INEC insists on BVAS for Ekiti, Osun polls


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it will use the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) in the forthcoming Ekiti and Osun states’ governorship elections, despite the glitches experienced in the use of the machine in the last polls.

But the commission promised to review and improve the functionality of the machine during the polls to ensure its perfection in the 2023 general election.

INEC stressed that the deployment of technology in elections “safeguards the integrity of the vote and provides a better guarantee for electoral credibility than the best manual process”.

INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, made the remarks at a meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) at the commission’s Headquarters in Abuja.

The INEC chairman explained that “the outcome of elections conducted since the introduction of the BVAS in the Isoko South I State Constituency by-election, followed by the Anambra State governorship election and, most recently, in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Council election, has been positively adjudged by observers as credible”.

“Secondly, to replace the Z-Pad for uploading the polling unit results to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) in real-time on Election Day. So far, the BVAS has performed optimally in verifying the authenticity of PVCs and uploading images of Polling Unit results to the IReV.

“On Election Day administration, the commission has, over the years, made giant strides in improving electoral logistics, staff recruitment, training, deployment and the introduction of technology for voter verification and authentication. The creation of Registration Area Centres (RACs) improved the early opening of polls. The benefits of these new innovations to the electoral process and the credibility of our elections have been enormous.

“Even as we continue to conduct elections, the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise, which started in June last year, is now in its third quarter. In view of the forthcoming elections, the commission has decided to devolve the CVR exercise to ward level in both Ekiti and Osun states to enable more citizens register.

“Similarly, in order to provide more eligible voters with the opportunity to register, the commission is considering the devolution of the exercise nationwide beyond our state and local government offices where the registration currently takes place. The devolution of the CVR exercise to other designated centres is one of the major issues for discussion at this meeting.”

He added: “Closely related to the issue of CVR is the balanced distribution of voters to polling units nationwide. Last year, the commission achieved the historic feat of expanding voter access to polling units nationwide. The idea is to decongest the densely populated polling units by converting the erstwhile Voting Points (VPs) and Voting Point Settlements (VPS) to polling units and relocating some of them to unserved and underserved areas to make it easier for voters on Election Day.

“While this lofty goal has been achieved in many states, there are still congested polling units and other polling units with between 0 and 50 voters as we saw in some of the recent elections.

“Over the next few weeks, the commission will intensify efforts to address the issue ahead of the forthcoming Ekiti and Osun governorship elections and ultimately the 2023 general election. Finding a solution to this issue is one of the reasons for convening this meeting.”



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