2023: INEC’s BVAS and the Need for Online Voting: A Case Study of Anambra Gubernatorial Election

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By High Chief Peter Ojonugwa Ameh

On the 6th day of November, 2021, the highly anticipated Anambra State Gubernatorial election was conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) amidst the strains instigated by the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB); the killings by unknown gunmen during electioneering; the judicial orders secured by and against the gubernatorial gladiators, and of course the intimidating presence of the entire security battalion of Nigeria in the state.




However, for the first time in history of this nation, and contrary to the prediction of some security and political analysts, the election, which has now been declared as free, fair and a clear manifestation of the true will of the Anambra people, recorded an insignificant rate of violence and electoral malpractice.

One would agree that this achievement may be attributed to one major reason: the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) deployed by INEC during the election exercise.

For the benefit of those who may ask, Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) is a computer which recognizes and verifies the fingerprint and facial biometrics of accredited voters; and may be used to upload and view INEC results.

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Descriptively, the BVAS is a combination of the now defunct Smart Card Reader and Z-Pad which was used during the 2015 general elections.

Even though the Anambra polls recorded a great score of transparency, the entire process was spiked with disenfranchisement as a result of the BVAS’s inability to recognize and validity the biometrics of some accredited voters.

The technical glitches exhibited by the BVAS as observed during this Anambra polls has now left some concerned stakeholders frantic as to what would be the fate of the device during the 2023 nationwide presidential election process.

The simple and effective answer to this eminent challenge is for INEC to introduce an online voting system in Nigeria, immediately.

All around the world, citizens of well renounced democratic States are allowed to cast their votes electronically, whether they are within the country during the election or living in diaspora. This can be implemented in Nigeria, using the same international best practices guideline.

Interestingly, a basic rudiment for electronic voting (E-voting) is already in play in Nigeria through the Bank Verification Number (BVN) implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

All INEC need do is to host a voting website, accredit interested voters using their BVN and allow them to vote for their candidates at the comfort of their homes during an election.

This process will negate any electoral malpractice, electoral violence and disenfranchisement due to technical glitch.

Finally, since an individual can only have one BVN no matter how many bank accounts that is linked to him/her, the issue of over voting will be solved to a great extent.

Electronic voting is the answer to an all-inclusive transparent election in Nigeria.

Call Bridget Edokwe Esq on 08060798767 or send your email to ngbarrister@gmail.com


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