Sowore: “I Don’t Expect A Free & Fair Election, BVAS Won’t Stop Rigging”
The presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Omoyele Sowore has said the deployment of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) in the 2023 general elections will not address Nigeria’s perennial problem of election rigging.
He also said the current insecurity in the country poses a great threat to free and fair elections next year as all the regions in the country have peculiar security challenges.
Sowore stated this on Friday while speaking in an interview with Politics Hub, a Vanguard Online TV’s political show.
The AAC presidential candidate, during the interview, explained to the anchor of the TV show, Damilola Ogunsakin that the Osun State governorship election in June was ravaged by over-voting despite the usage of BVAS.
He said, “No, I do not expect a free and fair election. It’s not the equipment that organises free and fair elections, it’s the personnel that are involved in organising elections. In the case of 2023, it (the fault) started by putting in place an INEC leadership, at the federal level, federal commissioners of people who are card-carrying members of the ruling party.”
“As a matter of fact, there was a time the President nominated his spokesperson, Lauretta Onochie to be on that board until there was some sort of outcry, and she was dropped. But that does not stop the ruling party from still putting their people there,”Sowore added.
Speaking about the insecurity as a challenge to free and fair elections, he said, “Secondly, it is to think about the security situation of Nigeria and how many state actors are in control of our territories. In the case of this particular period, you have the North-East still terribly in control of Boko Haram. You now have added the North-West controlled by bandits.
“Are you getting my point? The South-East has an issue with an identity in the need for them according to their social movement. They don’t want to be in Nigeria anymore and they’ve been engaging in war with the Nigerian security services.
“As a result, a lot of people can no longer trust they will be safe on election day. See what they’ve been doing to INEC in Imo state and all other places. They are not even allowing campaigns to hold in states of this region.
“If you go to the South-South, militancy has kind of returned given the number of barrels of crude oil stolen on daily basis. If you go to the South-West, there are issues of nationhood as well. There are people who are Yoruba nation agitators, they said they don’t want elections.
“So, if you look at that, and also look at the INEC in its partiality, and begin to wonder if they are planning an election in another political system they’ve not disclosed to us publicly.
“But for me, it’s the credibility of INEC. Even in Osun State, where they were praising themselves that they did well, the tribunal proceedings are showing that there was over-voting. There was BVAS in Osun State, but there was also over-voting in Osun state, so what are we talking about? So, why are they talking about BVAS as if it was one magic bullet that will solve the problem of election rigging?
But the witnesses have told us that what we have in BVAS is not in tandem with what they told us during the election that BVAS is one powerful technology. And with the fact that they were uploading results when the election was happening. What we know about uploading results is a popular jargon in computing that is garbage in garbage out.