2023 Elections News

BVAS Malfunctioning, Insecurity Mar Guber Polls – CSO

A Civil Society Organisation (CSO) Kimpact Development Initiative (KDI), has said that the Saturday governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections were marred by insecurity and malfunctioning of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).

This declaration was contained in a report released and signed by the Executive Director of KDI, Bukola Idowu, who noted that the group observed cases of BVAS malfunctioning during the elections.

“Most of these malfunctioning states of BVAS were due to system Issues; we also got a meagre report of BVAS failure to accredit. It is noteworthy to state that KDI Data Room confirms that at 11:45 am today, two results uploads were seen on the INEC’s IReV portal.

“Out of curiosity, we discovered an incomplete result in PU 029, Ward 07 in Port Harcourt LGA and a headshot of an individual in PU 068, Ojugbe, AABULOMA-Amadi Ama Ward in Port Harcourt LGA in Rivers State.

“We see this as either a sign of a breach in the infrastructure behind IReV or incompetence on the part of ad-hoc officials.

“We call INEC to communicate early on this because that could reinforce the perceived trust deficits due to the failure of a real-time update on IReV in the presidential elections. INEC must ensure its system firewalls and infrastructures can beat any cyber-attacks because the commission must not miss the opportunity that today’s election portends, ” the report said.

“As of 15:00 hours today, the KDI Election Data room has confirmed 67 cases of violence, with 31.3% of these coming from Lagos – largely reports of intimidation and Harassment, ballot box snatching and physical attack. Cumulatively, southern Nigeria experienced 64.2% of these violent cases. This still points attention to the fact that more needs to be done in the south to mitigate violence.

“KDI EDR recorded ballot box snatching in PUs – a few of which are PU Kmaa Gabas 15 in Kiyawa Ward in Jigawa, PU 4, Amodu Ward in Enugu State and Ward 3 in Bayelsa. There were reports of voting being disrupted in most PUs observed. 12% of the 123 victims recorded are women that were intimidated and harassed.

“It is noteworthy to state that we observed low turnout in a large number of polling unit observed. Largely in Lagos and other parts of the country. However, we must talk about the large turnout largely reported in some northern parts of the country like Kano.

“We cannot disassociate this from the spate of violence that has dominated the electoral and political landscape before the elections. We hope all stakeholders use this moment to start making back-channel meetings to talk to political parties and their candidates to maintain law and order now that sorting, counting, and collation have started in some locations.

“We observed some level of open vote-buying at polling units nationwide. KDI is concerned with the sense of impunity most political party agents are to buy votes at PU- the secrecy of the ballot is often jeopardised- which is against the tenet of democratic elections,” the report added.

“KDI pleads with all stakeholders: INEC, political parties, candidates, youth leaders, security officers and political Stalwarts to please play by the rules and ensure a peaceful atmosphere post-voting.

“INEC is enjoined to ensure all election materials arrive at the various polling units timeously and election commences promptly to avoid violence. INEC must ensure that all the ad-hoc staff posted to the field are well-equipped and can handle the business of the polls, as any perceived ineptitude on the part of INEC staff could call for violence.

“The media is encouraged to use all platforms in a time like this to propagate more peace messages. Because we are at a critical stage of our electoral process, which has been the weakest for a while.

“All candidates involved in the f elections are requested to ensure a peaceful atmosphere by providing that their followers do not foment violence in any Ward or Local Government Area/Council as counting, sorting, and collation go on,” the report stated.

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