Aftermath of the judgement of the Osun State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, a former Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Akwa Ibom State, Mike Igini, has waded into the debate over the credibility or otherwise of using the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines during the July 16, 2022 governorship election in Osun State.
The former REC during an interview with journalists in Abuja on Tuesday, urged Nigerians to disregard and reject all negative insinuations about the BVAS, saying that the technology was the new Sheriff in the nation’s electoral process.
He stressed that the integrity of the BVAS has not been compromised at any point in time.
Igini said that the Osun Tribunal actually affirmed its longstanding efforts to enthrone the principle of one-person-one-vote and the value of electoral accountability in the system through the use of the BVAS that allows for meaningful auditing of every vote that must be counted and taken into account to determine the winner of any election at the polling units and no longer at result collation centers.
According to him, “As they gang up to tell lies about BVAS, we will say the truth about it. It is the people who are afraid of BVAS and have been opposed to its use in the forthcoming elections that are the ones making uninformed comments to discredit the BVAS.
“This gross misunderstanding is a result of the outcome of the court that returned victory to another person other than that initially declared, this seems to create doubts and thoughts that BVAS has issues of fidelity and credibility.
“However, this notion is wholly and totally incorrect and not true. The integrity of the BVAS is intact, it has no problem.”
He said either at wards, LGA or other levels of collation, the use of BVAS is a matter of law and procedure as mandated by the Electoral Act 2022, adding that there was no going back on it.
“There is nothing, absolutely nothing, to be worried about the device. In fact, the Tribunal itself relied on one of the reports of the BVAS which is the ultimate primary source of ascertaining data of accredited voters to make its final declaration and that reinforced the integrity and credibility of the BVAS,” he reiterated.
Igini said the Tribunal did not make any adverse or negative finding against the BVAS per se but on the propriety of three reports of accreditation data, hence the resultant attempts by people to discredit the BVAS that was of interest.
He said given that the BVAS will be deployed in the upcoming general election and many Nigerians were worried by what they read on social media, it became imperative to set the record straight, noting that most of the commentaries “are completely false about BVAS”.
To bring back the era of fearless and courageous judiciary, especially in our practiced democracy given the condition of judges in terms of their welfare, Igini noted that the advocacy and clamour for the independent, fearless, and courageous judiciary will be meaningless and hopeless if urgent steps were not taken to improve and guarantee the material condition of judges.