Ahead of the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it will deploy its new Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machine that will authenticate voters as a precondition for casting their votes.
The electoral umpire said the device would also ensure transparent management of results during elections.
It explained that the BVAS will now perform the functions of both the SCR and Z-Pad and guarantee the credibility of voter authentication.
The INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who disclosed this at the third quarterly meeting with the media in Abuja on Tuesday, said the functionality of the Z-pad has been integrated into the IVED currently used for voter registration.
Yakubu said on election day, the same device will become the BVAS to be used, first, for fingerprint authentication during accreditation and where it fails for facial authentication.
According to him, ”We believe this will eliminate the possibility of voting by identity theft, using another person’s PVC. Where the voter fails both the fingerprint and facial authentication, he/she will not be allowed to vote.
“In other words, no electronic authentication, no voting. 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, he said the commission intends to also 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 on Saturday, September 11, 2021.
“There will be a presentation of the new device and a practical demonstration of its functions at this meeting. As always, we will welcome your comments and suggestions on this innovation,” he said.
Speaking further, he said as the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) enters the 11th week, 2,729,819 fresh voters have pre-registered online, adding that a total of 717,947 Nigerians have completed their registration at the designated centres in just five weeks.
On his part, the national president of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Chris Isiguzo, urged the National Assembly to reverse its earlier decision to remove the electronic transmission of election results from the proposed amendment to the Electoral Act 2010.
Isiguzo said in line with globally acceptable practices, the nation must fully digitise the electoral system to achieve credible polls.
He faulted the act of collation of results manually as other processes before elections have been digitised.
“Democracies in the world have embraced digitization, not at piecemeal,” he said.
He also expressed concerns about how the judiciary has been meddling in the electoral processes via conflicting court judgements.
He lauded the decision of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) for summoning some judges over the matter and urged him to further dig deep into the rot in the judiciary.
He noted that the quarterly engagement was necessary to minimise speculations.
He said the chairman’s speech has given assurance and commitment to a credible election in Nigeria.