By Kayode Oyero
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to fix all bugs or glitches in the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines before the March 11 governorship and state assemblies’ elections.
The Bar also asked INEC to exclude its collation and returning officers with proven cases of misconduct in the February 25 elections from the forthcoming polls.
NBA National Publicity Secretary, Akorede Lawal, stated this in an interim report released on Tuesday.
The NBA deployed over 1000 INEC-accredited observers drawn from the 128 Branches of the Bar to monitor the February 25 polls.
“In the main, the NBA Observers expressed some satisfaction with the conduct of the election on 25th February 2023 but have also identified major challenges that should be addressed for future elections.
“These include the late arrival of INEC officials and ballot materials at the polling stations, malfunctioning BVAS machines, limited or non-transmission of the results from the polling units to the INEC Results Viewing Portal (IReV), insecurity at some polling units including violent attacks on voters and officials, voter intimidation, snatching and destruction of voting materials, significant cases of vote-buying and limited access facilities for persons living with disabilities,” the report partly read.
“Generally, findings from the observation process “indicated that only a quarter of the electorate were excellently impressed with the conduct of the ballots (27.1%) while majority of the voters (64.6%) were somewhat satisfied, only 8.2% rated the election poor or very poor.”
“Stemming from these observations and in view of the impending Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections fixed for 11th March, 2023, the NBA urges INEC to ensure that all bugs or glitches in the BVAS machines and other election technology are fixed and improved and that INEC staff (including collation and returning officers) with proven cases of misconduct in the 25th February, 2023 election be excluded from the 11th March, 2023 election.
“The Inspector General of Police is also urged to ensure the timely deployment of police officers on duty for the 11th March 2023 Elections. Political parties are equally advised to educate their members and supporters on the need to eschew all forms of actions in violation of the Electoral Act.”
The NBA also commended Nigerians for their resilience and perseverance in carrying out their civic duties during the Presidential and National Assembly elections and encouraged citizens to show same values and resolve in the forthcoming Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections.