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EXAMINATION OF THE INADEQUACY OF THE BVAS ON THE ELECTORAL OUTCOME OF THE 2023 GENERAL ELECTION IN NIGERIA

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EXAMINATION OF THE INADEQUACY OF THE BVAS ON THE ELECTORAL OUTCOME OF THE 2023 GENERAL ELECTION IN NIGERIA

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

  1. Background of the Study

The Biometric Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) is a technological gadget that enables the identification and accreditation of voters using fingerprints and face recognition. IReV is an internet gateway via which polling unit-level results are submitted, communicated, and made accessible for public observation. IReV enables the public to register personal accounts and monitor submitted results, therefore enhancing the voting process's openness and credibility. INEC employed IReV for the first time in the 2020 Nasarawa Central by-election (Temitayo, 2023). Since then, it has reportedly been used in 105 elections involving 16,694,461 registered voters. Up to this point, polling stations in rural and urban regions have submitted 32,935 Form EC8A result sheets. INEC introduced BVAS in 2021 as a solution to the problem of overvoting by removing manual voter identification and accreditation and accrediting voters using fingerprint, iris, and face recognition. At the time, BVAS was replacing card readers that were unable to correctly scan permanent voter's cards. After the completion of the presidential and National Assembly elections, doubts have been raised about the effectiveness of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System and Election Result Viewing Portal implemented by the Independent National Electoral Commission to improve the electoral process. In this article, Temitayo Jaiyeola describes how BVAS and IReV performed poorly during their first nationwide deployment (Samson, 2022).

At the recently ended presidential and National Assembly elections, the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System and Election Result Viewing Portal of the Independent National Electoral Commission did not live up to expectations. The poor performance of BVAS and IReV in their first major stress test may have put a shadow over the presidential and National Assembly elections of 2023, since some candidates have already filed lawsuits challenging the results. With its first nationwide deployment, BVAS and IReV did not accomplish the intended ease in the voting process; rather, they have created greater worries about the integrity of the elections in 2023. When BVAS was initially introduced, it was plagued with several issues. On September 10, 2021, at the Isoko South Constituency 1 by-election in Delta State, presiding officers reportedly complained that the system had difficulty capturing the thumbs and faces of some of the voters (Mahmood, 2022).

The presidential and National Assembly elections on February 25, 2023 were plagued by the same issues, indicating that INEC did not learn from its first error. Not only did several BVAS devices fail to record voters, but the IReV platform also failed to function in a number of polling locations. Therefore, this study will examine the inadequacy of the Bvas on the electoral outcome of the 2023 general election in Nigeria.

    1. Statement of the Problem

In recent elections, the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and INEC Election Result Viewing Portal (IReV) have been lauded for strengthening the openness of election results and promoting public confidence in electoral outcomes. INEC asserts that those technology are addressing the 10 maximum pervasive weaknesses in Nigeria's election end result control process,which include falsification of votes at polling units, forgery of the number of accredited voters, collation of false results, mutilation of results and computational errors, swapping of results sheets, forgery of results sheets, snatching and destruction of results sheets, obtaining declaration and return involuntarily, and making declarants and returnees sign a declaration and return form (Kayode, 2023).

In elections, the roles of both instruments are interdependent and complementary. Before voting, the BVAS is used to identify and authenticate the fingerprints and face recognition of voters. The gadget is also used to capture and submit photographs of the polling unit result sheet (Form EC8A) online. IReV is an internet gateway via which polling unit-level results are submitted, transferred, and made public. Members of the public may register personal accounts on the homepage of the web portal to obtain access to all submitted results preserved as PDF files (Ogunleye,2022). This accessibility of results at the level of the polling unit promotes process openness and public confidence. The adoption of BVAS and IReV is anathema to political players intent on subverting the will of the people at any cost, despite boosting public trust in election results. So, it is not unexpected to hear about purported efforts to sabotage INEC's measures to defend the election's integrity by using the BVAS and IReV. Therefore, this study will examine the inadequacy of the Bvas on the electoral outcome of the 2023 general election in Nigeria.

    1. Objective of the Study

The primary objective of the study is to examine the inadequacy of the BVAS on the electoral outcome of the 2023 general election in Nigeria. The specific objectives is as follows:

  1. To determine whether the effectiveness of BVAS in transmitting result from polling unit during the 2023 general election in Nigeria.

  2. To ascertain the factors which affected the effectiveness of BVAS during the 2023 general election in Nigeria.

  3. To determine whether the ineffectiveness of BVAS and IReV affected public perception on the accuracy and credibility of the 2023 general election in Nigeria.

  4. To determine whether the ineffectiveness of BVAS and IReV affected the outcome of the 2023 general election in Nigeria.

    1. Research Questions

The following questions have been prepared for the study:

  1. How effective was BVAS in transmitting result from polling unit during the 2023 general election in Nigeria?

  2. What are the factors which affected the effectiveness of BVAS during the 2023 general election in Nigeria?

  3. Did the ineffectiveness of BVAS and IReV affected public perception on the accuracy and credibility of the 2023 general election in Nigeria?

  4. Did the ineffectiveness of BVAS and IReV affected the outcome of the 2023 general election in Nigeria?

    1. Significance of the Study

The study is significant to INEC commission and the federal government as the findings of the study will expose them to the challenges faced in using the electronic device. Also, the findings of the study will suggest ways that improvement can be made on the BVAS electronic device.

The study will be of benefit to the academic community as it will contribute to the existing literature.

    1. Scope of the Study

The scope of this study borders on the inadequacy of the BVAS on the electoral outcome of the 2023 general election in Nigeria. The respondents for this study will be obtained from political activist in Abuja, Nigeria.

    1. Limitation of the Study

Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire, and interview), which is why the researcher resorted to a moderate choice of sample size. More so, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.

    1. Definition of Terms

BVAS: The Bimodal Voter Accreditation System

Electoral Process: voter registration, candidate registration, electoral campaign, mass media accessibility, voting, vote counting

General Election: a political voting election where generally all or most members of a given political body are chosen.


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