Two rights groups; International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law (Intersociety) and Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) have called for a comprehensive investigation into the failure of the Bimodal Voters’ Accreditation System (BVAS) device, during the Anambra governorship election.
The groups in a joint press statement signed by the chairman board of trustees of Intersociety, Emeka Umeagbalasi and the South East chairman of CLO, Aloy Attah, which was released in Onitsha, Anambra State and made available to Newspot, stated that the investigations must be centered on knowing the reasons for the high failure of the device in the election, and also the role played by some people.
The statement read in part: “Investigation must be hybrid or have national and international dimensions and centered on failures associated with BVAS machines, their handlers and despicable roles played by other stakeholders.
“The outcomes of such investigations shall be geared towards ensuring that severe sanctions are meted out to those found culpable, INEC’s ICT and its management staffers totally overhauled and syndicate presently manning same dismantled; thereby leading to the repositioning of the Electoral Umpire and getting it right in future elections and restoring international confidence in the country’s electoral process.”
The groups said the call is extremely important and geared towards exposing “an existing gang of digital electoral fraudsters manning the Commission’s (INEC) ICT who go about rigging digitally with reckless abandon, using digital terrorism to facilitate massive disenfranchisement of millions of registered voters thereby putting their collective sacred electoral mandate and future in grave danger”.
The groups said they are dismayed that for the first time in the history of democratic elections in Anambra State and beyond, INEC supervised an important election that deliberately and systematically shut out about 500,000 PVC holders including over 250,000 disenfranchised by the Commission’s massively failed BVAS.
“As if that was not enough, the INEC’s poorly conducted Poll, in the end, produced an “electoral college results” of total valid votes cast of 241,000 and the declared winner’s results of 112,000. This is the lowest governorship total results in the history of elections in Nigeria. This is out of the State’s total registered voters of 2,446,000 and PVC holders of not less than 2.1m.
“In all these, instead of the Commission apologizing to Anambra voters and its citizens and Nigerians in general and wielding its big sticks on its compromised staffers particularly its key top ICT officials and publicly overhauling same; the Commission is busy mobilizing and procuring persons and entities with minus characters including the so called “CSO Leaders” to engage in a harvest of praise-singing, image laundering and legitimization of the highly non-inclusive and discriminatory Poll.
“Therefore, while forensic and administrative investigations are mandatorily required to ascertain the cause(s) of widespread failure of the INEC’s Bi-modal Voters’ Capturing System Machines (BVAS) in at least many of the Anambra State’s 5,720 polling units and 326 collation centers, roles played by the INEC’s Abuja headquarters of its ICT and its headship as well as the deployed ICT HODs must be thoroughly investigated and those found culpable sanctioned,” the statement demanded.