Former Senate Minority leader, Senator Enyinnaya Harcourt Abaribe, Monday, said that the introduction of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS and the cash crunch occasioned by the cashless policy was instrumental to his victory in the February 25 presidential and national assembly elections.
The former Deputy Governor of Abia State also said that impunity thrives in the country because the people that perpetuate it are allowed to go free like what is happening in the handling of the elections.
Speaking at a two-day seminar organised by Media Educational Development Initiative for Africa with the theme, “Peace Journalism and Consolidation of Democracy in Nigeria,” for a select few journalists in Abuja, Senator Abaribe said that he benefited from the BVAS because his opponents could not manufacture results.
Besides, he said that the introduction of the cashless policy and its attendant cash scarcity during the presidential election made it impossible for the money bags to have cash for vote buying.
He, however, thanked God that he was able to survive the Obi-Datti tsunami in the southeast that has retired some politicians, adding that his victory was a result of people’s goodwill.
He said, “I benefited from BVAS. The technology was right, the only issue is that we have to eliminate human interference.”
Commenting on peace journalism in the country, he said that the conference for media and peace initiatives should be held more for politicians, not journalists.
“On peace journalism, I still think maybe those of us that are politicians are people that need this seminar more than journalists. You don’t tell journalists not to do their job,” he said.
Senator Abaribe, who contested and won the election on the platform of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, after the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had denied him the ticket for Abia South Senatorial District, said that the country needs to improve on her recruitment process.
He explained that if those contesting elections have some modicum of integrity, it will reduce negative reports which are usually sponsored by political opponents.
He noted with dismay that in Nigerian politics,
people don’t normally vote for the best candidate rather they go for other considerations that make competence and the ability to deliver take the back seat.
“God saved me otherwise I would have fallen victim to Obi-Datti wave. It is also good for Nigeria that people can win elections on the basis of BVAS,” he said.
He said that the presidential election in terms of voting was good but after the voting, there was a problem in that the electoral body did not immediately transmit the results at the polling units from the BVAS to the iRev.
Apparently referring to the unfolding drama in the Adamawa State Governorship election, Abaribe said, “The biggest problem we have as a country Nigeria is the fact that bad behaviour is not punished.
“Impunity thrives because you don’t pay for it. We are always on our best behaviour when we travel out but act with impunity when we return.”
In his opening remarks at the seminar, the President of the Centre for Media and Peace Initiatives, New York, Dr Uchenna Ekwo harped on the importance of Peace Journalism in the country.
He said that there is a need for journalists to report crises in such a way that it would reduce conflict.