BVAS: U.S. Based Don Urges Elimination Of Human Factor
By Abdullahi Ahmad Bamalli
U.S.-based Nigerian historian and Professor of Africana Studies, Apollos Nwauwa, has commended the Federal Government for the introduction of electronic voting machines, Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), for real-time transmission of polling results.
Nwauwa, who is the Chairman, Nigerians Diaspora Movement (NDM), told news men on Wednesday in New York that when deployed as intended, the BVAS machines were supposed to check human manipulations.
The official, however, urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to do more than introduce the BVAS to proper usage in the future elections.
“We need to find ways to eliminate the human factor, the botching of results by returning and collation officers.
“We should find a way to depend more on these electronic gadgets than these returning officers who, as humans, may be induced to alter or manipulate numbers,’’ he said.
In addition, he advised that INEC should be restructured to check the powers of the chairman, saying how independent is our INEC?
“In our current structure, the INEC chairman has broad powers. As an individual, if ever he becomes compromised, we will never get a free and fair election.
“I would rather recommend that we change our electoral laws to have three INEC co-chairs instead of one consisting of chairmen/women of the three major political parties.
Under this structure, it will become extremely difficult to successfully induce any of the chairs to compromise an election result since each will protect their parties’ interest resulting in no compromises and no manipulations.
“I wish our lawmakers can take this into consideration because this sole INEC chairman, with unrestrained broad powers, is not doing our country any good,’’ the don said.
According to him, various reports received from the country and from international observers regarding the recently concluded Nigerian Presidential election are quite sombre.
Nwauwa, a director of African Studies at Bowling Green State University, Ohio, U.S., said election observers from across the world, including Nigerian Diaspora observers, report the glaring lack of transparency by INEC.
“Visual and audio evidence abound of voter intimidations and disenfranchisement as well as ballot box stuffing and snatching.
“Worse were reports of frozen electronic machines and inability of election officials to upload polling unit results as soon as polls closed; then reports of the manipulations of numbers at the collation centres.
He, however, advised the aggrieved presidential candidates to use all legal means to correct the anomaly.
“If this election imbroglio is allowed to go unchallenged, we worry that it might become the ‘new normal’ in our national life and politics.
“I would strongly plead with the Nigerian Judiciary to be ready to take up the challenge and dispense justice dispassionately. The whole world will be watching.
“The judiciary should not be compromised in any form because they are the last hope for ordinary Nigerians, especially the youths, who were so mobilised and participated in the political process more than ever before,’’ he said.