By ALI BABA INUWA
The increased efficiency of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) at the July 16 Osun governorship poll, is an indication that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is on its way to conduct a credible 2023 general elections.
Unlike the Anambra, Ekiti governorship elections and the FCT Area Council poll, the Osun election recorded about 80 per cent success in the use of BVAS for voters’ accreditation and voting.
According to report by Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, a Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSO), the BVAS machines functioned well.
The convener of the group, Ms Ene Obi, told newsmen that the group observed that the BVAS machines functioned well during the election.
“The BVAS were deployed according to the number of registered voters.
“In polling units with over 1,000 voters, INEC kept to its promise to deploy two BVAS machines. The machines functioned credibly well.
“There were issues with the fingerprint verifications, however, the facial capture worked very well recording approximately one minute for accreditation and voting in Osogbo and in outside areas, it took longer,” Obi said.
The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) corroborated the claim, urging INEC to sustain the improvements in the 2023 general elections.
This is contained in a post election statement issued by Prof. Victor Adetula, Senior Fellow and election analyst at the CDD Electoral Analysis Centre (CDD-EAC) and a lecturer at University of Jos.
Adetula said that INEC’s logistics and preparations as well as the conduct of security agents represented a marked improvement on the June 18 Ekiti governorship election.
He said that the deployment of the BVAS was successful, adding that CDD-EAC observers noticed that as at 6:00p.m., 84.3 per cent of polling units had transmitted their results via BVAS.
“On the basis of data received from CDD-EAC observers, CDD confirms that the collation process leading to the declaration of the governorship election results by INEC was smooth and hitch-free.
“At the CDD-EAC, we hope to see the improvements recorded in the recent elections replicated in the conduct of the 2023 general elections.
“The INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) was in full operation for the uploading of results in most of the polling units. At about 10:00p.m. 99.7 per cent of the results were available on the IReV.
“This level of compliance is commendable and needs to be encouraged for future elections,” he said.
“With a few exemptions, BVAS worked perfectly in almost all the polling units across the 30 local government areas of the state.”
An activist, Mr Vincent Ezekwueme, also commended INEC for its roles in ensuring that the election was credible.
Ezekwueme lauded the transparent manner at which the election was conducted by INEC in which the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Mr Ademola Adeleke defeated incumbent Gov. Gboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“The outcome of the election reflected the wishes and aspirations of majority of Osun people, this has tremendously rekindled people’s hope, faith, trust and confidence in our electoral process.
“I commend INEC, security agents and all other stakeholders for ensuring peaceful, credible, transparent, free, fair and generally acceptable election in Osun.
“Relentless efforts should be made to ensure reflection of such good gesture during 2023 general elections. I condemn high rate of vote-buying, which is the greatest threat to our democracy,” he said.
Also an election monitoring group, Yiaga Africa, lauded INEC for a job well-done saying that the official announcement on the votes cast was consistent with the group’s Watching The Votes (WTV) estimated range.
The group’s board chairman, Dr Hussain Abdu, said that the process was transparent.
“Because the official results fall within the estimated ranges, candidates, parties, and voters should have confidence that the official results for the Osun governorship election reflect the ballots cast at polling units on Saturday, July 16.
“It is important to highlight that the counting process at polling units was transparent and included representatives from the four political parties that received the most votes,” he said.
Abdu said that the group employed Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology and deployed 500 observers in pairs to a representative random sample of 250 polling units, 32 mobile observers in all 30 local government areas and 30 results collation observers.
According to him, the deployment strategy enabled Yiaga Africa to provide timely and accurate information on the election day process, commencing from the set-up, voter accreditation, voting, counting and to independently verify the official results of the election as announced by INEC.
Apart from the BVAS, stakeholders also commended INEC on the early arrival of polling officials as well as the conduct of security agents deployed for the election.
Commenting, Mr Habila Kayit, the National Coordinator, Godspeed Leadership and Mentorship Development Initiative (GLMDI) an NGO said that the hitch-free conduct of the election was a pointer to the fact that future elections in the country would be better.
According to Kayit, the conduct of the Osun election has showed that Nigeria is on a path of restoring its lost glory.
“The bane of the challenges bedeviling the nation is partly on leadership failure and lack of independence of our institutions that are to tame the excesses of politicians and those in authority,” he said.
He lauded INEC for its excellent coordination and near absence of logistics challenges in the conduct of the election.
The Lagos IPAC Chairman, Mr Olusegun Mobolaji, said that the election was a big plus for INEC.
“The election is a clear indication and confirmation that our votes count and there is no power or government that cannot be unseated.
“I urge Nigerians to see election and democracy as part of determinant of our destiny and do the needful to be part of electing good leaders that will fix this nation and make us rise again.
“We must work hard to fix this nation through credible elections and good leadership,” Mobolaji said.
The Cleen Foundation Election Security Support Centre (ESSC), an NGO also lauded the conduct of security personnel at the election.
Mrs Ruth Olofin, Acting Executive Director of the foundation made the commendation at a news conference in Abuja, after the election.
Olofin, represented by Mrs Chigozirim Okoro, the Programme Manager, said that the conduct of security personnel deployed on election duty was commendable.
“Cleen Foundation in line with its mandate to promote public safety and security deployed 60 citizens observers across the 30 local government areas of the state.
“The ESSC observed, tracked, documented, escalated and followed up on security related development across the 30 LGAs where its observers were deployed.
“The ESSC observed that 85.1 per cent of security personnel arrived early at the polling units across the 30 LGAs,” she said.
Commenting on the election, the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, described it as one of the best organised elections in Nigeria.
Yakubu, who spoke when he received delegations of the International Republican Institute (IRI) and that of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in Abuja, promised that the commission would deliver best ever general elections in Nigeria in 2023.
He assured that INEC would improve on its successes in the Osun election in subsequent polls.(NANFeatures)
** If used, please credit the writer as well as the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)