2023: ‘Vote-buying next to impossible’ – INEC, vows to arrest underage voters, parents for electoral fraud
Ahead of the forthcoming General Election from February, this year, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has vowed to arrest underage voters along with their parents, as the agency warned them to steer clear of polling booths across the country throughout the electoral exercise.
This is also as the commission insisted that those planning to rig in the poll ‘can only prevent the voter from going to the polling unit on Election Day but in terms of carrying the PVC of someone else to give another person for voting, it is next to impossible.’
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Barrister Festus Okoye, who handed down the warning while speaking on a Channels TV interview programe, Monday, also added that arrested underage voters along with their guardians and parents would be prosecuted for electoral fraud.
The INEC commissioner who frowned at vote-buying which characterized the electoral exercise in recent times, said perpetrators ‘are doing that in futility.’
“We have made it very clear that any visibly underage person should not approach any of our polling units on election day.
“If the person does appear, he or she would be arrested, alongside their parents for aiding and abetting such a venture.
“Those who are harvesting Voter Identification Numbers (VINs) of registered voters are doing that in futility.
“Why are they harvesting and buying off VINs when those VINs were published in our local government areas and in our registration areas when we displayed the voter registers for claims and objections? Those VINs are there,” Okoye said.
The INEC commissioner reiterated the commission’s commitment to the deployment of its Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) technology to aid transmission of election results from polling units, saying it has ‘made it clear.’
“We have made it very clear that this Commission will deploy the BVAS for voters’ identification and authentication and the data of every registered voter in Nigeria per polling unit is domiciled in the BVAS and not in the PVCs.
“The only thing the Presiding Officer will do on Election Day is to look at the last six digits of your PVC and use it to bring out your VIN for the purpose of calling up your data from the BVAS.
“Those buying PVCs and harvesting VINs can only engage in voter oppression.
“They can only prevent the voter from going to the polling unit on Election Day but in terms of carrying the PVC of someone else to give another person for voting, I can assure you that it is next to impossible”.
In November, last year, INEC, it would be recalled, had assured that data captured and stored on its BVAS will be secured and not compromised.
Deputy Director of ICT, INEC, Lawrence Bayode, who made this known while featuring on the Channels TV Sunrise programme, on Wednesday morning, also noted that the BVAS would not be hacked on election day.
“I want to say again that we have done everything to ensure that the BVAS is not compromised. The data on the BVAS will be secured.
“After the poll, when the data is transmitted to our backend server, the data in transit will be secured. By the time the data gets to our backend server, the data will also be secured there.
“We have looked at the machine, and we looked at a lot of things. As I said earlier, you cannot build such a system and would not fortify the system to solidify it.
“Whether we like it or not, people will try a lot to beat this system. But the more they try, the more they meet a brick wall.
“I can say categorically that we have taken care of every surface attack vulnerability on this system. We have also tried our best to ensure that the system cannot be hacked into on Election Day. I can say again that BVAS cannot be compromised,” Bayode said.