• Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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BusinessDay

BVAS & IREV: Game-changers that could not change the game

Lagos by-election: We ‘ll upload results on IREV-REC assures

The core issue in Customer Relations Management and indeed general stakeholder management is Matthew 5:37: ‘Let your yea be yea and let your nay be nay. This implies say what you mean, mean what you say and go ahead to do it and is in tune with the good old TQM maxim of DWYSYWD (Do what you said you would do).

All this brings to the fore the dangers of overpromising and underdelivering. When you over promise and under deliver, you destroy the trust, which is central to customer, stakeholder or interpersonal relations. The resultant crises of expectation leads to disgruntlement, disloyalty and defection

Since 1999, each electoral cycle has become progressively worse than its preceding one with visible signs and wonders . Results were announced while people were still on the queues. Ballot box snatching and destruction and syndicated mayhem became the order in what somebody has termed agberocracy and professional god-fathers emerged.

Consequently, INEC decided to deploy technology to minimise deliberate undesirable human interference in the system and that was how BVAS was ‘born’; a software that promised and still promises a seamless and sure process between accreditation, voting, result collation and announcement. Billions in hard currencies, including the Naira, were deployed to perfect and procure the software with the supporting hardware.

INEC assured us that BVAS was a solution to all ‘electoral banditry’ and allied shortcomings, it will also shame the political buccaneers With BVAS, snatching of ballot boxes, deliberate mis-recording and manipulation of results, missing result-sheets, and filling fake results would be of no use.

Festus Okoye who appeared to have been created for a time like this, sold the BVAS to us as the ultimate and Nigerians so believed in BVAS that before long, it was named the Game-Changer, even by die-hard wailers and OBIdients. In November 2022,there were rumours of INEC abandoning the BVAS and its ‘brother’, IREV and INEC reassured us that the BVAS & IREV, designed to ensure the integrity of election results, had come to stay.

PMB also assured us unequivocally that he would deliver a credible, peaceful and transparent election as a parting gift to a disappointed nation. Politicians so believed these dual assurances to the extent that those who bought and warehoused PVCs started offloading them at obscure locations and Yahaya Bello, believing that BVAS would make rigging impossible, resorted to crude method of destroying the roads in opposition strongholds to deny access to INEC personnel and materials.

People believed that their votes would be counted and that they would count and they trooped out in millions, with indescribable enthusiasm to the polling units on 25/2/23. Chukwumerije Jnr spent 24 hours at was at his polling unit for accreditation and voting and observing the counting and uploading of results . There were similar stories of commitment, self-denial and faith in the process across the land. And then…it happened!

The accreditation aspect of BVAS worked well and then we met an apparently contrived dead-end. None of the 176846 PU results was uploaded real-time to the IREV. We thus resorted to the stressful, emotionally draining collation-center model, where the political-actor, Dino Melaye re-enacted what Segun Adeniyi described as the Orubebeism of yore.

As it was in 1999, we kept vigil for4 days and nights until, INEC, like a thief in the night, announced the results around 4am on the 5th day! And by then, there were lots of signs and wonders, which the twins of BVAS and IREV were expected to abolish.

Wike, the GOC of River State, went around polling units inducing and coercing INEC operatives to mutilate results, while Joseph Umuya, an LG chairman in Kogi State was busy destroying ballot papers belong to candidates with contrary spirits in the presence of police officers.

Police in Imo threatened to withdraw the security attached to Prof Esimone of NAU because he did not play ball while Professor Ibrahim Yakassai of BUK declared that he announced the result of Tudunwada/Dogunwa federal constituency under duress just as LP alleged that its agent signed the result sheet, AGP( at gun point).

Some results were burnt or buried in the bush and good old ballot destruction, box snatching, voter intimidation and wanton destruction and falsification of results resurfaced. There was an abundance of underaged voters and voting, which we were assured had been cleaned out or would be disenabled by technology. Fashola was shown previewing what looked like election results 5 days before the election.

Dino Melaye reported that LP scored 70,000 in Wike’s LGA while INEC ‘awarded’ it only 3829 while PDP situation room reported that LP garnered 983069 votes in Lagos, double of what it was ‘allotted’ by INEC. An NYSC member and female Professor were pants down, concocting election results.

It was a disappointment of gargantuan proportions that the acclaimed game-changers could not change the game as they were short-changed by the unchangeable Nigerian system and political culture The game-changers also chose whether, where and when to change the game positively, negatively or leave it unaltered because the NASS results fared relatively well. That was why some heavyweights became paperweights overnight. Sadly, INEC supported by PMB overpromised and under delivered.

They raised and dashed peoples’ hopes, failed to comply with the electoral act the Chatham House reported that Presidential election was not conducted in line with INEC’s guidelines, especially the one bordering on real-time uploading of results while the NLC condemned the deliberate subversion of the peoples will by individuals, parties, INEC and security agencies.

INEC had blamed technical glitches but I learnt that the Amason Web Services GUARANTEES 99.9% uptime, that the server could only have been shutdown deliberately and that AWS can provide details of who shut it down and when. Chief Bode George also accused a former Lagos State official now working at INEC IT department of complicity in this sordid matter. Meanwhile INEC had suspended and replaced some of its officials while some were invited for chats by the DSS.

On the other hand, the disappointed electorates have reacted in diverse ways. Some have vowed never to vote again because contrary to assurances, their votes were not counted. Others decided to vote massively in protest against the answer-to-question ‘shenaniganists’. Another set decided to deploy security dogs to save themselves at the polls but the police which could not ban Oluomo et al from the polling units have risen to the occasion by banning dogs from the Polling Units.

For now , I have no comments on the elections in general. I am however gladdened by the assurance given by Lasisi Olagunju that whatever the case, it would not be the worst in history. He premiered this assurance on 1927 Liberian election in which the incumbent Charles DB King garnered 234000 votes out of 15000 registered voters while his opponents scored 9000! He also recalled that the candidate awarded the crown by INEC got less than 10% of registered voters and 4% of Nigerians.

Meanwhile, ECOWAS has concluded arrangements to honour PMB in ‘recognition of his achievements in the defence and promotion of democracy in the Ecowas subregion; The APC has described the national elections as ‘The most transparent and peaceful’ stating that the ‘electronic transmission of results is not compulsory, telling Obi & Atiku, ‘lets meet at Court’( what of Kwankwaso?.

Well, an East African proverb said-long before now that whenever a thief encourages you to go to court, then his elder brother is the judge and that the only person who rejoices after a successful robbery operation is the robber. A court has just sanctioned the use of temporary PVCs for the elections and advance copies of the gubernatorial election results were allegedly discovered somewhere in Sokoto, a week to its scheduled date.

Read also: Still on Tinubu’s victory – Election data analysis and emotional outcry

More emergency Igbo folks have emerged in Lagos, with the biggest of them all being the rattled governor whom I award the title of Onye-Igbo1 of Lagos. But nd’Igbo are subjected to xenophobic demonisation, attacks and intimidation under his watch, a demonisation that extends to a son of the soil, just because he is our nwaadiana! But the mother of the dancing senator is our sister and Fani Kayode has just joined Igbophobic crowd has 5 small IPOBians from his Igbo wife!

And then I just chanced on these insignificant developments: One Anthony Chinasa-Abiola is freely campaigning to represent the good people of Umuahia Central at the Abia House of Assembly. Secondly, one Alhaju Addul Ezechinedu Olahan has just been installed as the 3rd Oba of Awka, a town where migrated to at the age of two, 68 years ago. And I was just reminded that Akeredolu of Ondo State is our in-law!

By the way, I have just learnt a trick from INEC and APC: I have transfigured and converted a N200 note to N2m note, gave it to one of my creditors and asked him to go to court just as some mischievous fellows have also told Orji Uzor Kalu who lost his phone in the certificate of return presentation ceremony to ‘Go to Court’.

Please, whatever the case, go out and vote on 18/3/23. This will surely come to pass!