Some desperate politicians in Kogi State have been accused of plotting to manipulate the Bimodal Voter Registration System (BVAS) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) during the 2023 general elections.
The scheme is reportedly spearheaded by All Progressives Congress (APC) party leaders in the twenty-one local government areas and wards of the state. The various leaders across the 239 wards are said to be field officers who either purchase PVCs directly from some compromised INEC staff charged with the responsibility of distributing the PVCs to the owners, buy off the PVCs from willing electorates impoverished by the prevailing economic hardship, or copy the PVC numbers of some individuals who have not yet decided to mortgage their franchise.
This group’s account information is collected with the promise that their accounts will be credited upon providing proof of voting for the specified party at the polls.
While INEC, through its commissioner in charge of publicity and voter education, has consistently assured Nigerians that the BVAS machine is a foolproof solution to electoral manipulation, this newspaper has learned that there is a possibility of fraud in unwary areas, which sources say are being exploited in collaboration with some alleged rogue commission employees.
During an appearance on Channels TV, Okoye described the alleged plans of politicians to manipulate the 2023 general elections as futile, arguing that “the BVAS will be used for the accreditation and authentication of voters in 2023, and it will reject biometric data of persons who are not the original owners of the traded PVCs.” He did not, however, address the issue of using the number to accredit voters if the biometrics system is unable to verify the voter, given that the BVAs is said to contain the details of all potential voters per polling unit.
Contrary to the national commissioner’s assertion, however, available information reveals that some agents of the party have made arrangements to pre-load the BVAS with already accredited voters and programmed results in their favour.
It is rumoured that they would preload the spare BVAS machines that they hope to deploy midway through the voting process, citing a malfunction in the one in use at the time to throw opposition party agents off guard.
According to inside sources, allegations of attempts to manipulate the two fundamental tools for the upcoming general elections, the BVAS and the PVCs, are constantly being raised, but it is impossible without the active connivance of INEC, particularly the ICT department. The primary target of their arrangement is the polling unit, where non-state actors serve as security personnel and multiple BVASs have been provided.
“Another secret plan of this group of election riggers is to allow multiple voting in areas with multiple polling places. In other words, a voter who casts a ballot at one voting location will have the option to vote at another location because all voting locations within the same polling unit are configured and uploaded with the total number of registered voters. The primary LGAs targeted by this arrangement are those in Kogi Central, Kabba-Bunu, Lokoja, Olamaboro, Ankpa Dekina, Ofu, and Ibaji, according to a source.
“INEC must speak out immediately to allay the fears of the people and ensure a psychologically stable electoral environment for trouble-free elections.”
The source continued, “Therefore, the electoral commission must move to protect its beautiful innovations and ensure strict compliance with the new electoral act’s regulations and provisions. “Security personnel must intervene to thwart this evil scheme.”