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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

BVAS should enable qualified Nigerians vote from anywhere – lawyer

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A lawyer and former prosecution counsel, Mr Nkereuwem Anana, says the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) should make it possible for qualified Nigerians to vote from anywhere, especially in a presidential election.

Anana, a former counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), made the assertion in a chat with pressmen on Wednesday in Lagos.

“It is just like an ATM card in which the issuing bank does not preclude you from using its card to withdraw from any other bank’s ATM.

“An accredited voter should be able to vote from anywhere; otherwise, how has it helped the system?” he asked.

Recall that BVAS is a device used to identify voters’ fingerprints and faces before voting.

Anana called on the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to address any challenges about BVAS for Nigeria to take full advantage of the innovation in the forthcoming general elections.

“If you look at Section 51(2) of the Electoral Act, it provides that where the total number of votes cast at an election in any polling unit exceeds the number of accredited voters in that unit, the presiding officer should cancel the result of the election in that unit,” Anana said.

According to him, with the existence of BVAS, such a provision should not be in the Electoral Act since the aim of BVAS is to tackle multiple voting.

“Going by the essence of the innovation (BVAS), it should not be possible for the number of actual voters to exceed the number of accredited voters,” he said.

Anana also noted that Section 13 (1) of the Electoral Act provided that an eligible voter, who relocated might apply to INEC for transfer of his/her name to his new constituency.

According to the lawyer, with BVAS, such a transfer will not be necessary.

“What is then the whole essence of BVAS?’ he asked.

He urged that the device should be made to serve its purpose by enabling qualified citizens to vote from anywhere, and strengthen the electoral process.

Stressing that introduction of BVAS and INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) was laudable.

Noted that IReV is an online portal where election results at polling units are uploaded directly from the polling unit, transmitted and published for the public.

BVAS and IReV are aimed at enhancing the transparency of elections and boosting public trust in election outcomes.

Anana told pressmen that electronic transmission of votes was one of the best things that could develop democracy. (NAN)

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