INEC fumbled with FCT council elections: Osita Chidoka
Former aviation minister Osita Chidoka has slammed the Independent National Electoral Commission for fumbling with FCT council elections ahead of the Ekiti and Osun governorship polls.
“If a metropolitan area such as the FCT can encounter these issues, what would happen during the 2023 election in 170,000 poll units across the remote regions of the country?” Mr Chidoka pointed out. “INEC has Ekiti and Osun as test runs to renew our confidence in its capabilities.”
He also called on INEC to improve its Biometrics Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) to conduct future elections better.
Mr Chidoka made the call in a statement on Tuesday in Awka while reacting to council elections in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) held on February 12.
He said there were “disturbing“ observations during the conduct of the polls that needed to be improved
before the Ekiti, Osun elections and the 2023 general polls.
“After the Anambra elections and the complaints raised about the BVAS, I had expected the FCT elections to be a walk-in-the-park for INEC. I believe other close watchers, like me, were perturbed by YIAGA’s ‘Watching The Vote’ report, which made disturbing observations about the FCT LG elections,” stated Mr Chidoka. “The late deployment and commencement are worrisome. INEC needs to explain why such logistical issues could not be controlled in a small election such as the FCT local council elections?”
He urged INEC to “identify and hold people responsible.”
“The usage of BVAS was fraught with challenges, including wrong configuration of BVAS to respective polling units, failure to accredit voters, as well as delays in authenticating voters within processing time,” he added.
Mr Chidoka also mentioned that the report of YIAGA on the election indicated mass disenfranchisement as a result of dysfunctional BVAS, late deployment of materials and equipment, wrongful allocation of machines and late transmission of results.
The former aviation minister noted that BVAS glitches were embarrassing, considering INECs promise to fix them after the Anambra election.
“Upon further investigation by Yiaga Africa, we discovered that INEC allocated voters to new polling units without informing voters of the changes to their polling units,” he said. “INEC’s Election Result Viewing Portal is one innovation that has helped to buoy public confidence in the electoral process. INEC should guard and sustain it.”