman that will be able to moderate media activities in the country and of course a revised Code of Ethics for media practice for journalists in the country.”
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