2023: THE VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD IN IMO SHINES LIGHT ON BVAS’ PERMEABILITY
BY ONWUASOANYA FCC JONES
When the 2022 Electoral Act was passed into law, almost everyone was happy and had the right confidence that electoral malpractice has become a thing of the past, but I was about the only one that expressed doubts about the assumed incorruptibility of the BVAS and other electronic systems put in place to strengthen the integrity of our electoral system. Part of the arguments I advanced at the time is that our politicians will go thr extra mile to ensure that they manipulate the system to their own advantage. I also argued then that the existence of a law against an act does not guarantee that such act will not be perpetrated.With the revelations over the mindless fraud perpetrated during the continuous voter registration exercise, with Imo as a case study, it becomes clear that as wonderful as the 2022 Electoral Act is deemed to be, it has not reoriented our politicians towards respecting the sanctity of the ballot box. You do not expect politicians who have always and only known electoral fraud as the only means to power to repent automatically. While some politicians focused efforts on taking steps to mobilise the people, these other politicians have returned to their strategy tables to devise new ways to rig elections.The governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun State should have opened our eyes to the fact that our politicians are unrelentless in their criminal determination to deprive the people of the power of their votes, but, most of us failed to see through that. After the Osun election, I wrote here that the figures that turned up for that election is suspect and researchers should be commissioned to investigate what really happened. As usual, most loudmouths dismissed me as been too pessimistic. Recently, INEC came out to admit that its servers were attacked from outside the country during these elections.One thing we cannot deny is that INEC is in cahoots with politicians in manipulating these processes. INEC staff like a good number of Nigerian civil servants are actually more corrupt than politicians and are actually the ones who bring up ideas on how processes can be circumvented to favour one politician or political Party against the other.
The fraud in Imo State and other parts of the country regarding the Continuous Voter Registration would not have happened if INEC staff didn’t advise it. Instead of concentrating all our anger on Governor Uzodimma and his hitmen, we should be asking questions as to how these strange names found their ways into the INEC system.We should also be concerned that had this been an election, the deed would have been done before we discover the fraud, and we would have been left at the mercy of the courts where legal technicalities could be used to sustain such a mindless fraud. When you understand that this fraud had been there for many months before it was discovered you would appreciate the danger we are faced with in the coming election. Election results are expected to be declared within hours of close of balloting and once the results have been declared, it would mostly stand until a court of competent jurisdiction overturns it.The 2022 Electoral Act might have been a deliberate design by the ruling cabal to make us complacent and distract us from their schemes of rigging the election. And I believe that this ruling cabal comprises of both the PDP and the APC. They know what they are doing, and Nigerians must be at alert, else, we will all wake up to another big scam in 2023, and we might be too confused to even understand that we have been duped.As it is with BVAS, it is with the electronic transmission of results or the so-called INEC portal. Apart from being susceptible to cyber attacks, these criminal politicians may also have an arrangement where dummy gadgets are brought to some polling stations while the main gadgets will be operated somewhere and have other results fed to the portal.Nigerians must be at alert, we will keep the pressure on INEC to ensure they do not compromise our mandate.
The worst thing we can do at this time is to go about with the belief that elections can no longer be rigged. That’s the biggest deceit of the century. The Electoral Act might have rather helped to take our attention away from their fraudulent plans. Let’s not allow them to deceive us.