National Chairman of the Independent Nationa l Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has described the Bi-modal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) as a voting tool that has come to stay.
Making the declaration during a meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners on Tuesday in Abuja, Yakubu said that the success recorded from the November 6 Governorship Election showed that with time, the errors would be resolved.
“It is now over seven weeks since the conclusion of the Anambra Governorship election. Despite the challenging security situation in the State, the Commission was resolute in our determination to proceed with what many believed was going to be an impossible election to conduct.
“So too is the uploading of Polling Unit results on the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal in real-time on Election Day. We are convinced that the introduction of technology in voter accreditation and result management is better than the best entirely manual process. ⅘
It also increases public confidence in the process. We will continue to deepen the use of technology in our elections,” Yakubu said.
He expressed joy that the election passed off peacefully and the outcome adjudged to be free, fair, transparent and credible.
While thanking the staff of the Commission, as well as the National and Resident Electoral Commissioners who were deployed to supervise different aspects of the elections, the INEC boss also commended the security agencies for working cooperatively and professionally with the Commission to secure the environment for the peaceful conduct of the election.
“Our appreciation also goes to all the stakeholders from political parties and candidates; civil society organisations that deployed thousands of observers across the State despite the security challenges; the media for the extensive coverage of the election; the religious, traditional and socio-cultural associations for working for peace during the election; and the National Peace Committee for bringing parties and candidates to commit to peace before, during and after the election.
“Above all, the Commission appreciates the voters in Anambra State for their resilience and orderly
“As you are aware, the Commission piloted two important technological innovations in the Anambra State Governorship election. The Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) was deployed for the first time in a major election after the successful pilot in the Isoko South I State Constituency in Delta State in September this year.
The BVAS has replaced the Smart Card Reader for verification and authentication as part of our improved voter accreditation process.
“The new technology was designed in-house by INEC engineers. Like every new technology, glitches were observed and important lessons learnt.
“We wish to assure Nigerians that the Commission has reviewed the performance of the BVAS in Anambra State and there will be a tremendous improvement leading to optimal performance in future elections.
“The second technological innovation introduced in the Anambra Governorship election went virtually unnoticed by many Nigerians.
For some time now, dedicated portals were created by the Commission to handle different aspects of the electoral process. For instance, the nomination of candidates by political parties, including the uploading of nomination forms, is now done online. So too is the accreditation of election observers and the media.
In addition, and for the first time in the history of the Commission, the accreditation of polling and collation agents nominated by political parties was done online.
“This has ensured that all such agents were provided with identification tags bearing not only their party logos, names and other personal details, but personal photographs as well. In all, the Commission issued 63,745 identification tags to agents of the 18 political parties that sponsored candidates for the election.
This has sanitized the process and made the identification of ghost party agents easier. We will maintain the same arrangement for all forthcoming elections, including the 2023 General Election,” Yakubu added.
The INEC boss said that the Second Quarter of the CVR exercise have been completed following its commencement online in June and physically at designated centres in July, saying that Nigerians were given weekly updates for the last six months.
According to the chairman, the Third Quarter of the exercise would commence in January next year.
He said: “The Commission is aware that Nigerians would like to know when the exercise will be devolved beyond our State and Local Government offices to enable more citizens to register. Secondly, for those already registered, they would like to know when their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) will be available for collection.
The Commission is working on these concerns and issues and will issue a comprehensive schedule for both activities early in the New Year.