Taiwo Amodu – Abuja
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Professor Mahmood Yakubu has expressed satisfaction over the outcome of the mock accreditation of voters conducted throughout the federation at the weekend with the use of the Bimodal Voters Accreditation (BVAS) machines at designated polling units across Nigeria.
The BVAS is a technological device used to identify and accredit voters’ fingerprints and facial recognition before voting. The device is also used for capturing images of the polling unit result sheet (Form EC8A) and uploading the image of the result sheet online.
Ahead February presidential and National Assembly elections and the governorship and State Assemblies election, the Commission had dropped the hint that it would conduct mock accreditation of voters in 436 Polling Units across Nigeria using the machine.
Speaking with newsmen after visiting two of the designated PUs in Area 11 and another in Bwari Local councils within the Federal Capital Territory, the INEC Chairman said the reports reaching him from states across the country were comforting.
He also restated the Commission’s objective that informed the mock accreditation of eligible voters.
He said: “Essentially what we intend to achieve is to further test the integrity of the machines that we are going to deploy on election day.
“We are satisfied with the tests carried out in our office, but we needed to test the machines in the field ahead of the election.
“Bearing in mind that this is the first time we deployed the machines nationwide, so we have identified 436 polling units nationwide on the equality of tests of the Federation, based on two local governments per senatorial district, and four polling units by local government making a total of 16 polling units per state, based on which we have deployed the machines.
“So in the FCT, there are four polling units earmarked for the test. This is one of the polling units. The other one is the one we visited at the post office. And so far, so good voters have been verified using their PVCs and then authenticated, using their fingerprint or facial on the basis of which they will be given the ballot papers on election day after successful accreditation.
“In the two polling units that have been visited so far. There is no report of failure. The machines have performed optimally.
“And this is the report we’re getting so far nationwide, but we have also made contingency arrangements like we will do on election day, that there is a spare machine in case and in the unlikely event of a malfunction.
“We will be able to respond and fix the machines. But so far, so good. No incident, no failure, and we’re hoping and praying. Having worked very hard that on February 25th and March 11th, the machines will also perform optimally.
“Well… you have seen so far. In this particular polling unit. The last person accredited in our presence took less than 30 seconds to accredit and this is the report we are getting from all the polling units nationwide. So the speed is good. And also the authentication is good.”