2023 Election Series 2: The Electoral Reform Factor


By Obideyi Olanrewaju Lobinco.

In exactly twenty four days from now, Nigerians across the country will be trooping out to elect the next president that will lead us through the next four years.

While we can only hope that our majority votes gives us the people a president that will sail us out of the precipice we are now at, majority’s thumbprint might just as well sink us, God forbid.

Ola Rotimi’s God’s are not to blame readily comes to mind. “The god’s will not do for men what men should do for themselves”, hence when the gods have played their part, men too needs to play their part to achieve the desired result they have sought through prayers.

God is definitely a team player. This probably is why even at the creation of man, which in His infinite power He could have embarked on alone, He rather called on the heavenly population to initiate human’s creation.

From my first series on this forthcoming election

it’s certainly evident that Providence has a strong hand in Nigeria, for Nigeria to still be standing as it does today. By all human factors, Chinua Achebe’s book title “There was a country” ought to by now be the Nigeria story.

Our new electoral law is definitely another manner from heaven to us the citizens of Nigeria. However, even the rain of manner from heaven to the Israelites in the wilderness came with a manual for its application and use.

2023 Election Series 2: The Electoral Reform Factor

One major cause of political apathy in our polity has been a strong distrust for the electoral system. The sole beneficiary of this distrust has been dubious and wicked politicians that’s held us back. It’s a common talk in my part of Nigeria to hear citizens say “they already know who they want there”. They meaning those in power.

The apathy is so strong that we majority had really never believed our votes count and hitherto rightly so too.

The grassroot politicians had thrived not on selling their political parties’ ideas to the electorate, but by building tested and trusted rigging machinations which have had the unsuspecting poor but enslaved political party members converted into rigging tools all in the name of party loyalty and expectation of what’s on ground is enough to share and will eventually go round. These unsuspecting poor rigging tools’ only gratification have been their ability to boast of being members of the ruling political party, and while there principals live ostentatious lifestyles, the members groan perpetually in penury. They are better kept that way in order to remain docile and always available for their exploiters/leaders use.

Together we can now change this trajectory with the new electoral law. BVAS is that game changer.

Majority are still not aware of the impact the introduction of BVAS now have on our elections conduct, hence this piece hopes to enlighten us.

BVAS which means Bimodal Voters Accreditation System is a system that ensures voters are accredited only through fingerprints and facial recognition before being handed ballot papers to cast their vote in a secret cubicle. This machine which needs no data network to function at the polling stations only needs correct default configuration of INEC to function. Please look out for the mock conduct and use of the system on February 5 in selected polling units.

The beauty of BVAS introduction is the fact that accreditation is done simultaneously with vote casting, and only the number of voters accredited by the BVAS machine is tenable as number of ballot papers from all polling booths. Should the votes counted in a polling booth exceed the number of accredited voters at the booth, it will result in automatic cancellation of results of that polling booth. Should there also be evidence of violence to disrupt elections at a booth, it will result in automatic cancellation of results from that booth. The general outcome of the election may however cause a re-conduction of election at such polling unit on another date.

Politicians in the past had mostly used unused ballot papers by accredited voters to thumb print and stuff ballot boxes, mostly with dependence on the number of eligible voters that have decided not to cast votes on election day.

Snatched ballot boxes is also now ineffective as as ballots stuffed in them, which can’t be synchronised with accredited number of voters by BVAS machine is a waste of time.

Only sure means of rigging now is wrong imputation of ballot scores on the result form which will be captured by the BVAS machine at each polling unit, for untoward transmission of results to the INEC server. Here is the point where we as Nigerians must protect our votes by being fully involved as observers on alert at our various polling booths.

The politicians who’ve held us back as a people may want us to believe otherwise by boasting and making outright claims of having every area sorted out to ensure their victory.

Our fellow voters who’s unfortunately been so debased to the point of resignation to fate and unbelief in their voting impact may weaken our resolve and belief in this new electoral system, but now is that time as a people that we must because of our indignation in consonance with our past experience as a people and nation take our destiny in our hands and again trust the new electoral system.

In our beaten state as a people of Nigeria, our only hope and succour has been a disenchanted look towards providence. Now is the time we must use that which providence has released to us.

We must believe in this new electoral system at least till it disappoints our belief. Had our votes not really counted, our elections wouldn’t have been this monetized by politicians.

Don’t sell your vote. Ensure you pick up your PVC if you haven’t. Make sure you vote the candidate of your choice on the election day. Now is the time to tell others about your candidate of choice and your reasons. These reason must be void of sentiments. Don’t engage in electoral malpractices. Wait to see your votes counted, and results declared and get an evidence of it.

The god’s will not do for men what men should do for themselves. Let us salvage Nigeria. The Nigeria we want is a result of our actions or inactions.

May this be our freest and fairest election and see Nigeria truly win. Nigeria will be great again.

Obideyi Olanrewaju Lobinco is a Passionate Nigerian Youth.