Bode George, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), made a number of claims in an interview on AriseTV. He made these claims while speaking on the state of the Nation, his party and his relationship with the president-elect, Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Claim I: They (INEC) tried the new electoral system in Anambra, it was flawless; they tried it in Ekiti, it was flawless; they tried it in Osun.
How did BVAS fare during the gubernatorial elections in the above-mentioned states?
While it may be preposterous to classify the performance of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) in those states as “flawless’, it is necessary to have a holistic overview of the outcome of the BVAS performance in those states.
The 2021 Anambra state gubernatorial election was the “lab rat” for the Bi-modal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS). It was the first time that the BVAS, a new voting system introduced into the Nigerian elections to replace the smart card reader, would be used during an election.
The reactions that followed the performance of BVAS were diverse. Many people across the state complained about the non-functionality of the machine, post-mortem reports rated the BVAS as a failure, and stories regaled of how INEC officials were stranded in Anambra. INEC itself promised to investigate the reason for BVAS’ failure at the election.
The Ekiti gubernatorial election of 2022 was touted as the litmus test for the use of BVAS in the 2023 general election. BVAS was reportedly seamless in many polling units and was overall considered to have been successful.
Verdict: Partly True
Claim II: That APC copied zoning from the PDP.
Zoning was first introduced into the nation’s politics during the second republic, after the Biafran civil war of 1967-1970. It was spearheaded by the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) as a measure to quell the existing ethnic tension of the time. The NPN used the zoning system to select its party officials.
“Zoning” was again recommended during the national constitutional conference which held after the annulment of the 1993 election. It was recommended by the committee that a rotational presidency will give all geo-political zones and areas access to power, which will in turn foster a feeling of oneness and a sense of belonging among the warring parties.
Although the PDP codified zoning under Chapter 1, Section 7, Subsection 3(c) of the party’s constitution, there is no part of the All Progressives Congress (APC) constitution that makes provision for zoning. However, the APC practises zoning unofficially as seen during the just concluded presidential election and the leadership of the 10th Assembly which is currently raising dust.
It is thus difficult to expressly state whether the APC copied zoning from the PDP.
Verdict: No Evidence
Claim III: Rwanda had bloodshed here and there five or six years ago, and Nigeria sent forces to Rwanda for peacekeeping.
There is no record of bloodshed in Rwanda from five or six years ago. We could surmise that the bloodshed he refers to was the Rwandan genocide that happened in 1994.
Claim IV: That Nigeria is no longer invited to the G20.
The G20 is a group of 19 countries that meet annually to discuss plans for the global economy and financial stability. It was founded in 1999, and it is believed that the G20 countries account for 85% of the world’s economic output and 75% of global trade.
The 19 member states of the G20 are Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the UK, and the US (and the European Union).
The member states rotate the presidency of the G20, and the president will decide which country will be invited as guests.
India is the G20 presidency for 2023, and it invited Nigeria alongside Bangladesh, Egypt, Mauritius, the Netherlands, Oman, Singapore, Spain, and the UAE. Prior to 2023, Nigeria had never been a guest at the G-20 summit.