• Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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INEC reassures Nigerians of safety of information in BVAS

Festus Okoye

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reassured Nigerians of the safety of the information stored in the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).

Festus Okoye, Chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, gave this assurance on Friday as a guest of Arise TV.

Okoye, responding to the question of the likely loss of data captured by the BVAS and iReV if it is reconfigured, promised Nigerians that the information inside them wouldn’t in any way be lost or tempered with. Prior to the February 25 elections, Nigerians saw these devices as game changers and an instrument to enhance the integrity of the electoral process.

Unfortunately, many questioned the electoral commission after it failed to fully utilize the devices. This situation pushed the presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party (LP), Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, to challenge the outcome of the presidential election and the reconfiguration of these devices by INEC.

Read also: Civil society groups urge INEC to explain ;step aside; order on Abia REC

Both front-runner candidates had allayed their fears that the data captured by the BVAS and iReV would be lost if the Court of Appeal in Abuja granted the request of INEC to reconfigure these devices ahead of the governorship and state house of assembly elections.

Okoye said, “There is no way the information in the BVAS would be compromised.”

He outlined the steps the commission plans to take to ensure that the information in the BVAS is not lost.

According to him, “There are two things involved in the reconfiguration of the BVAS. The first is that before the BVAS can be reconfigured, the entire data on a particular BVAS has to be pushed to the accreditation back end. If you don’t push the entire information to the accreditation back end, the BVAS will not open itself for reconfiguration.”

Meanwhile, the INEC commissioner reemphasizes the position of the commission as regards the Temporary Voter Cards (TVC) of two individuals who got judgment from the court to allow them to use their TVCs to vote in the upcoming governorship and national assembly elections.

He insisted that only INEC had the power to determine who had the right to vote or not.

“The proprietary right in the voter’s card resides with INEC, which has the responsibility of printing, issuing, and determining the card used to conduct the election,” he said. “The Electoral Act states that a voter must present a PVC to be eligible.”

He however admitted that he hadn’t seen the court judgment granting the voting rights to these individuals to vote with their TVCs but still insisted that the commission was only acting based on the Electoral Act of 2022.

He said, “I have not seen the judgment in question, but I know that before the conduct of the presidential and national assembly elections, there were multiple cases filed in court relating to the issue of the Temporary Voter Cards.

“I have not seen the judgment, but all I know from reading the law is that the Electoral Act of 2022 makes it very clear that the proprietary right in the voter card resides with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and it is INEC that has the right to print, issue, and determine the type of card that would be used for the conduct of elections.

“The law is also very clear that before anybody can go and vote, the person must approach the polling unit or presiding officer with his or her permanent voter card before the person would be allowed to vote.

“All I know is that the law is very clear that it is only the Independent National Electoral Commission that determines what is a Permanent Voter Card and that the proprietary rights in the PVC reside with the Independent National Electoral Commission.”