2023 General Election: No Plan To Ban BVAS; INEC Warns CUPP
Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) has been advised by INEC to refrain from saying anything that would damage the public’s confidence in the electoral Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has dismissed these claims as unfounded.
The CUPP had alleged that the All Progressives Congress (APC), which was in power at the time, intended to stop using the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) to hold the elections the following year.
On September 14, 2022, the Coalition’s spokesperson, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, said information at his group’s disposal suggested that the APC had brought a lawsuit against INEC at the Owerri Federal High Court to prevent the deployment of BVAS for the 2023 elections.
Aside from displaying excerpts from the National Voters Register, CUPP also alleged that one of the political parties had created at least 10 million fictitious voter registrations.
In order to smooth the rigging plot, Ugochinyere claimed that arrangements were being made to have Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of the commission, removed before the 2023 elections.
In response to the charges, INEC warned the coalition against making statements that would unintentionally endanger the next elections. INEC refutes CUPP assertions.
The electoral commission stated that while it supports and respects citizens’ rights to demand accountability, caution must also be taken to preserve the legitimacy of the democratic process.
This information was revealed in a statement the commission released on September 15, 2022, on Thursday.
INEC statement read: “The attention of the Commission has been drawn to a report of a press conference addressed by the Coalition of United Political Parties on the Register of Voters for the 2023 general election.
“The Commission recognizes and respects the right of citizens, either as individuals and groups, to demand an explanation from public agencies, including INC, and to hold them accountable.
“However, it is always important that caution is exercised so that such interventions do not unwittingly sow doubts in the public mind, thereby diminishing public confidence and trust in the electoral process.
“Nigerians would recall that on 31st July 2022, the Commission suspended the Continuous Voter Registration to commence supplemental activities that will culminate in the integration of new registrants into the final Register of Voters for the 2023 General Election.
“It is important to reiterate that no new registrant has yet been added to the Register of Voters for the 2023 General Election or will be included until these supplemental activities have been completed in line with the law.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we restate the main components of these activities. First, the Commission is conducting a comprehensive Automated Biometric Identification System cleanup of the registration data by scrutinising every record.
“Based on the Electoral Act 2022, any record that does not meet all the criteria for inclusion as stipulated in Section 10, including the appearance in person by the registrant at the registration venue with proof of identity, age and nationality and our business rules requirements of an adequate number of fingerprints and clear pictures will be invalidated.
“Further, in line with Section 19(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, after the ABIS and clean up, the Commission shall appoint a period of seven days during which the register will be published for scrutiny by the public for objections and complaints.
“Finally, it is only after the cleanup and claims and objections have been completed that the final registration will be published.”