No going back on BVAS -INEC chairman, Yakubu declares

The Independent National Electoral Commission’s Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has said the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV)  have come to stay as a means of voter accreditation and transmission of election results.

He spoke on Tuesday at the opening ceremony of a two-day Training of Master Trainers on Technologies for the 2023 General Election

He said the Commission has increased the deployment of technology in the elections in Nigeria in the last two years.

“Systems and portals have been designed and developed to cater for different electoral activities ranging from voter registration and accreditation, result transmission from the polling units, the nomination of candidates by political parties to the accreditation of polling agents, observers, and journalists for elections.

“Of these innovations, most Nigerians are more familiar with the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) which doubles as a device for accreditation as well as the upload of the Polling Unit level result sheets to the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal in real-time on election day.

“These innovations have increased transparency and public confidence in the electoral process. They are also part of the legal requirements for conducting elections in Nigeria. The combination of the BVAS and the IReV portal have come to stay as a means of voter accreditation and transmission of election results,” he said.

From the experience of recent off-cycle elections, the Commission said it is convinced that a critical success factor in the deployment of technology in elections is training.

“We need to build the capacity of the staff involved not only to competently handle the devices during the accreditation process but also respond effectively to any glitches that may occur during elections.

“Our plan for the 2023 General Election is to commence the training of election officials early and for a longer period of time for optimal understanding of the processes and procedures in order to serve Nigerians better. A key component of this effort is election technology.”

A total of 82 officials were drawn from INEC offices nationwide. They are expected to receive intensive hands-on training on the new technology. Thereafter, they will train more officials at the zonal level to cover all the 8,809 Registration Areas (or Wards). In turn, these officials will be involved in the training of ad hoc staff for the 176,846 Polling Units nationwide.

The  Commission expressed worry at reports of clashes among parties and their supporters in some States of the country during the ongoing electioneering campaign.

“So too is the reported denial of access to public facilities for parties and candidates in some States of the Federation. Let me caution parties and their supporters to focus on issues and steer clear of attacks on each other.

“These are not only violations of the Electoral Act 2022 but also negate the voluntary commitment by all political parties and candidates to the letter and spirit of the Peace Accord signed about three weeks ago under the auspices of the National Peace Committee (NPC), he explained.