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Bola Tinubu’s Presidential election victory; BVAS and technology In the Mud?

The Nigerian electoral authority declared Bola Tinubu the winner of the 2023 presidential election on Wednesday morning. Many expected that technology would assure transparency in the three-way contest. Nonetheless, the election concludes on a note that will result in legal action.Information Guide Nigeria

Elections in Nigeria in 2023 demonstrate that technology and political will are required to make a difference. The electoral arbiter, whose legitimacy was in question, and technology were the show’s stars for the wrong reasons.

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In Nigeria’s elections, the Biometric Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the INEC Result Election Viewer (IReV) are two technological components. BVAS verifies voters with fingerprint/facial recognition technology and your six-digit identity number. When BVAS was introduced in April 2021, it was hoped that its ability to prevent overvoting would make election manipulation nearly impossible. INEC’s promise that the BVAS machine would not require internet connectivity to validate voters (crucial in a country with poor internet service) sparked optimism that it would be a game-changer.

BVAS and its controversial history preceding the 2016 presidential election.
Charles Soludo, the eventual victor in the 2021 Anambra governorship race, deemed BVAS a complete failure. He stated, “The main issue is that the system failed…voting has not even begun in many polling locations.” In the 2021 by-election for Delta’s seat, BVAS presented similar difficulties. It was the beginning of a pattern that suggested it was not a significant improvement over smartcard readers, as promised by INEC.

On the day of the Nigerian presidential elections, BVAS failed to accredit Nyesom Wike, the governor of the state of Rivers. Former governor Olusegun Osoba and numerous Bogoro Local government voters also battled. On Saturday, BVAS contributed to late voting around the nation, with many people seeking to vote hours after the polls closed. Nonetheless, internet access remained the largest challenge with BVAS.NYSC portal

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BVAS, IReV, and an unprepared for scale system
In an article published last week on TechCabal, the question was posed as to whether Nigeria’s internet infrastructure could manage the upcoming election. It was a significant question, as BVAS requires internet connectivity to transfer results to INEC’s computer. According to the same article, “[BVAS requires internet connectivity] to upload photographs of the polling unit result form (Form EC8A) from polling units to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) in real-time and to the INEC central server for collation.” If the polling places lack adequate Internet access, there will be discrepancies in the results.”

Posting election results for public access eliminates the manipulation of results during collation and the pressure frequently exerted on INEC personnel to alter actual outcomes. Despite this, just 45 percent of Nigeria’s election results were available on IReV three days after the conclusion of the polls. That cast doubt on INEC’s credibility and diminished public confidence in the outcomes.

INEC attributed these delays to technological difficulties. The commission stated, “The issue is entirely the result of growing the IReV from a platform for managing off-season State elections to a platform for administering nationwide general elections.

The BVAS and the human factor
While BVAS overcomes voting-related issues, we have observed in real time that it creates other issues. It is also feasible to argue that BVAS has eased electoral fraud by providing bad actors with a centralized target. And despite the shortcomings of the technology, human aspects are still required to capitalize on those mistakes.

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Due to the fact that just 45 percent of election results were available on INEC’s results viewer prior to the winner’s announcement, it will take many days for many voters to ascertain whether the correct results were communicated. While INEC maintains that only properly signed results would be uploaded, many ordinary Nigerians have witnessed election fraud too frequently to believe him. Ultimately, this is why we have placed all our reliance in technology at this time.JAMB Result

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Emediong Silver

Emediong Ekpe is a graduate of English. A professional Sports journalist/analyst, and a spoken word artist. He is passionate about decimating information and putting smiles on people's faces via news writing.

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