Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Idayat Hassan has said uneven deployment of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and logistics challenges could threaten the credibility of the polls in next month’s election.
Lifestyle Nigeria reports that the Director of CDD, Idayat Hassan said this at a stakeholders’ meeting organised by the European Union – Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN) on Thursday.
Hassan said the threat that technological failures could generate accusations of electoral manipulation is real.
The CDD Director said, “The use of the BVAS is compulsory as per the new electoral act of 2022. However, if the technology is deployed unevenly or if there are not enough trained technicians on BVAS to address malfunction, then it can also fuel politicised narratives of disenfranchisement.
“Another area that could threaten the credibility of the election outcome surrounds the management of logistics.
“In 2011 and 2019, the commission had to postpone polls primarily due to logistical issues. A repeat will have an impact on the credibility of the commission. Nevertheless, there are some extenuating circumstances in 2023.”
She noted that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should recruit locals as ad hoc electoral officials instead of non-residents of a state.
The CDD director said, “The usual norm of recruiting and deploying National Youth Service Corp members may portend more danger in the forthcoming elections.
“It is therefore recommended that the INEC should recruit staff who use its local offices from communities. For instance, in Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna, Niger, and Sokoto, communities have been or are in dialogue with the armed groups.”
On his part, a former INEC Director, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi warned that security challenges could lead to the cancellation of election results if not properly dealt with, adding that this may in turn cause a constitutional crisis.
Osaze-Uzzi said, “The spectre of elections not being held in many parts of the country due to insecurity or leading to many cancelled or inconclusive elections is real, and if not properly dealt with, may lead to constitutional crisis that could present a clear danger to Nigeria’s democracy, especially given its history of flawed or questionable elections.
“Therefore, the escalation of violence and insecurity poses a serious threat not only to the smooth conduct of the elections and the electoral process, but to Nigerian governance more widely.”