Bimodal Voter Accreditation System BVAS.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu disclosed this Monday in Abuja during the commission’s third quarterly meeting with political parties.
“I want to assure every newly registered voter in Anambra State, including those who applied to transfer from within and outside the State or for the replacement of damaged or lost PVCs that their cards will be printed and made available to them for collection before the election. Each political party fielding candidates in the election will be given a copy of the voters’ register on 7th October 2021 as published in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the elections”, he stated.
According to him, many stakeholders, including leaders of political parties, had called on the Commission to strengthen the voter accreditation process during elections, especially with reference to the use of incident form where the Smart Card Reader SCR fails to authenticate the fingerprints of a voter.
“To address this concern, the Commission attempted to introduce the facial biometric authentication during accreditation of the voters using the Z-Pad tablet to complement the fingerprint process through the Card Reader before the Edo Governorship election in September 2020. However, the Commission was not entirely satisfied with the pilot held in the Nasarawa Central State Constituency bye-election a month earlier in August 2020. We, therefore, suspended the idea to enable us to do some more work. Over the last one year, we reviewed the situation and we think we have found the appropriate technology to address it. The Z-pad was therefore only used to upload Polling Unit results to the IReV portal during elections.
“We are convinced that the new machine is robust enough to further guarantee the credibility of voter authentication and transparent management of results during elections. Accordingly, the Commission intends to carry out a pilot exercise using the new device in Delta State during the Isoko South 1 State Assembly constituency bye-election holding this weekend (Saturday 11th September 2021). The BVAS will now perform the functions of both the SCR and Z-Pad in the bye-election. Thereafter, it will be deployed in the Anambra Governorship election in November”, he added.
He said; “I cannot conclude my remarks without touching on the issue of litigations, particularly the conflicting orders emanating from Courts of coordinate jurisdiction.
“I am aware that some of the cases are still in Court and therefore sub judice. I must say that some of the decided cases are making our work difficult and we have been crying out loud for a long time. In particular, some pre-election litigations relating to the nomination of candidates for elections were not determined until after the elections.
“Consequently, in some instances, political parties were declared winners without candidates to immediately receive the Certificates of Return on account of protracted and conflicting litigations or where Courts rather than votes determine winners of elections.
“This situation is compounded by cases on the leadership of political parties, thereby making the exercise of our regulatory responsibilities difficult. It appears that in a number of electoral cases in Nigeria today, the settled law is now unsettled and the time-honoured principle of ‘Stare decisis’ does not seem to matter any longer.
“What is most disconcerting for us is that the more INEC strives to improve the credibility and transparency of our electoral process, the more extraneous obstacles are put in our way through litigations.
“However, the Commission appreciates the recent statement by His Lordship the Chief Justice of Nigeria as well as the strongly worded concern by the Nigerian Bar Association. We will work with both the Bar and the Bench to defend the electoral process in the best interest of our democracy.
“By the same token, as Chairmen and leaders of political parties, you have a role to play. I wish to remind you that INEC is both an umpire and a regulator. The Commission is an umpire in dealing even-handedly with political parties collectively, but when it comes to the m