The Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has backed INEC’s use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the INEC Result Viewing Portals (IReV) in preparation for the general election next month.
While IPAC has been vocal in its opposition to efforts to oust Professor Mahmood Yakubu as National Chairman of INEC, this development is particularly timely.
In a press conference on Monday, IPAC National Chairman Engr Yabagi Sani urged those pushing to remove the INEC Chairman from office to reconsider, saying that doing so would be counterproductive to democracy.
In a statement on his behalf by IPAC’s National Secretary Alhaji Yusuf Mamman Dantalle, Engr Sani said that many attempts had been made to remove INEC chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu from office due to his will to hold fair and transparent elections.
“Accordingly, the entire political Chairmen under the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) reaffirms its confidence in the Independent National Electoral Commission led by Professor Mahmood Yakubu to conduct the 2023 general election.
“IPAC is satisfied with the preparations, arrangements and measures taken so far by the commission to conduct free, fair, credible and transparent, inclusive, peaceful and generally acceptable elections, particularly its decision to deploy the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), an electronic device designed to read permanent voter cards and authenticate voters using the voters’ fingerprints.
“BVAS is intended to achieve two objectives. First is the verification of the authenticity of the PVCs, fingerprints, and voters’ faces during accreditation.
“Secondly, it replaced the Z-pad for uploading the polling unit results to the INEC Result Viewing Portals (IReV) in real-time on election day. BVAS also acts as the INEC Voter Enrollment Device (IVE) during voter registration.
“Its usage has also eliminated the use of incident forms during accreditation on election day. It is an effective system that prevents electoral malpractices,” Sani said.
A few weeks before the Presidential and National Assembly elections scheduled for February 25 2023, he said, those who benefited from grossly flawed polls and want to maintain the status quo that impeded the nation’s democracy and impoverished the populace launched attacks on INEC facilities and grand plots to remove its chairman.
In states like Zamfara, Imo, Ebonyi, Ogun, Osun, Anambra, Akwa Ibom, Jigawa, FCT, Ondo, and Abia, as well as in the Federal Capital Territory and other locations, INEC has been attacked, and sensitive and non-sensitive electoral materials have been destroyed during the campaign.
According to him, INEC has remained steadfast, undaunted, and courageous in its deployment of technology in the conduct of a free, fair, credible, transparent, and inclusive general election leading to a peaceful transfer of power despite the attacks on its facilities and the enormous costs of replacing them immediately as time is of the essence.
Nonetheless, IPAC praised the Judiciary as a bastion of justice and a guiding light for the oppressed.
“Council applauds this landmark judgement that quashed frivolous, spurious, unsubstantiated, broad and baseless allegations against Professor Mahmood Yakubu by political hirelings and their sponsors who are afraid of free and fair elections and want the status quo to remain.
“The Judiciary should remain steadfast, decisive, firm and unwavering in the discharge of its constitutional duties as the last hope of the common man.”
“IPAC warns these reactionary forces to desist from their plots to truncate the nation’s emerging democracy. National interest supersedes primordial interests.
“Council will resist any attempt to jeopardise the ongoing electoral process that will deepen and strengthen our civil rule. All patriotic Nigerians support INEC’s efforts to sanitise the nation’s electoral process and conduct credible elections that will reflect the will and mandate of the people.
“The era of election rigging, vote buying, ballot snatching and stuffing and falsification of results is over as we collectively take steps to protect and defend our hard-earned democracy since May 29, 1999.
“This time, every vote must be counted and count in the overall result. We must get it right and move the nation forward in the quest for sustainable democracy in Nigeria”, Sani stated.
The Council, therefore, urged security agents to be proactive and ensure adequate protection of lives and property before, during and after the elections.